Getting clients …
That’s the #1 concern I hear about from new copywriters.
It’s frustrating when you yearn for business and can’t seem to find a client on the horizon …
Especially when you hear and read about all the work that is out there.
You read about the Business-to-Business (B2B) market and how it’s easier to find clients there, so you switch your attention to B2B for a while … with no luck.
Or, you see how several writers are landing lots of work in the online market — writing autoresponders and web pages, so you decide that’s where you should focus — all the while wondering why you can’t find any clients.
Doubt creeps in as you wonder if you’re really cut out for this business. You may have even considered “cutting your losses” before you sink any more time into this “copywriting thing.”
If this sounds at all familiar, I’ve got good news for you.
There’s a reason you aren’t attracting clients. And, it’s NOT because you aren’t good enough, determined enough, or that there aren’t well-paying clients out there.
The reason you’re having difficulties finding clients is because you’re missing one key ingredient.
It’s something that all top copywriters say you need to do.
In fact, they say it attracts clients to your doorstep like magic. Not only clients, but better clients. Plus, it helps you write faster. And, you’ll be able to significantly increase your fees.
And, from my own experience, I can confidently say — “the experts are right.”
So, what am I talking about?
Picking a niche.
Why is this such an important success key?
Well, imagine typing the words, “companies that hire freelance copywriters” into the Google search box.
Do you think it would return you a list of potential paying clients?
Most likely you think that is a rather silly idea.
However, when you don’t have a niche to focus on, this is similar to how you are looking for clients.
You’re not sure who to target, which makes it difficult to write a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and to market your services.
Plus, EVERYONE is a potential client, which can make your search overwhelming and unmanageable.
But, if picking a niche is so critical to a high level of success, why don’t more of us do it?
While at Bootcamp this year, I realized I’m not the only one who has made picking a niche into one of my top “writer’s life” stumbling blocks.
Pam Foster, whose business exploded after picking a niche, says, “What stopped me is a very common mindset among copywriters … I was worried that being niche-focused would limit me to the types of clients and projects I’d get. But … ever since I picked a specific niche, my work has been incredibly varied from client to client. By not promoting your business in a niche market, you find yourself in a crowded sea of generalists. Unfortunately, prospects can’t find you in that crowd. In reality, you limit yourself by being too broad because you don’t know specifically who you’re talking to in your marketing.”
What’s important to realize is that when someone is looking for you, they don’t just type “copywriter” into the Google search box. They type in words that are relevant to their industry. Words such as “software copywriter,” “aeronautics copywriter,” or “private schools copywriter,” for example.
So, if you haven’t picked a niche yet … are in the midst of trying to decide … or the thought of choosing paralyzes you … I’m about to make this A LOT easier for you.
Here are three things I realized about picking a niche (that took me way too long to figure out):
1) A specialty is not the same as a niche.
Thanks to Nick Usborne, I’m no longer in the dark about this one. For a long time, I thought “picking a niche” meant choosing a specific type of copywriting. For example, I thought a niche could be web writing or B2B or writing long sales letters.
The truth is, while you can choose to specialize in one of these areas, this is not your niche. A niche is an area you choose to concentrate in. For example, Pam Foster’s niche is the pet industry. Jay White’s is Internet marketing. Paul Hollingshead’s niche is finance.
So, instead of focusing on what type of writing you’ll do for a client, pick an industry or topic that interests you.
Do you have a specialty picked out already? No problem. You can combine your specialty with your niche. For example, you could be a sports copywriter specializing in emails and autoresponders.
2) You don’t have to pick just one.
While you’ll eventually want to narrow it down to one for the best results, starting out, you might consider several niche possibilities.
In the Roadmap Tutorials, Become a Web Writer, Joshua Boswell suggests you choose several niches and start putting feelers out in each of them to see which one “sticks.”
So, maybe you know a lot about medical software, but your hobbies are photography, gardening, and yoga. You could make several lists of companies targeting medical software creators, camera companies, gardening goods suppliers, and businesses having anything to do with yoga.
When determining your perfect niche, Pam Foster says to look for the “trifecta” of these criteria:
- You love the topic
- You have experience in it, and;
- It’s a thriving industry
Don’t be concerned about whether you have professional experience in an industry. Pam says experience can refer to being a customer in the industry. For example, maybe you’ve been a “gamer” for a long time or belonged to a fitness facility for years. This experience gives you a unique perspective and qualifies.
Things you can look at to decide whether you’ve picked a niche which is a thriving industry are trends, industry publications, and is there a mix of new and established companies. (For a more complete list, along with 60 of the top niches, check out Niche Yourself and Thrive!)
3) Don’t let worrying about whether it’s the perfect niche stop you from getting started.
I’ve wasted so much time trying to “decide” what specialty and niche to choose that I know I’ve cost myself money. It’s easy to worry about whether or not you’re choosing the right niche.
But, ask yourself, “Why?”
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
You’ll lose more money by indecision. Just pick one and go for it. As the American Navy’s first four-star Admiral, David Farragut (1801-1870) said …
“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”
Think about it … what does waiting around trying to figure out what niche is right for you really accomplish? Plus, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Let’s say it’s not the right fit.
You end up with some work samples for your portfolio. You learn something about what you don’t like and maybe even something about what you do like. And, you’re one step closer to finding out what is right … because you’re able to scratch one thing off your possibility list.
So, if you’re frustrated by your lack of progress, feel like you’re randomly jumping from one specialty to the next, or are lost in a sea of generalists — don’t throw in the towel! The solution to your problem might just be that you need to narrow your target audience and pick a niche to focus on.
By taking time this week to pick a niche, you’ll start making real progress towards your dream of living the writer’s life.
As Pam Foster attests, “Picking a niche changed everything for my business! It was like night and day. Here’s why. Once you determine a niche, it’s so much easier to connect to your industry prospects because you can play more effectively in industry-specific social network groups in LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. Plus, your ideal prospects will find you when they search for a copywriter in your industry, too — such as “sports copywriter,” “dental practice copywriter,” etc.
Just like Pam, once you pick your niche, you’ll start attracting clients to your business, writing faster, and charging more for your services.