Want more and better clients?
Don’t we all?! The moment we go out on our own as freelancers (and this applies to copywriters AND other freelancers), we realize something important…
Our entire business thrives on a constant flow of clients.
While it’s an ideal to have the same clients coming back over and over and over again, the reality is that there will ALWAYS be turnover so you will always have to mind your pipeline.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
It’s Mailbox Monday, and this topic comes from a question sent in by a reader…
If YOU want to have your most pressing question about marketing, selling, business, copywriting, life… Heck, even if you want to know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything… Send your question in to me at [email protected].
Like most copywriters my biggest breakthrough would be getting more quality clients, thanks!
Regards, John B.
The following are 5 ways I know that will help you get more quality clients…
This is based on my personal experience running my freelance copywriting business full-time since 2010, and getting plenty of freelance clients as early as 2005.
While there are a ton of approaches, and a ton of recommendations from others on how you can build a freelancing business, this has kept my business humming along for 6+ years now.
(Today, booking clients out 6 months in advance, collecting larger fees than ever before, and having clients very happy to line up on these conditions to get me to write for them.)
- Do quality work.
First and foremost, quality clients expect quality work. There’s really no way around this.
The quality of your work will determine — in large measure — which clients want to work with you, and what that relationship will look like.
When it comes to copywriting, this means your copy should generate results. It should make sales, if it is sales copy. It should get leads, if it’s for lead generation. It should do what it sets out to do.
Also, the client should feel like the copy represents them well. This can be antithetical to getting results, if you let it rule the writing process. But you should to the best you can to both write for results and write in the client’s “voice.”
Your copy should follow the rules of good copy, but also feel original and fresh. No swiping allowed, if you want high-caliber clients. And really, most high-quality copy these days doesn’t feel like “sales copy” — while there are big promises, they’re held in place by proof and believability, and tend to stay away from hype. It tends to feel like it’s coming from a really good friend, in their casual voice, who is also a total expert on the subject.
There’s a lot more I could say here, but the focus should be on always upping your game.
- Have a clear offer.
Most quality clients want to work with professionals. That means “will write for food” sucks as an offer to land top clients, and should be avoided. (Here’s a recording of a presentation I gave on this topic.)
Figure out what offers other copywriters in your niche or industry are making to clients. How are they packaging their services? What are they promising?
Then, find a way to package your services and make promises that feels similar but unique to you. (Starting with YOU being unique.)
The idea is someone doesn’t go to a store to buy “clothes.” They might go to a clothes store, but they are going to buy a shirt or some jeans or some underwear or whatever. A buyer always has something more specific in mind than the general catch-all description of the product or service.
Likewise, clients don’t find a copywriter to buy “writing.” They hire copywriters to write funnel copy, email sequences, magalogs, VSLs, and so on. They’re looking for a writer who is able to offer the specific solution to their specific needs.
You’ll never land quality clients by offering to write whatever they want, for a fee. Get specific. Say, “I will write a 10,000-word VSL script for acquiring new customers, along with the order form and other supporting copy, for $##,###.” Or, “I will write an 18-step email follow-up sequence for prospects who opt in for your white paper, for $#,###.”
The idea is that you look (and ARE) more professional by being clear about what it is you can offer, and what the client has to invest to get you to do that.
- Go places, meet people.
I’ve resisted admitting that this is important.
I’ve always wanted to believe that you can get ahead in this business, hanging out in your basement, churning out good copy.
And really, I think you could. I think some people do. But it doesn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for the majority of copywriters I know.
It really pays off to go out and meet potential clients, where they congregate.
For me, I go to AWAI’s Bootcamp nearly every year because it’s where many of the best clients in the mainstream direct response industries congregate. But it also has a downside — the supply-demand ratio is strongly in favor of clients, and against copywriters.
You could also go to association meetings, other gatherings of entrepreneurs and marketers, and anywhere else your ideal clients come together. If some of the content is focused on copy-heavy marketing, every attendee is going to be wondering, “Where can I hire a copywriter?!” And by being one of the few who actually came, you’re in a really good position.
I have seldom gone to a live event where my ROI on attendance is less than 10-15X what I spent to go.
- Connect, and stay connected.
Meeting people and especially “networking” is a very transient thing. Just going there and connecting gets you very few jobs.
What you need to do once you’ve met folks is to take the conversation outside of the networking event.
I have a system I follow for setting up meetings with people I meet who I’d like to connect with and turn into clients. I meet them at the event, but my goal is to have the real conversation (including my core offer) after the event, when things are less crazy.
I have that conversation, and then I follow up with them using CRM (customer relationship management) software.
By staying in touch, I’m able to develop relationships over weeks, months, or even years that continue to pay off.
- Build a reputation.
Here’s the sad truth. The quality of your clients goes up with your reputation.
Why is this sad? Because as a beginner, this principle works against you.
Then again, it’s a happy truth once you have a reputation. Because client-getting becomes much easier!
The more of a reputation you build for yourself, the higher-quality clients you’ll attract. And the higher fees you’ll be able to justify, for what’s largely the same work. (My fees today are 10X some of my earliest freelancing projects — most of that is because of my reputation, although the value certainly justifies the higher fee!)
— Be seen. Publish. Speak. Write a book. These are legitimate shortcuts that boost your reputation very quickly.
— Book in advance. I hesitated on this for a long time. I underestimated its power. Being booked in advance communicates demand.
— Control your time. Being too easy to connect with is bad positioning. Successful people aren’t easy to get to.
— Build a network. Who you’re connected with says a lot about you. It can also lead to referrals.
— Get results. Going back to #1. Copywriters who get results for clients never struggle to get booked. If you can’t do this, figure out how.
More resources on getting clients for copywriters:
— The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid (Free book, just pay S&H)
— The Copywriter’s Roadmap To Building A Core Offer (Including a breakdown of my “networking secret” under “Connect, and stay connected” above.)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,