My guest today is Claire Standfast. Claire is the founder and owner of rurally based copywriting and marketing agency, Windmill House Creative as an ex magazine editor and generalist Claire returned from a stint of living in Europe with one goal in mind, to grow the diverse creative assets of Australian small businesses.
Claire is a huge advocates of female solopreneurs, and small business owners who are looking to create cashflow and jobs for their communities and families and climb the business ladder without breaking the bank. Recently Claire launched an online e-learning course, which has seen her teach small business owners across the country on how to organically and cost effectively grow their businesses through social media.
Now, I connected with Claire after she commented on one of my Instagram posts, because I love that she was a rural Queensland and that she was passionate about copywriting and working with female entrepreneurs.
Claire joined me from her farm in Goondiwindi and so there are a few points in the podcast where the internet was a little glitchy and that's just part of living on the land. And I'm an advocate for making sure that we're always choosing progress over perfection. So we just rolled with it.
Now, if you listened to my past episodes, you would know, and you would have heard me speak about understanding and targeting your ideal customer avatar.
The reason I wanted to bring Claire on as a guest is because even when you know who your ideal customer is, the challenge of writing copy for social posts, websites, ads, all of the things, well, it can be tough. But in this episode, Claire shares some of her advice on using copywriting to attract leads into your business, how to nurture your customers, to build strong long-term relationships and the importance of clearly communicating your marketing message to make sales without being sale-sy.
So let's take a listen.
Hi Claire, welcome to The She’s in Business podcast.
Claire: Thank you so much for having me!
Donna: I want to start by getting to know you a little bit better. So why don't you introduce yourself and your business.
Claire: Sure. So my name is Claire Standfast. I'm based rurally in Goondiwindi, just on the border of Queensland and New South Wales.
So what I do is copywriting and a touch of small business marketing, but predominantly the copywriting. So my company's called Windmill House Creative. So what I do predominantly is, you know, website copywriting, write people's blogs, bit of social media, you know, write features in magazines, landing pages, things like that.
In a former life, I was a magazine journalist, did that for a few years, floated around overseas. And that was pretty fun. But then I found, I really loved the small business side of things. Yeah. So that's what I do now.
Donna: Yeah. So really focusing in, on helping small business owners and solopreneurs. And that's one of the things that really attracted me to invite you on as a guest, because being that you live in rural Queensland and you work predominantly with rural and regionally based entrepreneurs. I'd love to know, like from your experience and from getting to know other rural and regional business owners, is there a challenge that comes with location that is different, that you've seen from like working in the cities and things like that?
Claire: I think I'm a really big advocate for remote work. I think being remotely based does not mean that we are isolated in any way. I think as soon as I'm moved rurally, my business has actually gotten bigger, you know, it's actually flourished. So I work in every state of Australia besides Tasmania. I worked overseas as well with clients over in Europe, but it's actually just about being involved in the community, you know?
So as long as you start to connect, social media is a big part of that. So just getting involved, reaching out, getting to know people. It’s a really loyal community, the rural community and the remote community and everyone advocates for each other. It's yeah. It's a really special community to be a part of it. You've just got to start connecting.
Donna: Yeah. I love that. And that's one of the reasons why I wanted to start She's In Business Podcast and in the work that I do, it’s about connecting female entrepreneurs together and sharing stories and sharing experiences, and being able to ask questions of other women doing similar things, because sometimes it can feel as though you're a little bit on an island, particularly like if your friends are not business owners and you know, there may be mums or maybe they work for somebody else.
And so it can be quite challenging as I'm sure that you've experienced sometimes as a business owner. There's different things that come up. And so, yeah. I love that, you know, the rural and remote communities band together so much, like I just, I just love that. Now I want to get into the juicy stuff about copywriting.
I'm so glad that I found you because recently actually I was talking to a business client and there was a little bit of confusion around, what copywriting actually is. The conversation kind of went around the topic of ‘isn't that like protecting your IP?’ Is that like when you breach someone's copyright? Just to avoid any confusion before we get in dig into the topic, can you kind of like, I guess, tell us about what are the different styles of copywriting and what is it in a nutshell?
