We were lucky to catch up with Heather Dileepan recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather , thanks for joining us today. Getting that first client is always an exciting milestone. Can you talk to us about how you got your first customer who wasn’t a friend, family, or acquaintance?
When I was first starting out, I was most excited about helping brands that I really believe in–whether their mission, product or the story behind the company. At that time, my household was focused on going plastic-free (or as close to as possible), so I reached out to one of my favorite reusable bag companies.
My email was pretty honest. I told them that I was new to freelancing but had this background in SEO and copywriting and asked if I could out. It actually took them a couple of months to get back to me, so when I did hear back, I was surprised but really excited about it.
We found a time to connect and before I met with them, I ran a site audit and looked around at their online products. I’m SO glad I did that because when we did connect on the phone, it turned out they were having some trouble with one of their best-selling products on Amazon, and I knew I could help them out. I laid out some of my findings and offered to do a full audit and review. In the end, I was able to suggest changes to their website and rewrite that main Amazon product listing. It was incredibly fulfilling knowing that I was helping to drive awareness of these products that make the world a better place.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I’m a website copywriter, which means I help businesses position their brand and offers in a way that aligns with the people who need their help. So often clients come to me feeling overwhelmed by writing their own copy (it’s a problem we all have… even website copywriters!). They’ll be going through a rebrand or working with a designer to launch a new offer and suddenly discover that they don’t have the right words to do justice to the design. That’s where I come in.
Having thoughtful, strategic website copy means two things for businesses: 1) It helps them get found in search, which is an amazing (and free) marketing channel for small businesses to take advantage of and 2) It helps them build relationships with new potential clients who often need to interact with the brand several times before deciding to purchase or even reach out inquire.
I come from a digital marketing background, so for me, website copywriting combines all of my loves: data, SEO, and positioning copy for engagement. When I start a new website project, I always start with the big-picture strategy because that’s often the step that gets overlooked, especially when business owners have multiple stakeholders and independent specialists working on a site. The strategy is that piece that ties everything together. So I start with the customer journey. I talk to their past clients and customers and I take a look around at the marketplace to get a feel for my client’s place in that ecosystem. That helps me position them in the strongest way through the copy. But the other big component is the brand voice. What do they stand for? What’s that unique approach they use that people absolutely love? It’s almost always our approach and values that helps us stand out in saturated markets, because that’s what sticks in people’s heads. They want to work with the business they know and trust. Who wouldn’t, really?
I know I’ve done my job well when my clients feel like their website copy reflects their brand and voice. But more importantly, when they see results from our efforts in the form of increased traffic and leads.
Have you ever had to pivot?
I think part of owning a small business is learning when to pivot and getting comfortable with change. My family is a military family, which means we move every couple of years. That’s been a real learning curve for me as an entrepreneur to figure out how to shift and pivot without losing momentum, plus giving myself the space needed to recover from big life changes (as a move inevitably is).
We moved last summer and I had a long list of plans and ambitions to ramp up fast in our new state and grow in the back half of the year. Ultimately, that didn’t happen, and that was ok, too. The silver lining of a big pivot is the chance to reflect on how things are going and make changes to your business that you may not have known you wanted. I ended up making several changes to my offers after the move based on those reflections, and my services are better off for it. And so is my work/life balance.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
It took me quite a long time to get started on social media. It’s not something I love using in my personal life because it becomes such a time suck for me. But the key is really just to choose one thing, one platform, and commit to some consistency. It doesn’t have to be every day (I typically post about twice a week) and you definitely don’t need to do what everyone else is doing.
For me, that means committing to Instagram. I’ve slowly grown my audience there over the last year and a half through regular posts and stories. Could I grow faster with more content and reels? Definitely. But for me, I know that doing more would feel taxing and I’d rather go slow and steady than burning out from having to create more.
Once you’ve decided on your platform, you can build it into your pipeline so it feels easy. I do social planning once a month and organize my content thematically with a central CTA. Then I hand it off to my VA, who is a pro at filling in the gaps with other content and creating the graphics for me. She schedules them and they send all month long. I hop on the platform a few times a week to engage with other people’s content… and that’s it!
Once I had that core social strategy down, I knew I could do more, so I added a bi-weekly newsletter to nurture my audience through email. That’s usually the bulk of the content that ends up on social media, anyway, so it hasn’t added a substantial amount of work for me. And recently, I’ve started showing up more on LinkedIn. Eventually, I’ll build in a process for that platform as well because I see its potential for growing my audience.
All that to say: start small, do what’s comfortable for you, and focus on slow and steady growth rather than trying to be the next big influencer.
- Website: https://hdcopywriting.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hdcopywriter/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hdileepan/
Karisma Photography (https://www.instagram.com/karismaphotographylv)