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.

That’s true.

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.

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Published: August 2, 2011

10 Responses to “What Do Your Clients Expect from You?”

  1. Pam, thanks for the list, it answers one of my most burning questions of late...how to stay on top of my chosen niche industry challenges and trends. You mentioned "signing up" for Google Trends' weekly listing of websites in our chosen niche industry. but I could not find how or where to do that on Google Trends. What am I missing?

    Jerry BuresAugust 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm

  2. Hi Jerry, Thanks for your comments! Here's my answer to your Google Trends question. You may need to have a Google gmail account, which gives you access to all kinds of tools that they offer. I do have an account, so I simply went to Google Trends http://www.google.com/trends, typed in the category I want to follow, and then they send me trends when I want (weekly, monthly, etc.).

    I hope this helps! Cheers - Pam

    Guest (Pam Foster)August 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

  3. Pam, I logged into my Gmail account & went to Google.com/trends. I typed "pet industry trends" as an example. But no results were available. Hence, I ran into same issue as Jerry. I then went to Google.com/alerts and typed "pet industry trends" in search box. It generated several results. I wonder if Google Alerts is the actual site to get weekly listing of websites that include info about our niche business? If not, would you walk us through the steps to get those listings at Google Trends?

    Guest (Tony)August 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm

  4. Tony, You're absolutely right - my apologies! Yes, originally you'll set up your Google Alerts to receive emails on specific keyword trends. So you've explained it beautifully.

    Go to http://www.google.com/alerts and set up your tracking. You'll need a Google email account to do this, but it's all free. Hopefully this helps! Cheers, Pam

    Guest (Pam Foster)August 15, 2011 at 11:08 pm

  5. Hi Pam-I've plunged into the Accelerated Course, subscribed to Barefoot Writer & am SLAVISHLY working the program, all I can afford now. A sporadic freelance writer, I've written mostly a/b dogs:magazine & newspaper articles a/b activities, health, breeding, a published purebred breed book, informational brochures 4 my Cairn terrier club, & personal anecdotal pieces. I'm very interested in pursuing the "pet industry" niche & need some advice from a proven veteran such as you. Where 2 start? THX!

    Jill in OregonOctober 28, 2015 at 7:51 pm

  6. Hi Pam-I've plunged into the Accelerated Course, subscribed to Barefoot Writer & am SLAVISHLY working the program, all I can afford now. A sporadic freelance writer, I've written mostly a/b dogs:magazine & newspaper articles a/b activities, health, breeding, a published purebred breed book, informational brochures 4 my Cairn terrier club, & personal anecdotal pieces. I'm very interested in pursuing the "pet industry" niche & need some advice from a proven veteran such as you. Where 2 start? THX!

    Jill in OregonOctober 29, 2015 at 12:37 am

  7. Pam, Sounds great but @ this point I don't have the $200 for yet another purchase. Is this the ONLY way I can find the path? I continue to study, read junk mail, copy letters, ordered Ogilvy's book and read the "free" information that comes w/ the programs I have. But when I bought the program, AWAI promised that I could get help from other members.Recommendations to buy more programs is not helpful right now. AWAI DOES do a great job of SELLING using persuasive skills, though. Any other ideas?

    Jill in OregonOctober 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm

  8. Thank you, Pam, This should keep me busy for a while. Thank you, also, for the email. (I responded.) I'm a tad overwhelmed, but I'll not let that discourage me. Onward, Best, Jill

    Jill in OregonOctober 29, 2015 at 6:25 pm


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