Claire: Yeah. So there's probably two different types of writing that people most would see most commonly that I would split up. That I would segregate for people, so there's content writing and then there's copyright. So copywriting is for the purpose of creating a sale. So there's always an offer associated with it and you're trying to get a conversion.
So that's where you would see that's like your website copy that's, you know, your emails, your lead magnet, that sort of thing. So there's an offer there, whereas your content writing is providing a bit of information, entertainment and it's, you know, basically for the, the goal is brand awareness and brand loyalty and basically, so just a bit of engagement.
So that's where you've got like your blogs and your magazines, like your e-books, those sorts of things. So that's kind of like the split up. I do both because I just liked both and, you know, Why not do both. There is, there is definitely a differentiation, so just brand awareness and sales.
Donna: Beautiful. Okay. Yeah. That's a really simple way of splitting that up. I love that, brand awareness and sales. Cool. And that leads me to asking you my next question, because I run an online program. I know that you do to. Mine is called Ready to Rise, and I took a lot about customer attraction. And the best leads I find are the ones that are generated organically.
Right. And like all leads are great, like that paid, sponsored ads that we see that pop up through social media. But I feel like organic is always better. Like you get a, really, a really good quality client from that. So how important is writing copy to attract the new customers and followers, that awareness that you know, that brand awareness that you were talking?
Claire: Yeah. So copy, like I think is king it's, number one, it's basically it's your selling formula. So it's the way that you can sell without being sale-sy. I love that, you know, so it's not that sell, sell, sell, which I think a lot of people get stuck in, you know, they're afraid of being sale-sy. And it's also evergreen content. Like 24-7 without having to spend, you know, like you were saying before, so without doing that, pay-per-click sort of things. So on top of that, it allows you to kind of connect with your audience in their pain points and their pleasure points and also kind of knocked down those objection phases. So when I talk about objection phases, like I'm saying, one of your customers might say, oh, I might not buy your course because I can't afford it.
So with copy, you can say, don't worry about that we have payment plan options, you know, so you can do it over four payments sort of things. So that's indirectly solving their problem without being like sell, sell, sell. So I think copy is really a part of a sales strategy that people kind of forget, and it's there all the time.
It's not costing you a lot of money. It's really a part of the formula.
Donna: Yeah cool! Because a lot of the ladies that I work with, they either are selling a product or a service. Right. So we talk about like you and I probably have different kind of language that we use in selling courses, cause there's like lead magnets and things like that.
That's like a whole other thing. But in regards to when it comes to selling a, a product or a service, how important is it to get that selling formula, right. Is that a different process? Is it a different formula?
Claire: It's not a different process, but I think if you're afraid to sell or if you don't sell.
So I met a lot of people who are just in the awareness stage of the funnel and they're just attracting people to like the top of the funnel, but they don't know how to get to people to like the middle of the funnel and they don't know how to nurture their leads. So the biggest problem with a lot of people is they're not asking, they're not putting in a call to action in their copywriting.
They're kind of hooking people in and being like, oh, I have a beautiful product. I have a beautiful service, but then they're not, directing people to their booking page or, yeah, because they have this fear of being sale-sy. You know, you've got to ask people to take the next step, which can be involved in your community or whatever.
So I think that's where copywriting really gives you a process. Like there's ways to have a three step process or something like that.
Donna: Yeah. So can you tell us about if someone is feeling that they’ve got a little bit of a block in putting that call to action. Or they don't know how to word that call to action.
What advice would you give them in putting that sale to their customer without being sale-sy. Is there a particular language that you recommend that people use to do that?
Claire: Yes. So definitely put a list together of what your client's pain points are. Their pleasure points are. And start to literally answer their frequently asked questions.
Okay. So if you find like, if we use the affordability question for that we use, so I would just target it like that, okay. So never fear we have affordability. We have a payment plan option, and then, click here to access our payment plan, you know, so you're kind of breaking it. First, you need to have a middle section before you have a call to action.
So you answer the need first people know, like, and trust you. And then the call to action is super simple when they trust you. Call-to-actions aren't meant to be super long are our call to actions usually are as simple as like purchase, click here to purchase this or whatever. But the main thing is getting that body, right.
