How do you go about picking and choosing clients to work with?

by Mark Andrews Banned
10 replies
What criteria must a potential client meet before you'll even consider taking their project on?

Just out of interest...


Mark Andrews
#choosing #clients #copy clients #copywriting clients #picking #work
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Rule #1: They must have a pulse.

    Because if they're dead, the chances of getting paid are slim to none. And Slim just left town.

    Rule #2: They must agree, in writing, that I'm always right.

    Including when I'm wrong.

    Rule #3: They must run my copy exactly as I write it, even if an attorney advises otherwise.

    This is a cost-saving measure. Why waste money on lawyers when you can buy traffic instead?

    Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author Don Grace
    First and foremost is they must have a kick ass product that I can 100% get behind. Makes writing a breeze.

    Then I prefer people I know, or know of, or someone I know knows because then I can come to an easy conclusion if they're serious and will pay on time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Don Grace View Post

      First and foremost is they must have a kick ass product that I can 100% get behind.
      I think you raise a very valid point Don.

      Quite often it seems a lot of people, at least on this forum, they don't actually quite understand where a lot of the top copywriters are coming from. The fact that we are very often booked up for months ahead and can often pick and choose the clients we wish to work with in the future eludes their understanding. (Long sentence I know - I talk very fast).

      Little side note, a FYI (not directed at you Don) - the reason several of the more experienced copywriters post here is purely to hang out together. For a bit of fun and banter. To exchange tidbits of advice or to give help to one or two of the rising stars from amongst the newbie ranks. Generally speaking although I can't speak for all, we don't post here in the hope of receiving lots of inquiries for sub $1k copywriting work.

      Back on track...

      Just this week alone, I've turned away at least five copywriting projects simply because on examining their business model more closely it didn't meet my own exacting standards of what a kick ass product actually is.

      Basically put, if your business is junk, a complete load of cobblers, please save yourself the time and bother and don't contact me - I'm just not interested at all in providing copy for what amounts to absolute crap of virtually no use to anyone.

      What I am personally interested in is real businesses with clout which provide enormous benefit to their target market.

      If upon asking what your business model is, upon asking you the potential client why I should get really excited about your product or service, if all you can do is reply in the most rudimentary manner possible, I will quite simply turn you down on the spot. I'm just not interested in working with you.

      Cheap copywriters, copywriting newbies sure they'll grasp at any straw offered, no matter what it is. They want the experience, they probably need the money too, so making these choices who to take on as a client isn't something they at present give a great deal of thought to. They'll take anything they can. Understandably. Who can blame them?

      The more experienced ladies and gentleman on the other hand with a lot more teeth in the business, certain criteria usually have to be met before they'll consider taking any project on.

      Talking from a personal perspective only, the only real niche I'm interested in providing copy for these days is the self development niche, nothing else at all. It's a subject I love with a passion and can talk for hours on end about. Very enthusiastically I might add.

      Alex? You too, you raised a couple of beauty points. I didn't want you to think I had ignored your contribution. Bloody good points btw. Thanks.


      Mark Andrews
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post


        Alex? You too, you raised a couple of beauty points. I didn't want you to think I had ignored your contribution. Bloody good points btw. Thanks.


        Mark Andrews
        LOL... I was in a rare joking mood. I'll try to be more serious next time.

        Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
        Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

        Cheap copywriters, copywriting newbies sure they'll grasp at any straw offered, no matter what it is. They want the experience, they probably need the money too, so making these choices who to take on as a client isn't something they at present give a great deal of thought to. They'll take anything they can. Understandably. Who can blame them?
        I ask these questions to help the up and coming copywriters and offline consultants develop their own criteria and streamline/speed up their business development and not grasp at any work. (It sounds stupid/so basic as I try to write it, but I think it will help the newer. Based upon a dating coach prospect I had who was hiring from Craigslist and colleges for copy and content and did not get her whole process lacked.) Here goes:

        - Does clients' knowledge of the marketing process and their existing marketing come into the picture as a qualifier?
        - Do you mind explaining or overcoming their resistance to the fact that your part is copy and/or content only and you are not also the website/sales funnel designer, programmer, SEO/SEM person, and/or project manager ...?
        - And, what do you do if some or all of their marketing really needs improvement beyond copy?
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  • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
    Three words: tightly defined niche

    If you target your marketing message to ONLY those in the upper echelon of the niche you want to serve and get in front of them, they'll come to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Hey Mark!

