A Website Copy Case Study with Client Tony Howell

A man (Tony Howell) in a black shirt smiling at the camera. This image is being use for a podcast episode for Talk Copy to Me focusing on a website copy case study of his work with Erin Ollila

For a long time now I’ve wanted to have a client case study on the podcast. I mean, I should actually back up…for a long time now I’ve wanted to refocus some of my own marketing efforts on creating case studies. They are some of my favorite forms of long form content, and I’d love to be able to have different types of case studies (like this web copy case study!) to showcase to clients, but it hadn’t been something I prioritized in my business.

And then I met Tony Howell. Tony is a personal branding, strategist and website designer who leads a team over at Tony Howell, and Co.

Tony contacted me at the end of 2023, because he was considering completely rebranding his website, he was just entering his 11th year in business. And while we obviously know a website designer can create a beautiful website for his own company, he realized that at this juncture of his business, it was really time to bring in a consultant who could help him with the messaging and the copy of his new website rebrand. So Tony and I started working together in early 2024. And we actually just launched his website this week, I am so proud of the end result.

And I think that there are so many very specific things about our working relationship, and the project itself, that can be useful to you. I invited Tony on the podcast to do a website copy case study so that you could see behind the scenes into my own business and what it’s like to work with me.

I’ll be honest—Tony and I talked for far too long. I was able to cut our conversation to about one hour, and then decided that because all of it was so valuable, I would break that our conversation into two different episodes to better keep your attention.

And that’s exactly what I hope this website copy case study with Tony Howell will do!

Copy says: Listen in to this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast

Part one of our conversation

Here is what you can expect to hear from Tony and Erin in episode 116—part one of the website copy case study

  • Tony’s strategic launch plans to drive traffic to his new website (you definitely won’t be able to guess this one!)
  • • Why now was the right time for Tony to hire a website copywriter
  • • Ways you can work with a copywriting coach even if you’re not ready to hire them for a complete done-for-you project
  • • What influenced his services page and how we made the decisions we did about the messaging and the conversion copywriting needed
  • • Tony’s reaction to getting the first complete draft
  • • What Tony learned about copywriting and SEO from working with Erin

Part two of our conversation

This is what we talk about in episode 117—the second part of the website copy case study

  • Whether Tony had difficulty feeling as if he could trust me with his brand (since he’s used to being the service provider, not the client)
  • What Tony learned from working with me that he’ll take into future client projects and in his own copywriting for his business
  • How Erin had to check herself throughout the process to determine whether the advice she was giving was strategic or just preference-related
  • How Tony and Erin had to completely give up their normal processes and figure out how to work together and in tandem in writing and design
  • What website wireframing looks like when a copywriter creates it, and how a wireframe can influence the design process as well

Other podcast episodes and resources mentioned in these two episodes:

I mentioned I’d share the links to some of our previous podcast episodes about case studies. Here they are!

quotes from this episode of the Talk Copy to Me copywriting podcast

Quotes from the first part of this website copy case study from Tony and Erin

  • “So after falling in love with you, I was like, alright. Well, I’ll at least examine a few other choices, but I pretty much already had my mind made up.” – Tony Howell

  • “I think it helps at some point to bring in an outside eye. The world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest athletes all have coaches and trainers and, you know, watching videos of themselves. So you always need that outside person to kind of give that opinion, that expert opinion.” – Tony Howell

  • “It was fun to be the client’s shoes and to actually take that customer journey and say, like, oh, this is how they feel when they say, here’s my name and my career. Make me beautiful. Make me smart and sexy. And, yeah, it was it was super fun.” – Tony Howell

  • “I think one of the reasons why I was so extra is because I know what it’s like to be waiting for someone to respond to something or they give very bland, unclear answers. I really wanted to try to deliver as much as possible so that things could be as clear as possible.” – Tony Howell

  • “We’re not building your website. We’re building your business and your brand.” – Tony Howell

  •  “I often have to often educate my clients on why we need less words that are more effective than more words that force people to pay attention when they when you’ve lost them.” – Erin Ollila

  • “[There are best practices}…and then you learn when to break the rule. And that’s like, oh, no. Actually, it can be a very, very powerful thing to do.” – Tony Howell

Quotes from the second episode of this website copy case study from Tony and Erin

  • “You really need to trust the service providers that you hire for your business.” – Erin Ollila

  • “I will stand firm that copy does come first. However, I think our relationship really did prove that there is such an interplay between the two, and the interplay is really the true strategy.” – Erin Ollila

  • “I think that it’s good to question even your own methodologies because everything changes.” – Tony Howell

  • “One of the things that I’ve learned is if it’s a business website, they need to hire a copywriter because it’s too much to get to the end [and realize you weren’t strategic].” – Tony Howell

  • “I think you want a copywriter that has a point of view on design and I think you want a designer who has a point of view on copy to really create the best thing possible.” – Tony Howell

  • “We need to walk the walk and show integrity that, like, you know, we do this for ourselves and we’d love to do this for you.” – Tony Howell

  • “But on occasion, I just have a moment where I look at it, and it gives me the experience that I’ve I’ve heard clients say where it’s like, ‘Oh my God! Look at what you’ve done!” or, “Look at look at my brand!’ And so that that was an honor. And that’s the greatest gift that you’ve given me.” – Tony Howell

  • “If you’re listening to this and you’re considering, like, building a website, updating what you have, you definitely want to trust your service provider’s recommendations.” – Erin Ollila

  • “The other thing that makes me feel safe in doing a lot of the work on my own was I knew that if I made a choice and Erin didn’t agree, she’s gonna see it the next day in that Google Doc or Figma or Squarespace and let me know. But like the good teacher that you are, you’re letting me find my voice and learn those skills along the way.” – Tony Howell

Meet this episodes guest expert on Talk Coy to Me
A person (Tony Howell) sitting at a desk with a laptop and a notebook, smiling at the camera. This image is being used in a website copy case study for Erin Ollila

Tony Howell is a personal brand strategist and web designer for Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Olivier award-winning artists. His work has been featured by Google, Squarespace, SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity Association, and more. Before becoming an entrepreneur, he was an actor for 20+ years — performing on Broadway, Off-Broadway, National Tours, and beyond.
In addition to 24/7 free content, Tony donates a percentage of profits to the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway for Racial Justice, Entertainment Community Fund, and 100% of all the profits from his book, Artists to Artist, to the ACLU.

Learn more about Tony and team by checking out his NEW website 😍

And don’t forget to sign up for one of Tony’s future in-person events in Chicago, LA, and NYC.

Get to Know the Host of the Talk Copy to Me Podcast Erin Ollila

Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.

When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.

Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:

Here’s the transcript for episode 116 — Part one of my client case with website designer Tony Howell

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SUMMARY KEYWORDS clients, seo, tony, website, page, podcast, messaging, knowing, people, project, feel, hire, business, episodes, conversation, give, research, work, words, site SPEAKERS Tony Howell, Erin Ollila Erin Ollila 00:00 For a long time now I’ve wanted to have a case study on the podcast. I mean, I should actually back up for a long time now I’ve wanted to refocus some of my own marketing efforts on creating case studies. They are some of my favorite forms of long form content. But it hasn’t been something I’ve prioritized in my own business. And then I met Tony Howell. Tony is a personal branding, strategist and website designer who leads a team over at Tony Howell, and Co. Tony contacted me at the end of 2023, because he was considering completely rebranding his website, he was just entering his 11th year in business. And while we obviously know a website designer can create a beautiful website for his own company, he realized that at this juncture of his business, it was really time to bring in a consultant who could help him with the messaging and the copy of his new website rebrand. So Tony and I started working together in early 2024. And we actually just launched his website this week, I am so proud of the end result. And I think that there are so many very specific things about our working relationship, and the project itself that can be useful to you that I invited him on the podcast to do a case study meats project examination, so that you could see one behind the scenes of my own business and what it’s like to work with me into how decisions are made. In a project like this. We talk for far too long. In all honesty, Tony and I had a conversation of probably an hour and a half, which I was able to cut down to about one hour. And I just decided that all of it was so valuable that in order to hold your attention, I would break that our conversation into two different episodes. Today, you’ll hear the beginning of our conversation, which is about 35 minutes, I hope you’ll stay for the entire conversation and come back tomorrow where we talk more about process what we’ll both change in our businesses, what we learned from working together and what you can take away from this experience. Hey, friends, welcome to the Top coffee to me podcast. Here. We empower small business owners to step into the spotlight with their marketing and messaging. I’m your host, Erin Ollila. Let’s get started and talk coffee. Let’s jump to the very last minute of this entire podcast episode. What is your recommendation for the listeners work with me or run screaming Oh, as far away as they can? Tony Howell 02:37 No, absolutely. They need to work with you. And I will tell anyone listening you know, I binge the podcast before during and we’ll continue after our time together. Then when it’s the right time for you get onboard that bandwagon and go make magic. Erin Ollila 02:52 All right, perfect. The episodes over now you can go about your merry way soundbite all jokes aside, I’m really excited to have you on the show today, Tony, I’ve never done an actual client case study on the podcast. I’ve rarely done behind the scenes things yet. The behind the scenes episodes that I have are literally in our top five most listened to podcast. So I think that this conversation we’re about to have has the potential of being really interesting for people according to what the data says. Thank Tony Howell 03:22 you for having me. I’m excited as well. I’m know that there’s a lot that we can chat about in terms of building your online presence. Yes. Erin Ollila 03:30 And Tony is a professional at that. So you’ll hear bits and pieces about how he works with clients as part of our conversation. The one thing I want to say in the beginning is that Tony actually has a tour coming up. Tony lives in Bali right now. And he is coming back to the big ol USA and touring and doing speaking events in May. My right I’m totally forgetting the dates off the top of my head. It’s Tony Howell 03:54 April 24 in Los Angeles, may the fourth in Chicago and may 18. In New York City. Erin Ollila 04:00 I mean, I knew there was one in April, I should have just said that right from the get go. We will put all the details for that in the show notes and the podcast description. And we will talk more about it later. Because I think the one thing a lot of people don’t think about and they worry about when it’s over is the what’s next. Like oh my gosh, the website’s up. Why am I not suddenly famous with clients like flocking to my door. And I think you’re going about this really well and actually planning the launch planning a way to be more visible and drive more traffic and really kind of go with the momentum that you have. But let’s start with just setting the stage. Tony had a wonderful website, he actually reached out to me and in his like form that he completed on the free discovery call. I actually like looked at it and I was like, why is this guy contacting me? Like is he trying to sell me something? Because you had done a great job with your old messaging. I think it’s important for everyone to understand that you had done it. yourself. So part of this process was also just kind of having someone finally step into your business and work with you. So maybe we could jump in and and hear from you as to why this was the right time for you and what kind of like initiated the idea of wanting to work with a copywriter. Tony Howell 05:17 So I am happy to celebrate that this is our 11th year. And I just said, you know, it’s a new era, let’s bring on a consultant, I did my research. And Aaron, you might be happy to know that I found you because I was working on a client’s website. And I searched in the podcast app sales pages for courses, and I found one of your episodes. And I was like, This is great. And I just kept listening. So after falling in love with you, I was like, alright, well, I’ll at least examine a few other choices. But I pretty much already had my mind made up. Erin Ollila 05:53 And I think that’s such a good and important point, too. Because a lot of the times when I talk to leads on Discovery calls, I encourage them to talk to competitors. Because I think we all bring different things to the table. And what I may bring is, it could be one strand, but what someone else could bring could be another strength. And just because I have my own strength, that doesn’t mean that I’m the best choice. And I also think the reason why I continue to do that in the past eight years, is because I think when people can do the research and weigh, you know, oh, I really like this person for this reason, or that person. For this reason. They go into the working relationships, so much more comfortable. Right? So, you know, part of the reason I started this podcast, and I’ve said it in a few different episodes was because I interviewed my own clients for voice of customer research. And I was honestly shocked to hear that of all the people I interviewed. And these were from my highest priced services, they decided to work with me because they on our discovery call, they felt like they trusted me. So their thing was you had such great personality, you showed your expertise, you you felt approachable. And I mean, I’d like to think those things about myself. Sure. But I would have never thought of that as like the selling point. So that made me sit and look at my own business and think, Well, I’m not doing anything to really attract people or give them the opportunity to know that right? It Yes, sure. If you get on a call with me, you might figure that out. But for everyone else who’s not like completing that form, they have no clue how wonderful I am. So that’s why I started the podcast because I won the I had little babies at home, I looked like a frazzled hot mess all the time. And I just knew that I didn’t have the bandwidth or energy to like film on myself or a YouTube channel. And I also knew that I was doing an extensive amount of writing for my clients. And as easy as it would have been for me to write for my business like case studies and blog post. It was, it’s 10 times easier to say, well, I’ll get to that tomorrow because of the amount of writing I was already doing. So I thought, well, I’ll just pull up a microphone and start talking like this will be fine. And I think that I’m using my own personal story as the example. But I think