If you ever look at Meta, Instagram, Google, TikTok, or any number of platforms, you encounter a ton of ads for lots of products and services. After a while, it’s hard not to wonder, “If it’s working for them, wouldn’t it work for me?” Does paid advertising work for a copywriting business?
Paid advertising—running ads on Meta, Google, and the like—can be a great place to way to get a lot of traffic to your portfolio site.
But it can also be a great way to lose a lot of money.
Remember that paid advertising constitutes some people’s entire careers. I’m not saying that it’s something that you can’t master, but I am saying that you’ll waste a lot of money if you don’t at least become proficient in it before you start running ads.
Here’s what you need to consider before spending money advertising your copywriting services.
Who Are You Advertising To?
The first question you want to ask yourself is who your audience is. If you haven’t carefully defined your audience first, you’ll waste a lot of money reaching people you don’t want to reach.
As part of this, why do you want to advertise to this audience? What is your goal? What is the action you want them to take? Before you even write ads, you need to think through the entire ad strategy and hone in on who you are targeting. Otherwise, you’ll have a generic message that doesn’t resonate with your target audience.
As always, write yourself a creative brief.
How Are You Going to Capture Leads?
You also need to decide how you’re going to capture the leads that get to your site. Just spending money to send people to your site and hoping they’ll decide to get in contact with you is foolish. The vast majority of people will get to your site and quickly leave, likely forgetting that they ever visited.
As much as possible, you want to collect the contact information of the people who visit your site. A great way to do this is to offer some kind of freebie—an ebook, infographic, or video—that your audience will want and will be willing to give you their email address to get. (Yes, you’ll want to write a creative brief for this, too!)
Once you’ve gotten their email addresses, you can email them with follow-up information and offers.
You have to work hard, though, to make sure that this freebie is both valuable to your target audience (prospective clients) and that it doesn’t devalue what you offer.
For example, an ebook about how copywriters can track their invoices and billing would be useful for your fellow copywriters but wouldn’t be useful for your target audience.
Also, a “How to Write Emails That Get 50% Conversion Rates” is certainly valuable to your target audience, but if they think they can do that by themselves, why would they hire you?
How Will You Collect Emails and Deliver Your Freebie?
Once you decide what you’re going to give away, you need a method for email collection and freebie delivery. I won’t go too deeply into your software options, but suffice it to say that this email collection and freebie delivery needs to be automatic and instantaneous, so you’ll need an email service provider like MailChimp or Drip to help you do it.
Write Your Own Email Series
You should also have a plan for a few emails to automatically go out after someone downloads your freebie. These emails may talk about your background, successes you’ve helped clients achieve, the benefits of working with you as a copywriter, or other relevant topics.
You should also consider an email in this series that directly asks the prospect to set up a free consultation call with you. This email series helps nurture your prospect and keeps them engaged with and interested in you.
Determine Where You Want to Run Your Ads
Next, you’ll need to decide where you want to run your ads. Personally, I’ve found that LinkedIn ads are exceptionally expensive and Google ads is complicated for the newer advertiser to quickly master. Facebook offers a lot of different targeting options and you can start running your ads for just a few dollars a day.
There are lots of great resources online for how to set up and run Facebook ads (from people much more knowledgeable than I am), so I won’t bother getting into it here. Just be sure to do your research and learn as much as you can about how to create ads before you start paying money to run them.
Remember that running ads is an entire career. You may want to take a course on it to ensure you’re going about it in the best possible way for your goals.
Implement a System for Monitoring Ads
Paid advertising is never a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution. Once you start running ads, you need to be constantly monitoring the ad click-through rate and the number of people who are signing up for your freebie.
If you have a low click-through rate (below 2%), your ad isn’t performing very well. If you have a high click-through rate but very few people are signing up for your freebie, your campaign still isn’t succeeding. You’re looking for as high of a click-through rate as possible (from your target audience) and as high of a freebie sign-up rate as possible and you need to tweak your ad and your freebie until you hit that sweet spot.
It’s very easy to set up an ad, start it running, and then forget about it. Then when you remember to look a few weeks later, it’s very possible to have spent hundreds of dollars with nothing to show for it! Make sure you’re tracking your ad results and that the money you spend is yielding client leads.
Start Small Before Scaling
I would also strongly advise you to start with a small daily spend—even as little as $5—and then increase it when you start seeing positive results. It can be very tempting to get excited about the possibilities of paid advertising and want to start by spending $30 or $40 a day.
That amount may be reasonable eventually if you’re getting a great return for your ads. If you’re not, though, that’s a great way to lose $1K a month without making any of it back in new clients.
You may find your target audience is not clicking on your ads and you may need to adjust. Or you may find it’s not worth your time and other client acquisition tactics are far more lucrative.
The verdict? Paid advertising can be a great way to get copywriting client leads. However, if you’re not willing to take the time to learn how to run them properly, set up a lead capture system, and check your metrics on a daily basis, it’s far more likely you’ll lose money than make it.
Have you tried paid advertising for your copywriting business? What were your results? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: This page contains affiliate links.
Last Updated on May 10, 2023
Nigel Brown says
Many thanks Nicki
This is very solid and honest advice – appreciated. FB advertising is a minefield and if you don’t pay attention to all the details you are going to waste a lot of hard earned cash – I’ve learnt this from experience!
Nicki Krawczyk says
I agree – it’s very easy to run through funds very quickly! It *could* work for service providers, but they need to have a deep understanding of how the process works and a very good plan for how to make the numbers work. 🙂
Thanks for commenting!