    The very first thing I look for is passion.

    I only want to work with people who are excited about helping people.

    I'm kind of weird in that if a potential client immediately starts talking about conversions, I get massively turned off.

    I crave meeting and collaborating with entrepreneurs who have and want to realize a very specific vision.

    I also appreciate it when the owner is an expert in the niche.

    I want him or her to be a large aspect of my researching practices.

    And when I get to interview my client about their passion and expertise, it creates a deeper connection - allowing me to more effectively reflect the owner's authentic voice.

    That may seem kinda ho-hum...

    ...but it's a BIG deal.

    Secondly...

    I want creative freedom to craft an outside of the box control.

    Likewise...

    I only want to work with people who understand the power of proper branding and realize that building a reputation is crucial for long term financial success.

    Thirdly...

    I only want to work with people who know how to drive traffic or work directly with super affiliates.

    I've never had bad conversions when that aspect is taken care of.

    And of course...

    I demand a substantial budget.

    If I'm going to devote my every thought to something, it has to be worth my while.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Beautifully put Mark, beautifully put.

      Nail. Head. Exactly. I'm loving your thinking on this.

      Tell you what, we've not been in touch properly for a while, both hellishly busy no doubt, say why not hook up again on Skype soon? I'm pretty busy for a few days, how about towards the end of the week? You up for another chinwag?

      Top of the day to you,


      Mark Andrews
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      • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
        Here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

        1. Realistic goals based on experience.

        This is really important for me. I do not want to waste time holding someone's hand. I don't want to be the one explaining to them that they won't be a millionaire by next week. I shouldn't have to point out that copywriting is only one aspect in the success of any product.

        2. Passion for their product with a history to back it up.

        Passion is important but I wanted to add a caveat. I've met people who are very passionate about the things they do but they seem to have more passion than success. The problem is that a lot of people want to create or promote a product which they really have only a basic knowledge about. I would much rather write for a weight loss product created by someone who went from 400 lbs to 175 lbs than someone who heard that weight loss is a good niche.

        3. A willingness to let me do my thing.

        This is sometimes a rare occurrence and I've run into this problem with both freelance work and employment. The thing is you hired me because you need someone who knows how to write copy. You picked me specifically because there was something you really liked about the work I do. The best thing you can do for both of us is let me know what you need and then let me do what I do. (On a related note, I feel really bad for graphic designers because clients will almost NEVER just let them do their thing.)

        4. A history of success, even if it was minimal.

        One thing I don't really like doing is working with someone on their "First ever product/campaign/etc". Copywriting isn't magic. If I could control men's minds like The Shadow then I certainly wouldn't be working for a living. I put my name on the work I do and I want to be able to stand by it. I understand that success is often a gradual incline and no one is wickedly successful on their first endeavors. The thing is that any success is usually built on a foundation of prior failure and lessons learned from that failure. I don't really want to be a part of anyone's failures.

        5. Professional, friendly, sense of humor, a life outside of marketing.

        Perhaps this is more just personal preference but I would much rather work with someone who I work well with. I've had clients who have become friends and clients I couldn't stand hearing from. These qualities, to me, are indicative of a smart, motivated, talented and successful person. Aggressiveness, paranoia, a lack of patience, no personality and a total lack of personal interests are all warning signs to me.

        I suppose I have more but I've got to hit the gym!
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