the listeners can understand that the content we create really can work wonders for us, right? Like Tony just searched for a term which I’m going to be like, you know, hands up, whoo, SEO like big went on that one. But he searched for a term because he was trying to help his own client. And he found me but he was then able to listen to more than one episode, which builds that like one approachable illness, trust fullness, so that when he talked to me, he already felt confident in general. And then he did his research by talking to other writers. So once he made his decision, you probably felt so much more secure in knowing that you were you had a partnership with the right person, even though you felt comfortable hiring me Did you worry like, what did I do? Like, is this the right decision? How are we going to accomplish this in my voice and all of those things that I normally hear? Tony Howell 09:00 Yeah, I think it was a little fear inducing. It was maybe the most I invested in my business beyond a you know, a couple of courses, but to hire a consultant. But I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Because you know, I’m reading the new testimonials on my website. And other people kind of have said the same thing. I’ve been doing it my own way for 10 years. And then I hired Tony, I think that it helps at some point to bring in an outside eye. And as I was kind of thinking about, you know what I could pass on to the listener. It’s like, the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest athletes all have coaches and trainers and, you know, watching videos of themselves so you always need that outside person to kind of give that opinion, that expert opinion. And then yeah, fear wise, it was fun to be in the client’s shoes and to actually take that customer journey and say like, oh, this is how they feel when they say here’s my name and my career. or make me beautiful make me smart and sexy. And yeah, it was, it was super fun. Erin Ollila 10:05 I want to talk about your coach thing very quickly, just really to echo what you’re saying the idea of bringing on a consultant or a coach can look like many different things, too. So Tony has done this for a while Tony was very secure in his business and secure in his own effort of doing the marketing and messaging, but he just knew that it was time to onboard someone else, because there is a different step of up leveling at many different phases. That being said, if you are day one, and you’re listening to this podcast, and you are DIY, hang it, you can still work with a coach or consultant. You know, most often for both Tony and I that would look for something like a strategy call. That’s something I do very often with clients where we will like outline the pages of their sites, and then they’re on their own, and they go do the writing. And they just feel like they can actually do it. Or they’ve done a full draft and they’ll hire me to review it for them. And, you know, maybe copy edit a few things. So working with a coach, I think is a key element that any business owner should plan for throughout their business journey. One thing you mentioned about you being the client and stepping into the role of a client that I find interesting is, and I’m sure you do this with your clients, but there’s always this heavy lifting of homework before I can take over someone’s project. You are very prepared like everyone listening right now if you don’t know Tony, and you’re considering doing a Squarespace website, let me tell you, Tony is prepared and a half. I sent him like last night I sent him a just a handful of questions of things. Maybe we could talk about some of this. And I made a point to be like, dude, let’s just have a conversation like we can talk about anything you want. And Tony supplied me this morning with his full college thesis of answers of how we could go about doing, which I will say as the consultant in this case was how we work together. And I’ve seen that to tease Tony, because we have a great relationship, and I really enjoy working with you. But I think if you’re looking for a service provider, that’s a status super thing to like add to the pros list, just knowing that the person that you’re going to work with is a step ahead, like at all times and always prepared. But you’d have to do the client work of filling out like the copy questionnaire, looking at brand messaging, serving clients, and you have a couple of different types of clients. So how did you feel coming into this process? And then doing the amount of pre work that you did? Well, I Tony Howell 12:37 think one of the reasons why I was so extra is because I know what it’s like to be waiting for someone to respond to something or they give like very bland, unclear answers. So I really wanted to try to deliver as much as possible so that things could be as clear as possible. What I liked about the process was and we were very fluid, like we jumped around and it was like this is part this discovery call this part SEO. What I liked was a that how flexible you were, but I could see your mind working in different arenas. What I loved about the survey was how responsive my audience was like, I might even get emotional. It’s such an honor to serve these humans, and but then to feel that love coming back to you. And that support that was really wonderful. And I’ll be a little self promotional because we all know that’s hard to do. But like, please do. My favorite responses were like the words integrity that like the process has a lot of integrity. And the word that really pops to me at the end is that people felt pride and as like a gay man. I’m like, Yes, honey, live your best life. So that was rewarding. But I also feel like yeah, it was, it was a lot of steps, which is why it is an investment to hire someone who not only does copywriting but also SEO so that you get get the full kit and caboodle. Erin Ollila 14:06 And I think that’s a huge thing I’d like to point out is that research is just so much more of the heavy lifting, you know, because we probably spent a couple of weeks on the the client surveys on distilling all of the information that I had already from your brand messaging, because being in this personal branding and website development space, you did have a lot that you could share with me, which I will say it’s kind of rare for me and it was very helpful. So it was being able to look at all of the old brand messaging, you have all of the notes that you and your team have kind of created, and you were serving your audience, then we’re reviewing those surveys, then we’re designing the pages. You know, one thing we’ll talk about in a couple minutes is the fact that you know we started with a four page website and now we’re up to like, what do we have like 804 pages on your website which is ugly. Tony Howell 14:59 as Asian, but I can tell you it’s like 331, because I’ve been using all these like SEO tools and with all the sub pages that’s so you open Pandora’s box, but you didn’t run away. So thank you. Erin Ollila 15:14 But I think it’s so important because the most difficult thing for me, and I’ll be honest, I’ve tried many different things. I’m going to keep trying many different things. But the most difficult thing as a website copywriter, especially when he truly cares about this end result is, how do I quote the price of my projects? Or because no one knows what the pages are going into the project? No one knows. Everyone thinks like, Okay, well, I’m going to do the standard, like four page website. But I’m also going to do speaking page, great, wonderful. But then when we’re doing the speaking page, we realize the site’s going to be at a complete loss, if we don’t also do a media page, or in the instance of you one of the like, heavy lifts that you did on your own was creating, like individual client pages for your website, for SEO, and not just for SEO, but also for like social proof and all these different reasons why it was really smart for you to develop that. But But during discovery calls, or even that initial project kickoff, that doesn’t always come to light. Do you notice the same thing when you’re working with clients that like as you work together the project, like the scope of the project expands or adjust when you’re working with them? Tony Howell 16:23 Yeah, and you know, here in year 11, I’m like, kind of way you started this, I’m always questioning and examining and re examining. But I think one of the things that I do is, have a blueprint call. And I always tell people, we’re not building your website, we’re building your business and your brand. So I try to get as specific and clear. And listen as much as possible so that we can get all of the details, right. And so for example, I’m getting ready to design a theaters website. And I said, I’m going to do my research. And I’m going to kind of outline the way that I understand every educational program, all these things that you have going on. And then I want your team to show up to that call and make sure that I’m accurate, but also come come in and say wouldn’t it be cool if that could do this on the new website? So, you know, there’s multiple different approaches for how to scope out something. But yeah, it is, as I said to them, I’m like, I don’t want to open the attic. And then you’re like, oh, yeah, we forgot about that. We want to add these 800 photos. Yeah. Erin Ollila 17:31 Which I will say though, that isn’t very like opening the attic is a very common occurrence. There are so many times once I start digging and digging and digging with my clients that like you find that juicy bit of information that does kind of adjust maybe the messaging or it does adjust the flow of the site. Alright, so I want to kind of jump in talk about something that we did together, that you just mentioned lightly. And it’s the idea of how we decided to approach your services page. Because there was a lot of discussion and a lot of opportunity. And I think it’s really good to talk about it and show it like how decision making happened. What I love about your business is that you have a few buckets of things that you do with your clients. And I say that in the sense of a deliverable. So for example, Tony works with clients on personal brands on websites, but he’s not just a Lecrae. Well, you’re done, I’m going to drop you off. Now. He also helps his clients on other things like communications, such as email or social media, because he sees the entire package have all of this coming together. So could we have broken the service down services page down by buckets, like those categories? Yes, that was one option. The other option is that we could talk about the process of working with you. So knowing that you have these buckets, there is an actual process of like start to, quote unquote, finish of what needs to happen before the next thing happens. And before the next thing can happen. And I think, you know, knowing that we kind of had a lot of discussions about this, I think it’s interesting to talk about how decisions are made. So did you come into this project with an idea of what you wanted your services page to look like? or No, and that’s saying no, it was totally fine. Tony Howell 19:20 I sort of took a backseat and said, like, I want someone else to examine everything. But it’s interesting because I’ve learned to trust my own voice more and be myself and whatnot. But I’ve really also in the recent years, found new meaning and depth to being like, you know, speak to the customer in their words, meaning I’m happy to share my color coded methodology and like talk about it, but that’s not what people are coming to me for. So I’m realizing Okay, hold on, before you open up that crayon box like you need to kind of explain it to them in And in the way that it’s gonna resonate with them. And so I really liked the choice that we settled on, I’ll say here on the record, like our proposals are probably even going to look different because you know, everything is still custom. So even though the process is outlined as ABC on the website, I still make adjustments like you did with me to say, Okay, well, we need to kind of do photos first, or whatever it might be, depending on the client. Erin Ollila 20:26 Yeah, and I think you answered that perfectly. Obviously, I didn’t know what you say when we when you mentioned that. But I think that sometimes, which is going to sound scary to some people, especially if they’re actually considering hiring a copywriter. Sometimes a lot of what I do is guessing, right? So I sit down, I’ve done the research, I have data from that research, even if it’s not actual research, but it’s our conversations, right? Like the strategy elements, I might sit down and look at those three options that I have and say, like, I don’t really know which one’s gonna look best. Once I start writing. I definitely wrote more than what ended up on the page. Meaning I wrote, I think we had, I think what we ended up doing was, there was a section that I gave you, and it was like, here’s what it could look like if we show the process. And here’s what it would look like if we show like those major buckets. But here’s my guess, right? And now let’s see what happens when we need again, to talk about this. Because I think part of it, sometimes it’s like you see the draft, and then you get the feelings, the feelings could be like, Oh, no, thank you. Like, I don’t think I like this at all. Or the feelings could be like 10 times more of this, right. And you don’t know that though, until you sit down and do the work and then absorb that work, right, like sit with it for a minute, and then make decisions on whether it’s working. So I want to share another piece of the pre stuff that we talked about so that people can understand this better. But while you’re listening or after the call, go check out Tony services page, because I think it is a really good example of how you can set up a services page. Because, you know, most often when people come to me, or they’re DIY doing it, they just have this like, like an everything page, where it’s like, Okay, let me just throw that kitchen drawer at it and be like, I can do this, I can do that I can do this, I can do that. Click these buttons to learn more, you know, or not, like booked me right now. And it can be very overwhelming for that user to say, I don’t know, what I need, like, how do I know I’m making the right choice? And I know actually, we talked about that on your site because you do offer some things to your existing clients that are not necessarily what your new clients need. So we had to have the conversation of like, well, where do we put this so check out Tony services page, I think that it’s very clear for Tony’s potential clients to see how they can work together, meaning the options they have and the process of what it would be like to be with you so I think it’s a really good example of me saying I’m going to jump back though is because I want to talk about at the beginning so not now that we finished at the beginning we had a conversation about what would be a successful site for you and what you would like to see as your end result. Hope you’re okay with me talking about this but we talked about the idea that you are hoping for more of like a SAS like site. So is this okay to jump into this part? Yeah, Tony Howell 23:34 except I like to call it sassy now I’m like, Oh, let me sassy please do. Erin Ollila 23:39 But you know, it’s I guess this is why I haven’t had case studies that because I’m always like, is this something they’d rather talk about not talk about but I think the behind the scenes stuff is really like the key to what the projects like and and and why things happened. So Tony’s hat again, a web design company working with true artists and creatives and I think that’s a very important thing to point out so often especially in this you know online business podcast world we talk about what small businesses that are in this world want need and think but if you are a ballerina and you are getting a website to kind of like build this like resume legacy of your work, you don’t give a shit about so many of these marketing techniques and ploys that people make of like, let me drag you through this pain point and that pain point and I’m gonna have all of these words on a page you just really want to know what it’s like to work with Tony and get that website right like you don’t need to like mentally manipulate your clients so you had said to me like hey like I don’t even remember the correct name I always mess this up but like Apple for creators website Apple for artists, yeah, Apple Apple artists, right? Tony Howell 24:52 But this is the thing it’s like there’s actually now so many platforms there Spotify for artists, Apple for artists. There’s like really cool resources for everyone. Yeah, Erin Ollila 25:03 and you had used that as an example of sites that you liked. And what you had said was, I appreciate that it’s giving them details when they need it, it is sparse, you can go to the site, see what they offer, and then move on. And that’s so refreshing to me. Because I have to often educate my clients on