Habit 4: Relentlessly Focus on Ideal Prospects

This week I've been sharing what I consider to be the five most important habits of successful B2B copywriters. In case you’ve missed my first three articles in this series, those habits are:

  1. Take the damn shot. (In other words, make a decision and then do it.)
  2. Give hard work a try.
  3. Treat your business like a business.

Today, I’m going to cover a habit that’s so important, without it your B2B copywriting business is doomed …

Habit 4: Relentlessly focus on ideal prospects.

I can’t begin to express how important it is to identify and attract ideal prospects and turn them into clients. In fact, the base of clients you build determines the success of your business.

Think about it. If you have a base of crappy, low-paying clients, your business will be miserable. Worse, you’ll probably be working hard and barely eking out a living. (I know copywriters in that situation.)

But, if you have even a couple of great clients … clients that are a joy to work with … clients who are happy to pay your top professional rates … clients who are able to give you lots of business, year after year … then life is great. Each day you’re working on the projects you want, with the clients you want, while making the money you want.

If that isn’t the definition of success, I don’t know what is.

To accomplish that Nirvana, however, you must have a relentless focus on ideal prospects. You have to know exactly the kind of clients you want to land and then go after them.

What is an ideal prospect for you?

That depends on several factors. However, there are two criteria that must be on your list:

  • They can afford you.
  • They can give you repeat business.

You want a client who can afford your professional rates. That’s obvious. Otherwise, the best you can hope for is getting booked solid with work that pays peanuts. Not an appealing scenario!

(The good news is, there are plenty of high-paying clients in the B2B world. You won’t have trouble finding them.)

You also want a client who has a continuous need for copywriting services. That way, if they like your work, they’ll hire you for projects again and again, month after month, year after year. The more you work with that client, the faster and easier the projects become, because you know their products and marketplace so well.

I think it was Bob Bly who told me, “A customer will make you money. A repeat customer will make you rich.” How true.

Building a base of ideal clients won’t happen overnight. You may need to take on a few low-paying projects, especially early in your business, to bring in some cash. But, your long-term focus must always be on reeling in ideal prospects.

Really, it’s the only way.

So, here’s what I want you to do …

Create a profile of your ideal client. Keep it handy, perhaps on the desktop of your computer. (Mine is on the bulletin board next to my desk.)

Then find those clients. Chances are, there is one out there today who is looking for a copywriter just like you. Please let me know your thoughts on the ideal client in the comments section.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s habit. It concerns the number one thing copywriting clients want from you.

Modern B2B Copywriting

Modern B2B Copywriting

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Published: August 21, 2014

9 Responses to “Habit 4: Relentlessly Focus on Ideal Prospects”

  1. Hi Steve:

    You are spot on. In a past life, I gave seminars on marketing to small biz owners. The answer to "Who's your ideal customer" is NOT "anyone".

    When you're starting any new business (yesterday's lesson!) it's easy to panic and go after any customer for the money, but strategically looking for the 'right' customer will make you much more successful for the long haul.

    "Do what you do best (your niche) and the money will come".

    Thanks for a great series this week!

    Liz Illgen

  2. What are some things you look for in the client profile?

    Steve W

  3. Steve,

    You are completely right, but there is something I can't figure out. You mentioned in an article in July that we need to find companies that need a LOT of WRITTEN marketing communications.

    For the life of me, I can't figure out what type of companies would need a lot of written marketing communications.

    Do you have any suggestions or hints?


    Guest (Beth)

  4. Thanks Steve,

    I just started this process and I fully expect it to pay off big. When I was getting started I subscribed to everything I could point to with my mouse. Now I'm ready to focus on where I can provide the most value and am now whittling down those that aren't the perfect fit ... finding my niche'.

    Appreciate the great pointers this week.

    William S

    William S

  5. Hi Steve, Thank you for your response about confidence. I guess it helps to know that everybody, in some way or another has the same issue. I am going to take that damn shot. After all the nights I've sat up reading and writing, I don't think anything could stop me now.
    But, as far as finding that ideal client, how do you know who that is, if you've never been out there? What should we be looking for besides the ability to pay and repeat work? What is an "ideal" client?

    Guest (sue)

  6. Hi Steve! This is a great one! I think a lot of newbies might fall into the trap of accepting just any project that comes along, to say they have work. I am beginning to think about my ideal client, because I want to succeed as soon as possible. I can't afford to waste time on the clients who cannot afford me. I don't plan to get caught in the starving writer trap. I don't believe I have to.


  7. Thank-you for the response, Steve. It was quite helpful. I've been a freelance copywriter for about three years, but I have been trying to move into the B2B field, and for some reason, I seem to have a complete mental block on which clients are worth going after.

    I think I have finally figured out my niche, but now I need to see if they actually need enough written material to make it work.

    Thank-you again.

    Guest (Beth)

  8. Thanks Steve for solid gold business pointers! I have chosen the niche of Family Relationships focusing on young families and quality marriages. Thanks FrankG


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