Heya! It’s Monday — which means it’s time to answer your questions…
Before I open up the ol’ mailbag to answer today’s questions, this is your friendly reminder that Mailbox Mondays can only be awesome because of YOU.
Send me your most pressing questions about marketing, copywriting, selling, business-building strategy, or selling your services and building your career…
The email address is Roy@RoyFurr.com.
I’ll add you to the queue, and answer your question in an upcoming email.
In the meantime, here’s today’s question…
I feel like I’ve hit my stride as a copywriter, in terms of my skills and abilities, but…
I have a problem: clients.
Namely, once I get them, I can make them happy. The big problem today is getting on their radars.
I know it’s better to let them come to you, in terms of the respect you get. But that’s not happening often enough to keep the bills paid, so I need to prospect.
So — what’s the best way to pitch myself?
I love this question, because it gets at the heart of marketing and selling while also being immediately relevant at so many levels…
Let me go all the way back to something we’re pretty much all familiar with, no matter where we are today…
Applying for a job.
Now, I had the great misfortune, in my last job, to take part in the hiring process. Since we were such a small company, and I was the best (or at least most willing) writer, I had to write most of our job descriptions. And while I was in marketing, I also posted them to a few of the jobs sites, and got to see a lot of applications.
The responses broke down into two broad categories.
The first category was the mass responders. Their approach was based in quantity over quality. Since it was quick and easy to submit resumes through these sites, it was clear they were sending in their resume whether they were a fit for the job or not. And so we’d end up people who might be a great fit for a welding position, applying to a junior marketing position. Unfortunately, this was also the bulk of the applications received.
The second category was the targeted responders. There were very few of them, but this was always the category we hired from. Even though it was quick and easy to mass-submit resumes, these applicants almost always updated their resume to match the job description, and usually sent at least a somewhat relevant cover letter. Because they clearly thought about how they were a fit, their skills and aspirations almost always aligned with the position well enough to warrant an interview. Unfortunately, these applications were few and far between.
I don’t say this to brag, but rather because it’s illustrative. When I’d applied for the same company, I not only updated my application to reflect the most relevant qualifications (which didn’t make me very qualified)…
I also wrote a smokin’ cover letter that told them that even though I wasn’t very qualified, I was incredibly interested in the company and that position, and that I’d work my butt off to be successful.
They did initially hire someone who was more qualified, on paper, than I was. But he was out the revolving door within two weeks, I got the gig, and we grew the company by more than double in the 5 or so years I was there.
Their experience with me — and others who were “targeted responders” — is not unique…
Companies know that the best fits will always perform best — and especially people who do the work to make it clear they’re a best fit…
Which brings me around to a more direct response to the initial question…
I’ve continued to apply what I learned work best, when applying to that IT training company. And it has continued to serve me very well.
Today, I know how easy it is to contact people en masse.
I remember recently when some Facebook group owner was excited to share a list of 20,000+ investors’ contact info. I knew anyone who mass-contacted all those investors was a fool. You’re much better off perfectly-tailoring your pitch to an audience of one.
You can also do things like mass-contact all your Facebook or LinkedIn contacts. Lame. Even if your best target is in there, they will be so turned off by what’s blatantly a mass-appeal that they will ignore your pitch — or worse, develop a negative opinion of you that will decrease their likelihood of responding to future appeals.
In fact, in an era where it’s become free to mass-mail your pitch (whether selling yourself as an employee, a freelancer, or in any other capacity), it’s even more impressive when you’ve clearly invested in the pitch.
And here I’m not talking actually sending something physical in the mail, although that’s a great way to get attention and stand out.
Rather, it’s even more valuable when you invest the most valuable asset — time.
To custom-tailor a pitch when everyone else is sending cookie-cutter, mass-produced “I need money so pay me” tripe will get you both attention and interest from the recipient.
If you want to get work, find a company who is a perfect fit for you. Get crystal-clear on why they should be interested in working with you. Make sure you fully understand the value you can provide, that they will appreciate as what you uniquely bring to the table.
Then spell that out for them in a way that can’t be ignored…
This is, bar-none…
The most reliable way to pitch yourself!
In closing, a quick story.
The last time I wanted a new client who didn’t come to me (which was a few years ago), I was in contact with him, and following up from time to time.
I wanted him to hire me for copywriting work. I had some strong ideas that I thought might be a fit for him.
After going back and forth and trying to convince him of this for a bit, I decided that it was time to put up or shut up.
So I actually sat down and wrote the introduction to a sales letter that I thought would be a perfect fit for his business.
It was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 to 1,600 words. It included the headline, and enough of the sales letter to hook the reader and get them wanting more.
Here I wasn’t just telling him that I was a fit — I was showing him how I could be a fit.
For most of my clients, even at that time, I would have had to have gotten half my project fee before I even delivered that initial copy. But I wanted this client enough, and was tired of chasing. So I did all the extra work up front of creating a hyper-tailored pitch.
It got his attention. It got the gig. That idea went on to perform at 230% of his control. And then I wrote another promo for him that made a pretty penny for us both as well.
None of it would have happened if I hadn’t decided to put in the effort to pitch him in a way that was crystal-clear that it was for him and him only, and showed me going out of my way to get his attention.
Once you have the skills, but before you have the reputation that they just come to you, this is the best way to get clients.
For a copywriter, follow what I did above.
If your services are different, find an appropriate way to tailor your presentation to your potential client in such a way that it’s unmistakable that you’ve done this pitch for them and them only.
I know it’s a ton more work per client. But it will get you clients faster, I promise. Because it’s giving potential clients exactly what they want and need to decide you’re worth investing in.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Like This? Get More...
Get daily marketing tips by email... Enter your info below!