why we need less words that are more effective than more words that force people to pay attention when they when you’ve lost them. Right. So I was excited to work on your site, because I knew that was a priority for you. But I say that now, though, because that all also made a lot of choices as we had to decide things during this creative process. Like, do we include that? Do we remove that? So I think we used that those examples as kind of like guiding lights of is this sassy? Right? Like, is this sassy? Or am I doing the same trick of like having a long form sales page on my website? So I say that I set the stage of like, that’s what you wanted in the beginning? How do you feel that knowing that you wanted that really kind of played out during the process of writing together? Tony Howell 26:14 Yeah, I want to connect it back to something that you started earlier, you had said something about, you’ll know when you see the draft, and you know, I will say here, I got the first draft. And I was like, okay, and then, and I was like, I don’t know. But to me, I had to connect it back. And I was like, this is the way your clients look at like logo design. And then you have to wait for them to kind of have all those feelings. And then they’re like, Okay, I really like option one. I’m Erin Ollila 26:41 so glad you said that, though. Thank you so much. Because I always I mean, obviously, I think anyone could, this is common sense. But like, sometimes I turn over a draft and my clients like, I want to marry you, this is perfect. And other times I turn over a draft and my clients like, I don’t know what to do now. And that doesn’t mean either the draft is bad, or we can adjust. And I am comfortable with that. Because it doesn’t make my ego feel like I’ve like I just failed. I think it’s actually really important. One, if you’re spending the money in hiring a service provider to walk into this, knowing that that is a possibility. But it doesn’t mean that like the ship has sunk, right? I do think it’s really important to go into a project being okay, with the first draft not being perfect, because you have the time to adjust and edit and in truth. Sometimes I actually am very wary of perfect first drafts because it makes me think that like we’re missing something. And I think that that it’s better for my clients to kind of dive a little deeper to be like, how can we adjust to really make this like, extra awesome. So thank you. I’m interrupting you again. But thank you for saying that. Because I think that’s a key thing to say like Tony was a little unsure. And here he is on the podcast. And we started that first second with Tony being like, yeah, okay, you can hire and everyone, right? So Tony Howell 28:11 it’s that thing that I’ll also say is, you know, like I learned a lot from you. And I’ll just relate back to acting rules, like you learned growing up that like, oh, you would never turn your back upstage on the audience, and then you learn when to break the rule. And that’s like, oh, no, actually, it can be a very, very powerful thing to do. And, you know, I, I feel like I have new expansion in different areas, whether it’s making things more minimal, making things a little bit more, more breathing wise. And even in this last couple of days, as we’re adding the SEO polish, you know, I have released my firm fist on having like three words like Apple for artists and saying no, actually, it’s okay to have seven because a it’s going to rank for Google and be it’s going to connect with your audience that don’t understand how those three words go together. Erin Ollila 29:06 Yeah, that is I’m so glad you said that. It’s super vital. And I loved the acting example. Because this is something that I just don’t think is easy to teach. And I have taught strategy before to other copywriters, I think that there is a learned element to strategy. So using SEO is the best way to showcase this. SEO has very clear rules. And 30% of the time, you have to break those rules in order to be effective. But knowing when that 30% of the time is and how to do it is very difficult if you’re not an expert in it right. So Tony and I have had we mentioned that our project developed into something more than that four page website, and we can talk details about that in a second. But Tony did a lot of DIY work himself on writing drafts for a lot other pages, and I did a lot of like editing and checking. And when we get to the SEO element, which I’ve done the research for in the beginning of the project, but I implement it once the messaging is completed at the end, we were co creating a lot of SEO. Now Tony has a lot of best practices, and he understands them. But then there was this element where I had to work with you to both educate. Yet what I found is I’m giving you two sets of different advice. Like one thing we talked about was like not wanting to put a lot of descriptive words on those main pages like your homepage, your about page, specifically, like the SEO slug, like you wouldn’t put like Tony howell.co/home of Tony Hallo, duck ko website as the slug, you would just have that slash with no slug afterward, however, and here I am being like, no, Tony, we need to just do one word or whatever it is, however, other pages I was like, well, Tony, let’s have a lot of words in the slug, because we want to now target multiple keywords. So I think it can be very difficult to know when to make these strategic decisions if your DIY ng things, and it can be uncomfortable or confusing for the client. Because, you know, my clients don’t need to have a full on. I mean, you’re a little different as a website designer, but my other clients don’t need the full understanding of SEO to know that I’ve done a good job. But they still have questions, you know, so like, why did we use this phrase here, like I, I thought this phrase would work better on the about page. And sometimes it’s just like, we little concessions have to happen or you know, over explaining needs to happen and changes to the to the approach of SEO need to happen. So I think that that acting example was so on point, right? Like learn the best practice, learn the rule, have that like set in stone, but it’ll be the Mason and chip away at it when it is like when you can when it’s actually effective. And I think it’s hard to know when it is effective if it’s not something that you’re really like a professional in. Tony Howell 32:09 And I want to just put it in a pen here to say that SEO people can be some of the worst humans in the world. But you know, you are the brightest. Erin Ollila 32:22 It’s an interesting situation of an SEO person. Because I’ve done SEO for over a decade like true SEO, I will always tell people, I’m not so much of a tech SEO person, but like content, SEO, I have an immense amount of experience. But so often, especially in the online business world, people profess themselves to be SEOs because they’ve taken like an Uber Suggest course. And they don’t understand how much nuance goes into SEO, especially with that, like the future of SEO is drastically changing. And I will be the first person to say I don’t know what the future looks like. And when people tell you they do just run like they don’t even listen to them. Like just put your fingers in your ears and go on with your day because they don’t know what it looks like. I’ll get off that high horse. Yeah, but thank you for that example, because I think that’s really helpful for people to see like, sometimes there are there is rule breaking. And I think it goes to show that that’s why trust in the service provider that you’re working with is really important. Because you as the client may think like, Well, why would we do this like or? I don’t know if Aaron’s making the best decision and I think sometimes you just have to kind of put your faith in and say, Well, I’m gonna let them make the decision. All right, friends. That’s it for today. We will be back tomorrow where I asked Tony about how he felt about what I just said. Do you think that it was hard for him to put his faith in me easy? Well, you’ll find out tomorrow that I can promise you, I hope you enjoyed this episode. And I really think that there’s a lot of great stuff tomorrow. So I’ll see you there. And until then, have a great evening. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Top copy to me. If you enjoyed spending your time with me today. I would be so honored if you could subscribe to the show and leave a review. Want to continue the conversation. Head on over to Instagram and follow me at Erin Ollila. Until next time friends.

