Hello and welcome to another Mailbox Monday!
Today is the day YOU get your questions answered by ME! All you have to do to get your question answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday is shoot me a note at [email protected].
It can be about marketing, selling, business, life, the works…
Considering that you could pay me $250/hour to get on the phone and answer your questions, or I’ll do it here free… This works out to a pretty dang good deal!
Okay, on to our question for the day…
From a copywriter-to-be who is afraid that all the clients she wants are going to laugh at her when she tries to sell herself as a copywriter…
Because this is a fairly sensitive question, I used the ol’ Random Name Generator in Scrivener and now you know her as Lynn.
Here’s Lynn’s question…
I would like to write direct response copy. I have never done it before, but am confident I can. I was a journalist for 23 years, so I have experience writing. I have been studying sales, marketing, freelance writing, content marketing, internet marketing and copywriting for the past three years. I have read over 100 books on these subjects. My personality fits the job description perfectly and I know how to write this kind of copy.
I am ready.
I even have a list of companies that hire direct response copywriters. But they will laugh at me. If I try to approach them for work, they will tell me I don’t have any experience.
Should I write a sample direct response piece and submit it to them?
My business mentor advises I start local and write for small businesses, but they don’t even know what a copywriter is, nor do they have the budget to pay me. I feel I should not have to educate them as to what a copywriter is and what a copywriter does. I think I should just try to get work from businesses hiring copywriters. What do you advise?
Thanks so much.
I love this question Lynn, because there are so many lessons in its answer.
The first thing I say is…
Your business mentor is WRONG!
Maybe not 100% wrong, but the reality is they don’t know copywriting. They don’t know the copywriting market.
But YOU have found a truth about the copywriting market that a whole lotta folks need to know…
Most companies don’t hire copywriters!
Yes, there are a few companies — the big direct marketers, most often publishers — that do actively look for people who go by the title of “copywriter.”
BUT — and this is a big ol’ BUT — most companies out there have no interest in copywriters. They have no interest in having copy written for them. They wouldn’t know what to do with it if they had it dropped in their lap.
What the local businesses DO want is business results.
They want more leads.
They want more customers.
They want instant cash flow infusions from offers made to their current customer base.
They want recurring revenue that makes sure payroll is covered every month from Day 1.
How do they get it? Effective direct response copy!
But they’ll NEVER buy copy. They’ll buy results.
If you want to do business with these clients, you have to sell them the results, not the service you offer. Along those lines, don’t call yourself a copywriter. You’re a business growth specialist. A lead generation expert. A database marketing specialist focused on uncovering hidden opportunities for big cash flow infusions.
I know this isn’t answering your main question yet, Lynn, but it’s such an important point I wanted to put it first…
You’ll find far more people interested in paying for what copy can do for their business than who are interested in paying for copywriting services!
I’ll tell you — I’ve spent most of my career working directly with businesses that specifically ARE looking to hire copywriters. I’ve matched my skill set to what they’re looking for, and it’s just easiest for me to work with them.
However, if I wanted to go out tomorrow and sell my services to the average business, I’d pretty much drop “copywriter” from my vocabulary.
I’d focus on WHAT THEY WANT. I’d sell them what they want. I’d deliver what they want. And that would just so happen to come through copy. But they wouldn’t really even have to know it.
Now on to the other parts of your question…
It’s time to get all Nike on you, and tell you to “Just do it!”
I’ve said it a ton of times — this is just about my favorite tag line of anything out of the corporate, image, and brand advertising world.
Not because it makes me want to buy their sports clothes…
But because it’s one of the biggest, most important pieces of business and life advice you could ever follow…
Most folks waste away their lives preparing…
When the best way to get results is to go out there and start doing… And failing… And doing… And succeeding… And doing… And failing again… And doing… And failing again… And doing… And succeeding some more…
Even if you’ve read 100 books and programs and so on… You haven’t REALLY learned marketing…
You’ve learned what others say about marketing — and that’s a good start.
But the only way to really learn this craft is to go out there and do it.
Embrace failure. Learn from it. Get back up. And do it again!
The late, great Gary Halbert had a saying… “Movement beats meditation any day.”
You want to know if your sales letter will work? Don’t think about it — test it!
You want to know if you can get clients? Don’t stew in the doubt — approach them!
You want to know if you can succeed as a copywriter? Stop dreaming and give it a try!
Everybody who starts does so without experience… Everybody with a ton of experience started from zero at one point…
YES, it IS harder to get gigs if you don’t have experience.
That’s why I recommend my irresistible offer letter technique for getting your first copywriting client.
Or do spec assignments — I’ve done my share.
Or volunteer for a nonprofit that you support in lieu of donations.
Do whatever you can to get REAL experience, no more book learnin’ allowed! (Okay, you can do more book learnin’ — but you also have to get real experience.)
The only way to start from zero is to start.
And if you’re afraid of getting laughed at, let them laugh!
The reality is that just about every good client out there has dealt with their fair share of new copywriters, and many were new copywriters at one point themselves. They won’t laugh at you. They have empathy and understanding. They’re generally kind and warm.
Sure, some will say no, but they’ll be nice about it.
And… Someone will say “yes”… Or maybe just “maybe”… And they’ll give you a shot to let all that writing experience and book learning pay off…
One more idea…
You can also go an alternate route I recommend for most copywriters… And actually start your own side business!
Sell something — anything — that interests you through an online website.
Go through the process and learn as you go.
There’s no client to laugh at you.
Nobody to tear your copy to shreds.
Put it out there. Try some things. Learn. See what works and what generates sales.
You’ll become a FAR BETTER copywriter this way than almost any other. You’ll have REAL experience and REAL samples if you do go ahead and approach clients.
… OR… You may actually create something successful enough that you’re no longer chasing copywriting work.
Either way, it’s a win for you.
And it could be a really big breakthrough.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets