As B2B copywriters and freelancers, we work hard to market ourselves and maintain a steady flow of copywriting clients. After all, that’s how we make a living — no matter how good we are at writing, we need clients in order to earn an income.
It’s important to make it as easy as possible for copywriting clients to find us, contact us, and work with us — without too much effort or hassle on their part. The easier it is for them, the more likely they are to reach out with projects and paychecks.
However, it can be difficult to know whether or not we’re doing everything we can to help new clients reach us. With that in mind, here’s a checklist of three barriers I try to avoid:
- Can copywriting clients find you?
Do you have a website? If not, that’s probably the first step to tackle.
You can think of your website as a kind of “home base.” It’s the place where clients can get to know a little bit about you… which is basically the first step in the process of deciding to work with you.
And concerning your website… is it easy to find? In other words, is it optimized? Do you show up in the Google search results for your niche?
If not, consider learning some SEO techniques to make it easier for potential clients to find your site when they’re searching for a writer. Not only will this help your own website — you can then turn around and market those same SEO skills to web clients who need your expertise.
Also, consider setting up a blog or newsletter, to stay fresh in the minds of your prospects. That way, even if you’re not at the top of Google’s results… you can still reach potential clients directly via the content you publish.
And, perhaps most importantly… is it easy to contact you?
It’s surprising how many websites make an email address and phone number somewhat difficult to find. Be sure to keep this information right on the front page, and list it on your subpages as well. A good way to do this is by having your contact information in the header or footer of the website.
- Are you a mystery?
What type of picture does your website paint?
In other words, when a potential client visits your website, can they immediately tell who you are and what you do? Have you made it clear that you have a particular niche or specialty?
This type of information is very helpful to clients. It can really make you stand out from a crowd of generic copywriters, especially in the B2B world, where industry jargon is used a lot more commonly than it is in B2C.
But this might not be the only thing clients are looking for… To really “paint a picture,” and make it easy for clients to imagine working with you, it may help to include a headshot and a short bio. Also, be sure to include several samples in your portfolio that clients can read to get a feel for the type of work you do.
As important as your website is, there is another opportunity that should not be underestimated — and that is live networking. Even the best websites can’t mimic the experience of looking someone in the eye, shaking hands, and having a face-to-face conversation.
Whether it’s a local meetup, or a big conference like AWAI’s annual Bootcamp, try to take advantage of these opportunities whenever you can. For many clients, it’s a lot easier to work with someone after they’ve met them in real life.
I’ve found that potential clients are a lot more likely to return my emails after we’ve met in person. So, I’m always sure to mention that we’ve met, right at the beginning of the message. Sometimes I’ll even use it in the email subject line — for example, something along the lines of “Following up after Bootcamp.”
- Are you putting up a subconscious barrier?
These types of barriers can be tricky. They include factors such as: how long you take to reply to an email… whether you communicate in plain language, or put up a wall of jargon and price lists… and whether you are developing a rapport or keeping the conversation impersonal.
Expectations will vary from client to client. Some might prefer minimal communication, and that’s okay. However, it’s important to be sure you’re doing everything you can on your side to maintain polite, prompt, and open communication.
If that’s not happening… if you take a few days to reply to any messages, or if you hedge on answers that should be direct… ask yourself why.
Is it something about this particular copywriting client? Are they not a great fit for you? If not, it may be best to reassess whether you want to move forward.
However, if you find this happening frequently, ask yourself if there’s another reason. Especially if you’re new to copywriting… is it possible you’re nervous about working with new clients? Intimidated by a new type of project?
For me, I encountered some subconscious resistance when it came to my first big projects. That was especially true when I first ventured into web copy — a new field for me.
I found myself sending emails that were polite, but didn’t really have any call to action or next step… and I didn’t suggest any days or times for a phone consult.
I was leaving it up to the client to request the consult. And that wasn’t necessarily wrong… but it certainly didn’t do anything to improve my chances of working with the client, and it made the whole interaction take longer than it should have.
I also seemed to fall into old habits of procrastination. Instead of working on a proposal right away, I decided to clean out my closet… and to finally read that book I bought two years ago… Subconsciously, I made a decision to busy myself with other tasks that were less intimidating.
If any of this sounds like you, then it may be worthwhile to reassess your client communications and be sure you’re doing everything you can to move the conversation along to a working project… and that this goal is being accomplished in a timely fashion.
Any new type of project can initially feel awkward or intimidating. However, it will become natural with time. Remind yourself that you can do this! You are ready.
Approach the situation with enthusiasm, and you’re likely to be rewarded in return — with work you enjoy, and a nice paycheck to go along with it!