Here’s the transcript for episode 117 — Part two of my client case with website designer Tony Howell

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SUMMARY KEYWORDS tony, work, client, website, page, design, site, project, designer, service provider, business, conversation, messaging, learned, decision, erin, hard, process, talk, aaron SPEAKERS Tony Howell, Erin Ollila Erin Ollila 00:00 Welcome back to part two of the conversation that I have with Tony Howell, who was my client and is also a website designer and personal brand strategist himself. We ended the conversation yesterday picking on big SEO agencies, talking about how you really need to trust the service providers that you hire for your business. And I ended the conversation asking Tony, whether or not he felt like it was hard for him to trust a different service provider. Seeing that that’s his role that he plays when he works with his clients. I will add a little bit of the conversation you heard yesterday to get you in the right listening space. But that’s what we’re talking about as we kick off this episode of Talk coffee to me. 00:46 Hey, friends, Erin Ollila 00:48 welcome to the Top coffee to me podcast. Here, we empower small business owners to step into the spotlight with their marketing and messaging. I’m your host, Erin Ollila. Let’s get started and talk coffee. That’s why trust in the service provider that you’re working with is really important. Because you as the client may think like, why would we do this like or? I don’t know, if Aaron’s making the best decision? And I think sometimes you just have to kind of put your faith in and say, Well, I’m gonna let them make the decision. Did you find that hard at all? Since you’re also kind of an expert when it? Well, you are an expert, when it comes to websites? Did you find it hard to kind of just put your full faith into me and allow me to do things that you might have not been sure of? Tony Howell 01:37 Well, the thing that I’ve learned over the past four years, as our world is rapidly shifting, and and sometimes, you know, major, major things happen is that there’s often truth in the other side. And so it’s, it’s usually something in the middle. And so just a couple of examples of in the past, I took my acting training. And one of the things that I learned when I was 10 years old is that to keep someone engaged, the rule is louder, faster, funnier, like fill any gaps, just like keep the story going. And as I’ve worked with, and even interviewed, directors and such on my podcast, you know, it’s really all about seamless storytelling that we go from one scene to the next, as quickly and smoothly as possible to keep the audience engaged. But you told me, Tony, you need more negative space on your website. And I was like, Aaron, what are you talking about? Louder, faster, funnier. And then you told me why. And then it’s to give the audience a time to take a breath. And just like in music, or even in fitness, sometimes the rest is just as important as the action. And so that is something I will take away from this project. I think that it’s good to question even your own methodologies, because everything changes. Erin Ollila 02:56 Well, and this goes back to something we said in the beginning of this conversation is that like the the relationship between copy and design, like I will stand firm. Maybe if we want to argue about this for a little while we can, but I will stand firm that copy does come first. However, I think our relationship really did prove that there is such an interplay between the two and the interplay is really the true strategy. So using this example of whitespace, I think one thing I had to kind of continue to ask myself when I was working with you was Is this my place? Right? So with another service provider, I would easily have been like, like, forced some design thoughts on them. Because I don’t know if I’ve talked about this enough on the podcast, but I wireframe all of my websites, which means when my client reviews their draft, they can see it as if it would look on the website, you know, image goes here. This is the size of the heading. And with some of my other clients, I could easily just be like, Well, I don’t think this is the best decision because we really need to have whitespace as an example. However, your your website designer, right, so your spacing on the website, that’s your element. So I think in a sense, I had to check myself and say, like, is this preference really like? Is this Aaron’s preference coming into this project where I’m trying to lecture you on design elements? Or is this an actual messaging thing that I really want you to consider for your site, not as the website designer, as the client in this instance? So you know, I’m glad that that was helpful for you because I think that yes, I may just be the word girl. But if the if anyone could take away anything from the things that I tell you that it’s not the word advice I give, it’s that whitespace is so so important. So I think just even you being flexible with the idea that the white space is a conversion based decision, and it falls in the design world, but here or copywriter is giving you like the instruction to that? I think that that’s, you know, that’s one of the ways that like, the interplay between both of our expertise really did a lot in this project. I have no. Thank you. So let’s talk about the actual process. Because I will say, my, this was not my process. And I also think it’s not your process, because we kind of both did our processes together, which, at a moment or two was a little hard for me, because I’m like, focused, Tony, like, no, I cannot look at your website page. Because I like you’re you make decisions based on design. And I’m making decisions based on words. But it is vital for you to see the design, and it is vital for me to see the words. So there were times where I’m like, oh, gosh, wait, I have to like jump backward. No, I’m gonna jump forward. And that was just the element of a practitioners process. That was not like, that was not like a creative element, right. So I think when we got into this messy process process where you were doing your design, I was doing the words, and we’re doing them together and in different locations. What I mean by that is, Tony had a mock up of his site, like the second after that first call, Tony is like, I’m going to build this, I’ll check back in with you in a little bit. So then we can look at the document side by side to look at the mock up. And I think that’s really where the magic happened is when we had while it might have been like a like a little bit of back and forth to kind of go to different areas. I think that’s really where the magic happened, where we could translate what happened on the page into the live design. How did that work for you? Because you know, I mentioned it, like there were parts where I was kind of like feeling a little like, Oh, what do I do now? How do I adjust this as the service provider, but I think now in this instance, you’re both the service provider and the client. So how did that part feel for you? Tony Howell 07:01 I mean, we did work on a lot of surfaces, but the larger the site, that the more necessary it is. And one of the things that I’ve learned is, if it’s a business website, they need to hire a copywriter, because it’s too much to get to the end. And then I just had a client, I’ll just say it, I felt like they they took a bulldozer through the final design, you know, rewriting everything. And it really kind of destroyed the integrity of the vision. And so if I was reflecting back, and if I was starting from zero, or if I was restarting this with you, I definitely think there is a pro to starting with strategy, then moving into copy opportunity before to do a one page website, which I’ve always done for clients so that they can have something up and running. And Aaron is a brilliant Canva designer, she can get you a gorgeous wireframe. Okay, that Erin Ollila 08:01 was my first time everyone, I should say that I’ve always done my wireframes within Google Documents, because I’m not trying to be fancy, I’m trying to just give you an idea of what it looks like. But my Google document has been such a pain in the rear end. And I spent so much time just trying to like get things on the same like line and structure that I was like eff this, I’m going somewhere else, I’m gonna just like, can’t I just have like boxes in Canva. So when I delivered Tony site to him, I delivered him a complete, which was designed. And I could only do that because I had some mock ups that Tony had already created. So I did a lot of stealing. Like, I downloaded some of his images, I did screenshots. But it was a little extra of me. I don’t know if I should like say like, you’re welcome, or I’m sorry, first of all, Tony Howell 08:52 it was it was wonderful. And it was assigned to me. I’m like she’s going above and beyond. So thank you for that. And I’ll tell you, Erin, though, like, you know, my business has grown starting from working with fellow actors, like I was so working with, you know, huge Broadway producers and directors and such. And so with those sites where they have a lot of pages, you know, hundreds of different projects, I have learned the value of wireframing. And there’s even like two phases of that, where one is sort of low fi and just gray boxes, and like this is going to be a picture. And then there’s like full res with you know, and prototyping, seeing it on different devices. So even with my standard client now like we have a shared client MK that is getting ready to launch her site. I am going against the grain of most of my fellow designers and saying I think I’m still going to always use figma. Now to kind of wireframe it out because it encourages me as a designer not to do the same old things with the about page the contact page because suddenly I can color outside the lines and I’ll figure out on how to build it later. And then I think much like what you were saying of it being a fluid process, I think you want to a copywriter that has a point of view on design. And I think you want a designer who has a point of view on copy to really create the best thing possible. Yeah, Erin Ollila 10:20 and I want to talk about the fluid design again for a second, because the one thing I learned is that it helped me also be able to help you make decisions better, right? Because, again, when we think about strategy, so much of it is, to me is inherent, because I’ve done it for so long that I can say like, nope, but I don’t