For newer copywriters, a few bits of advice for getting paying clients.

by gjabiz
26 replies
It is free advice, so, take it or leave it.

My personal favorite handle or moniker for what I did when I was working was...

Creative Marketing Professional or, when calling on small businesses for some quick and easy money was...

Independent Marketing Analyst...and a free 150 offer to do a quick assessment of where their ad dollars were going...what the cost of a new customer, called acquisition and the lifetime value of the customer...

figuring out the LTV can tell you how much to spend to acquire a customer.

Exampe...if you had kids, you are probably familiar with HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN...which goes up to 5 years in the HOLE (red) to acquire a new customer...sound outrageous? Not when you consider the LTV.

Anyhow, my first piece of advice (remember it's FREE) for new copywriters trying to get clients is...

QUIT calling yourself a copywriter. Unless you approach one of those guys on that list that keeps popping up here, the AWAI seminar list, the chances are that most of your potential clients don't know what a copywriter is or what she does. They are clueless.

And you have to educate them, and believe it or don't, most small business owners are UN educable.

If they don't know what a copywriter does, how?

Call yourself something different. What does a creative marketing professional do? Anything and everything needed to get the bottom line to fatten up into the black side of business life.

Which includes writing copy as needed.

Here is one you can try.

Write a PERSONAL LETTER with name of business owner, I liked to use square thank you cards, something different.

I'd THANK them for their time and attention. And I would call myself a REMOTE SALESMAN. Every business guy knows what a salesman is.

Remote salesman?? What is that? You simply tell the business person you are able to use your computer, which is remote from his business and MAKE SALES AND INCREASE HIS PROFITS...AND IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS...MAKE it a no cost, no expense offer.

OR a trial test.

Have a PLAN. HOW will you help this business get new customers?

What is his LTV of his customer? Or is it a one off deal?

Would a postcard mailing in his zip code work? Direct mail? TV? Radio? Coupon Clipper? Rewards card? Referral program??

HOW can YOU, as a remote salesperson, help any business make more money and what exactly will you do? Tell them you will write copy...or you are a copywriter...and they just don't get the value you bring to the table.

NOW, when I was assessing marketing, I KNEW what the prices are for other media...like 495 for half page ad in coupon clipper...995 for shoutouts on radio, or 1495 for a 30 second tv on local access or something like that...

IF YOU CALL yourself a professional, then you should act like one.

Advice 2...start with the coupon clippers, local weeklies where local businesses advertise week after week, month after month...

KNOW how much these ads cost. Write a letter or cold call and tell him what you can do for him...I like letters, if I think I'm a copywriter, then I think I can write a persuasive letter to at least get an interview...eh?

So, quit calling yourself a copywriter, cause unless you are dealing with businesses who currently use them, you're shooting a blank gun at a blank target.

What they want is PROFITS, more money, for less work, for doing nothing, and don't forget you're dealing with HUMANs, and if you are just starting out, try the spec route, or offer to rewrite their coupons...get business and get more and more and more...

Also, all those media you are competing against, are also in need of a remote salespeople.

Call yourself anything you want, but be sure you can deliver the goods and remember this...

"It is better to get shot out of the water than to rot at the dock."

Free Advice, for what's it worth.

gjabiz

PS. As an Independent Marketing Analyst, a 1500 dollar per day NET profit was not uncommon, for a few hours of work.
#advice #bits #clients #copywriters #newer #paying
  • Profile picture of the author shecopywrites
    This is true. Whenever I call businesses in my city and introduce myself as a copywriter, they don't have a clue what I'm talking about. I've learned to say, "I'm calling from a marketing company."
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Easiest description I've come up with which everyone instantly gets...

        ...is simply to state...

        "I'm an advert writer."

        If they probe further, tell them...

        "I write adverts. Small adverts. Big adverts. Full page adverts, newspaper adverts. Magazine adverts. Website homepages, in fact anything related to writing adverts full stop, increasing the response rate / conversion rate from the target market - this is what I do."

        And instantly, without having to think about it, 99.9% of business owners / entrepreneurs naturally instantly get it.

        At which point we delve straight into enjoying a conversation about their marketing...