So that people trust you. And when you're solving a problem, the most important thing in copies that you become the solution to people's problems.
Donna: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So one of the things that I always remind, the people that I work with, my private clients and my clients that are in my program is that people need to be invited to make the sale.
They need to be invited to buy something. You can't just put the message out there. And then like, they're actually going to click the button. You have to tell them what that next step is. And I love that you talked about that sales funnel or that marketing funnel, because you really do need to attract people to the top.
And then, as they kind of come down through that funnel through your sales process or your marketing process. Naturally there will be people that will not stay in the funnel. They'll they'll fall out of that, but what you're left with is those ideal customers. Yeah. Which I love
Claire: That's something, sorry, Donna, that's something I really covering, my course is, a lot people, you know, they say I can't get clients, you know, I'm really struggling to make any profit. I desperately need to learn this or I desperately need the services of a copywriter. And it's literally just that shift in mindset or it's that shift in asking people to take that step because so many small business owners are not asking them to purchase. Just doing a post.
And they're literally just sending a post. I'm like, what's the purpose? What is your goal? Do you have a goal? Is it brand awareness or are you trying to make a sale? And they're like, well, I'm a business. I feel like I should have a social media. I'm like no social media is a tool. It's a business tool and it needs to be optimised.
So are you.. what's the goal? Part of the course that we do is creating, you know, a bit of a calendar. We have a goal for each post and then just literally adding a call to action on every single one of our posts. And if it's not creating a sale, because we don't want to be, you know, selling all the time so creating engagement with all of our, you know, all of our current followers and things like that. And you don't have to have, I think a lot of small business owners also fall into that trap of thinking. I need to have a huge following to get a lot of sales and you can have 200 followers, but a super engaged 200 followers and be doing really, really well on your side, on your sales, on your profit and loss statements. So I think that's something really interesting that small business owners need to know about creating income from their social media.
Donna: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. Absolutely. You need that engaged audience and doesn't need to be a massive audience. It just needs to be one that's actively looking at what you're doing on social media and engaging with you and all of that kind of stuff. So do you have any advice around creating, particularly let's talk about social media and creating posts that are engaging. What sort of strategies do you like to advise people on in creating, engaging versus sales posts?
Claire: Yeah, so definitely the call to action. I would start with what I call a ‘hook’
So a hook is an instant response headline. So we usually see those in the media or on social media. And a good example would be like ‘five ways to do this’ or ‘three common mistakes that you're making in business’, or, you know, those ones that you go, ‘oh my God, I need to click on that’. Those sort of things.
So you can get, literally you can Google examples of those that are those really ones that you have to sort of click on. So you have an instant response headline and then the body of your caption is again, the coming to solutions. So answering those frequently asked questions or the needs of your customers.
So providing value is super, super important becoming their solution so they can see you as an expert and a thought leader in your industry and then doing the call to action. Okay. So whether that's sending them to a booking page or just saying, what are your thoughts on this tag? A friend who would love this.
Asking a question, something like that, just so you're staying engaged really, really important. That sort of thing. Also something else that a lot of business owners, my clients, so many of them don't do is social proof. So, social proof is for people that don't know what that is, is testimonials of, you know, your work.
If you haven't got clients on your books, yet, maybe it's friends that like your product or service or, you know, people that have just seen it, or even, you know, if you've worked with experts in the field before, so, other people that have tried your products. Definitely. Or if you've been in the media before, if you've been on a podcast, if you've been in a magazine, it just shows other people that they've had good experiences with you. Definitely post that on your social media.
Donna: I agree. Yeah. And it's something that when it's, it's building that trust, isn't it. And when you see examples where other people have had a great experience, then you're more likely to also engage and go after that product or service too.
Claire: Yeah. It's just like, it's literally sales psychology. It's human psychology. Like we are built on this monkey see monkey do. Follow the herd sort of thing. And if you see that someone has had a poor experience, you're going to go no. Or if you see that, you know, your girlfriend has bought something and they've loved it, it's a trust factor. It's literally nothing else.
And that's just the way that we're built. We're created that's our physiology. So definitely something that people have to do.
