Maybe you’re going through the same thing I was …
Struggling to get consistent work.
Working with clients who don’t understand the importance of good copy and what it will do for their business …
Who suck up your time and expect to pay much lower than what you’re really worth.
If this sounds like your business, then you’ll want to pay close attention to what I’m about to say …
My name is Cindy Cyr and that was my business up until six months ago. I was stressed and not having very much fun.
That is until I made one simple change in my business approach.
A change that flipped a switch — creating a great client list with Zig Ziglar and a steady stream of web clients who pay in the thousands of dollars instead of the hundreds.
Plus, I’ve cut my prospecting time in half while consistently receiving two to three new requests for proposals each week.
Today I’ll tell you how to open the floodgates to consistent, well-paying clients and cut your prospecting time in half.
Build a lucrative client network
from just one strategic contact
One day after a client gave me keyword phrases from her SEO firm, a light bulb turned on.
Why go after just one client when you can leverage a strategic partnership with a company who has access to a huge database of clients?
SEO firms have loads of established clients. All who need content.
Not only are SEO firms customer-rich, but so are Interactive Marketing, Web Design, and Social Media firms, too.
As I made connections, I discovered that although most agencies offer multiple services, often copywriting is not among their list.
Because of this, many are open to — even eager about — talking to writers. And, especially writers trained to write for the Web.
Not to mention that adding copywriting to their list of services completes their package — turning their firm into a one-stop shop.
In fact, all but one firm I contacted was interested in my copywriting services.
The resource that led me to Ziglar
It was through an SEO Meetup (I’ll tell you more about Meetups in a minute) that I met the Vice President of Operations from an Interactive Marketing Agency. A connection that eventually led to my working with Ziglar.
Truth be told, when I finally got a meeting with the CEO of this agency, the initial project was a case study — something I had little to no experience writing …
So, I picked up Steve Slaunwhite’s Secrets of Writing High-Performance Business-to-Business Copy and crammed for my meeting.
I knew it paid off when halfway through our first meeting, the CEO got up, left the room, came back, and handed me a check … saying, “I don’t usually do this, but if I like what you do, there will be plenty more work for you. Oh, by the way — we’re seeing Zig Ziglar next week, can you come?”
My first job was to write a case study for their Ziglar project.
A few days later, I met Zig backstage at one of the Get Motivated Seminars and interviewed his son for the case study.
Become an indispensable resource they rely on
Flash forward and this same CEO now describes me as “one of my best finds of 2009.” Assigning one of his VP’s the task of going through each and every client and working with me to make proposals for everything from PPC and landing pages, to email campaigns, websites, and press releases.
He’s put me on retainer to help market his own company and invested in new email marketing software to push my email services to his clients.
He’s even paid me to write copy explaining my services — which he now includes in his presentations and is adding to his website.
And, when Ziglar Corporation gave him a shot at more business, he called me for help with strategy and copy — making me a lead on the project. Because of this, I’ve formed a strong relationship with the Ziglars, resulting in an extension of my contract through the end of the year.
This experience confirmed for me that I knew enough to not only write for larger, better paying clients, but that I could make a substantial difference to these clients.
If you’re like a lot of new copywriters, you get stuck in an eternal learning mode. Lacking confidence, you attract low-paying clients until you “know enough.”
Let that fear fade away.
If you’ve taken Michael Masterson’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, you’ll likely know a lot more about persuasive copywriting and marketing strategy than these agencies.
So, make strategy suggestions whenever possible.
Even when less familiar with a project, I turned to the Wealthy Web Writer website or Nick Usborne’s Copywriting 2.0 for quick answers. This helped me speak intelligently — and allowed me to cram later to write the project.
Using this idea, you can quickly position yourself as more than just a copywriter.
In fact, by doing just that, I’m now seen as a strategist who also writes — making me a valuable asset the firm has grown to rely on.
My 6-step system for contacting prospective partners
Step One: Research and compile a list of prospective partners.
Here are five places I used to find strategic partners:
Go to www.meetup.com. One of the best resources I found for making contact with potential strategic partners.
Meetup is a network of local groups. You can find groups in 45,000 cities throughout the world or even start one in your own city. Topics range from business to hobbies — and meetings cost nothing to very little to attend.
Search for meetings near you which focus on Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing, Web Design, or Social Media.
An advantage to using this source is that you meet potential clients face-to-face, cutting out the cold-calling factor.
Plus, in addition to meeting potential clients, you’ll learn a lot about how to effectively market online during meetings.
Ask for referrals. The trick here is to be specific about what you want and ask multiple groups of people.
For example, on my LinkedIn page I wrote, “Looking for referrals to SEO firms who outsource copywriting.” The very first day, I received two referrals with contact names. Plus, an email from a company interested in hiring me to write SEO copy for their website.
Another idea is to email contacts you know who outsourced their website design and ask for an introduction to their designer.
When you get referrals, ask your contact if you can use their name when approaching the new business.
Once you get permission, make it easier to start the conversation by saying, “Mark Marketer from Company XYZ gave me your name and suggested I contact you.”
Do a Google search on Web Design, SEO Firms, and Internet Marketing Firms in your area. Check out their websites to see what services they offer. When you don’t see copywriting services listed, take that as a big clue they need you.
Also, check out who their clients are. This gives you a good indication of the size and types of clients they’ll feed you.
Get a copy of the “Book of Lists.” Go to your local library and ask the resource desk for a copy of the “Book of Lists.”
Published by the Business Journal, “the list” contains the top companies for a variety of business categories in your area, including Web Design.
Being the highest earners and the most reputable in most cases, means they’ll understand what you do, have a bigger list of clients, and most likely pay you better, too.
Check the resources on your library website. A lot of libraries purchase subscription-based databases. With your library card, you can access this information for free.
Reference USA is one of these resources. You can search companies all over the country using selection criteria such as business type, size, or sales volume. You can even enter a county or zip code in your search criteria.
Step Two: Zero in on the companies that are most ideal. (Before you pick up the phone)
There won’t be a shortage of possible partners. The trick is finding one or two companies that will be a perfect match for you — paying you well while offering clients you want to write for.
Speed up your path to a successful match by finding the answers to these two questions first:
- Do the types of clients this agency typically serves match the type of clients I want to write for?
- Does their client list contain bigger companies that can afford to pay my fees?
Step Three: Pick up the phone and call.
If it is a cold call and you don’t have a contact name, ask, “Can you tell me the name of the person who handles your marketing?”
Once you have that name, ask if that person is available.
If calling a referral or following up from a Meetup, mention how you “know” your contact when you get him on the phone.
Step Four: Find out if they use outside writers.
Say, “I’m an online copywriter … do you outsource any of your writing?”
If they say no, simply thank them for their time and hang up.
If they say yes, ask if you can email them some information about your services (or direct them to your website).
Step Five: Set an appointment time to follow-up.
Before you end the call, you want to set an appointment for the next step. Simply asking, “Can I follow-up Thursday morning at 10:15?” gives you permission to follow-up and sets an expectation.
If that time doesn’t work, ask if mornings or afternoons are best, then give them another option.
Step Six: Follow-up and don’t give up.
It took multiple attempts to get an appointment with the agency that led me to Ziglar. So, if it’s an agency you’re excited about — but you can’t seem to get in the door — try a different approach. But don’t give up.
If you’re feeling a little discouraged by your list of clients — or lack of — use my 6-step system to start making some mutually-beneficial connections.
Soon you’ll experience the surprise I did when you realize these agencies have a demand for writers. Like me, within days, you can have new assignments lined up, and soon after, a consistent source of clients. A variety of experience. And, a mailbox filled with checks.