How do you attract prospects to take you up as a copywriter?

Profile picture of the author fated82 by fated82 Posted: 07/18/2012
Hi all,

For those seasoned copywriters, when you are just starting out, how do you attract prospects to take you. Do you offer some sort of package deals or do you do pro-bono to build up your portfolio?

If you are doing those in the early days, how are you currently doing it now?

For me, I have joined a couple of local business networking group and is helping one or two prospects edit their current marketing materials in exchange for portfolio. I am considering providing free consultation aka 'copy critique' but I am not sure if that holds as much value as helping them to edit their marketing materials.

I am also working Pro-Bono for a major event with a non profit organization. The objective is to use the materials as my portfolio.
#attract #copywriter #prospects

  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    shawnlebrun
    The best way to attract clients is to be good at what you do.

    Proof of results is the single best way to get more jobs than you can
    handle. Once you're bringing in results and beating controls, you won't
    need to prospect much.

    this requires you to first get some results. So even if you have to go on
    elance or guru or any of the outsourcing sites to start, so be it. The end
    result is what you're after.

    One of the first things I do with my copy cubs is have them draft proposals
    and try and land jobs on elance.

    Then its all about writing really great copy that will produce tangible results.

    Because once you have some copy written that has produced results, you
    can say to prospective clients... "this piece I wrote returned X conversion rate and
    brought in X profits for my client. This piece doubled the sales of my client, this piece returned $6 for every dollar spent, etc..."

    the single best way to attract and land clients is to show proof that you can get them
    the end results they want. they honestly don't care about you, your training, your samples... they only care about your results and how it can relate to them.

    so get pieces written and out there... get results and proof, and testimonials if you can, then use those in your marketing to attract new clients.
  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    Vincenzo Oliva
    Offer your work scaled for payment based on result levels.
  • Profile picture of the author netvicar
    netvicar
    To build up your portfolio create mock ups. At least three different fields or niches.

    Oh. Here's a dirty little secret you may feel a little squeamish or reluctant to use: after you create the three mandatory mock ups create a ton of mock ups promoting yourself and your services.

    Examples: client reactivation letter with you as the seller, newsletter for your own business, brochure for your business, telephone sales script for your business, etc etc etc All mock ups.

    This accomplishes two things. The first is that it shows you know how to actually write, thus promoting yourself as an actual copywriter. And second, if you do a good job with the contents of your mock ups you are promoting yourself and your services with each mock up your prospective client actually reads. The best proof is experiencing your services for themselves. Irrefutable proof because your prospective client has 'proven' to themselves internally you know what you are doing. They are not going to argue against themselves

    This of course can backfire if a person doesn't actually know how to write right. ehem, correctly :p
  • Profile picture of the author Tracy Moore
    Tracy Moore
    Have you checked Elance.com for jobs? I have seen many ads for copywriters there. It may be a good way to find clients as well as build your portfolio.

    Tracy
  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    fated82
    Thanks for your input guys. I will take some suggestions here and put it to work. I am working on some brochures, website content as well as posters. Only 1 paid job thus far so alot more need to be done.

    Do you think this work as well?

    I read somewhere that you can use existing ads online or magazine, edit it and call it your sample. For example, I can find some really bad adsense ads, use them as my 'case studies' and do my own editing and call it my sample. Though when you tell others that you are the one working on the samples, you have to mention that it's just a sample, not a paid job.

    do you think it work that way? Or was it unethical?
  • Profile picture of the author infinityplr
    infinityplr
    As a copywriter, if you want to have a portfolio and you are just starting out? hhmm... What I did before was take out some ads myself from magazines or even from the internet and copy write it myself, just for portfolio purposes, you are not going to publish it yourself. It is called a SPEC ADS. you can read it here:How to Create the Perfect SPEC AD - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com

    Just so you can show your skill to your prospect clients
  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    fated82
    Originally Posted by infinityplr View Post
    As a copywriter, if you want to have a portfolio and you are just starting out? hhmm... What I did before was take out some ads myself from magazines or even from the internet and copy write it myself, just for portfolio purposes, you are not going to publish it yourself. It is called a SPEC ADS. you can read it here:How to Create the Perfect SPEC AD - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com

    Just so you can show your skill to your prospect clients
    Thanks, it was a good idea to get it started. This is a very useful tip especially when I need something to showcase in Aug (doing a presentation about my biz).
  • Profile picture of the author affilorama-portal
    affilorama-portal
    If I may also add, be confident and always believe in your talent. But do not be over promotional. Try to become more "helpful" instead of just offering your service.
  • Profile picture of the author Gallynukes
    Gallynukes
    Originally Posted by fated82 View Post
    Hi all,
    For me, I have joined a couple of local business networking group and is helping one or two prospects edit their current marketing materials in exchange for portfolio. I am considering providing free consultation aka 'copy critique' but I am not sure if that holds as much value as helping them to edit their marketing materials.
    Why not help them edit their marketing materials and offer free review copies/copy critiques? When it comes to prospective clients looking for freelance writers, it's a considerable risk to decide and give new ones a chance. Review/critique copies essentially help bridge this wall as long as you realistically limit it to people or members whom the rest of the community respects and will trust in their evaluation.

