Interview with Tracy


Why did you decide to become a
copywriter and marketing strategist and
how long have you been doing this?

I’ve actually been writing all my life. Yes, I was the girl in school who liked doing research papers—especially if my alternative was a class presentation. I won awards for a short-story, poem, social studies paper, and I dominated the science fair in junior high.

But I was especially good at influencing people through writing. I wrote my way into a Senate internship the summer after high school, and I was thrilled when they let me write a position paper for the Senator about capital gains taxes. I even wrote a letter my senior year of college to convince a local car dealer to let me buy a car without having my parent’s co-sign, despite having no job. As long as I could put it on paper, I was the queen of persuasion.

Part of what makes my writing so compelling is that I put myself in other people’s shoes, often without even realizing it. I don’t mean in a psychic kind of way. I mean that I can easily suspend my own beliefs and see and feel a situation from someone else’s point of view. So I naturally tailor my message to what’s most important to them, and anticipate any objections.

I briefly thought about becoming a lawyer, but a stint at a corporate law firm killed that idea. And luckily I found my way into marketing. And these skills translated into a keen ability to convey what the business wants to do or say in a way that’s most appealing to the client or prospect.

Who exactly are your clients?

I work with people just like you—solo professionals and entrepreneurs with very small businesses who are really good at what they do, but need some help getting more clients in the door. Most business owners have never been taught how to market effectively—from top to bottom, what’s worth doing and what’s not. And very few have been taught how to write to sell. My clients represent a wide variety of professions and industries, including:

  • Cable Installers
  • Career Counselors/Coaches
  • Chiropractors
  • Financial Planners
  • Insurance Agents
  • Organizational Consultants
  • Spiritual Counselors
  • Life Coaches
  • Management Consultants
  • Marketing Consultants
  • Massage Therapists
  • Realtors
  • Retail Store Owners

What happens if you haven't yet worked with people in my field?

It usually doesn’t matter because I always research your industry when I start working with a new client. And most business’ clients aren’t in the same industry, so you probably need copy that speaks to “outsiders” anyway.

Why shouldn’t I just write my own copy?

Two key reasons come to mind. First, writing to sell is a whole different ball game than what we learned in school. We were taught how to sound sophisticated and college-like—big words and lots of colons. But when you’re writing to sell, what you say has to be immediately clear and understandable. It has to speak your clients’ language, not your own. And it has to hit all the right notes at the right time.

Second, your copy (which is the content in all of your marketing) is your most important marketing tool. No one buys because you have a jazzy brochure, fancy ad, or flashy web site. They buy because the words on the page—or the screen—get their attention, resonate with and convince them that you’re the best solution to their problem. Hiring a professional copywriter is an investment in your business’ future growth, which pays dividends with more leads, more clients and more sales.

How are you different from other copywriters & marketing strategists?

First of all, I focus on working with solopreneurs and other very small businesses. So I know which strategies are an effective use of your limited time and money and which ones aren’t. And I won’t be telling you to jump on this or that new trend until I’m sure it’s worthwhile. Maybe it just comes from years of hearing my mom say, “Never buy anything the first year it’s made—wait for them to work all the kinks out.” Yes, we were probably the last in my school to get a VCR, but hey, we did avoid the whole Beta vs VHS mess.

Second, your project is just as important to me as the other projects I’m working on—you’re not the “small fish” I’ll get to when I have time. In fact, I go the extra mile to make sure what I’m doing for you is going to be successful—which usually includes offering ideas, suggestions and resources for other areas of your business. It may sound a little corny, but to me, small businesses are the epitome of the American dream. They’re at the heart of finding innovative ways to improve our daily lives. And anyone, with a good idea and some hard work, can go from nothing to billionaire during their lifetime. How amazing is that?

How much do your services cost?

Copywriting is part art, part science. So the cost isn’t based on just about time or length of the project—because 50 words can be much more challenging than 1,000—but the full scope of the project. For example, getting people to buy something is more challenging than getting clients to opt-in for a freebie, which is harder than just sharing information.

I don’t just turn on a timer and start writing. I spend time researching how the project fits with other things you do, what your competitors are doing in this area, and what your target audience is looking for and how they describe it. It takes brainstorming too—plus writing, editing, and more editing. But in the end, you get copy that gets results.

The short answer is that the cost varies by project. But to give you some kind of guide, one of the least expensive projects are informational web pages (About Us, Services, etc) which start at a couple hundred dollars per page.

For Marketing Services, there are a few different options at varying price points. But there are no monthly retainers like agencies usually charge.

And yes, I accept MasterCard and VISA.

Do you do copywriting on an hourly basis?

No, I don’t do copywriting on an hourly basis because it’s actually not very client-friendly. For one, it doesn’t tell you anything about total cost unless you have a good idea of how long the project will take—which can vary widely, depending on the writer. Also, charging by the hour also gives the writer, designer or whoever an incentive to drag the project out so they can bill more.

Instead, I charge by the project so you know upfront how much it will be—so there are no “surprise” higher-than-expected invoices at the end. I don’t review copy on an hourly basis either because I can’t just stop when the time is up if I feel the piece needs more work. So now I offer the budget-friendly Laser Copy Review, where I read and offer suggestions for improving a piece you’ve already written.

How long does it take to get copy written?

If you’re looking to have something written today or tomorrow, my advice is to keep looking. My schedule simply doesn’t allow for that. But for a small project, you could probably expect to see the first draft in about a week. For larger projects, two to three weeks for the first draft is likely.

It’s important to know that these aren’t rough drafts—these are high quality first drafts. Nearly always, clients end up asking for just a few tweaks to be made, and the project wraps up quickly after that. Of course, these estimates may change depending on my current schedule. And remember that the length of time also depends on you, since I can’t begin working until you’ve sent the completed questionnaire and any other necessary information to me.

Is there a type of business or owner you DON’T work with?

I have successfully worked with business owners in a wide variety of industries, but I do turn away those whose services are very technical or highly scientific and whose target audience is also technology or science-proficient. That’s just not something I feel qualified to do.

Also, if your business ethics could give Enron a run for the money, don’t call.

Tracy, I’m ready to get started. How do we do that?

Congratulations on making such a smart decision for your business! Here are the different Copywriting & Marketing Services and Copywriting & Marketing Products I’ve created for you, just click on the name for more information and details about signing up.

If I'm not sure I'm ready to get started, how can I sample your work at low cost to see if it's the right solution for me?

One way is to check the samples listed on the Portfolio page. Another is to subscribe to my free weekly ezine, Compelling Marketing which gives you insider secrets and free resources to help you build a more sustainable business by marketing your business more
effectively, with less effort. Sign up now and you’ll also get a FREE Special Report: The One Press Release You Can Write to Get Thousands of Dollars Worth of Free Publicity.

OK, I'm ready to do this for myself, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?

Of course! If you have questions, feel free to email me or call 919.829.1539 and we can set up a time to talk.

 


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