Where is Your Best Copywriting Client?
When Kathy Unfricht-Daly first went into business as a B2B copywriter and marketing consultant, she faced a lot of headaches that might sound familiar.
She started out approaching entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners that she met at local networking events. But everything was harder than she expected it to be.
She was doing a lot of unnecessary client hand-holding. She wasted time with copywriting clients who didn’t know what they needed. She struggled to get clients to respond, and when they finally did, they didn’t stick around long enough for it to be profitable for her.
This might make a lot of freelancers feel insecure about their abilities, but not Kathy. She remained level-headed, analyzed the situation, and quickly realized that she was not the problem. The problem was that she was approaching the wrong type of copywriting client.
The entrepreneurs she was working with didn't really know what they needed, and so she decided to start approaching bigger companies. She felt comfortable in that environment; before becoming a copywriter, Kathy worked in Fortune 500 enterprise companies.
It was a smart move, because when she approached larger companies, she got a better response from them and started making more money while working less.
How much easier was it?
“It was night and day,” said Kathy, “When I switched back over to enterprise, I went from having hour-long conversations to having 15-minute conversations.”
Why Bigger Can Be Easier
- Smaller companies try to cut costs by doing it themselves. When working with small businesses, a lot of them had one or two people on payroll that kind of knew what they were doing, so when Kathy gave them a proposal, they would figure out what they needed to do and keep it in-house. She said, “They would pay me for the proposal, but then they'd turn around and hire their nephew or something.”
- Smaller companies skipped steps and cut corners. With new copywriting clients, Kathy puts together a detailed proposal of what they should do for their company and in what order. But a lot of that effort was wasted on entrepreneurs because they didn’t want to go back and do all the steps she recommended. She said, “They don't understand why you have to back up and do certain things.”
- Enterprise companies have more money. They are willing and able to pay professional rates.
- Enterprise companies have more people. With enterprise companies, there are just so many more people involved. Projects often get done quicker because there are enough people involved to break the job into manageable tasks.
Let the Gatekeepers Help You
It felt natural for Kathy to focus on enterprise companies because she has experience working in sales and at call centers. She knows how to cold-call and how to get in to talk to a C-level person.
“The biggest mistake that people make when they do cold calling is they don't use the gatekeeper. They try to get around the gatekeeper,” said Kathy. “What they don't understand is the gatekeeper's not trying to keep you out. The gatekeeper is there to get you to the right person.”
The key is to tell the gatekeeper you have the contact information for the person you want to talk to, but ask, “Is this the correct person?”
That question makes a big difference because they will either say yes or no. If you don’t have the correct person, they will direct you to the right place.
“People want to be helpful,” said Kathy, “and gatekeepers at major companies make really good money because they make sure that the correct people meet.”
Why You Should Cold Call
Many people avoid cold-calling, but according to Kathy, it’s the best way to reach high-quality clients. Kathy’s big breakthrough came when she started using these cold-calling techniques.
She said, “These are people you would never meet any other way. It's a whole different demographic. When you cold-call into a company or a business, that's a person you would never meet. You're not going to bump into them at the grocery store, you're not going to meet them at a networking party.”
Start by introducing yourself and your company, and let them know that you have done your research by telling them you have looked at their website.
She said, “That way, they know you’ve looked at their site, you know what they do, you know who you’re talking to, and it is a good match.”
Once you’ve mentioned a few of the good things they are already doing, ask them to go to your website and say that your services will dovetail nicely with what they are already doing.
Once they have seen your website, schedule a follow-up call.
Why Would a Large Company Hire a Freelancer?
There may be people on the staff who can write emails, newsletters, white papers, and all the things you can write. So why would they bring in someone new?
Kathy said, “Because they're not paying you to write an email. They're paying you to write an email that gets opened.”
If they’re paying $10,000 to get something written, they want to know they will get 10 times the return. That's why they hire outside consultants who specialize and who will improve their response.
You Don’t Have to Start Small
Kathy is one of many successful copywriters who had a breakthrough simply by deciding to approach larger companies. If you would like to try it for yourself, choose a company, do your homework, and apply her cold-calling techniques.
Let me know how it goes.
Do you have a perfect client type? Let me know about it in the comments.