Copywriters Needed: Why Bad News in the B2B Market Means More Work for You

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Sometimes when you’re a copywriter, bad news in your industry means good news for you personally. That might seem strange, but it’s true. For example, I recently saw a bit of “cautious news” in the business-to-business industry that will basically translate to two beautiful words: “Copywriters Needed.”

Let me explain.

Here’s an excerpt from the article recently published in Marketing Forecast, and then I’ll give you my take on why this is actually going to result in more copywriters needed throughout the B2B industry…

“Is the B2B market improving in 2010? A recently released survey by OneSource indicates there’s good news and cautious news. The good news is that nearly half (47%) of B2B sales professionals say there are more deals in the pipeline. The cautious part of this report indicates that almost 2/3’s (59%) of these professionals find that it’s taking longer to close deals.”

If you’re a B2B copywriter, get ready to get very busy. Here’s what both pieces of news can mean for you:

More Deals in the Pipeline for B2B Companies Means More Copywriters Needed for New Projects

B2B companies are beginning to see a rise in sales. That means more revenues, and higher revenues often lead to bigger budgets and more marketing projects. If you’re ready, willing, and able, that can more work on your plate and higher fees for you as a B2B copywriter.

And now for the bad news… bad for them, not for you.

Because It’s Taking Longer to Close Deals Companies Need Copywriters to Write More Effective Sales Support Materials

When the sales cycle slows down, salespeople turn to the Marketing Department for support. They need a wider variety of marketing materials to sustain the interest of their prospects and move their deals forward. They need more white papers, case studies, online videos, you name it … And guess who they need to write all these materials? That’s right. A B2B copywriter.

In the B2B world, when it’s taking longer to close sales, the pressure for market materials turns up. Materials like:

  • Email Marketing Campaigns
  • Newsletters and E-newsletters
  • Landing Pages
  • Webinars
  • Online Videos
  • Case Studies
  • Thought Leadership Articles
  • Sales Letters
  • Direct Mail Packages
  • Sales Presentations
  • Brochures and Sales Sheets

If you’re on your toes, you can use this list to turn small B2B writing projects into bigger ones with heftier fees.

Here’s what I mean…

Say a client asks you to help write a new brochure. Your first question is “What is the purpose of the brochure?” You need to know if it’s going to be used by the sales force, as part of a direct mail campaign, or for an upcoming trade show.

Once you know that you can anticipate other needs the client might have. Let’s say, the brochure is indeed for a trade show. You can turn that single brochure into a much bigger project by saying something like this:

“I see. Well, giving your salespeople something to hand out at a trade show is important. But at a busy trade show, you might want to consider arming your salespeople with something more alluring, too. What about a white paper or a special report that deals with a hot topic currently on the mind of the prospects you hope to meet at that trade show?

If you had a brochure and a special report stacked beside each other on a table, you’d see the report go like hotcakes – which can only help your sales team. I know you called me for a quote on the brochure, but would you like to spend a few minutes talking about that trade show, and maybe I can give you a quote on writing a special report, too? Then you can decide if it’s worthwhile to produce both pieces or not.”

Just like that, you’ve opened the door to more work. In about 30-seconds you’ve potentially doubled your project fee… or more!

Notice how you’re not trying to tell the client they don’t need a brochure. Rather, you’re discussing their bigger marketing plans and finding what other ways you can support those plans.

There’s another opportunity hidden within the script I just gave you. Did you catch it?

Position Yourself as a Consultant, Not Just a Copywriter

The fact is, almost every time a client or prospect calls you asking for a quote, you have a little window of opportunity where you decide to simply take down their order or go the extra mile and become a consultant. Most freelancers miss that window altogether… a lot of them don’t even know it’s there!

All that is required to become the consultant is to ask a couple of questions about what your client really needs… not just what he says he needs. When you do this, you’ll often discover a huge potential for additional work. And often lining up that additional work is a simple as making a suggestion.

In the scenario above, you discover the client has a trade show coming up, and you suggest a special report on a hot topic to complement the standard brochure. In just half a minute, you’ve given your client a great piece of advice about how to generate more leads during the event.

You’ve also elevated yourself from copywriter to consultant. This strategy doesn’t always work. Sometimes a client will turn down your suggestion because there isn’t time or it’s not in the budget. But, hey, it took you 30 seconds to ask and it added to the perceived value you deliver to the client.

When you increase your value, you’ll be amazed at how much easier your client is to work with. They’ll accept higher quotes, do fewer revisions, and send you more projects. So was that 30-second effort worth it? Definitely!

There’s never been a better time to become a B2B copywriter. If you know how to spot the opportunities and if you know how to win work from new clients and increase your perceived value, you’ll be positioned to make a very nice living in this field that desperately needs the services of good copywriters.

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Pete Savage

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