    Also remember that every client is a prospective return client, so keep their contact information and touch base with them every now and again to see if there was anything they needed.

    When it's all said and done, though, your work will always speak for itself, and if you do consistently good work, word will spread. Constantly work at improving your craft, always strive to continue learning new things, styles and techniques, and never shoot for anything less than absolute perfection. After all, as the late, great Vince Lombardi once said:

    “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”

    Good luck!
  • Profile picture of the author Lakshmi SEO
    Lakshmi SEO
    With the best portfolio you can draw some attention. If you find your client has good reputation then you can always take money only if they get satisfied with your work. This way you get repeated clients since they get confident on your work.
  • Profile picture of the author underworld90
    underworld90
    Originally Posted by Tracy Moore View Post
    Have you checked Elance.com for jobs? I have seen many ads for copywriters there. It may be a good way to find clients as well as build your portfolio.

    Tracy
    My experience with Elance is that it is filled with amateur copywriters and many are willing to underbid each other for a job. This reduces the payment rate down until it is slave wage level (1 cent per 100 words).

    I don't believe many serious copywriters find a lot of quality work on Elance.
  • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
    jimbo13
    Just go and introduce yourself to local businesses.

    Show them what Copywriting is, what it can do for them and why.

    I don't believe that small businesses or Sole Traders are going to places like elance because the fact is 99% of them don't know or have never heard of Copywriting so would not know to go and do this.

    Okay someone may throw up a figure from these sort of sites to prove me wrong but they wont be proving me wrong as 1% is still hundreds of thousands of businesses which is why those sites are commodity sites.

    But if you had phoned me or walked in or written something compelling I would have seen you. I would have been curious as to what you meant by Copywriting and how you can maybe help me increase business sometimes just by making a few small changes to my website/Ad/Flyer.

    Especially if you gave me an example that made me think 'Oh yeah, I see what she means. That makes sense.'

    Dan
  • Profile picture of the author icoachu
    icoachu
    Focus on a niche like DIRECT RESPONSE COPYWRITING. Not all of copywriting is cutthroat. There are some fat niches out there. You just need to put in the time to get good at those niches.

    Do some "almost free" jobs and make revisions if you screw up. Prove your worth. Don't expect to make much money while you're still learning. You'll get some testimonials quickly from doing this. Word spreads quickly. Work that network and keep ramping up your fee as you get better and as the load of prospects increase. That's how I started.
  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    fated82
    Originally Posted by icoachu View Post
    Focus on a niche like DIRECT RESPONSE COPYWRITING. Not all of copywriting is cutthroat. There are some fat niches out there. You just need to put in the time to get good at those niches.

    Do some "almost free" jobs and make revisions if you screw up. Prove your worth. Don't expect to make much money while you're still learning. You'll get some testimonials quickly from doing this. Word spreads quickly. Work that network and keep ramping up your fee as you get better and as the load of prospects increase. That's how I started.
    Hi,

    Yes, I am focusing on direct response copywriting because I know it's hard to compete by just being a normal writer.

    Currently doing some 'free edit' but I am going to give them 'free critique' instead because it's as valuable and less effort from my end. Free critique also help me explain my service better.

    From now to the next 3 months, it will be on portfolio building, I believe once I have a hit ad, life will be easier.
  • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
    staceythewriter
    You're doing everything you should be doing. I ran through your list to see if there was something additional I could suggest, and there really isn't. Just do your very best just as if they were paying clients. Good luck.
  • Profile picture of the author jumanorbert
    jumanorbert
    One little thing I may add is know your strengths and have great confidence in them...Just show it in your work
  • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
    Jomuli3
    Good suggestions have been given. Take them up ---try them.

    There is one other thing I would like to suggest. I do not use it at the moment. It is quite difficult. It is quite easy. It will depend on your self discipline. That will determine the status of the method --- easy or difficult.

    Twice per day. When you go to bed. When you wake up. Lie down in bed. Breathe deeply and slowly for about five minutes.

    Affirm 10 times that you are getting more copywriting clients than you can handle. See in your mind's eye letters scattered on your table. See e-mails in your in-box. E-mails offering you projects --- too many for you to handle. Apply the five senses to your pictures. See, feel, smell the perfume accidentally dropped on one letter, hear the sound of your computer ---

    Try it. Let us know your experience.
  • Profile picture of the author infinityplr
    infinityplr
    Wow there are new tips and techniques here. I think I might get something out of this thread too! thanks you for all the awesome tips and advice. They are really helpful

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