The Old-Timer's Copy Secret
to Getting More Clients Online

One of the most frustrating things that can happen with your freelance website is to look at your analytics stats of how many people visit your website without ever contacting you.

All those potential clients coming to your site, looking around, and leaving. Which means no dough for you. Ugh. Even as I write this it makes me feel a little sick inside.

Wouldn't you rather have those clients come to your website, browse around, and get a hold of you? Wouldn't you rather they email, or pick up the phone, and start the conversation about how they can hire you for their next project?

Well today, I have a surprisingly simple copywriting trick that will help ensure that qualified prospects who come to your website do indeed end up contacting you.

And when I say simple, I mean it. Once you "get it," you can implement it on pretty much every page of your website (unless you have a million blog posts) within an hour. So, it can start to work for you immediately.

Now, let me address something quickly – I'm not promising a magic pill here. This little copywriting trick isn't going to magically turn someone who has no ability or desire to hire you into a hot prospect for your copywriting services. If you find that secret, tell me and nobody else.

Yet, if the person looking at your website is truly someone who wants to hire a copywriter (and you give him a good reason to make it you), and who has the means (money and clout) to hire a copywriter – this trick will help insure that he gets all the information he needs from your website and then takes that crucial next step of contacting you about your copywriting services.

(And by the way – this works for all service-related freelance websites. So, if you're a copywriter, graphic designer, Internet researcher, or provide some other service – it'll work for you, too. Heck, you can apply this on almost any website, so if you're working on web copy for your clients, keep this little trick in mind, too.)

The Magic Money-Getting Power Of Two Silly Little Words

I spend a lot of time studying the classic direct-response copywriters. What they did, why they did it, and why it worked so darn well.

Well, this is a lesson from the old-timers that's still used as a direct-response rule today (with merit) and that should also be applied to your website copy.

It's the magic, money-getting power of "Over, please … "

Take a look at some of the sales letters you've gotten in the mail recently. Everything from two-page sales letters to 48-page magalogs employ this little readership trick. At the bottom of every page that needs to be turned, there's an "Over, please … " or some variation on those words. They're simply telling you to turn the page.

Bear with me for a brief rant. Listen up, copywriters. I've been reading for years. Learned it when I was little. Books, magazines, anything else. I understand the whole action of turning the page. You don't have to tell me what to do, or how to do it. I get it. Okay?

Okay, rant over. But, you have to agree – that rant is probably pretty close to what you're thinking as the reader, consciously or unconsciously, when you look at the words "Over, please … " at the bottom of a page of direct mail. You don't need the instructions. You know how it works.

Yet, test after test has proven that the simple addition of "Over, please … " increases response on most mailings. It tells the reader they're not done yet. It directs them to go on. And, it helps to maintain momentum all the way to the point at which they respond to the offer – pick up the phone, go online, or write a check and send it in the mail.

In short – even though the people who are reading the mail piece already understand they need to flip the page to continue, they're more likely to actually do it (and thus, respond) when you give them specific instructions about what to do next.

Now Here's How To Apply This To Your Freelance Website

Okay, so you get it. In the mail, it works to add an "Over, please … " on a multi-page direct-mail piece to keep readers going all the way through to the point where they respond to your offer.

But, how does this work online?

Well, let's go back to the psychology of why this works. It works because in a direct-mail piece, each page has a destination – the next page. The idea of one page is to keep people reading beyond that page – to the next page, and the next page after that, and so on. Until they get to the order form and respond.

Well, your website is similar. If you think about it, you have an ultimate goal on your website – to get people to contact you about hiring you.

Yet along the way, you want them to go to the different pages on your website to learn more about what you offer. Here's where you can apply the power of "Over, please … " to your freelance website to lead your hottest prospects all the way through your website up to the point where they contact you about your services.

So, let's say you're building your freelance business website, and you want to apply this principle … How might you do this?

Well first, let's look at the different pages a freelance website may have:

  • Home page with welcome message
  • Specialties page explaining niche and copy specialties
  • Clients page
  • Testimonials page
  • Portfolio page
  • Contact page

The goal of the home page and welcome message is to get a client interested enough to read about your specialties and determine if they're a fit. Then, you want them to see the list of past clients you've helped. Then, you want them to see testimonials about you, your copywriting, and the results you've achieved. After that, you want them to see your portfolio of past work. And finally, you want them to contact you.

So, how do you make this a smoother process … so it's completely natural for the prospective client to click and read through your entire website?

Simple! You give them an "Over, please … "

At the bottom of your welcome message, you provide a link to your specialties page that says, "Read more about my specialties and see if we're a fit."

Then, at the bottom of your specialties page, you give a link to your clients page that says, "Learn who else has used my copy to generate more sales."

And, at the bottom of the clients page, you link to the testimonials page and say, "What have these clients had to say about my services? Read for yourself."

At the bottom of the testimonials page, you link to your portfolio page and say, "Check out my portfolio to see what these clients are raving about."

And, at the bottom of the portfolio page, you provide a link to your contact page saying, "Now let's see what I can do for you – contact me here."

See how this makes it a completely smooth process for your potential clients to navigate from one page, to the next, to the next, all the way through your website – and end up at the contact page?

Using this also makes it easier to know exactly what to put on each page – just enough to get people interested in learning more – and clicking that link at the bottom of the page.

Once you've had this strategy in place for a while, you can go back and look at your analytics and see how it directs traffic through your site – not everyone will follow the path you lay out for them, but a good chunk will, and it's likely to increase your client inquiries from your site.

Oh, and here's the icing on the cake. At any point in the process of browsing through your website, a potential client may decide they want to get a hold of you. This is how you make it easy for them. In the sidebar or at the bottom of the page, you can include contact information or a link to the contact page on your website. Similar to putting a website and 800 number on every page of a direct-response promotion, this gives prospective clients the ability to respond right away, as soon as they're ready to contact you.

Like I said, these strategies aren't quite a magic pill – they won't convert a non-prospect into a prospect. Yet, if you have a prospect on your website, this gives them the extra momentum they may need to contact you about your services – and it's based on a direct-response technique that's been tested over and over again to lift response.

I use it on my website, and think you should take the time to use it on your website, too.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: September 14, 2010

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