If you’ve ever wondered if it’s time for you to rebrand, then this episode is for you. I’m going to talk through some signs or red flags that it’s time to give your website a Princess Diaries-style, head-to-toe makeover. I’m a sucker for a good, or even a really bad makeover movie.
I’ve been in business for five years now, and I had the same website for the first 3 years. About two years ago, I reached a turning point and realized it was time to kick things up a notch and take my brand and business to the next level.
So I’m going to share the reasons behind why I rebranded, my inspiration, and I’ll also share how my messaging shifted and my hope is that it will help give you clarity on whether or not it’s time to rebrand or give your website a bit of a makeover.
When you think of a rebrand, you likely immediately think about getting a new logo and brand board, and I definitely did all that. BUT typically, a true rebrand is about WAY more than the imagery, logo and brand colors. My positioning and messaging are the most drastic changes I made and in fact, the messaging and copy are what DROVE the imagery and inspired the brand photoshoot.
So, let me take you back to the beginning of this process. I started feeling this “pull” to get really serious about my business in February of 2018. I have shared before that when I first started my business, I really just wanted to be a freelancer.
I had no niche. No specialty. No real vision for my business. Like I mentioned before, I barely even thought of it as a real business, let alone a brand. I just wanted to get the hell out of corporate. I was a new mom who desperately wanted to ditch my hour-long commute and be able to make my own schedule and not feel guilty about calling in when my son was sick. I also wanted to take naps. LOTS of them. But when I was 3 years into my business, the demand for my services was growing FAST. I was busier than ever and I was making more money than I ever had before, which was awesome.
You’re probably like, OK, Erika, what was the problem here? And the issue was that I felt completely overwhelmed and unfocused. I was working on a million kinds of projects, writing newspaper articles, magazine articles, blogs and social media, anything that came my way, I took it.
It’s hard to explain, but it just felt like I was reacting to whatever work and clients came my way, instead of actively trying to pursue projects and attract work that I really loved doing. I also was not working on my own business at all. I wasn’t running a business. I was just working on a bunch of projects that came my way. I wasn’t putting myself out there, I wasn’t establishing my authority, I wasn’t creating content or posting on social media.
It felt like I was just cranking out client work, but my business wasn’t moving toward anything. I wasn’t moving toward anything and saying that out loud, I don’t know if it even makes sense. And to be clear, I was fine with that for the first 3 years. Looking back I actually think I needed to go through that unstructured, messy time and kiss all those frogs in order to find out what I really wanted.
It’s almost like I was driving along for a really long time on this one road, and I got to this 4 way stop sign, and I had to decide whether to stay on the same path or take a different one. Even when I say it now, it sounds super cheesy, but i just knew that I wanted to be a bigger deal, I know, I’m rolling my eyes at myself.
Around this time, I started joining Facebook groups like The Copywriter Club, following people like Marie Forleo and Amy Porterfield and listening to podcasts about business, and it kind of opened my eyes to this world that I didn’t really know existed, because I hadn’t started looking for it yet. I wasn’t ready for it up until that point.
So one sign that I want you to be on the lookout for in your own business is just the feeling that it’s time to make a change. And yes, I realize this is intangible, but I believe you will either FEEL it in your gut or you won’t: Check in with yourself and ask yourself: Do you feel pulled to be something bigger and to take control of your business.
THE NEXT SIGN FOR ME, is that I was saying yes to projects that I didn’t want to do. Like I mentioned, guys, I was copyediting dental blogs and emails.
But, like I said, at this point I had kissed enough frogs to know what kind of projects I wanted to work on, and which ones I didn’t want to work for. I don’t know if this whole frog / prince charming thing is working, but i’m rolling with it, you know what i’m saying, right?
What I realized is that my website was literally saying, I am the writer for all of your writing editing and content strategy needs. That was literally my headline: For all your writing, editing and content strategy needs.
My menu of services included: Website copy, email copy, taglines, scriptwriting, content strategy, blogging, social media, marketing collateral and more, event Marketing … literally anything and everything I had ever done in my career, I listed it on my website because I was scared someone wouldn’t contact me if I didn’t mention it.
It was trying to attract EVERYONE.
My website failed to speak directly to the type of clients I wanted to work with. I absolutely love working with creative, slightly quirky, vibrant, colorful personalities and brands who want to stand out and have a little fun with their marketing.
It also failed to tell clients what I can do best to help their business, which is to write personality-driven websites and email copy. So I had to get really clear on what I wanted to get known for, and make sure that my website reflected that. You guys, I was copy editing newsletters and blog posts for a dental marketing agency. Like, what? Why?
Now, could I just have updated the copy and cut down my menu of services? Sure. And actually, that is exactly what I did to begin with.
So while I was working on the bigger behind the scenes rebrand, and for me that meant getting a new logo, bran board, planning out my new website, refining packages, etc. I did change the copy to reflect my new direction. But I didn’t just want to stop there.
The truth is, my brand and my website were solid but safe. It did the job I needed it to do until I realized that I didn’t want to play it safe anymore. I was ready to embrace my inner Lady Gaga.
I didn’t want to be vanilla, because, if you know me, I am not vanilla. I am loud and cursey and I am the life of every bachelorette party OK?
This leads into the next sign that it’s time to update your website, which is that your website just doesn’t feel like you. Maybe it did at one time, but not anymore.
First, of all, I want you to go to your website and pull it up. Do YOU love it? I mean, realllly, really love it? Because I have to tell you, one full year later, I fucking LOVE my website, it makes me feel proud of what I’m doing, and and when someone in a FB group asks for a copywriter and I think I’m a great fit for them, I am like a proud mama bear dropping that link in the comments.
Second, I want you to picture your dream client right now, and imagine them landing on your website.
Does your website position you as their perfect match?
I’ll give you a little bit of background on how I came up for the visual inspiration for my website. I have always loved magazines, in fact, when I was getting my master’s degree, I wanted to be a magazine journalist, which I was, for 3 years. I didn’t write for a major magazine, but I was editor of a local luxury lifestyle magazine and we got to do some really fun elaborate fashion shoots and cover stories.
So when I was dreaming up my new website, I asked myself, if I were to magically become famous and Vogue or Marie Claire was going to do a cover story on me, what would it look and feel like? That’s what I wanted my website to feel like. Like a fun, fresh, playful magazine cover story.
This is why when I work with my website copy clients, even though I am not a graphic designer or photographer, I ask them to create a pinterest board so I can get a feel for what they gravitate towards. So if you’re feeling stuck on this part, I do highly recommend that you just go to town pinning and don’t limit yourself to business stuff. What kind of art or quotes or interior decor photos do you gravitate toward?
Doing this can help you get a little more clarity on the vision for your website.
I’m a firm believer that building a business and a life you love is worth celebrating every day. I wanted my site to reflect the energy and joy I feel every time I sit down to work.
So I want to do a quick recap of signs to watch for:
You just feel in your gut that it’s time to up-level
You’re getting leads, but not the kind of leads you want
You’re saying yes to projects you don’t really want to do
You have website shame or you’re just kind of “meh” about your site
Your vision for your business has changed
I hope this gave you some things to think about as you consider whether or not it’s time to give your website a makeover. I know I say this a lot, but truly, the words on your website and your marketing materials are directly linked to who you attract or don’t attract.