What to Say to Potential Web Clients to Get Your Foot in the Door

First, get your foot in the door …

And then, look for ways to increase the scope of every project you do …

 … Before ultimately raising your fees across the board.

It’s a simple, 3-step plan to web-writing success.

But, it all starts with the first step: Getting your foot in the door.

“How the heck am I supposed to do that!?!”

If that was your reaction, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Many web writers have that same feeling when they are starting out …

“I’ve learned the skills … if I could just get my foot in the door, I know I could do this!”

I know how you feel! So today, I’m going to give you some “ins” you can use to get your foot in the door with five of the most lucrative opportunities for web writers in 2011.

We’ll kick things off with writing website copy …

Before approaching a client, you’ll want to find the “money pages” on their website. These are the pages where the client is trying to make a direct sale or generate leads.

They’re usually on the second or third level of the website … Look for words like “order now” or “test-drive.” If it’s a lead generation page, you’ll see something like, “Please fill out this form and someone will contact you.”

Identify these pages, and then ask the potential client, “Would it help you if these pages worked harder?”

The answer, of course, will almost always be yes. And, right out of the gate, you’ve tied yourself to the company’s bottom line.

The next opportunity you may want to consider looks at the website from a different angle …

It’s called site auditing, which means you’ll methodically look for the website’s weaknesses and identify ways they can be improved. Then, you’ll detail your findings in a report for the client.

What I love most about this opportunity is that it’s really a no-brainer for the client, and, for you, it’s like getting paid to put together a proposal. PLUS, you then set yourself up to make a lot more money if you turn around and do the work you just proposed.

To get your foot in the door with site audits, simply ask potential clients, “How much money are you making when people arrive at your website?”

Another variation on that question is, “How much of your traffic is sticking around and turning into paying customers?”

Either way, if they don’t know, they’ll want you to tell them. And, if they do know, you can simply proceed with the first question I gave you: “What if your website worked even harder?”

The last opportunity for working with websites is probably the most popular and, therefore, also the most misrepresented …

And that’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) copywriting. I say the most popular because everyone with a website now knows that they want and need to show up in Google’s organic search results, and SEO is what makes that happen.

Yet, it’s the most misrepresented because there are many “fakes” out there who unfortunately do not really know what they’re doing, and will promise companies things they could never deliver, ultimately resulting in another distrusting and disillusioned website owner.

That’s why when it comes to SEO copywriting, proof will get you the furthest when landing clients. And, that means any experience you can get is very important when you’re just starting out.

Now, if you watched my session of the Web Writer Summit, you know that the only time I condone working on “spec” is if it’s an intentional part of your marketing strategy. But, if you’re brand new to SEO copywriting (zero clients or real-life experience), here’s one way to get some experience that you can leverage into future paying gigs …

First, find a business that will let you use their website as a case study. Offer to write copy for a one-time discounted price to show the before and after, or donate your time in exchange for a testimonial and case study. And then, publish your results and send them to other potential clients.

To get an opportunity like this, simply ask your targeted client, “Would you like to be in a case study I’m writing? I’ll drive free traffic to your website, and all you have to do is give me a testimonial about the results.”

All you need is one piece of proof that you can show to other potential clients when selling them on your SEO ability. And, once you have it, simply show the results to potential clients and say, “Here’s what I’ve done for other companies, and I can do it for you, too!”

The last two opportunities are both known for ongoing work, so getting your foot in the door can mean long-term revenue for you and your business.

First up, writing emails …

Writing emails may be the easiest area of web writing to break into. And, the reason is because the individual projects are small, and therefore, clients have very little risk when they try you out.

But before diving in, spend some time doing a little research to see what the prospective company is already doing …

Sign up for their e-letter (or free report, etc.) and look for opportunities where you think you could contribute and/or improve their current email strategy. You can also buy one of their products (yes, it’s okay to return it afterwards) and review the emails you receive after your purchase is complete.

Once you see what they’re doing with email, ask the potential client, “Would you like readers to open your emails more often?” or “Would you like your readers to buy more?”

When it comes to email marketing, open rates (how many people open the email) and conversion rates (how many of the people who opened the email took action) are what matter most. And, by using this approach, just like with writing website copy, you’re once again tying yourself to the company’s ultimate goals.

The final opportunity I’ve chosen to help you get your foot in the door is social media. And, the reason I chose it is because it’s the opportunity that’s going to see the biggest growth in 2011.

Companies now realize that social media is not just a “passing fad.” Their customers and prospects are using it, and if they want to connect with them, and manage their reputation, they’ll need to use it, too.

Just like with email, you’ll want to first take a look and see if they’re already using social media before contacting them. And then, ask your potential client, “Are you aware of how social media activity is impacting your branding efforts — positively and negatively?” and “Do you know who the key influencers are in your market?”

A “no” to either question will land your foot securely inside the door, and allow you to propose a series of ongoing social media projects that will add a nice new revenue stream to your business.

Concluding thoughts …

Keep in mind that this entire article is based on the assumption that you do, in fact, have the skills to do the job once you get your foot in the door …

If you don’t, back up a step and learn the skills first before trying to get your foot in the door.

Just remember, you don’t have to learn them all in order to become a successful web writer. Choose one opportunity, learn the skills, and launch your business using the “ins” I gave you in this article. Then, while you’re working that one opportunity, start learning the skills to add a new skill set to your list of services, and so on.

This can be your best year ever …

Get your foot in the door, look for ways to increase the scope of every project you do, and then raise your fees across the board.

This article, What to Say to Potential Web Clients to Get Your Foot in the Door, was originally published by Wealthy Web Writer.

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Published: December 22, 2010

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