Whether you’re a working freelance writer, or you want to be a working freelance writer in 2020, you’re going to need to land your next client or two (or more) this year.
No matter where you are in your journey, getting new, better-paying clients – and replacing old clients that are no longer a good fit – will ensure your project fees can increase as your skills improve, and that your business can grow and thrive.
Luckily, there are dozens of ways you can go about marketing yourself – like sending prospecting emails, networking in person, using LinkedIn, calling your prospects, and using many other strategies, depending on your personality and goals.
However, if you want any of these marketing strategies to work, there are three words you’ve got to keep in mind when pursuing new clients.
This three-word principle is essential to getting a positive response to your pitches… and can doom your client outreach if you ignore it.
If you apply these three words consistently to your marketing, with time the right clients will happily get in line to hire you… and pay you a premium for your services.
So, are you ready to get some clients?
Then remember these three words…
“Make it easy.”
What do I mean by “Make it easy”? I mean you’ve got to make it easy for people to hire you for the service you’re pitching!
It sounds like a no-brainer, right? If you make it easy for people to work with you, they’ll be… well… more likely to work with you.
And yet, when you’re just starting out, there are so many tasks on the to-do list that the “make it easy” principle often gets forgotten. I know when I look back at my first attempts at marketing myself, I didn’t make it as easy as I could have.
Here’s an example…
How I didn’t make it easy for my first prospects
About a year ago, when I first started contacting companies about my services, I did a lot of things right:
- I chose a niche and set up a website that clearly laid out my services.
- I researched and found a recommended marketing strategy that I liked. (The strategy was from Nick Usborne, and it was to write an email to a company asking for the contact information of the person who hires freelancers.)
- And I sent about 50 emails using this strategy.
Not bad for my first attempt.
But, when I look back at the emails I wrote, something jumps out at me now…
I had no professional email signature. I just signed the emails with my name and a link to my website.
This may not sound so terrible, when I did many other things right. Still, when I look at these emails now, they totally look like spam!
With this oversight, I was not making it easy at all for my prospects to trust me.
Luckily, a few people did respond – enough to get some momentum going.
But, if I’d looked at that email and asked, “How can I make it easier for people to realize this is a legitimate and valuable email?” then I probably would have found more success with that strategy.
Where you can make it easy
Of course, you’re never going to get it 100% right the first time. That’s not the point, anyway. You have to start somewhere and improve your marketing as you learn and grow. Mistakes are part of the game!
Still, to maximize all the effort you’re putting into your marketing, it truly is worth applying the “make it easy” principle to your materials before you spend a month or more of your time trying to get a client.
To do this, ask yourself the questions below about your marketing materials – whether you’ve created them already or not. Then, brainstorm some ways you could be making life easier for your clients. I’ve written some suggestions below to get you started.
Question 1: How can I make it easier for my prospects to do their job?
This is a great place to start, when you’re thinking about your services and the way you describe them.
Whatever you’re offering, think about it in terms of how you’re making your prospect’s job easier. Maybe you can take some social media responsibilities off their plate… or help with website traffic, so their expensive redesign doesn’t go to waste… or write a weekly blog that no one on staff has the time for.
No service is just a service. You’re helping them with a specific business goal – a goal that’s going to make your prospect’s life more successful and fulfilling.
Question 2: How can I make it easier for prospects to know if I can help them?
When you’re pitching your services, you want to make it very clear what you’re offering and to whom. Too often, we writers want to sound creative and clever – and end up convoluting our message.
As Nick Usborne teaches in Web Copywriting 2.0, if you sell craft supplies, simply tell the world you sell craft supplies! Don’t try to write poetry about the type of fabric you use.
For freelancers, if you offer B2B email newsletters, say that loud and proud. No need to get fancy – in the business world especially, simplicity and clarity usually work better than cleverness.
The main point is that the easier you make it for your ideal prospects to identify what you’re offering and whether you can help them, the quicker they’ll consider hiring you.
Question 3: How can I make it easier for prospects to find out more information about me?
A few times, I’ve led people to my website, only to have them come back to me and ask for more information. The good thing about this is that they liked what they saw. The bad thing was that it meant I had to scramble to create an info packet, so I could send them something!
While it’s normal to add to your marketing materials over time, make sure that when prospects are interested in you, you have at least some information about your services ready. The most important thing is to have a freelance website set up, and to develop a clear verbal “elevator pitch” about your services. But over time, you can also add powerful tools like an info packet, a tailored LinkedIn profile, a blog, an email newsletter, and more.
The bottom line is – when prospects want more information, that’s a great sign. Just make sure you make it easy for them to get this information!
Question 4: How can I make it easier for prospects to take me seriously as a professional?
Being professional – like everything else – will develop with time as you grow in experience and confidence. But, there are some basic things you can do from the beginning that will make it easier for your prospects to take you seriously.
For instance, using a professional email address and email signature will signal you are a real business owner. Keeping your emails clear, polite, and to the point will show you respect their time. Doing your homework and coming to conversations prepared will show you’re a responsible person to work with.
But don’t stop there – think about other ways you can make it easy for prospects to think of you as a professional. Do so, and you’ll be signaling you’re ready to do the work.
Question 5: How can I make it easier for prospects to take the next step?
Your prospects will be very happy with you, if you make the next step clear for them. Is it to email you? To schedule a call with an online form? To request an info packet?
Make your preferred next step clear, but you can also give them other options, if they’re not ready for that step. For instance, maybe they aren’t ready yet to call you – but they can read your blogs and sign up for your email newsletter. Maybe they aren’t ready to set up a meeting, but they can send you a quick email with a question about your services.
Remember – your prospects are very busy people! Making it clear what you’re proposing each step of the way will often be a relief.
Question 6: How can I make it easier for prospects to trust me?
This last one might be the most important of them all.
If your prospects don’t trust you – if they doubt you can do what you say you can do – they’re not going to want to work with you.
Of course, trust is something that will develop with time.
But from the beginning, sprinkle reasons your prospect should trust you throughout your client outreach. You can display testimonials from past clients, employers, or colleagues on your website… show samples of your work… develop a blog to show your knowledge of the industry… and many other things. And always – as much as you possibly can – keep your promises.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. Make it easy for prospects to trust you, and they will.
When making it easy, don’t be a doormat
There’s one very important exception to the “make it easy” principle …
And that is – don’t be a doormat.
You should never make something so easy for a client that you do whatever they want you to do, sacrificing your principles or the very purpose of your business.
You should be very careful, for example, about lowering your rates – lower rates don’t support your business goals, and mean you have to do more projects for less money!
You should also consider things like when you want time off… what hours you want to work, and not work… what kinds of projects you just won’t do… and what types of clients you simply won’t tolerate.
Having what you want for your business very clear in your mind – and having the guts to stick to it – will avoid letting people take advantage of you.
Make it easy and land your next client!
If you do have clarity about what you want from your business, applying the “make it easy” principle will provide the missing ingredient to ensure prospects are eager to work with you.
And once you have a few eager prospects, you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving and fulfilling career as a web writer.
So, tell me – how are you going to apply the “make it easy” principle in your client outreach? I’d love to hear your plans in the comments below.