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How to Land B2B Clients with Self-Select Marketing

How to Land B2B Clients with Self-Select Marketing

January 12, 2017 | By Derek Little | 2 Comments

How to Land B2B Clients with Self-Select MarketingWouldn’t it be great if you had so many B2B copywriting clients you could pick and choose who you work with? If you’re new to B2B copywriting this can seem like a distant dream. At least that’s how I used to feel.

When I started my copywriting business I got so much advice on generating leads I was overwhelmed with the choices. In order to simplify things, I decided to stick to the basics. This led to a more effective way to generate leads using a no-cost method I call Self-Select Marketing. Here’s how I used this technique to land $1,000 in copywriting projects and launch my B2B copywriting business in just one week.

How to Land B2B Clients

There are lots of ways to land B2B copywriting clients. But when I was just starting out, I spent so much time considering other people’s advice that I wasn’t getting anywhere. I decided to stick to these three basic steps:

  1. Marketing Strategy

This is where you choose a target market and what services you’ll offer, then decide what your marketing messages should be.

  1. Marketing Research

This is where you look for sources of prospecting information, then start building a prospect list based on an idea of your most likely customer.

  1. Marketing Operations

This is where you start advertising for leads and converting them into sales. For this, you’ll need a website, proposal, and contract.

Two Ways to Advertise

If you want to grow your copywriting business, you have to advertise. There are two main approaches: customized messaging or mass promotion.

Customized messaging to hand-picked prospects can be very effective, but only if you know who to message and what to say. If you’re just getting started you may only have a vague idea. Networking, LinkedIn, and email are effective tactics, but creating a custom message and contacting people one at a time can be very time-consuming.

On the other hand, mass advertising lets you reach as many targeted prospects as possible. Email marketing and sales letters are ideal for this. Done right, you could offer a range of services, increasing your odds of landing a project. Prospects would contact you based on their needs. However, the challenge is to create a message and offer standardized enough to send to everyone, but customized enough to stimulate interest.

Any way you look at it, lead generation is both a numbers and a quality game. My Self-Select Marketing technique used a bit of both.

How I Used Self-Select Marketing to Succeed

To develop a marketing strategy for my copywriting business, I chose a target market and copywriting specialization. Then, with my website in place, I launched an email marketing campaign using the 350 targeted email addresses I’d purchased.

A few leads came in, but the email campaign was a lot of work and didn’t produce any sales. Then, suddenly, I stumbled onto an approach that got immediate results for a fraction of the cost and effort. Here’s how it worked.

My first step was to identify ideal prospects. Not just any, but those that offered free opt-in content on their websites. Then I entered my contact information and downloaded their materials.

At the time, I was offering white paper writing services and my goal was to review their white papers. But after a few companies contacted me and hired me, I realized I was on to something. Evidently, opt-in requests for content through their websites were being reviewed by individuals with the need and authority to hire freelance copywriters.

Why Self-Select Marketing Works

I’d sent over 750 targeted email marketing messages, but made zero sales. After downloading materials from only 10 companies, I made two sales. Self-Select Marketing helped me land two clients and $1,000 in sales in one week. And it was so easy.

I think what made this approach effective was I didn’t come across as a salesperson. Instead, I showed interest and prospects made up their own minds to hire me. What they hired me for had nothing to do with white papers, either. I’d been self-selected by the client based on what their needs were at the time.

Not only did I get new insights into how I could better position myself, I made sales I normally wouldn’t have made. (In one case, the client wasn’t sure what they needed and I helped them narrow it down.) After examining why this approach worked, I found some interesting research from Harvard University.

A study by Harvard’s Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab found most people spend 60% of their time thinking about themselves and their own ideas. Further, they found this stimulates an area of your brain associated with reward and pleasurable feelings. This would suggest your chances of getting hired increase when it’s your customer’s own idea.

Client Attraction Checklist

What pleased me most was how pre-qualified my leads were. Prior to this my largest client had only 15 employees. One of my new clients had annual revenues of $50 million. When I quoted them my professional rate, it was a non-issue. Closing both sales was effortless because it was the client’s idea to begin with.

I made sure both these clients were totally satisfied and each gave me a testimonial. One even mentioned they were evaluating their content inventory and hoped to have more work for me shortly.

My conclusion is that my new clients were initially attracted by on-target marketing and effective copy. It’s possible the satisfaction they gained from acting on their own initiative helped close the sale, too. Here are the copy elements I used to attract them:

  • Business name
  • Domain name
  • Positioning & brand differentiation
  • Tagline
  • Website homepage copy
  • Why me/about page
  • Professional services page
  • Success story
  • Copywriting samples
  • Blogs & expert content
  • Toll-free number

(I added testimonials as soon as I was able to get them.)

A Quick Path to Profitable Clients

Based on my experience, it’s best to start with the basics when marketing your copywriting services. Then at least you’ll know you’re on the right track.

My Self-Select Marketing technique is a quick and easy form of inbound marketing. It creates targeted visibility so your website can do most of the heavy lifting. Though I’d have to run a bigger test for accurate metrics, Self-Select Marketing so far has been a quick path to profitable clients for me.

Due to my approach, I wasn’t perceived as trying to sell something. My clients made up their own minds to hire me based on their own needs. I wouldn’t have known exactly what they wanted otherwise. Research suggests this could lead to repeat business.

Once you have your marketing strategy and website created, Self-Select Marketing can be an easy way to pick and choose your most profitable customers. Then you’ll get some relief from the constant pressure to generate leads.


About the Author

Derek Little

Latest in B2B Copywriting


  • Derek, thanks for sharing your success. That’s an interesting story.

    I may be a bit confused. You downloaded target company white papers with the expectation they’d contact you and then you could discuss writing (white papers, or perhaps whatever they required) with them, and that got you some work — do I have this right?

    That’s certainly not an intuitive move from my perspective. But hey, who can argue with success? Assuming I have this right (please confirm), I’d like to give this approach a try.


    Jim Mahannah

  • Hi Jim, sorry for the confusion…

    No, the point of the story is I succeeded by accident. I was just downloading materials to read them. These 2 Marketing Directors were going through their downloaded leads, and checked my website based on my company email which I had inputted to get the download.

    So if there are companies you want to get hired by, it can’t hurt to download some of their free materials.

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