SMMA vs Copywriting (8 Questions to Consider When Choosing the Right Business Model)

April 4, 2024

A social media marketing agency (SMMA) is a business model focused on leveraging social media platforms to market and grow businesses. Copywriting is the practice of crafting persuasive written content aimed at promoting products, services, or brands. SMMA uses social media platforms to enhance a brand's online presence and engage with audiences, while copywriting creates content that communicates a brand's message, persuades, and drives the audience to action. Both play crucial roles in digital marketing strategies, with SMMA emphasizing platform and audience engagement strategies, and copywriting providing the text that drives audience action.

Both SMMA and copywriting are profitable business models. According to Agency Analytics, social media marketing agencies make between $1,500 and $25,000 for a single client per month. According to the American Writers & Artists Institute, an average copywriter can make up to $29.89 an hour. Some of the most successful copywriters, according to LinkedIn, are Joe Coleman, Laurence Blume, and Brian Clark.

Even though SMMA can be profitable, it heavily depends on the owner's personal brand and skills, which makes scaling and exiting the business challenging. The industry sees a high turnover rate, with many agencies struggling to maintain client relationships long-term. This reflects the intense competition and the need for constant innovation. On the copywriting side, freelancers and agencies saturate the market, making standout success rare without a unique value proposition.

In this article, I’ll show you more about the pros and cons of SMMA and copywriting. I’ll also give you 8 questions you should answer so you can choose the right business model for you. At the end of the article, I’ll introduce a different business model that might be more profitable than SMMA and copywriting.

Top Similarities and Differences Between SMMA and Copywriting




Client Acquisition

Focuses on leveraging social media platforms to attract and manage clients, often utilizing direct outreach, advertising, and networking strategies specific to these platforms.

An acquisition can also involve direct outreach and advertising but with a heavier reliance on showcasing writing portfolios, content marketing, and SEO strategies to attract clients across various channels.

Skillset requirement

Requires a broad range of skills including social media strategy, content creation, analytics, advertising, and customer engagement.

Centers around mastery of language, persuasive writing, SEO knowledge, and an understanding of different marketing channels' tone and format requirements.

Service offering

Offers a suite of services focused on social media management, content creation, paid social advertising, and sometimes influencer partnerships.

Services are specialized around creating compelling written content such as website copy, email campaigns, blog posts, and advertising copy.

Target Market

Typically targets businesses looking to expand their presence on social media platforms and engage with their audience more effectively.

Can have a broader target market including businesses needing content for various purposes, from marketing and advertising to internal communications and technical documentation.

Revenue model

Often works on a monthly retainer basis or project-based fees, with potential performance bonuses for ad campaigns.

Generally charges per word, per project, or via retainer agreements, with the option for performance-based pricing in some niches.

8 Questions to Consider When Choosing the Right Business Model

1. Which Business Model Are You More Interested in?

Choosing a business model that aligns with your passions can help you stay motivated and resilient. Focusing on a lifelong passion or a hobby-turned-career helps you navigate entrepreneurship's challenges and build a lasting legacy. Ignoring your passions can lead to burnout and disengagement. This could limit your creativity and hinder your ability to engage with your business fully.

2. What Services Do You Want to Offer?

Knowing what services you want to offer helps determine what business model you want to establish. This entails knowing what services are in demand and have a high potential of staying in demand in the future. 

For social media marketing agencies and copywriting businesses, in-demand services include SEO optimization, email marketing campaigns, and social media account management. These help enhance online presence and engage potential customers. Content marketing and targeted advertising on platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also in high demand because they drive brand awareness and conversions. These services help ensure your business remains competitive and visible to your target audience.

3. What Basic and Technical Skills Do You Have?

Identifying the basic and technical skills you have can help determine what services you can offer. This can also help in enhancing the quality of your potential service offerings. You can also apply this to building your team. If you have more info on the capabilities of your team, you’ll be able to create better services that will entice potential clients. You can offer services on social bookmarking and journey mapping that are becoming more in-demand.

