Yesterday’s essay about email copywriting as a way into your copywriting career must have struck a nerve…
I got a couple replies asking me to go deeper.
And I’m sure for every reply, there were a dozen or more additional readers who would’ve loved more.
So rather than answering a new question today, I’ll use the replies I got to yesterday’s essay as a prompt to go deeper.
Here’s the first “go deeper” question —
It felt like this email was written specifically for me. As a newbie copywriter, finding a small number of clients who recognize the value of email and would hire me to churn them out is EXACTLY what I’m looking for.
Unfortunately, that’s where I get stumped.
I went through your Core Offers course and am not sure how to finagle this arrangement into a neat package.
I’m also struggling to find potential clients who would be interested in a service like this. I just don’t know where to look. The only people I see emailing frequently are other email copywriters. Surely, I’m overlooking something obvious.
Would you mind taking your last email a step further and going into where to look to find clients who want this?
Thank you, sir!
This is a question in two parts…
And I’m actually going to flip them around. Because it’s undoubtedly easier if you answer the second before the first. So, in the order I’ll answer them, the questions are…
— “What clients would be interested in hiring me to write email copy?”
— “What does my offer to those clients look like?”
“What clients would be interested in hiring me to write email copy?”
First, I’m going to say that I can’t answer in terms of specific companies. But I can expand your vision here a bit.
I’ll quote: “The only people I see emailing frequently are other email copywriters.”
Hmm… Maybe that’s because you’re only subscribed to mailing lists about copywriting?
Pretty much any business that drives a lot of revenue online emails frequently. Some are better at building their list. Some only email past customers. But email is one of the biggest keys to consistent online revenue generation.
That’s not saying every business that sells online is a good fit for your copywriting services. Amazon, for example, emails a lot of product listing emails with a blurb at the top that probably encompasses a whole wide swath of computer-generated listing combinations specific to the person receiving it.
In fact, because Amazon stalks you and knows what you want (and because they have ultra-high awareness in your mind), their emails are pretty much aimed at “deal-ready” readers. There’s usually one offer-oriented sentence, and a visual call-to-action.
The first thing you should do, when you start looking for clients, is to subscribe to ALL the lists of companies in your target industries.
You can setup a separate email for this, so they don’t flood your main inbox. Or you can use filters. Either way, create a place to “capture” marketing emails sent to you. Then, start subscribing.
Some companies will send emails infrequently, and fall off your radar. Others will be constantly sending you emails. Offers. Articles. Newsletters. And so on.
This will be true in any niche. And it will probably follow the 80/20 rule. There will be a small number of companies who send the most emails. And what you’ll probably find is that those are the most successful email marketers, as well.
So, pick a niche. Subscribe to email lists. And notice who sends you emails.
Those are the companies.
Likewise, if you want to see who runs longer copy Facebook ads, like all their pages, and see who is advertising to you. Or for advertorials, start clicking on ads and see whose ads keep coming up (due to remarketing).
Some more thoughts…
I’ve often written about the Eugene Schwartz market awareness model.
There is a huge relevance to copywriting that’s not often talked about in the market awareness model (although it’s hinted at in the book Great Leads, a highly-recommended read).
The more aware a market is, the less copy you need to sell it.
Paper towels and toilet paper are pretty good examples here. You might cite some advantage to your brand, but there’s very little copy needed to convince someone to buy them in the first place.
The less aware a market is, or the more complex the value proposition, product, or sale is, the more copy you need to make a sale.
A financial newsletter is a rather abstract concept, and the value proposition is somewhat complex. Selling a financial newsletter to a colder audience who is not really aware of you or your business, and who may not be aware of financial newsletters as the solution to their money problem is a very challenging sale. That’s why financial direct response copy is some of the longest, most sophisticated copy you’ll ever see. (It’s also why the most successful financial copywriters tend to make the most money.)
What I’ve just described is two ends of a very wide spectrum.
If you’re only approaching companies that have simple products, the copy needs will be simple, and they will probably not pay enough to keep your lights on.
On the other hand, if you are able to write good email and other short copy for a company that makes a much more complex sale, they’ll probably have a ton of work for you, and pay well.
(In my Masters of Response interview with Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers, we dove deep into an email campaign she did for Wistia. Her strategy was all about market awareness, and moving prospects from less aware to more aware. Considering this is a $100/month alternative to free YouTube video hosting, it’s noteworthy that her email marketing was a big success.)
So, lean toward industries where the value proposition is more complex, and where the companies are more actively searching out less aware prospects.
When you find companies like that, there’s a lot of opportunity for value-first, education-based marketing in the form of emails and other short copy.
“What does my offer to those clients look like?”
One of the points that I believe I made in The Copywriter’s Roadmap To Building A Core Offer was that your core offer comes from experience, and can develop through time.
Right now, if you don’t know who you want to write for, much less what kinds of marketing they’re putting out, you’ll probably struggle with that.
But once you see the marketing coming out of companies in a niche, you’ll start to get a good idea of what you might be able to help them with.
At one point, I created a spreadsheet of all the financial publishers I could find who I thought might hire freelancers. Then, I scoured all their sites for their marketing, to try and find which I felt were using the kind of long-form direct response copy and emotional copywriting I was most interested in writing.
