Getting New Clients Is Easier Than You Think

I field a lot of different questions from new and prospective copywriters. But one question that almost everyone asks is “How do I find clients?”

Finding clients is the #1 concern for most new copywriters. And who can blame them? Freelancing can seem daunting for someone used to a guaranteed paycheck – even if the check isn't all that large.

And that fear can be crippling. It keeps many talented people from building a future as a six-figure copywriter. They get started, but then they get scared. And they go back to their nine-to-five jobs … just because the paychecks are a sure thing.

What these people don't understand is that finding clients doesn't have to be overwhelming. And it doesn't have to be hard.

For example, copywriter Shel Horowitz recently told me about an online technique he uses to add $30,000 – $40,000 to his earnings every year. It's amazingly simple, and here's how he does it:

Shel participates in several online forums related to his copywriting specialty: publishing.

When he finds an appropriate question from another forum member, he posts an answer. And he does so in a way that demonstrates his skills and expertise. This opens a dialog with prospects who need Shel's services.

Sometimes Shel lands the person who posted the question as a client. And sometimes it's a different forum member who hires him.

Shel only posts about 100 to 150 times a year, and most of his posts take less than 15 minutes to write. It's quick. It's easy. And he doesn't even have to ask for jobs. Instead, the clients come to him because of his posts.

To use Shel's technique, first, locate an online forum related to your specialty (by using an online search engine).

Next, learn the forum and its habits – read their FAQs (frequently asked questions) and follow the posts for a couple of weeks.

Finally, begin responding to carefully selected questions and posts. Always be helpful, and don't try to fake your way through anything. You don't have to hide the fact that you're a copywriter. Just don't treat your posts as an opportunity to advertise.

You can join and drop forums as you find them useful. Some may bring you quite a bit of business, while others may bring none. Keep in mind that it will take a little time to establish your reputation on each forum.

But maybe going online isn't your thing. That's okay. No matter what your personality or preferences, there's a way to win clients that will fit you to a "T."

For instance, a technique Bob Bly recommends is the "bait piece." A bait piece is a special report that entices prospects to inquire about your services. You can offer a bait piece in a mailing or on your website.

The report doesn't have to be very long – many are less than a dozen pages – but it does have to be written on a topic that's important to your prospects. And it should offer valuable information that the average prospect doesn't already know.

Don't just write something off the top of your head. Take the time to research the subject thoroughly. And don't plagiarize someone else's work and call it your own.

If you save your bait piece on your computer in PDF format, you can easily print it out or send it as an email attachment. PDFs print well, and your prospect can read it no matter what operating system his computer uses.

Create a simple "cover" for your report, and be sure to put a price on it. The report's length and how technical the information is can help you determine the price. Also check the prices of similar bait pieces.

One of the best features of a bait piece is that it not only draws inquiries from prospective clients, it also proves your expertise.

Having as much work as you can handle is a lot easier than you'd think. These are just two of more than two dozen techniques I've identified to build your client list. No matter what your level of experience is, there are ways you can start building your business today.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: September 10, 2007

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