When you set up shop as a business-to-business copywriter, you can get started through referrals, word-of-mouth recommendations and face-to-face meetings with potential clients. Soon you’ll need a web site, though. The web site serves as a credibility booster, buttressing your claims to competence and functioning as a 24/7 checkpoint for those who have heard something about you and want to know more.
At a minimum, your b-to-b copywriting web site must have these six elements to perform its job for you.
1. Home page.
If someone arrived at your home page accidentally, would they understand in less than five seconds who you are and what sort of work you do? They should. Your home page needs to provide an overview of how you help which kinds of businesses and the advantages of hiring you. You win extra points with readers if your prose has an explicit or implicit “you” in it rather than “I, I, I” or “we, we, we.” At the end of the home page copy, tell the visitor what they should do next – download a free report, call you for a free get-to-know-you session or email the details for an upcoming project.
2. Services page.
The services page details which services you provide. Don’t merely provide a list. For each service, describe in enticing terms how it helps the client reach an important business objective. To maximize the odds that you and potential clients will come to agreement on your fees, list a fee range for each service.
3. About page.
Here, post a business bio describing your background, experience and credentials. Most potential clients appreciate seeing a photo so they can imagine who they’d be dealing with, as well as just enough personal information (hobbies, family, pets) so you don’t come across as a robot.
4. Portfolio page.
Not all, but a good number of potential clients will expect to see samples of your work. Most of them simply want to make sure that your abilities fit the sort of writing they’re looking to hire you to perform and don’t care how much you were paid for those portfolio pieces. Therefore it’s fine to post samples that you created specifically for your online portfolio. Replace those with paid sample pieces, though, when you can. Three is a good minimum number of samples for the portfolio.
You should have at least two client testimonials, though three make for a much better starting point. Each testimonial should be signed with the full name and company of the person who wrote it. Since fake client quotes can be construed as false advertising, these must be actual quotes from real people you performed work for.
6. How to reach you.
Some interested clients prefer to call, while others want to inquire by email, so provide both means of contact. Don’t hide behind an impersonal contact form. I’ve provided my actual email address and business phone number on my web site for more than a decade without any problems from doing so.
If you are writing a blog, my advice is to create a website with a blog integrated into it rather than a blog that contorts itself to present the elements I’ve just named as your minimum elements. Don’t write only a blog thinking that that’s going to lead to people hiring you. Clients need to be able to read about your services, your bio, your portfolio and your contact information with one easy, obvious click for each, and all too often that’s not the case for blogs.
I strongly recommend you also offer some kind of free report or resource for potential clients, in exchange for people’s email address. This provides a way for you to build a list of interested prospects.
Remember that visitors to your site will be gauging your writing ability as they read through your web pages. So make sure you’ve performed thorough proofreading and created an inviting, consistent tone.
About the author: Marcia Yudkin
Master marketer Marcia Yudkin is a leading advocate of no-hype copywriting and the author of 17 books, including Meatier Marketing Copy and Persuading People to Buy. She mentors people with good writing skills who want to set themselves up successfully as freelance copywriters/marketing consultants, as well as introverts who want to know how to use their talents and strengths in business to attract clients without exaggeration, manipulation or lying.