        "Oh that's interesting, I like your approach. Have you thought about tweaking what you just told me by doing this to see if this increases the response rate?" (Share the idea with them).

        Just keep it light. Conversational.

        Ask plenty of questions. Listen to the replies. Know when to shut up.

        Ask more questions. Lead them gently down your sales funnel so they end up wanting to do business with you for instantly they recognize you're going to be an asset to the business, if they bring you onside. Make them feel like they're in control.

        People often respond well when you take an interest in their business, in their life, in the things which concern them the most.

        Don't go in for the hard sell, just do your thing, share your knowledge, your expertise with them and forge a strong foundation upon which to build a long term partnership and you won't go far wrong.

        Warmest regards,


        Mark Andrews
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        • Profile picture of the author rjweaver10
          Some awesome advice. I think the number one aspect of being any kind of business owner is to always be professional. Sometimes people forget that being a professional is highly important. Also, if you claim to be a copywriter, then act like one. People seem to forget that one too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    I just tell people I help businesses make more money.

    If they want more they ask for more. If they don't (some are cynical) they don't.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      This consistently works for me:
      Them: "What do you do?"
      Rick: "I help people build their business."

      Them: "What do you mean?"

      Rick: "You ever see websites, or newspaper advertisements or magazine ads and wonder who creates them?"

      Them: "Yeah."

      Rick: "That's me."

      Them: "Really? Do you do [fill-in-the-blank about a pet project or problem they have]?"

      Rick: "Well, let me ask you a question..."
      Try it!

      - Rick Duris
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      • Profile picture of the author JakeDaly
        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        This consistently works for me:
        Them: "What do you do?"
        Rick: "I help people build their business."

        Them: "What do you mean?"

        Rick: "You ever see websites, or newspaper advertisements or magazine ads and wonder who creates them?"

        Them: "Yeah."

        Rick: "That's me."

        Them: "Really? Do you do [fill-in-the-blank about a pet project or problem they have]?"

        Rick: "Well, let me ask you a question..."
        Try it!

        - Rick Duris
        I'm so stealing that.
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Straight out of the Ann Convery playbook Rick!

        Best,
        Ewen

        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        This consistently works for me:
        Them: "What do you do?"
        Rick: "I help people build their business."

        Them: "What do you mean?"

        Rick: "You ever see websites, or newspaper advertisements or magazine ads and wonder who creates them?"

        Them: "Yeah."

        Rick: "That's me."

        Them: "Really? Do you do [fill-in-the-blank about a pet project or problem they have]?"

        Rick: "Well, let me ask you a question..."
        Try it!

        - Rick Duris
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        • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
          Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

          Straight out of the Ann Convery playbook Rick!

          Best,
          Ewen
          Really, Ewen? Then she swiped it from me. I don't even know who Ann is.

          Seriously, I don't mind.

          Copywriting coaches are free to disseminate as well. I know it works.

          - Rick Duris

          PS: Just checked her website. She's obviously got some sort of a formula for introductions, elevator speeches and such.

          Nice that it's been validated.Maybe it's one of those "100th Monkey" things.
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      • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
        Tell us how you get in FRONT of "Them"???

        This is great advice, but, I feel it starts too far away from where a noob or beginner would start...

        So, how do you as an established copywriter, get in front of, either directly or remotely, a new unknown prospect?

        I think that would be very helpful for the people I addressed in my OP.

        My stated opinion is, if you are going to call yourself a copywriter, then use those skills to get new clients.

        How would you convert your technique into a direct sales letter OR do you have to be face-to-face with a potential client to get to this point?

        Any clarification would be appreciated.

        gjabiz


        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        This consistently works for me:
        Them: "What do you do?"
        Rick: "I help people build their business."

        Them: "What do you mean?"

        Rick: "You ever see websites, or newspaper advertisements or magazine ads and wonder who creates them?"

        Them: "Yeah."

        Rick: "That's me."

        Them: "Really? Do you do [fill-in-the-blank about a pet project or problem they have]?"

        Rick: "Well, let me ask you a question..."
        Try it!

