A Simple Way to Get Clients

Christina Gillick here again for The Writer's Life.

A lot of beginning copywriters stress about one main thing: getting clients.

That’s why yesterday I wrote about mastering the mental game and staying motivated even when things don’t seem to be going according to plan. If you can stay levelheaded, the process will be much easier.

But you’ll still need a plan of action for finding and convincing clients to hire you.

One of my favorites is explained by Ed Gandia in The Wealthy Freelancer. Ed does a great job of simplifying the client-getting process. He states that even seasoned pros sometimes have trouble landing clients when they have to go outside their comfort zone – word of mouth or referrals.

He goes on to explain that you need to follow some specific steps in order to simplify your client-getting process (and have a steadier stream of work).

1. Find Highly-Qualified Prospects

The first step is to compile a list of potential clients, known as prospects. Be specific with who your ideal client is. (For example, my ideal clients are self-help companies with a product – one I would buy and use – that they want to market online.)

Then look for companies who have a high probability of hiring a freelancer. If they already work with other freelancers, they’re more likely to hire you than if they do all their writing in-house.

Your list should be fairly large (at least 25 names) and always growing because you need to have a large pool of prospects to build your business. Building a list isn’t as hard as you think, but it may take some time.

First, check out your local library. They have books with listing of businesses in certain industries. You can also check out business rankings, trade publications, and industry associations.

The Internet is your largest resource. There are tons of potential clients hiding in open view.

You can search for industry-specific associations that you can connect with. Spend some time learning how to use Google’s advanced search features to narrow your results, and it will be less frustrating.

Another great online resource is LinkedIn. Virtually every professional has a LinkedIn account, and you never know who might be in your network. Read how John Wood uses LinkedIn to keep a steady stream of clients and work.

2. Turn Prospects into Leads

Once you have a list of prospects, you should start turning them into leads.

A lead is a prospect who has expressed interest in the service that you provide.

You can do this by emailing the prospects on your list, sending them a direct mail letter, or even connecting via social media.

To generate interest in your services, you could send them a one-page letter explaining why they should hire you and how you can help them. Remember to ask them for a specific response like, “Contact me today for a free consultation.”

To learn more about writing your own self-promotion letter, check out this article.

3. Turn Leads into Opportunities

The next step before a prospect becomes your client is to make them “an opportunity.” Ed Gandia says, “A lead can become an opportunity only when you get a chance to present your services, discuss a project, or quote a job.”

As I mentioned above, you could give a free consultation to interested prospects and see if they mention any copy needs during the call. A consultation is a great way to create opportunities with a client without putting them in a “selling” situation. Let them sell themselves on your service as they tell you what they need.

4. Keep in Touch Regularly

Be sure to follow up with opportunities, whether they hire you not. Keep in contact and stay on their minds. This will put you in a position to be the first one they call when a project comes up.

Keep a list of high-quality prospects to email on a regular basis. Personalized emails always work better than generic ones. You could even send them articles specific to their niche. Also, including marketing tips in your emails helps convince potential clients you’re an expert.

When an opportunity gives you a project, they become a client. Congratulations! Do a good job, and they’ll likely become a repeat client and refer you to others.

But, don’t forget about your prospects and leads. Remember to connect with them regularly, even when you have plenty of work. Check out this list of online copywriting projects that repeat on a regular basis, so you’ll never experience downtime.

If you use this method, I’d love to hear about it. Go below to comment.If you don’t use this method, how do you get clients?

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Published: April 25, 2012

2 Responses to “A Simple Way to Get Clients”

  1. I used to just stand on the corner of a busy intersection with a cardboard sign that said "Will write for fee."

    But everyone thought I had a lisp and was trying to say free - not fee.

    Live and learn I guess.

    Good article Christina - as usual.

    Sean McCool

  2. Your local chamber of commerce can also be a great place to start.

    Networking is key, after all.

    Also, your local church, clubs and other organizations can help.

    Marketing is all about letting people know about the services you can offer and how you can make a positive difference in their work-lives.

    Once you get to know them personally, they are more likely to hire you.

    Thanks for writing such an informative and interesting article. Have a good one.

    Archan Mehta

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