“Steve, how do I get clients for my copywriting business?”
If I had a dime for every time I was asked that question, I’d be sipping margaritas at my villa in the Bahamas right now!
Getting clients is both an art and a science. There is no master formula. For some people, schmoozing at networking events works best. For others, sending direct-mail letters to a well-targeted list is the key.
It all depends on your personality, budget, target market, and the kind of copywriting services you offer.
One thing is for sure. You must have some plan of action for getting as many potential clients as possible to learn who you are, the services you provide, and the advantages of working with you.
And there are many ways you can accomplish that.
Here are the top seven self-promotion strategies that I can say with certainty work well for copywriters:
1. Contacting new potential clients directly by phone and email.
Okay, cold calls. Everyone hates doing them. But, if you make cold calls the right way, they can be effective. In fact, I know one very successful copywriter who makes five cold calls every day. She’s done so for years and her schedule is always booked solid with profitable work.
2. Direct-mail letters.
This is my favorite strategy. I have attracted some of my best clients, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, using direct-mail letters. My friend Pete Savage crafted a self-promotion letter that generated more than $64,000 in new business — in just one year!
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There’s no doubt about it. If your website appears within the first two or three pages of search results when someone is looking for a particular kind of copywriter, you’re going to get some calls. And some clients.
Contributing articles to magazines, websites, blogs, and other publications that your target audience reads is an extremely effective way to attract clients. I often get calls from potential clients that say something like, “Hey, I just read your article on landing pages. How much would you charge to take a look at ours?”
You don’t have to go to live events anymore. In fact, you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas! The Internet provides plenty of opportunities to meet and chat with potential clients.
Where do you start? Find a popular discussion forum, blog, or special interest group in your niche market. Or, do what my friend and white paper expert Michael Stelzner did and start your own.
A wonderful thing happened the last time I spoke at a conference. When I was done, there was a line of people waiting to talk to me. Many were marketing professionals at major companies — all potential clients!
Giving talks and presentations is, perhaps, the most effective business-building strategy there is. If speaking scares you, join the club. (We have jackets!) Start small by giving short presentations at local meetings. Your confidence will build quickly.
7. Referral sources.
Who in your target audience could potentially recommend your copywriting services to their clients and other contacts? Make a list. That list could include graphic designers, marketing consultants, PR strategists, and more. Get to know these people. I get most of my new business these days through referral sources.
Are there other ways to promote your copywriting services? Of course there are! But the seven strategies listed here are proven to work — and work extremely well. So I suggest you give at least a couple of these a try before you sink your marketing dollars into, say, advertising space on a zeppelin.
(By the way, if zeppelin advertising works for you, let me know. I’ll add it to the list!)