For social media marketing agencies and copywriting, mastering paid advertising, Google Ads, and Facebook ads is essential for targeting the right audience effectively and driving engagement. Understanding SEO principles and content strategy also helps ensure content reaches its intended audience.

4. What Skills Do You Want to Learn?

Knowing what skills you want to learn can help you with the direction of your business. If you're not interested in graphic design and video editing, maybe SMMA is not for you. You can focus instead on copywriting where storytelling and SEO are more valuable. If you're not interested in deep research and long-form content creation, maybe you should look at SMMA.

5. Who is Your Specific Target Market?

Identifying your target market, customer segments, or niches can help you decide on what business model to choose. Some niches and customer segments are more in demand for specific services.

According to the American Writers & Artists Institute, the top copywriting niches are alternative health, financial, self-improvement, and travel. According to Eightify, the best SMMA niches for beginners are real estate, gyms, auto dealerships, and B2B technology. Focusing on these specific niches can enhance your business model's effectiveness by targeting sectors with high demand for specialized services.

6. What Experiences Do You Have?

Considering what experiences you have in a skill or profession can help you create an effective portfolio for your services. Highlight your experiences and outputs so that your future clients can see them immediately.

Clients today often seek SMMA experts with a track record in boosting online engagement and sales through targeted social media campaigns. For copywriting, businesses value writers who can craft SEO-rich content that drives traffic and conversions. These experiences show clients that you can deliver tangible results, making your services more attractive in competitive markets.

7. What is Your Ideal Income?

Determining your ideal income helps you choose a business model that aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle needs. According to research by Agency Analytics, social media marketing agencies make between $1,500 and $25,000 for a single client per month. According to the American Writers & Artists Institute, the average copywriter's salary is $62,170 yearly or $29.89 an hour. So choosing a business model that fits with your ideal income will ensure you achieve your financial aspirations and maintain the lifestyle you want.

8. How Much Money are You Willing to Spend?

When you set a clear expectation on the costs and how much you're willing to spend, financial resources are allocated effectively. It also prevents overspending. You’ll also learn about which areas offer the highest return so you can make strategic investments.

According to Starter Story, starting a social media marketing agency will cost you an average of $12,272. You can start a copywriting business at no cost with just a keyword and a word processing program like Google Docs. But if you want to expand, according to Step-by-Step Business, it will cost you around $4,825. This is because you’ll spend on setting up the business name, getting licenses and permits, and on a marketing budget. 

What is SMMA?

SMMA or a Social Media Marketing Agency is a business model that specializes in developing and implementing marketing strategies on social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, X, and LinkedIn for advertising. According to Forbes, 77% of businesses use social media to apply psychographic targeting to reach customers based on their interests and lifestyle.

SMMA focuses on managing social media accounts to boost brand visibility, engage audiences, and drive sales. By crafting tailored social media advertising campaigns, SMMA helps businesses achieve their marketing objectives, utilizing analytics to refine strategies and ensure high-quality outcomes. 

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the art of creating persuasive text for marketing and narrative advertising. It aims to prompt an audience to take a specific action. According to Khris Digital, there are about 13,200 copywriters in the U.S. Copywriting is an essential component of digital marketing that focuses on creating persuasive written content to promote brands, products, or services. This business model encompasses various forms of content, including email marketing, content marketing, and SEO-optimized articles. Copywriters use strategic writing techniques to increase engagement, drive conversions, and improve brand visibility. 

SMMA vs Copywriting: Pros and Cons

SMMA Pros:

Ability to attract a wide range of potential clients through targeted social selling.

Social media networks are essential for businesses, increasing the need for expert SMMA services.

Agency owners can establish long-term relationships with clients for consistent income.

Digital tools and platforms allow for easy scaling of services.

Opportunity to craft innovative social media campaigns that engage audiences.

SMMA Cons:

Social media networks frequently update, requiring ongoing adaptation.

High competition among agencies for clients.

Client budgets for social media advertising can fluctuate, impacting revenue.

Managing social media accounts and campaigns can be time-consuming.

Need for continuous, fresh content to maintain engagement.