Donna: Yeah. Cool. And it just, you've just sparked another question in me in regards to that psychology. When I talk about brand psychology, I'm always trying to teach that concept of like, people will buy an extension of their own identity, right.
In building that connection with you. And then in building that trust, because people look at a product or a service or a, a person, if it's the face of the business and they will naturally be attracted to that and engage with that, if they see it as an extension of their identity.
Claire: Interesting. Yeah.
And so like, one of the examples that I often use is like Apple, right? People buy Apple products because they want to be seen as being innovative and using the best line products and, you know, cause it's cool and all of that kind of stuff. And so it changes that, uh, it's that human psychology that you were talking about is, you know, if there's a particular brand that I want to associate, my identity is, you know, as fashion label, I go and buy that for that reason.
Do you work that in, in your copywriting as well? Is that something that comes into play it's from a psychology sales writing sort of perspective?
Claire: Yeah. I mean, I definitely agree with that. I think that comes down to branding is a huge part of copywriting, but I think the biggest thing about copywriting, people get caught up in all these different things of branding and how people perceive them and all of that sort of thing.
But at the end of the day, all of your clients want to know is how you get them results because copywriting can be expensive. And I think the biggest thing, you know, when you're creating your content is how you're going to solve their problems. When you're writing your content, you're putting it together.
It's that you can, you know, there's a lot of pain. That's why I focus on pain points, which can be, it can sound a little bit negative. But people have a lot of fears. Have some of us have a lot of fears. So when you're putting together your content and they're saying, you know, I can't afford it. Or, you know, they have these objections or if you’re a marketing client and people are your marketing coach and people are saying, you know, I can't create conversions from what I'm doing, then it's your job as a copywriter to overcome fears, and that's how you create a conversion because then you're creating trust going, okay. This is the person that I know is going to fix my problems for me. So I think that's the way that psychology kind of ties into copywriting. The main thing is, you're trying to be a problem solver and you're giving them a solution.
Yes. That's the job. That's the job of copywriting.
Donna: Yeah. I love that because one of the things I always say is, as a business owner, you're a problem seeker and a solution maker and yeah, it's the same with copywriting like that is, you know what the problem is, you've got the solution and then you've got to put that message.
You’ve got to get the right message. So with messaging, that can sometimes be tricky, right. To get that message right. And I think like when I work with business owners, they have like all of this stuff, like their head is just like exploding with, they've got to get all these messages into one, you know, caption.
So do you have any tips and advice of how to extrapolate that message that you can really drive home to your ideal customer about whatever it is?
Claire: Yeah. So the easiest way, probably don't because I get this a lot when I, when I've got copy clients and that they, you know, I say, okay, I have a bit of a formula that I generally follow up. We'll get on a discovery call and they'll like, boom, here's my thousand ideas on you know, war and peace.
The easiest way to do that is to do follow what I call the benefits versus features model. So there are say you sell white t-shirts okay. And there are like a million different businesses that sell white t-shirts in this world. So what separates your business from another business that sells white t-shirts you know, particularly if theirs is $10 cheaper than yours, it's the benefits of your business. Okay. As opposed to the features. So if you're marketing your product, just explaining the features. So it's a cotton white t-shirt it's washes easily, it's durable. Like no one really cares about that. It's the benefits. So, you know, it's a small business, it pairs great with this, you know what I mean? Like you're talking about things that appeal to a person's personal characteristics and creates trust and things like that. I follow that benefits versus features model, which touches again, I've said it a thousand times, but pain points, pleasure points.
So, you know, with the white t-shirt thing again, so people might not know that it pairs nicely with a pair of chinos or whatever. So just things like that because I thousand other people are going to be saying exactly the same thing as you, but you want to stand out.
Donna: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that I've used with a lot of success within my bricks and mortar business. Cause I also have a dance studio, so I have two businesses. When we do our marketing to obviously parents to get their students to enrol with us, it's always like, you know, we sell the feature and the benefits, so we'll say.
Our teachers work within positive psychology to ensure that the students who are dancing with us and not only are building their dance skills, but also confidence too. So it's exactly what you were saying. And from that, I think what you're getting is you're not selling as such. You're just putting the message out there and then it sells itself because of the benefits.
