Bootcamp Secrets:
Bob Bly’s 5 Most Powerful Strategies for Getting Clients

Bob Bly is always one of the most popular presenters at our FastTrack to Success Bootcamps. And this year was no exception. All five of his presentations were standing room only.

But Bob’s first presentation had particularly strong appeal. It was about the highly successful strategies he’s used to promote himself (and that he teaches in his personal self-promotional mentoring sessions).

If you’re serious about freelancing, here’s what Bob says you MUST do …

Strategy #1: Have a Website

Your website has several purposes, including:

  • offering potential clients a chance to get to know you
  • having work samples readily available, and
  • giving potential clients an easy way to contact you

But your website’s most crucial function is to give you credibility.

I’ve heard new copywriters express doubt that a website would get them work. Bob’s presentation drove home the fact that by not having a website, you could be losing jobs.

Let’s say you contact a potential client about a job. One of the first things they’ll do is look at your website. No website … and their first inclination is to go elsewhere. They want you to promote their product, but you’re not promoting yourself. Why should they hire you?

Strategy #2: Publish Your Own E-zine

Your e-zine should not sell your services directly. Use it to give your clients interesting, useable information that relates to improving their business. When they get this information, they will be grateful for it … and will associate you with that feeling of gratitude.

Here are 4 ideas for making your e-zine successful:

  • Keep it short and keep the language simple. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to read.
  • Send it as text and not HTML – unless, that is, you’re providing images as a functional part of your message (for instance, if you’re a designer).
  • Establish a schedule you can keep. If you say your e-zine comes out every 2 weeks, make sure it does. Your ability to stick with this schedule reflects on your overall dependability.
  • Develop alliances with other copywriters and link to each others’ e-zines.

Strategy #3: Create a Lead Generator

“Lead generator” is another name for a self-promotional sales package. The package should contain at least a sales letter and a reply device. It MUST sell the benefits of hiring you.

Bob provided several great ideas for how to do this. The most important thing to remember is that your self-promotional sales letter is a sample of your ability to write a strong sales letter for a client. Your product is you.

Don’t lapse into formal business-speak in the letter. Showcase your copywriting and promotional skills by taking advantage of all the secrets you’ve learned from AWAI programs.

Strategy #4: Have a “Copywriting Information Kit”

Any sales letter must have a call to action for the prospect, and your self-promotional letter is no exception. But the call to action should NOT be “hire me.” The call to action is to get prospects to contact you for more information.

Your first letter should stimulate your prospects’ curiosity about how you can help them. In that first letter, ask them to send for a “Personalized Copywriting Information Kit.” The kit will contain a letter with more information about your background and skills (written in a conversational tone), a resume, and samples of your writing.

It can also contain – but doesn’t have to – a list of current and past clients and a fee list. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a strong portfolio of writing samples, use your AWAI exercises. Or rewrite packages you’ve received in the mail to make them stronger.

Strategy #5: Write and Offer a “Bait Piece”

What you’re really doing when you offer a “bait piece” is giving your prospective clients a premium, one you’ll send with your information kit. This is a short (1 to 4 pages), informative piece you’ve written or adapted about some aspect of copywriting or product promotion that will interest them.

By using these 5 strategies, you’ll strengthen your self-promo efforts – and improve your success – tremendously.

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Published: November 20, 2006

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