        - Rick Duris
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        • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
          Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

          Tell us how you get in FRONT of "Them"???

          This is great advice, but, I feel it starts too far away from where a noob or beginner would start...

          So, how do you as an established copywriter, get in front of, either directly or remotely, a new unknown prospect?

          I think that would be very helpful for the people I addressed in my OP.

          My stated opinion is, if you are going to call yourself a copywriter, then use those skills to get new clients.

          How would you convert your technique into a direct sales letter OR do you have to be face-to-face with a potential client to get to this point?

          Any clarification would be appreciated.

          gjabiz
          Darn good question, Gordon!

          I should preface by saying I don't go out thinking "Who am I going to run this script past?"

          So if that's what you're thinkin', forget about it. And then everything I say here will make more sense later.

          ----

          In the MLM industry, they have what's called "the three foot rule". If you're within three feet of someone... standing in line at the grocery store, at a doctor's office, whatever...you're chatting them up about your opportunity.

          I have a "ten foot rule." I have perpetual curiousity. No matter where I'm at, no matter what I'm doing, I'm asking people's opinion about something.

          This is not premeditated. I just like engaging people.

          That's how I get in front of "them." I could be literally anywhere.

          When they ask what I do, that's what my reply is.

          It's easy for them to comprehend. It opens the door, if there's business opportunity.

          But the X-factor is my curiousity. I'm not rigid in my outcome. Always learning.

          Whatever happens, happens. And I'm ok with it.

          ----

          Regarding your stated opinion:

          1. I think deploying one's copywriting skills to get business is based upon the context/circumstance.

          2. I've had good luck doing what isn't anticipated.

          3. I can not convert my "technique" to a direct sales letter. I have to be face-to-face. I have to engage them.

          4. If I was forced to do it, I'd start by generating targeted self-qualified leads and then get them on the phone. Then let my curiousity take over.

          5. If I was a "noob", I'd go to a business trade show that's local, and chat the heck out of the exhibitors. I'd be giving them all sorts of ideas on how to increase business. Those would invariably turn into meetings later on.

          - Rick Duris

          PS: For a better understanding of my mindset, this might help:

          its-better-to-study-dolphin-brains-than-copywriting

          It's close, but even this is too intentional.
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          • Profile picture of the author underworld90
            I just want to add that saying something other than "I'm a copywriter" works much better. My usual angle is similar to what someone mentioned earlier: "I help grow businesses."

            Just last night someone asked me what I do and I used this approach. 3 minutes later they asked me for my phone number after telling me, "I need someone like you to help me with my business...can I call you?"

            Be creative. Never underestimate your talent or abilities.
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  • True. There are people who need to be briefed with terms online or even offline. Most business owners do not know these stuff. Thus, they hire people to do it.

    And as business owners, we need to be patient and very understanding about these stuff. That is what you call professionalism and good customer interaction.
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  • Profile picture of the author GreenGeek
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  • Profile picture of the author mnyoung
    So it's that easy to just go up to a business and explain how you can help them build their business and make more money for them? I'm really liking this option as a career. It's not always easy I'm sure, but I think if you explain how you can help them make more money, you've already got their interest with just the word "money". I'm not a newbie, but a college student who's thinking of practicing at this as a part-time job while I'm still studying, and if all goes well until I graduate, I might just make this a full-time professional career for myself. If I want to get a little practice can I go to a small business in my town that I know really well and ask them if I could practice on their business as a free trial run for both me and them? And how can I find another marketing professional to take me on as an apprentice? I don't know of any around where I live, but I'm sure they're around somewhere, I just don't know how to find them.
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  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    I used to say "I am a copywriter" but now, I say, I am a direct response copywriter. In face, the term was added into my name card.

    Most people here know what a copywriter do. But it give me a chance to explain myself when they ask me about the term 'direct response'.

    Sometimes, it's good to give them a reason to ask you to elaborate your job scope.
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  • Profile picture of the author dee4d
    This is the most important aspect in selling yourself. You gotta do it right!
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  • Profile picture of the author EvolBaby
    I just send clients to my website. They get it right off the bat.