Copywriting Pros:

Evergreen needs across all social media networks and marketing channels.

Work with a variety of industries and potential clients.

Potential for high earnings on a per-project basis.

Agency owners and freelancers can operate from anywhere.

Offers a channel for creative writing that impacts business growth.

Copywriting Cons:

Intense competition in securing new projects and potential clients.

Fluctuating project availability can affect steady income.

Continuous effort is required to attract and retain clients.

Need to produce content that effectively drives sales and engagement.

Must adapt writing styles to various platforms and client needs.

SMMA vs Copywriting FAQs

Is Copywriting a Part of Social Media Marketing?

Yes, copywriting is a part of social media marketing. According to Maryville University, copywriters craft the content of social media messages to appeal to various audiences. Copywriting plays a big role in social media marketing by shaping the narrative and tone of campaigns, engaging the audience through compelling storytelling, and ultimately driving action—be it likes, shares, or sales. A copywriter can also become a social media manager, by leveraging their writing skills to excel in social media management.

Is SMMA More In Demand Than Copywriting?

Yes, SMMA is more in demand than copywriting. According to Ayesha Awan on Quora, social media management has a higher demand because it requires a more specialized skillset compared to copywriting.

Is SMMA Profitable?

Yes, SMMA is profitable because it has low overhead costs and high upside potential. According to Agency Analytics, social media marketing agencies make between $1,500 and $25,000 for a single client per month. According to Seven Figure Agency, the average profit margins in the digital marketing industry range from 15% to 25%.

Katie Steckly from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada is an example of a social media marketing agency owner who has been making 6 figures since 2022. She is the CEO of Creatorly Media, which produces YouTube channels and develops Instagram strategies for content creators. Katie made over $300,000 in 1 year by running her agency with 6 team members.

Despite its high-income potential, starting an SMMA is difficult because you need to learn how to delegate tasks, manage a team, and handle more complex project management and client relationships. You also need to be aware of engagement-baiting penalties that can affect your client’s campaign.

Is Copywriting Profitable?

Yes, copywriting is profitable because an average copywriter can make up to $29.89 an hour, according to the American Writers & Artists Institute. The highest 10% of copywriters make up to $58.50 an hour, while the lowest 10% make $15.24 an hour. However, copywriting has challenges, like a high learning curve and threats from AI.

Copywriting coach Tyson 4D from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada made $2,500 in just 5 days as a beginner email copywriter. He says that copywriting is essential in marketing and sales across many businesses. It’s a valuable and in-demand skill that contributes to a business's ability to sell products or services through effective written communication.

Sean McIntyre from Baltimore, Maryland, U.S. is a copywriter and founder of The Copy That! Show. He says that building a career in copywriting takes time, with a focus on continuous improvement rather than immediate success. Aspiring copywriters need to manage expectations and explore different ways to find clients, like cold pitching, networking through social media, Upwork, and attending webinars.

Why Local Lead Generation Outmatches SMMA and Copywriting

Local lead generation stands out as a superior business model by directly connecting businesses with high-intent local customers. While SMMA and copywriting help enhance a brand's online presence and drive audience engagement, they both come with challenges.

The main issues with SMMA include the necessity for ongoing content creation to maintain audience engagement and the difficulty of staying ahead in a highly competitive market. For copywriting, the saturation of the market with freelancers and agencies makes it hard to secure new projects. There is also an inconsistency in project flow that affects steady income. In contrast, local lead generation addresses these issues by focusing on generating high-quality leads for local businesses, which is less affected by global competition and content saturation. This model does not require daily content updates, making it a more stable and less time-intensive option.

Local lead generation works by targeting specific geographic areas, reducing competition, and making client acquisition more straightforward. This model is scalable and profitable, offering a clear path to growth without the constant need for content creation. The earning potential is significant, with local businesses willing to invest heavily in lead-generation services that directly contribute to their revenue. A successful local lead generation campaign can yield returns ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars per month per client, depending on the industry and local market size. For entrepreneurs and digital marketers looking to build a lucrative business with long-term growth potential, local lead generation is the top option.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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