Claire: Yeah. And like, that's so different. A parent would listen to that and go, oh my God, I so want to build my child's confidence as opposed to just being like, oh, okay, cool it's a dance per term. It's this price. And they get these inclusions, you know, because there are probably X amount of people that do that in your area.
What am I going to do? They're going to go for the cheapest one. Like it's not really, what's the differentiation. It all comes down to your messaging. And what you've just said is really special. Like to put a really fine point on it, money can't buy, what you have just explained is a child's confidence, you know? And that's, that's really special.
Donna: Yeah. So it's about finding that special thing and I think every business has that. Every product, every service would have that, but it's about unpacking, like really getting down to what is that thing that sets you apart from other competitors. And sometimes it can be as simple as finding that one thing that you do a little bit differently. And then talking about that as a benefit of what is included, if you buy whatever it is.
Claire: Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent agree. Totally.
Donna: Yeah. Awesome. So another thing that you are really skilled at is building long-term relationships with clients.
Claire: Yes, I am very lucky. I've only been in business a couple of years, but I do have some wonderful clients.
Donna: Yeah. And that's like, every business should be striving for. Achieving long-term relationships with their clients, because what I always remind people of is that it's amazing that you can advertise and do all your marketing through all the different avenues. But the best form of marketing is a walking, talking billboard in the form of a customer that has worked with you previously, that word of mouth like takes you from just being a business that someone has seen on the internet or whatever, checked out your website, maybe seen you on Facebook, but someone that they know that then talks to you about this business and goes, oh, they're great for that. That trust, like just skyrockets and you don't have to do they do the selling for you.
Like there is no selling in it for the business owner and that's why getting your clients to become walking, talking billboards for you is so important. Do you have a strategy around building longterm relationships? Through copywriting, like, is that like a specific thing that you do, like when you're writing copy?
Is there ways to build that relationship with your clients and customers?
Claire: Great question very, very good question. So. With copy, I mean, you can offer to keep clients on board for a long time. It's about offering, you know, regular services, I suppose. So that's something that can be done, you know, I like to offer to particular people, so upselling, things like that.
So I do try to do that, um, for my clients that aren't on a project basis, which can be hard for people that are offering say a web package, which is big, can be expensive, you know? So they're on there looking to do that project sort of thing. But I think in terms, so I do have my clients that are there for long-term contract sort of basis.
And then I have my people that are there for projects sort of things. But I think what really keeps me going, you know, whether it's just project, you know, sort of stuff kind of getting those regular leads for just the project stuff is that I've never really done a lot of sort of paid stuff. I do all of my organic stuff and so I never pay for ads and stuff is that I just really nurtured the clients that I do have.
I maintain really strong relationships with them and they are just like a referral system for me. So, you know, even if they just do, because a lot of copy work is just project stuff. Like I said, Even if they pop in and do their two month project or whatever, we still always maintain that relationship through email marketing or social media and things like that.
So if I have just a smaller, like lead magnet pop-up or something. they always stay in Touch. So I make sure that all of my clients, you know, no matter how long it's been, since they've worked with me, they're always nurtured. They're always getting something which is really good. So the email marketing I find is really good for that.
They're always in touch. And so I find that my books are always pretty busy and I'll, I'll get an email from someone that I don't, I don't know, or a booking from someone that I don't know and say, oh, Tom Jones, Referred me. I'm like, I haven't spoken to him, you know, and he gets my emails and that's a really nice thing.
And I suppose I operate my business from sounds cheesy, but really a space of empathy. And a lot of one-on-one time, we spend a lot of time just having really personal conversations. And I really, again, set at a thousand times, we'll really get to know the needs of people. So it's not templated, you know, there's nothing like that.
So it's, it's a very personal experience. It's very custom and I think that's something that people really enjoy.
Donna: Yeah, for sure. And I think too, something that I believe really works with nurturing that is celebrating the success of your clients and customers. So, you know, if they've worked with you and they've had a great result from that, and you see it pop up on their social media page, that, you know, they've released a new product and it's selling really well or.
Something like that, that you then reshare it on your page and you tag them in it. And what I've seen happen there is then they get really excited that you shared this stuff on your page, which has obviously broadening their customer base as well, or their awareness into new new customers potentially.