I saw what they did, and I knew what I wanted to do. And from there, I had a short list of companies to approach. (And over the following few years, most of my clients were from that list, and I got most of that list as clients.)
If you’re not interested in financial publishers, fine. Any kind of publisher will fall more under this category than not. As will course-creators, coaches, and others who sell their expertise. Services of many kinds are also a fit. Especially anything having to do with health and wealth.
Once you see what companies in your space are doing and what appeals to you, you can start to develop a list of companies you’d like to work with, knowing what they’re already doing.
So let’s say that you see a particular company puts out a couple offer-driven emails per week, and a weekly newsletter with something a bit more in-depth about what they do. You could reach out to them, and ask if they need any help putting together those emails. If they’re interested, estimate how much time it’d take you to write them (including edits and client calls) and quote a project fee based on your desired hourly income times the number of hours (potentially adding a multiplier if you’re not confident in the length of time).
Or if you see a company in your niche running a bunch of different Facebook ads, you could reach out to them with a similarly-structured offer.
If any one client accepts or declines, it doesn’t tell you much. But as you get a trend of who accepts or declines your offer, you can get a sense of if you need to raise the price or lower it (or choose a different market).
And as you develop some experience and a reputation, you should get a greater sense of how to adapt your core offer.
Maybe your market works best on monthly retainers, to do a set number of emails every month. Maybe it’s one where education-based autoresponder sequences are a favorite project. Maybe it’s something else. Find the fit between your market and your skills, and flesh out your offer around that.
Which brings me to…
I’d like to write emails but am not sure what the angle should be when writing for a product or service-based company.
I’m so used to reading internet marketing/money making emails that I’m not sure what to say in an email for a company to their customers/prospects.
Is there a course on that? Or some samples of the main idea to try to get across in these emails?
The big question here is what to write in email marketing when it’s NOT internet marketing and make money offers…
My short answer is: stories.
Have you ever heard the maxim that “all news is local” …? What it means is that people care about news when it feels “locally” relevant to them. But this doesn’t have to just apply geographically. You can apply this principle to your marketing as well.
Open up the news. Find a news story that’s relevant to your product or service. And find a way to tell it that makes it feel “local” to your product. Like the time I sold an EMP-resistant backup solar generator based on the story of a rogue Russian satellite.
You can read the full story in my article on the Research secret of A-list copywriters.
There are opportunities like this CONSTANTLY, if you create them.
Alternately, there are a ton of other stories you can use, as taught in my Story Selling Master Class.
How was the product or service created?
Why is it something the creator devoted their time, energy, even their life to?
What has been the experience of others who used the product or service?
What was the darkest hour of experiencing the agitation of the problem, before the solution was found or created?
… And so on.
All of these can be conveyed through story, and put in email or other short copy to sell almost anything.
And if you do your job right as a copywriter, your clients will LOVE IT because they hear their own stories told in a way better than they can tell it.
The other thing that’s great in email marketing and other short copy is to give tips and legitimately valuable advice. (See this essay as proof point #1…)
Even if a company doesn’t think of themselves as “direct response,” they usually love this kind of email.
In short, you give a tip about your product or service, or about the market in general — anything that would be valuable to prospects — and put a related call-to-action in an editor’s note at the end.
Take customer or prospect questions, and answer them. Pull tips out of the product for information products. Or do something crazy that only instills further confidence in your product, like when Saddleback Leather created a video on “How to Knock Off A Saddleback Briefcase” that basically showed all the ways you could cut corners to make a cheap alternative (while subtly conveying the care and expertise they put into every product).
Heck, while you’re at it, look at Saddleback Leather as an example of a company that uses longer copy all over the place to sell a physical product that seems rather simple at first glance. I just decided to sign up for their emails, and I’ll note all the categories of emails they let you select, which should be inspiration for the many types of email you can write for clients: Deals & Promotions, New Product Launches, Events, Leather Education, and Saddleback Culture. Consider that: they have an email list explicitly dedicated to the culture of their company, and giving you updates about that. Seems useful to note.
Your answers will come with experience…
That’s the long and short of it.
Imagine a person who has never swam in their life. They’ve never gotten into a pool, or lake, or ocean.
And there they are, sitting at the side of the pool, wondering what it’s like. Asking everybody what it’s like. Trying to determine, before they get in, what their experience will be, and what they’ll need to succeed at this thing called “swimming.”
Anyone in the pool can try to answer that question, in a thousand ways. And some answers will be more useful than others. But no answer will give that person sitting on the side of the pool anywhere near the depth of understanding they could get from just jumping in.
You have to jump in.
Ultimately, you learn to swim through experience.
Others can prepare you as you get ready. They can reassure you. They can give you pointers.
But even those are meaningless until you get wet.
Want a big breakthrough? Jump in!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: At the end of December 2018, I expect to raise the monthly price of BTMSinsiders. The $37 per month I’ve been charging since launch is way too low, considering the training you get is equivalent of what others would charge thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars for. This includes ALL the training linked from this article. I haven’t set the new price yet, although I am considering almost triple the current monthly price. BUT you can lock in the lower price, for life. Any current subscriptions or new subscriptions started before the price increase will always only pay $37/month, no matter what a new member pays — and for as long as you maintain your subscription.