The Not-So-Mysterious Art of Getting Clients
Sure, you can print business cards and letterhead. Launch a website. And hang your shingle as a freelance writer or copywriter.
But you're not really "in business" until you GET business. And that means having at least one paying client. Preferably a lot more.
How do you make that happen? It's a lot easier than you may think.
No, you don't need a killer cold-calling script. Or a pitch letter packed with the latest response-boosting techniques. (Although neither of these would hurt!)
All you really need is a plan for communicating with potential clients that accomplishes the following three objectives:
1. Tell Them What You Do
Consider your target market. Does everyone in it know that you're a freelance writer or copywriter? Probably not. In fact, you may be missing out on assignments simply because potential clients don't know you exist.
So tell them!
It's a simple strategy. But it works. I know many freelance professionals who have built an enviable list of lucrative clients just by telling people — lots and lots of people — exactly what it is they do.
One of the most successful copywriters I know is my colleague Ivan Levison. The first six words on his website are: "Hi. I'm a professional freelance copywriter … "
He leaves visitors with no doubt as to the service he provides.
So how do you tell lots and lots of people what YOU do? The options are virtually limitless. You can send letters and emails, make phone calls, write articles, speak at meetings, network at events. And, of course, spread the word online. (Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? Do you post about what you do on Facebook?)
How you do it is not the most important thing. Doing it is.
2. Tell Them How You Help
It's true that you can get by quite nicely simply by telling lots of folks what you do. And I know plenty of freelance pros who have become very successful doing just that.
But if you want to crank it up a notch — so you can get more and better clients, faster — you also need to tell people how you help. To put it in familiar copywriting lingo, you need to bring in a benefit or two.
On my website, for example, I tell potential clients that I'm a copywriter. But I follow-up quickly with a list of three specific benefits my services provide. Clients have said many times that it was these "how I help" bullets that first prompted them to call me.
How do YOU help? Does your copy increase response in a direct mailing? Or boost sales conversion on a website? Or improve readership of a newsletter or e-zine? The more specific you can be, the better.
3. Stay On Their Radar Screen
When I was selling my home a few years ago, only one real estate agent came to mind. Why? Because she called at least twice a year, regularly emailed helpful articles and updates, and kept me stocked with more complimentary calendars, pens, and notepads than I could possibly use.
She was on my radar screen. So when I needed an agent, I called her.
Are YOU on the radar screens of your target market prospects?
Here's what can easily happen: A potential client is blown away by the pitch letter you send him. He says, "The next time I need copy, I'm calling you!" Then months go by and, guess what? He forgets. And hires someone else.
You must have a plan to help prospects REMEMBER who you are and what you do.
There are many ways to stay top-of-mind. You can phone periodically (so long as you don't become a pest). You can clip and send helpful articles. Subscribe prospects to your e-zine or newsletter. Comment on their LinkedIn posts. Follow them and comment on Twitter or Facebook. Etc.
Typically, clients consider only up to three copywriters for a specific project. Make sure you're one of them!
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