What Do Your Clients Expect from You?
It’s me again, Pam Foster. This week, I’m helping you think through the five questions you must answer to succeed as a professional writer.
Today, I’m going to help you figure out your ideal clients’ true desires when they’re looking for a talented writer like you.
This is very important when you’re writing your self-promo copy, talking to a prospect at a trade show, creating your freelance website, or marketing your services in any other way. Here goes …
Question #2: What do your perfect clients really expect from a professional writer?
What is your potential client’s goal? What do they want from you?
You may answer, “They need someone who can write articles, web content, emails, a direct mail package, a book, press releases, resumes …” or whatever it is you’re offering as a professional writer.
But if you dig deeper, you’ll find what they really want are RESULTS. The copy is the tool to get those results.
- If you’re a web copywriter, your clients need more search engine traffic and online sales.
- If you’re a resume writer, your clients need to stand out to employers and find a great job.
- If you’re a ghostwriter, your clients need to be seen as an authority on a certain subject, demonstrated through their books, articles, speeches, etc.
- If you’re a direct-mail copywriter, your clients want higher response and increasing sales for their products and services.
- If you’re a press release writer, your clients need media attention that leads to customer awareness and sales.
As you can see, ultimately your clients need more than just your writing abilities. They need you to help them succeed in their goals and dreams.
That’s what they really need and want.
So, how do you meet that challenge for your particular clients?
You need to understand their world inside and out … and you need to know your craft as a writer.
For example, if you’re a direct-mail copywriter, your mission is to know how to write sales copy plus the following for your client’s specific market or industry:
- your client’s business challenges, such as competition and today’s buying trends
- the target audience needs and desires
- how to make the client’s products stand out from all other options
- how to create an attention-getting headline and instantly hook the reader
- how to suggest or strengthen an irresistible offer that will generate lots of responses
This knowledge is critical for your work and your client’s success.
And remember that what may be critical to one client may not be relevant to another.
Now, it can be tough to know this level of detail about every client’s industry or market if you’re a general writer working with a wide range of industries. Imagine being an expert on a business software company’s world one week and then starting over for a baby products retailer's world the next week.
It’s much easier to know what your clients want when you focus your attention on a niche market.
As I've mentioned this week, if you’re committed to understanding a niche market – you’ll attract more of your ideal clients because they’ll value the market-specific understanding you offer as a writer. In fact, many clients EXPECT you to know about their niche market. They’re really not interested in teaching you their business.
So once you’ve chosen your niche, how do you go about researching your potential clients’ world — including industry challenges and trends, products and services that are hot right now, how to define your client’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition or unique value message) compared to the competition, the target market, the type of copy (from headlines to offers) prospects respond to, and all the rest?
There are lots of ways. But here are just a few to get you started:
- Read industry trade publications to find out who’s advertising in them, who’s in the “New Products” columns, and “hot topics” in articles. For example, I read Pet Product News to learn about pet owner spending habits, marketing that’s working (for example, articles on daily coupon deals and offers, etc.), and the challenges of today’s pet retailers trying to compete with big box stores and online stores. These publications also help you form a deep understanding of the target prospect your client is trying to reach.
- Find industry news in mainstream business websites, such as Inc. Magazine, Businessweek, CNNMoney, and others. All of these sites have a search feature where you can type in “[niche] trends” to find great articles.
- Go online and find conferences and events in your niche. Conference websites list speaker and workshop topics … a great clue into what marketers struggle with today.
- When you talk with a potential client, ask leading questions to help you understand the company’s challenges and competitive climate. Dig deep to find out how your prospect’s offerings are different from/better than the competition’s.
- Sign up for Google Trends (it’s free) to get a weekly listing of websites that include information about your niche business. For example, I signed up for “pet industry” trends.
I encourage you to look deep into your heart and go after a specific niche market that will bring you credibility, clients, and joy day after day. I invite you to share your niche with me by posting a comment below.
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 »