Position Yourself as a Pro

Do you remember the promotional letter for AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, "Can you write a letter like this one?" The truth is, you can.

And if you want to look like a pro, you should.

All you need is one good sales letter to market your freelance copywriting business. And today, I'll tell you what you should keep in mind as you write it.

First Things First

For me, the hardest thing about marketing myself is knowing how to talk about what I do. Don't all copywriters make the same promise … namely, good results? Knowing that, it's hard to differentiate myself. You probably feel the same way.

So before you sit down to write your letter, you need to do some thinking.

First, pick your niche.

First of all, the best way to differentiate yourself is to narrow your focus. If you specialize in a particular type of copywriting or a specific industry, you can set yourself apart from generalist copywriters. Sure, they get results. But, you can offer better results, because you have greater expertise in your niche.

Narrowing your focus is also going to make your letter more effective. For example, let's say you want to target insurance agents. Instead of just offering great results (a general statement that everyone makes), you can say you help insurance agents get more people calling their office for a quote (a specific promise tailored to your target audience).

You see, the more precisely you target your letter, the more specific you can be in the benefits. And ultra-specificity will always make your copy stronger.

By the way, if you're having trouble settling on one particular niche, start searching online for businesses you could target in each niche you're considering. Then, let the longest list win.

Need specific strategies for finding your niche? Check out Pam Foster's program, Niche Yourself and Thrive!

Second, make a list.

I once heard Joshua Boswell say that you don't have a niche until you have a list of potential clients. He's right, of course. And there are two ways you can build your list.

The inexpensive way is to build it yourself. To do this, you'll need to search online for businesses in your niche. Then, you'll need to find the name of the person who is responsible for hiring copywriters — usually the marketing director — and their mailing address.

In many cases, the name of the marketing director won't be on the website, so you may need to call the company and ask for his name.

The easier way is also more expensive, which is to purchase a list from a list broker. Keep in mind, though, that purchased lists are sometimes less accurate than a list you build yourself.

I recommend building your list in an Excel document, with separate columns for contact name, contact title, company, address, city, state, and zip code. That way, you can personalize your sales letter by merging data from your list with your letter. (Look in the help menu in Microsoft Word if you want to learn how to do this.)

Third, clarify your offer.

Next, decide what you're going to offer. What one thing do you want your prospect to do after reading your letter?

To make this easier, think about selling your services as a process. Turning prospects into clients takes multiple “touches,” not just one.

So, let's say you introduce yourself and your services in your letter, that’s your first touch. Your second touch could be a follow-up phone call. And, your special report could be your third touch.

Or to start, a sales letter could identify a problem your target struggles with and offer your special report as part of the solution. The next touch could be a follow-up phone call. And, another touch in the process could be a postcard or email offering a discount on the first project they hire you to do.

Decide how you want to develop relationships with your prospects and what it will take to lead them to the sale. Once you do, you'll know exactly what needs to go into your letter.

Stay With It Till It's Done

Professional marketers craft the best letter they can. But then, they put it to the test. So, that's exactly what you need to do.

Set a deadline and get your letter written. Don't be shy. This is your chance to tell people how you can help them. If you feel stuck, refer to the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. It tells you the exact process for crafting a letter that will sell your services.

Now print it off. Prepare your envelopes and any enclosures. Then, get your letter out the door. Use this opportunity to show off your knowledge of direct-response copywriting.

If you get a response, great! If you don't, okay (remember, it often takes multiple touches to sell a prospect). Either way, you've learned something about how to sell your services. Tweak your headline or lead and send it out again. Keep testing until you get the best response possible.

But, whatever you do, keep sending out your letter. That's what professionals do.

Have you already found the "perfect" offer that positions you as a pro? I'd love to hear what works for you. Share your ideas below.

Tomorrow … step four to looking like a pro (and where you can find your first long-term client).

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: March 14, 2012

1 Response to “Position Yourself as a Pro ”

  1. Hey Kathryn ... great series! I decided to pay more attention to your series of "look-like-a-pro" emails ... very nice. I will tell you that your subject--and in a headline--is what provoked me to open the message, so kudos. The more we read and write -- the better we get, eh? I believe many of us have not achieved all that we could in our copywriting careers but, daggonit, we MUST stay in the game and keep plugging away. Thank you for your spirit of encouragement!


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