Euphoric woman searching job with a laptop in an urban park in summer[/caption]Whether you’re a veteran copywriter or a newbie, there’s one thing we all have in common. To be successful, we need clients. And we need them on a regular basis. That is the key to the longevity of our business and to our success. But how do you go about getting clients in the first place?
It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. The secret is finding out which method works best for you. I’ve put together the many notes I have on the subject and offer you a variety of methods to try. Take the time to discover which one matches your strengths and style … and which one works best for you. Then use it consistently and watch how your business changes.
Before we get into the seven proven strategies you can use to land clients, there’s one thing you need to do first …
Make a list of your 20 most desirable clients.
After deciding on a niche or subject matter, begin studying the top 20 clients that you would like to work with. Get on their email list and start following the types of content, marketing materials, and sales messages they use. Learn their language, the services they provide, and the types of clients they go after. Study and learn everything you can about them. Figure out their pain points and ways you can help the client overcome them.
Once you’ve decided the clients you’d like to work with, find out whom to contact within the company. Look for a marketing director or similar title. If you can’t find a specific name, contact them through their website and ask, “Who is the marketing director and how can I reach that person?”
Once you have an idea who to go after, the next step is to take action. This is where the 7 proven strategies come into play.
7 Ways to Connect with Your Prospects.
These ideas come from several sources including Joshua Boswell, Steve Slaunwhite, Ed Gandia, Rebecca Matter, Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly, Pete Savage, Dan Kennedy, and a few of my own ideas that have worked.
So here we go … let’s see which one best fits you.
Cold calling – Phone the contact directly. Put together a script ahead of time and practice using it before you make the first call. you’ll come across as professional and confident. If you wind up going to voice mail, leave a pleasant message and suggest a time when you will call back. If you have an option to click through to an assistant, use it and set up a phone appointment to speak with your prospect.
Warm emailing – If phoning a stranger makes you uncomfortable, reach out via a warm email. Personalize it with a compliment about their website or product, with a common interest, or with a recent news story you read about them. Your goal is to establish a relationship with the prospect first, so don’t be sales-y. Offer them some value before you make your pitch. It may take a few emails to get this going. Always follow up.
Engage in social media – If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, create a professional one describing your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your strengths, and how you help clients reach their goals. Start connecting with those you feel could use your skills and that you’d like to work with. Interact with them and provide some useful information. Build a rapport with your prospects so they come to know, like, and trust you. Once you’ve presented yourself as the expert in your field and demonstrated your ability to deliver, clients will start coming to you.
Create a FaceBook business page and use Twitter to promote yourself and announce industry news relative to your niche. Tie your website and social media presence together.
Don’t just join groups with other writers. Join the groups where your prospects hang out. Become an active member and contribute value.
Write a sales promotion about yourself – Snail mail is still effective and you can stand out by writing a letter rather than connecting only online. Use your persuasive skills to introduce yourself and begin the interaction with the prospect. Follow up by sending samples. Ask for an appointment so you can talk about what you can offer them. Set up a date and time for a phone call. Then call at the specific time and follow up. Don’t be a pest, but be persistent.
Live networking – I’m a people person and enjoy interacting with clients and prospects face-to-face, if possible. This method has been my most successful approach. I’m an active member of the local Chamber of Commerce. At every meeting I introduce myself and give my 30-second briefing on what I do. I’ve obtained many clients through this organization and continue to get referrals from those clients. I’ve learned to stretch my skill sets, which now include editing and project managing the annual magazine for the Chamber of Commerce, writing video scripts for the local TV station, grant writing and business case development. Recently, the Chamber hired me on a retainer to help develop and manage a website. Look for a networking organization in your area and become an active member. It’s a great way to become more involved in your community and to gain a variety of clients as well as projects.
Attending conferences in your niche also puts you on the path to potential clients. Look for seminars, trade shows, and other gatherings in your arena. It’s an effective means to rub elbows with prospects and begin establishing a working relationship with them in their territory. Review the attendee and speaker list ahead of time and decide on who to approach. Contact them beforehand and set up an appointment to meet with them at the event. Be sure to follow up with them after the meeting.
Publish and become a speaker – An effective way to prove that you are an expert in your field is to publish a book, an eBook, a podcast, or a YouTube video. Look for opportunities to speak at gatherings of other participants in your niche. Get your name and persona out there so people know who you are and what you do. Clients will start coming to you for your help in their industry if they’re confident you know the subject well.
Guest writing – Find some publications in your field and offer to do some guest writing in return for a byline and bio. This is another way to establish your self as an expert in your field.
In addition to these 7 ways of approaching clients, don’t forget about the Wealthy Web Writer Job Board and AWAI DirectResponseJobs.com. These are both valuable resources for finding opportunities that meet your needs.
Regardless of how you initially get clients, the important thing is to establish a relationship with them. Be of value to them by offering solutions to their challenges. Follow up consistently and keep the relationship warm. Provide more than they ask for and deliver on time. Once you finish the current project, continue to follow up and keep the communications between you open. You never know when another project may come up, so keep your name in the forefront. The next time they need a writer … they’ll call you.