necessarily, can I can voice until I sit down and try to figure out why I’m making that decision. So I think having to like jump around from design, to copy from messaging to functionality, and all of these different things was so helpful for me to be able to explain in the moment and at the decision, why things would work, why they wouldn’t work, why we would make this decision. And I think that that was really like a pro to our relationship was was to be able to say to each other like, No, I don’t think you should do this, Tony, I think this is going to slow you down, for example, like on like website speed or something. And you were able to say, well, I’m going to bring in this, we need to adjust, let’s say this copyright here, because I’m going to use this specific plugin, or I’m going to use like this type of design element. And if we use this design element, well, now we’re going to have to adjust this. And I think that’s kind of why the end result works so well, because of that, like playing on each other’s strengths. We’re getting short on time here. But one thing I really wanted to talk about was actually how the site grew, Tony knew that he was going to have obviously more pages than just the four main heavy, you know, home about services contact, for example, Tony knew he was going to go in this project with a speaking page that he really wanted to amplify what he already had. But let’s talk about how we made some decisions to add more pages. One of them that I’d like to talk about is your about page. So Tony, if you go to his site, he has a standard about page, but for his entire team, they have their own individual about pages. And I think that that plays a really strategic role to your website. So Tony, maybe if you have anything to say about like what that looked like before we even started this project with the additional pages, and then how the edits and the reframing of the page has really like changed. And you know, really made the page better. I Tony Howell 12:30 mean, we had conversations about tone and layout, and, and where I am today versus where I want to be in 10 years. And so like what that would look like on the website. So one of the things that I tend to do with larger organizations that I was trying to apply to my small business was little circles, little headshots of people that if you click their picture, their bio pops up, but you had made the suggestion, let’s not have them click on that, let’s just have a short bio below that, and then they can click to learn more. And one of the things that really resonated with me that was your idea, not mine was that like, these little one page websites are for each one of your team members, my rock stars, just shayrat. And Jonathan, it’s kind of an example of at least a version of a one page website you could create for other clients. So that helped me feel like, yeah, we need to walk the walk and show integrity that like, you know, we do this for ourselves. And we’d love to do this for you. And the fun thing is, is that we all get to show our fun photos and tell our story. But it’s not. It’s not breaking the flow on our about page. Erin Ollila 13:41 It’s important to say in talking about this, this isn’t advice that I’d give to every business that I work with either because, you know, for other businesses, I think it’d be the absolute wrong thing to do to have additional pages. But in your business in particular, the reason why I think it serves you so well is your employees and yourself have different strengths and personal backgrounds. And so do your clients. You know, yes, we use the words like artists and creatives. But Jonathan, for example, is a singer songwriter. And if you have a client that comes in who is a songwriter, let’s say they’re able to look at Jonathan’s page and not just see like a personal bio that says he’s a songwriter, but shows like examples of him in the news examples of his personal trajectory and how they relate to your business, which is the that’s the missing piece for some people. It’s it Yeah, it’s great. Jonathan’s a songwriter, I am too. But why is this important to me? Well, he’ll be able to know these intricacies of like, what it is like in my field, he’ll be able to suggest maybe the pages for example, that that I’m not considering as the potential client. So it’s not simply to showcase you and your professional trajectory, or showcase the idea of a one page website, but it’s really a great way to get your clients to feel You’ll seen and be able to identify that you’re the right business for them, because you have this individual expertise outside of the branding and website that you can hold on to help them make better decisions for their site. So that I think is really like an all star thing about your about pages. And let’s talk about the individual client pages, because you already had pretty excellent case studies, I was very impressed with the case studies that you had for some of your individual clients. And we knew going into this that we wanted to refresh like a main case studies page and make a bigger deal about them. We didn’t know that we were going to target some of the main client groups that you have. So how did that feel for you? Because I remember suggesting, like, why don’t we do this one for SEO purposes, or to even for like case study purposes? How did it feel to hear the suggestion, and then see how it developed into what it is versus like a one off quick suggestion and a conversation. I Tony Howell 16:03 mean, it definitely grew. But it was a brilliant suggestion. And I am looking forward to sharing it with people. The interesting thing to Aaron is that like, in some ways, the work was already there. It just hadn’t all been brought together, Erin Ollila 16:18 go check it out. After this conversation. I really love those pages. And I think that they, again, we talked about how they feel better on the about page when they get to know you as individuals and your own trajectory. But I think that same exact thing happens when they go to a page and it says personal branding and websites for directors. Okay, well, now they can say, alright, I heard artists, I heard creative, I felt it, I get the vibe, but I am a director, you’re right, you know how to do this for me, not just the actors, right. And I think that that’s something that makes people feel very comfortable being able not only to work with you, but to take that first step and reach out, right, because you’ve shown them how important that is. Let us jump to the beginning and kind of like bookend day here, we talked about like, what your hopeful results were for your website. And like, you know, one of them just having it be sassy based on like, not too many words. Another one kind of showcasing your legacy, which is a word that we used a lot on your website, because it really relates so well to your clients and building their legacies online. So reflecting back, looking at the final product, what are your own thoughts on like the end result? Did it accomplish what you were hoping? Had your hopes morphed or changed into something different? What do you think about the whole time of the process now into like a living breathing sight? Tony Howell 17:43 Yeah, I’m excited for an audience. I always, even more and more lately, I feel like it’s putting on a show. And so it’s like, you know, when it’s time to have the audience because you’ve been staring at this thing for too long on your own. So but I am excited because it is a new era. It’s a new chapter. And you know, Aaron, we’re, we’re gonna put it out there. And I can’t wait for the analytics and things to then look at how well it’s done. But in the same token, if ever, from an emotional place, not a logical place of ever, I’m like, This doesn’t feel right, then I know that there’s, you know, always opportunity to shift and mold. But yes, I’m very proud. I have spent way too many hours in the cafes of Bali, adjusting margins and padding and adding SEO titles and descriptions. But on occasion, I just have that moment and I look at it. And then it gives me that experience that I’ve heard clients say where it’s like, oh my god, like, look at what you’ve done, or like look at look at your brand. And so that that was an honor. And that’s the greatest gift that you’ve given me is that sort of mirror. So thank you. Erin Ollila 18:54 That is so nice. And honestly, I really want to commend you too, because like I mentioned before, it’s really hard for service providers to do their own work and you’ve worked really hard like this isn’t just like Tony’s like turns on like a template of his homepage and touches things here and there like he has really gone into learning about you know, how things are interplaying making those adjustments you know, and and really doing the work at each and every stage of the process. So I do think you need to really kind of pat yourself on the back because you played both service provider and client and it’s really really hard to do that for yourself. So I think you’ve done an excellent job at that. And to finish our conversation since everyone again is listening to this as like a behind the scenes of what it was like to work with me. Can you reflect back on our time together in this project and say were things that either surprised you about working with me or what you liked or even disliked feel free to say a dislike I can handle this Tony? The thing Tony Howell 19:53 that surprised me because I am careful of this with my clients is that you And I’m scared to say this on the record, you might edit it out. But you never told me know, when I asked for something, but you said, You were you were comfortable enough to tell me when you didn’t agree agree with something artistically or strategically. And so that meant a lot to me. And I kept being like, I know this keeps growing and metastasizing. But yeah, and connecting it back, you know, the other thing that makes me feel safe in doing a lot of the work on my own was, I knew that if I made a choice, and Erin didn’t agree, she’s gonna see it the next day, and that Google Doc or figma, or Squarespace and let me know, but like, like the good teacher that you are, you’re letting me find my voice and and learn those skills along the way. Erin Ollila 20:48 Well, thank you for saying that. And I think that there’s, like, we talked about this, as working together, too, is like, I think you were very respectful of my time. And I tried to explain with Tony, that when we do like a proposal, and we’re sharing deliverables, it’s really hard to share