The First Step to Landing Your Next Online Writing Project is Knowing What Questions to Ask
By Pam Foster
When a prospective client asks you a question you aren’t sure how to answer, it’s easy to start doubting yourself.
Over the years of promoting my online writing and Internet marketing services, I’ve received many questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer. I can promise you, over time you become more comfortable answering those kinds of questions. One of my favorite answers-one that clients respect-is, “I’m not sure off the top of my head. But I know where to look, so let me get back to you on that one.“
I’ve put together five of the most common questions clients ask about online writing projects along with some ideas on how to answer them without losing control of the conversation.
Prospect: What will you charge to write my web content?
You: I generally charge a flat project fee-I find it helps my clients plan their budgets better and eliminates surprises. To give you an accurate quote, I’ll need to know a little more about the project. Once I have a good feel for how many pages you need, how much is original content and how much is rewriting, and for your goals and the current obstacles you’re dealing with, I’ll be able to put together a firm figure for you. So, let’s talk about your project a little more, and then I’d like to think about your goals for a little bit. I’ll get back to you within a day with a thoughtful estimate based on what we discussed-I’ll also include industry-standard fee ranges for this kind of project so you can compare.
Prospect: I need you to revamp my website-how long will that take?
You: Timelines are a lot like project fees. I need to more specifics to give you a meaningful timeline. Based on our conversation, I’ll put together a rough timeframe and include that in my proposal. The schedule will firm up as we move forward.
Prospect: What can I expect when I work with you?
You: I follow a very clear process-one that I’ve tested and that’s proven to keep projects moving forward smoothly. I include an outline of that process for you in my proposal. It’s a step-by-step method that ensures you and I cover everything we need to up front to create optimized content within the design and functions of your site. As part of my services, I work closely with your web developer or team to coordinate everything. It’s a nice, smooth process that keeps the lines of communication open and keeps you in the loop regarding the project’s progress.
Prospect: How many words do I need on my website?
You: There’s no hard and fast rule for how big your site should be. The search engines work hard to return meaningful content to searchers, and the word count for each page on your site is important. Experts in the search engine optimization industry recommend that each page on your site has at least 250-300 words. I find that often your home page is about this length and that deeper pages within your site have much more than 300 words – as many words as it takes to provide appropriate information, sell your products and services, or convey the intended message.
Prospect: What’s your experience with businesses like mine?
You: (If you do have experience in their industry, just say yes and maybe relate an account of helping such a business. If not, here’s one answer that seems to work well.)
I haven’t been involved with a website in your specific industry, but many of your goals are very similar to goals I’ve helped other businesses achieve. The process I use gets me the information I need to write optimized content for your site and, most importantly, your visitors. As part of my process, I’ll conduct a thorough review of your competitors’ sites to get a strong feel for how you can stand out from the crowd.
Remember … honesty is important. A dishonest answer will only hurt your credibility, so be a straight shooter with your prospects.
For example, a prospect might ask, “Should I include a blog on my site?“
Your answer might be something like the following: “Many businesses find blogs to be useful for interacting with customers and improving SEO results. I don’t have a quick answer regarding how a blog would apply to your website. Let me review your site and your goals, so I can make a more informed recommendation.“
You know how to look things up and find the answers to your clients’ questions. Don’t fall into the trap of tripping over your own tongue trying to give an answer your not confident in. Simply as for the time to give it some thought so that you can provide the most useful and accurate answer for the prospect’s circumstances. Use this approach and you’ll quickly establish yourself as an expert who can be trusted.