    I don't have to even explain anything. It may be due to me being
    a cartoonist. Many clients either grew up reading the comic books
    I've done or met some of my students.

    I send them to my blogs. They see I can cover everything from
    advanced science to comedy. I don't call myself a copywriter,
    I call myself a writer. They understand writer. From there you go
    to the subheads, writer of advertising copy, fiction, drama, etc..

    They get it quick and that's that.
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  • Profile picture of the author dme102
    Meh, I think the people who don't know what a copywriter is aren't about to hire someone to write copy anyway, so no real harm having them not get it.

    Also, people are way more switched on now than a couple of years ago with resources like blogs and podcasts, and as a result copywriting (and its benefits) is becoming part of the mainstream consciousness.
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  • Here's a good one. In his audio interview with Doug D'Anna, Mike Humphreys tells a story about how he was in a monthly marketing group. Each member gives their "elevator pitch."

    When his turn came he said, "I'm a professional copywriter. Do you know those websites that you go to online and you feel yourself pulling for your credit card to buy the product and you didn't know what happened? I write those."

    He had twenty people waiting to talk to him after the meeting.
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  • Profile picture of the author netvicar
    Thanks. I listened to the interview. I had not known of Doug's history. Interesting account. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm miffed you left off the punchline about how MH's meeting with those twenty people turned out though. I won't spoil the account by giving that tidbit away. Everyone can listen for themselves
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
      Originally Posted by netvicar View Post

      I'm miffed you left off the punchline about how MH's meeting with those twenty people turned out though. I won't spoil the account by giving that tidbit away. Everyone can listen for themselves
      Let's just say there's something to be said for talking to the right crowd!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnRussell
    Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post


    Write a PERSONAL LETTER with name of business owner, I liked to use square thank you cards, something different.

    I'd THANK them for their time and attention. And I would call myself a REMOTE SALESMAN. Every business guy knows what a salesman is.

    I sent out 5 thank you cards yesterday. I cut 5 ads out of the paper that looked like they cost some dough. All 5 were traditional branding - no direct response marketing at all. I found the name of the owner for all 5.

    I folded each ad up and put it inside one of the thank you cards. The thank you cards had the following message (which I handwrote):

    'Thank you for your time and attention. There are 3 simple things that you can do to your ad (enclosed) that could double or perhaps triple your response. If you want to know what they are, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    I'd also like to offer you a Free Marketing Evaluation (I normally charge $197). If you'd like to take me up on my offer, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    John Russell - Independent Ad Writer
    xxx-xxx-xxxx'

    The results (so far) out of 5 mailed, 2 call backs and one appointment for tomorrow.

    Statistically this proves nothing but I don't give a sh*t.

    Thanks to the OP for sharing.
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    • Profile picture of the author garretc8
      Originally Posted by JohnRussell View Post

      I sent out 5 thank you cards yesterday. I cut 5 ads out of the paper that looked like they cost some dough. All 5 were traditional branding - no direct response marketing at all. I found the name of the owner for all 5.

      I folded each ad up and put it inside one of the thank you cards. The thank you cards had the following message (which I handwrote):

      'Thank you for your time and attention. There are 3 simple things that you can do to your ad (enclosed) that could double or perhaps triple your response. If you want to know what they are, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

      I'd also like to offer you a Free Marketing Evaluation (I normally charge $197). If you'd like to take me up on my offer, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

      John Russell - Independent Ad Writer
      xxx-xxx-xxxx'

      The results (so far) out of 5 mailed, 2 call backs and one appointment for tomorrow.

      Statistically this proves nothing but I don't give a sh*t.

      Thanks to the OP for sharing.
      Thank you very much! As someone who is brand new to 'copywriting', this seems to be an awesome and simple technique for getting my foot in the door.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kneesmith
    Interesting post, I have been figuring out how to take my first steps in copywriting, right now I have a bad case of "analysis paralysis"
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  • Profile picture of the author tylerjaysen
    yeah to say "I'm a marketing professional" makes a connection in the business owners' mind so that you can get that out of the way...and now focus on closing the deal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Abo Yossi
    thank you for the advice I really appreciate yours because I am new to copy writing.....
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