And that works really, really well as well, because it also works as social proof for your business whilst you're also spotlighting their business
Claire: Yeah. And I do a lot of that. I, I post my clients' projects on my page, which showcases my work, but it also people know who they are. And I always promote my clients because besides good karma, you know, I like it.
Yeah. It's a lovely thing to do. I've never had a bad client yet. So it's, it's really nice. And we always follow each other on Instagram and you know, we stay in touch and yeah, it's like, it's a lovely thing to do.
Donna: It's a real community, isn't it? Like, I think you need to treat your customers like they, your next door neighbour, and then, you know, build that community.
Even like, you know, there's so many different businesses out there and a lot of different, I worked with so many different women who have completely different businesses, but one thing that will always stay true, I believe is that the community that you build or the culture that you build in the way that you serve.
And so, yeah, I love that you really nurture your customers. And it obviously has a positive effect because they've stayed long-term customers and they refer people back to you all the time. So, yeah.
Claire: That's also very, like, very, very lucky and, you know, and I think it goes both ways as well. Like I refer a lot of people back to my clients, which, because I will have such wonderful skills. So I think it, it goes, it goes a long way. And referral marketing is still one of the best and strongest forms of marketing out there. Word of mouth, for sure. So even a bit of advice for people is, you know, jump on those Facebook groups. So there's always like community business, Facebook groups, and, um, you know, you'll you'll network.
You'll get to know. You know, and it's really nice to just see who's out there and yeah, you can connect on Facebook and it's just really cool. Like, since I've moved out to the Bush, I didn't really know many people and I just kind of got to know people and everyone really just got around my business out here.
And I was just a total stranger to most people. And I it's really amazed me. I'm so grateful for all the people out here that have just supported my business. And they sort of just, when I came out here and I said, oh, I know someone who needs a copywriter, and I know someone who needs a copywriter and it's really extended my business.
And I in turn because they've done so much for me, I have recommended them to a lot of people, I was on and on and on and on and on sort of thing.
Donna: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And what goes around, always comes around. So I think that's awesome. And just to, just to touch on that, circling back to what you said about getting involved in community groups on social media, like there's, there's some really great groups out there that maybe like have like, uh, um, uh, mentioned your business Monday and you can drop your link and tell people about, you know, a little bit about what you offer.
And I would really encourage everyone listening that to kind of create some copy for yourself that maybe you saving your notes in your phone or something like that. And if you're scrolling through and you see in one of those groups that there's an opportunity to promote your business, then you can kind of copy and paste that in and attach the link. Cause there's those great opportunities that are out there all the time, but sometimes they're like, oh, I don't know what to write. And I just start writing and it seems clunky. And then in the end you're like, oh, it's too hard. But if you actually set yourself up for success and write that little bit of copy, that can just sit on a note in your phone and you can just cut and paste it.
You can really, really expand your business that way.
Claire: I agree and like, it's so nice, particularly when you're in that total start-up mode to just, you know, like I see posts all the time with chiefs just saying like, I want a business bestie, like I'm, I'm alone in my business. I want someone I can chat to and I can a hundred percent relate to that because it's a very lonely space sometimes.
And then, you know, you get these kinds of people, you get a group and then you start referring clients to each other. It's a lovely. Lovely space. It makes business be, you know, a lot more enjoyable and I think it's free.
Donna: Why not exactly. Right. Exactly. Right. And so I should actually send you the link to my Facebook group and invite you onto there.
Cause that's full of amazing women in business as well. I'll drop it in. Yeah, I'll send it to you. I'll also put it in the show notes for anyone who's listening as well. So Claire, how can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more about optimizing their copywriting skills?
Claire: Cool. So the best way to get in touch with me is probably my website.
I have a contact form on there. So my website is windmillhousecreative.com.au. I'm also on Instagram as well, just as @windmillhousecreative.
Donna: Excellent. If you're driving or you've, you're doing something busy with the kids or whatever, I'll drop those into the show notes so you can pick them up from there.
Claire, this has been so great. I think you've provided so much value for our listeners today and the podcast. So thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.
Claire: Thank you so much for having me. It's been lovely.