3 Powerful Ways to Get Your Prospective Online Copywriting Clients to Say YES

When you are just starting out as a freelance online copywriter, you’ll always face the same challenge: How do you get prospective clients to say yes?

Whether you are cold calling or writing a letter, you have to find a hook. You need your prospect to say yes within the first thirty seconds.

Here are three separate (but connected) pieces of advice I would like to give you in order to get to YES a little bit faster.

1. Identify the area in which they are weakest.

Online copywriting allows you to address a ton of different project types. Right now, a well-trained online copywriter can offer to help in so many different areas.

Here are some of them:

  • Writing online sales pages and landing pages.
  • Writing emails.
  • Writing e-newsletters.
  • Writing online catalog copy for e-retailers.
  • Writing content optimized for search engines.
  • Writing lead-generation pages.
  • Writing subscription pages.
  • Writing informational content pages.
  • Writing customer service pages.

The fact that there are so many different services you can offer as a freelance online copywriter gives you a big advantage. It means you have multiple entry points. You can start work with a new client in just one area, and then expand the scope of what you do for them later on.

This is a key advantage to getting to that all-important YES. If a client doesn’t need help with their emails, maybe they need help with search engine optimization (SEO). If they don’t need help with their content pages, maybe they need help with their landing pages.

And because the online industry is still so young, just about every company could benefit from help in at least one of those areas.

Your job is to do some research and see if you can find the area in which they appear to be weakest.

2. Get your prospect focused on where the money is at.

Tell a prospect that you can help them write a better homepage and you’ll probably get a lukewarm response. Changing the homepage is a big hassle for most companies, and there is no immediate return on their efforts. In other words, changing their homepage doesn’t sound like much of a short-term money-maker.

But, if you tell a prospect that you can improve on a sales page or a promotional email sequence, that will make their ears twitch. A five percent improvement on the conversion rate of one of their sales pages could translate into tens of thousands of extra dollars in their pockets. Almost immediately.

One way or another, whenever you communicate with a prospective client, point out how your involvement could translate into a significant and fast increase in revenues.

3. Only ask questions when you know the answer is going to be YES.

Asking questions can be a powerful way to engage the attention of any prospect. But, you have to be very careful about the questions you ask.

In particular, don’t ask questions that allow your prospect to say no.

I spoke recently to a copywriter who typically opened a cold call with the question, “Do you use freelance copywriters?”

There are two problems with that question. The answer may be no. Also, even if it isn’t no, the prospect might say no as an easy way to get rid of you.

Instead, ask questions where answering no will make the prospect look or feel a little foolish.

Here are some examples:

“Would you like to get more free traffic to your site through improved SEO?”

“Would you like me to show you how to improve your landing page conversion rates?”

“Would you be interested in knowing how to convert more of the leads that come in through your website?”

The answers to these questions, and others like them, has to be YES.

To summarize.

Point One — When you are working online, you can research your prospective clients thoroughly. Their websites are just a click away. And, once you are on their site, you can study it and find areas of weakness. You can even sign up for their emails and newsletters and see how well they do in those areas.

Online, a company is transparent. You can see what they are up to. You can study their competitors, too. Do the research and then approach your prospect with a way to improve on an area where they are weak and need help.

Point Two — One of the most powerful advantages of being an online copywriter is that your skills offer you multiple ways to engage with a new client.

Identify a way in which you can help them make more money, as quickly as possible. This is a great way to start your relationship with any new client. If you can make them more money, you’ll be golden.

Point Three — Ask questions to which you know the answer has to be YES. If you can get a strong YES in the first thirty seconds, the chances of your landing that new assignment are increased dramatically.

Final Point — To get started with a new client, take the path of least resistance. Find out where they are weak. Then make a promise that will earn them more money, fast.

Once you are working with the client, you can then open the door to other areas … “By the way, I noticed that many of your content pages aren’t optimized for your most important keywords. Would you like me to help you with that?”

[Ed Note: Nick Usborne has been a copywriter for 30 years now, 11 of which he’s dedicated solely to online copy. He’s worked with, and has been a web-copy consultant to, companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Disney, America Online, and The New York Times.

He is also the author of Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts (formerly Million-Dollar Secrets for Online Copywriting), a step-by-step guide showing copywriters how to apply their skills to writing for the Web, and confidently present themselves to any company, large or small, as an expert who can transform their online presence.]

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Published: November 18, 2009

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