You know you’re doing the right thing when people start coming out of the woodwork asking to give you money.
I got an email last night from someone who was practically begging me to release a course or program on the kind of high-level copywriting my clients pay me big bucks for.
The great news is, I have most of the content assembled — as I did a similar program back in November 2014, in a closed-door workshop here in Lincoln, NE.
It really wouldn’t take that much work to dust it off and deliver the content again — perhaps in an interactive, online atmosphere.
But considering I’m booked wall-to-wall through August due to those same copywriting skills… Well, right now I’m just going to have to tease you. 🙂
And, answer your questions!
Remember this week I’ve been answering Mailbox Monday questions all week, to catch up on the queue.
To have YOUR questions answered in a future Mailbox Monday, send it through to [email protected].
Most people send questions on copywriting and running a freelance business — I’m also more than happy to answer questions on marketing, selling, business-building, entrepreneurship, life… So whatever burning question you have, send it in!
On to today’s question…
I’m new to B2B copywriting, having trained at AWAI, and on their COS… And after a 20-plus year career as an Investment Professional for a major US Brokerage I decided to concentrate on the B2B Financial Services target market.
What type financial Companies do you think would most be in need of a Freelance Copywriter for white papers, case studies and more?
Larry, you’re in a good spot.
You’ve managed to focus in on a niche with money. And, for credibility and believability, it helps that you are one of them! Or at least, were, recently enough that you can still share your journey.
This is really important for selling your services.
Because no matter what you’re selling to this target market, you can USE YOUR BACKGROUND as a way to create an instant connection.
(The flipside of this — if you’re not from the field you sell to — is to actually “sell against” the idea incest that prevents real breakthroughs from occurring. Whether you’re an insider OR an outsider, there is a story to tell to make it work for you!)
Because you’re an insider, you can probably answer your own question better than I can.
The best thing I can do, having only fleeting experience of the industry, and mostly as a customer, is give you even more questions that point you toward the answer you seek.
First off, I do think you’re smart in the kind of copy you want to do for these businesses…
When you have a business driven by its sales force, there’s an almost infinite need for collateral to support the salesperson. Some businesses are better or worse at recognizing that need, but it’s there.
What you’re doing is equipping the salespeople with a better tool they can use to get more leads, convert more leads into clients, and build more clients into long-term assets for the business.
About the “tool” analogy. A side story.
This is mine, for illustration. It would be smart in selling this service if you come up with your own…
When we lived in Oregon quite a few years’ back, we lived next door to a person who’d built fences for a living. He had owned a fence company, until his back got too painful for work.
But his own fence, between his yard and ours, was a case of “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Along a 70-foot property line, there were approximately six different styles of patchwork fence, apparently taken from scraps of client fences he’d been paid to replace, held together by sheer luck.
Eventually, it fell down, and I had to replace the fence. He offered to split cost, but I was the only one of us healthy enough to do the labor.
Trying to save money, I bought one of those hand post-hole diggers. And worked many, many hours, trying to dig up enough hard, rocky dirt and leftover concrete from old fence posts. It was agonizing labor.
Eventually, I gave up. I’d dug maybe two holes, and had another 7 to go.
I figured out you could go to the local equipment rental place and rent a power auger for like $30 bucks for 4 hours. I did, drove it home, and dragged it into the side yard.
I fired it up, and dug my first hole with it in about 30 seconds. It just tore through the dirt, and pulled it right out of the ground. With barely more effort than lifting one shovelful of dirt, I had a hole.
I went down the yard, one-by-one. Digging each hole. It took me longer to drag the auger between holes and get it positioned right than to dig the hole itself.
It probably took me less than an hour, total, to finish off all the holes. And that was taking breaks of astonishment at the wonderful result, wondering why the heck I’d spent so much time working with an inferior tool.
When you have the right tool to do the job, you get a better result, faster. Your life is so much easier.
Lesson for the business owner or sales executive: There’s no reason you should be asking your salespeople to do their jobs with inferior tools. Having custom-made case studies and white papers they can use to better educate and persuade their prospects will lead to more sales with less effort. You’ll be a hero for giving them the right tools, and your sales and profits will increase.
So, who needs this kind of sales collateral?
Who has a sales team right now?
Who is doing lead generation, that might want a more effective way to capture the attention and interest of their best leads?
Who has a long sales cycle, driven by educational selling materials, who wants 15 reasons for their sales team to stay in touch with prospects, that move the purchasing process forward?
Who has a complex product or service that they need to have simplified for the prospect to understand and embrace it?
Who wants to be able to deliver value throughout the sales process and customer relationship, to establish their expertise and authority among their prospect and client base?
Whose product or service would be better-represented through the use of compelling customer stories than through vague platitudes?
And in the short term, to get business now…
Who already understands the value of these tools, has some in place, but needs either more variety or replacements for the most dated tools in their toolbox? (A previous “buyer” is more likely to buy than someone who this would be brand new for them.)
Here’s really good news…
The financial services industry is one of the most salesperson-heavy industries out there. You know this as well as I do.
And, they have a lot of money to throw around, if it helps them make more money (and often when it doesn’t).
From the outside looking in, I see a TON of opportunity in this space to help them educate and persuade customers with this kind of sales tool.
One final thought, to point you in the right direction…
While someone like HSBC or another big bank might have brokers in every corner of the country (and planet), they’re probably not an ideal target for your services, at least for now. They often hire international consulting firms and ad agencies that may provide an inferior product, but that are used to working with scale. (Or, they have this function in-house — in which case they might benefit from an outside writer, but you have to find the person who can make that buying decision.)
You’re probably best off going after independent brokerages and insurance offices that also sell financial products, and looking for the more entrepreneurial-minded among them.
In general, independent copywriters do best working with more entrepreneurial clients, and I believe it to be the same in your industry. There are quite a few information marketers who’ve succeeded to this target market, so it’s definitely a place where you’d have a great chance of finding opportunity.
Speaking of money…
Just got off the phone with my accountant, and he reminded me of the downside of making a lot of money. I owe a friggin’ lot in taxes! Deep breath.
Maybe I want to do the copywriting workshop sooner rather than later? 🙂
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,