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How to build connections that drive sales?

Meet Kelley Gardiner, a website copywriter and copy coach. Learn how she builds connections that increase sales as a solo entrepreneur business.

Kelley Gardiner - Copywriter and Copy Coach

Kelley Gardiner, like her clients, is a small business owner. Her clients know they need to rewrite their website copy, but don’t know how to optimize it or don’t feel like learning how. She helps them create copy that drives sales by showing them what to do or rewriting it for them.

She quit her day job in 2014 to embrace her writing career, and started focusing on website copy in 2017. Kelly’s business is composed of just her and a handful of very smart proofreaders.

Who are your customers? And what are the main channels that attract them to your business?

I help people write their website copy. That can feel very personal especially because my clients are what’s called lifestyle businesses, like me. We work part-time at something we’re passionate about. We might not make a million dollars a year or vacation in Ibiza, but we’re building businesses that fit our families and our own needs in a holistic way.

My customers usually come from longer relationships—people who’ve known me for a long time, or referrals from people who know me personally. My customers want to see my writing in action, it’s really vital to cultivate that trust. A lot of people have been ghosted, or just didn’t feel like they got value from paying for help. It’s a real leap to hand over half your marketing budget for the year to someone when the process feels opaque.

How do sales occur in your business, and how do you close deals?

I usually know someone pretty well before they’re ready to get a bigger copywriting package. Because I have a longer nurturing cycle, the sales cycle is usually pretty short. Once someone reaches out, they’re 95% ready to get started. For me, it’s essential to get in front of people. Conversations I had a year ago might lead to a job next week.

It’s all about showing people how I can help them and filling the pipeline. When I look through websites, I see a lot of opportunities for businesses to be extremely clear about what they do and the results people will get.

“Conversations I had a year ago might lead to a job next week”

Kelley Gardiner - Copywriter and Copy Coach

Name one strategy that you tried and didn’t work for you. Why do you think that was?

My main marketing channels are my website, email, in-person networking, and online groups (so many Slacks), with a little social media thrown in as well.
I’ve tried Pinterest several times, but I just can’t stick with it. Maybe when I hire a VA I’ll put them on the Pinterest beat. Theoretically, it can be a great driver of traffic from people who are specifically looking for a solution.

Can you provide two tips that worked for you and brought customers to your business?

Every day, I try to do something extra to create connections: reaching out, sending a link to something they’re interested in, or showing up to their launch event. You never know how that generosity will come back to you, but it does. We have to show up for people.
Secondly, being very clear about what I do, internally and externally. That means I’m really clear on who my customer is and what value I bring to the table. Once you have that clarified, it’s much easier to communicate—and you have to communicate it over and over.

One tip you’ll give someone that wants to open a business like yours?

Be gentle with yourself. There’s always going to be a lot to learn. Remember that opportunity comes out of consistency.


Kelley Gardiner is a website copywriter and copy coach

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