some of the intangible parts of a project, you know, like I could list as part of your proposal that like, I’m there for strategy, whether it’s, you know, like messaging strategy, design, strategy, SEO strategy, but like, what the heck does that mean? That means nothing on a proposal, right? And I think what you’re saying is, like, there were times where you’re like, Am I out of scope? Aaron, like, I know, you’ve volunteered to give me feedback on my own stuff. But I really want to make sure I’m not, you know, like, pushing you out of the bounds of like your own boundaries. And that’s where the intangible part is, right? Because like, I want this website, I’m invested, you know, sure, I’m not the one paying to get the website done. But I’m invested in Tony’s website. So I really want to make sure that that end result is something that I’m very proud of. And I can celebrate Tony and with my audience, or just celebrate him his business in general. So the intangible is that I wanted to read every single one of those additional pages that you created. And I wanted to make suggestions for you on things like, well, this seems like a heading let’s let’s really bring this out. Or let’s reorganize the structure of this page. So I think that’s where it’s hard to promote yourself, sometimes as a service provider is all of those little intangible parts. And, you know, I’m definitely obviously not going to edit out that part that you just suggested I could, because I think what Tony means is, it’s really hard to also showcase what scope is right. So just because I co created a lot with Tony doesn’t mean that I would necessarily add 40 pages to a different website, where though I might do more brand messaging, so a different project may look different. And that’s where it’s really hard to get, you know, a lead to understand what things could look like. And that’s why I think there’s often so much great, like, customer experience within the work that you’re doing, is because it it feels like to the client that you’re doing extra, or that you’re really going above and beyond for them. Yeah, it’s really unfolding naturally. Right? You know, because I have definitely learned in the past eight years of business, how to have better boundaries, and not go out of scope in a way that feels bad for me, because I’ve, I’ve spent a long time doing that. Yeah, because I care so much about the end result. And I like the people I work with, I’ve been so blessed to like my clients. Because of that I have put myself in situations where I went very far out of scope and felt bad about it. But I think that there is once you’ve kind of in this is interchanging. But once you’ve kind of developed what works and what doesn’t work for your business, you’re then able to, to do that to do the over and above in a way that feels really good for you in a project and it feels really good for your clients. So thank you for bringing that up. And I also think it’s really helpful that you brought up that I will say no, because this is the tricky like balance and it’s something that I actually like to put as like a selling point of working with me is that I will say no to you and I will tell you why I’m saying no, it is your project it is your money and it is your website. So ultimately, my clients can make any decision that they would like to make on their site. But if I feel strongly about something not being the right decision, I’m not going to not say it and I I will say that I know that that is rare in my field. And I even hear unfortunately a lot of other copywriters say like oh, whatever their site, but I think that’s a disservice to the entire project. So yeah, 24:38 I Aaron was saying, No, you can’t do this. I’m Tony Howell 24:43 the same way and then But then I get resentful if they actually don’t take that I’m like, okay, bad choices. Erin Ollila 24:51 Yeah, no, I’ve also definitely been in projects where it’s like, as much as they wanted to hire a professional. They just weren’t ready to let go, you know, and I think that it’s difficult for either the lead or the service provider to know that like, whether they’re going to end up down that road, you know, but in that instance, there’s nothing you can do to kind of reframe a project, right? Like, they’re going to ultimately run it as they choose to. And you can only offer the best advice that you can. And that’s it is what it is. So, you know, just kind of have to kind of move on, but it wasn’t like that with us together. Yeah, we had a really great relationship I loved I loved even that, like I mentioned before, like having to figure out like, how do I fit into Tony’s process? How does he fit into mine, because it showed me a lot about my own business where I was able to be like, Oh, you could improve on this. So I’ve been taking notes myself to say, like, don’t forget, like, next time, like, feed this into your process, or, you know, building reminders on things so that people feel like they’re supported, or they know what’s where they are, and what’s going to happen. So I think, you know, working together, and it’s actually been helpful for me to in that own regard. Tony Howell 25:57 Any new new business besties. Erin Ollila 26:01 And if I can say anything to end this episode, I will say that there is a beauty not that it has to be done. But there really is a beauty in working with, especially on websites, a copywriter and designer that are already comfortable together. We talked about this super quickly. And you mentioned it well in part of this conversation. But while building Tony’s site, we work together on a different person site where we shared a client and I think that they had a lovely experience. And I think, you know, even just communications between the two of us, it was always like, thank you so much for being on my team. I’m feeling competent, and like your work together. So I think if you’re listening to this, and you’re considering like, building a website, or updating what you have, you definitely want to trust your service providers recommendations. You know, Tony mentioned how he’ll share a few names. You want to trust those because that means like if Tony has either worked with them, or know them well enough to feel comfortable suggesting them same with me. And I think that it really does get shown when you see the work that two professionals do together? Because they have that level of comfort to say, Well, why are you doing this, or maybe we should adjust that. Tony actually built this client a that standing one page website, well, actually, it was more than one page. But it was like the what Tony calls an apartment website. So it’s that what’s live and present while you’re working on the future website. And I will say that when Tony built that it actually inspired me to make adjustments to what I thought I was going to do with my own messaging. So you know, having two people that really like work well together, is a really good investment when you’re already making a huge time and money investment in your business. Tony Howell 27:45 And I would say also, just to add on to that it’s the same with developers and designers. So if it is a complicated WordPress or web flow site, it’s like, sometimes people will be like, Well, can we work with our developer? I’m like, Yeah, but that could get scary. Because the we may have disagreements along the way. Erin Ollila 28:05 And it’s and that’s fine, though. Like, you know, I think sometimes people hear that, and they’re like, okay, but if it’s someone you work with Tony, like a developer that you have a relationship with a disagreement could be a great thing for the project. Because you’re able to talk together, you have that relationship where you’re able to say to someone like No, please don’t do that. Or here’s why I need this, or I need you to do a little extra work. What you’re saying is when you have that disconnect, like if you’re the designer, and then they’re taking it and sharing it with someone else. It could really no, yeah, yeah. So I think that there is like, that’s the beauty of working with people who are comfortable with each other is they’re able to agree and disagree, and it will only make the project better. Hey, all right, well, we have talked for far too long, this is definitely going to have to be like a two episode cut somehow. Who knows. But I just want to remind everyone again, you know, if you are in the areas that Tony is going la Chicago and New York between the end of April and the middle of May, you definitely want to make sure that you attend one of his events, you know, all of the information on how to do that will be in the show notes. But I know there are going to be good times. And I think that they’re going to be so valuable to you, Tony, thank you for coming on the show and being willing to be vulnerable and share what this experience was like with my audience. I am so excited about your new site. I just want to celebrate it with you. It is literally just launching everyone right now like between the time that we’re recording and the time that this goes live, Tony site will be live. And I hope that when you’re listening you even if you’re like I don’t need a website designer, I have no reason to check out Tony’s site. I hope you do it as a research. So you go to his site and you click through his links. And you see some of these things we’ve talked about and use them as a way to like, inform and inspire your own business because he’s done excellent work translating those words and and making them into an actual published site. Tony Howell 30:02 And I just want to take the opportunity here on the record to thank you for the inspiration and information you share all the time on Topkapi to me. Huge fan now I get to be on the show Ah, Erin Ollila 30:15 stop recording. Alright Stoney. Alright everyone. I will see you back next week where we’re going to start a new series on thought leadership. And I’m interviewing professionals on things like writing a book, public speaking building out courses, so it’s gonna be a good time and I hope you come back next week to see it for yourself. Never know how to end this. I’m Tony Howell 30:36 always like your music. Erin Ollila 30:41 Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Top copy to me. If you enjoyed spending your time with me today. I would be so honored if you could subscribe to the show and leave a review. Want to continue the conversation? Head on over to Instagram and follow me at Erin Ollila. Until next time friends.

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