Have you ever sent an email, message or proposal to a potential client and…. *crickets*… Keep reading to learn 5 reasons why… and what you can do about it.
Hey guys! It’s Alex, and this article is dedicated to many of you aspiring and new freelance copywriters who have commented and slid into my DMs asking — how do I reach out to clients?? What do I do, what do I not do?
Well, in this post, I’m counting down the 5 absolute worst ways to approach new clients, and what you should be doing instead.
This list is inspired by my own experience – both as a writer and a business owner who HIRES writers – as well as the freelancing horror stories I’ve heard from my team and entrepreneur friends.
These 5 things are absolutely destroying your chances of getting a client, so let’s fix that shall we?
And if you’re looking to learn the copywriting, marketing, and branding skillz you need to pay your billz…you are in the right place, I’m your girl. Hit subscribe to my YouTube Channel to join the global Copy Posse! I release a new tutorial every single week dedicated to help you start and scale your copywriting business.
Now here they are, five ways NOT to approach clients and what you should do instead to flip that slip.
5: You Don’t Have A Personal Brand
If I were to ask you what your specialty as a copywriter is and what kind of niche you write best in, would you have an immediate, confident answer to that?
And if I looked you up online, would I be able to easily access your portfolio or find out everything I need to know about you and your work on any of your social media accounts?
As a freelance copywriter (or digital marketer, social media manager, designer — I’m talking to all you freelancers out there)… branding is an essential element of your online business…
And I don’t mean a logo, color palette or font – but a clear Brand Voice that’s consistent across all your online channels.
Sure, you can sign up on freelancing sites and start pitching to prospective clients with a basic profile and proposal and hope they notice you…
But remember, in this scenario, you are the product, and your client the customer. If you don’t have a defined personal brand, you’re just like everyone else.
The copywriters I know that no longer have to search or advertise to get clients have a well-defined brand that catches the attention of prospective clients. These writers are also more likely to get referrals from past or existing clients.
So put some time and effort into conceptualizing and defining your own personal brand. Ask yourself, how do I want to present myself? What do I specifically do? How do I want to define that message? Give your potential clients the opportunity to look you up and be impressed by what they find.
While having your own website or blog is a great idea, it’s not absolutely necessary. You can define your brand through your social channels, whichever ones you plan to contact potential clients through, thoughtfully complete your profile on freelancer sites such as UpWork to make yourself different than everyone else, or write guest blog posts on authority sites like Medium. You can even post articles/samples on your LinkedIn!
I can’t tell you the number of times I get DMs, emails, comments or messages from people asking me to hire them or coach them… When I click through to their profiles they are essentially ghosts, there’s no bio or description of what they do, their profile picture is blurry or not even a picture of them, sometimes their name isn’t even on there. What?
Guys – newsflash – if you’re asking for work on a channel like Instagram, you might want to put some effort into looking legit. If you don’t want to use IG professionally, that’s cool! Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
This doesn’t just boost up your credibility, but it also makes you relatable to the kind of client you want to attract.
Moving on to mistake number four…
4: You Don’t Offer A Specific Benefit
Chances are, you will never get hired if you reach out to potential clients saying “Hi, I’m a copywriter and I will write copy for you.”
If you do… well that’s just sorcery and you’re a real life miracle.
But for the rest of us mere mortals, we need to be specific about the benefit we offer. “I will write copy for you” is not a benefit. It’s your offer.
This is marketing 101 guys… you need to communicate a specific benefit if you want to convert prospects into paying customers.
So think long and hard about what you’re truly able to help your clients do. Add some zhuzh to your offer to make it compelling.
There are several ways to do this, but I suggest looking at what your potential clients already have going on, then pivot and innovate! Sure, they might have a sales page already – but that doesn’t mean they don’t need copy help! Copywriting is more than about website copy and sales pages. Think outside the box and also offer assets that most businesses (and copywriters) tend to forget about or don’t know that they should have… such as cart abandonment sequences, retargeting ad copy, or upsell pages!
Then all of a sudden your offer goes from “I will write copy for you” to “Hey, I see you have an awesome sales page. I’d love to help you boost your revenue per visitor by writing a cart abandonment sequence for you.” Um, hello! Now THAT is valuable.
So, put some thought into what you want to offer to clients that is unique to you and beneficial for them. Ok now onto no-no number 3!
3: You Lead With Price
So a prospective client gets back to you (bah, exciting!) and they ask you for a quote.
You’re over excited and just blurt out some random number on the spot.
Look I get it, that’s exciting. You can almost smell the money rolling in. But naming a price without first finding out what the project entails, or how you can truly help them is a mistake.
If you’re very lucky, they say yes on the spot and the gig turns out to be an inspiring yet straightforward job, the client turns out to be super easy to work with, and the experiences turns out to be one of the best you’ve ever had.
But, if you’re not so lucky, you either…
1) Scare away the client because you haven’t done enough to justify the price yet and they were just looking for cheapie.
Or 2) They accept but you completely misunderstood the actual job scope and end up putting way more hours and energy into completing the project than what you budgeted for, or discover that the client is a total nightmare… and you end up hating the experience.
So, instead of leading with price, lead with value. Say, “Thanks for your message! Before I can give you a quote, I’d love to get a better idea of your brand, company and what you need so I understand the best way I can be of service. Can we hop on a quick call?”
That initial exchange alone will create some rapport between you and the client. They’ll feel like you really care to do a great job and you’ll be able to get clear expectations in place. All of this will make it way easier for them to say “Yes” to your price because of the value that’s already been built.
And, to help you get crystal clear on how to price your copy projects, check out my video on my 8 Pricing RULES right here.
Ok, moving onto #2 on the list…
2: You Are Not Honest About Your Skills or Experience
You’ve heard me say this before guys. ALWAYS be real and transparent about how much or how little you know…. and what you can or can’t do.
So many freelancers out there are claiming to be experts at something they know nothing about. Do not be one of those people.
I know it’s so tempting to say yes to a job and a client because you really need the experience and the money, but the last thing you should do is embellish your skill or knowledge level.
For starters — it’s NOT COOL. Plus — it has a high, almost definite chance of backfiring. You can come across unprepared or uneducated. Or worse — produce really shit copy and ruin your chances of ever being hired or referred by the client. Your reputation is what matters most in any time of business, so be legit.
If you’re brand spanking new to this whole copywriting thing, cool! Let a client know. Be honest and upfront about your capabilities and your expertise. Passion, a willingness to learn and dedication go a long way, so always take some time to understand your client’s business and market so you can express genuine interest. If you’re approaching a new client because you are SO excited about their brand and business and are willing to start in the trenches to learn and grow, you’ll have a lot better chance of getting hired. Do something other than copywriting, like content writing or social media management to get your foot in the door then you can work your way up.
I can promise this will NOT make you look bad. Actually, on the contrary, it can help you gain trust and support from a prospective client and make them more likely to work with you.
Ok, lastly, #1 on the list.
1: You Don’t Market Yourself
As I mentioned before — it’s not enough to just fill in the blanks of freelancer profile.
Many freelancers make the mistake of sitting back after creating a profile, building a website, or posting on a job ad and wait for client offers to magically materialize in their inbox.
Meanwhile, all the dedicated badasses out there who are proactive about getting clients (and following all the steps I’m sharing in this post) are raking in clients left and right
You don’t want to be the copywriter who sits on the sidelines. Be the copywriter who hunts, gathers, plays and SLAYS… yes those are my 4 methods for finding clients, you can read more about that here.
Guys, if you want to be your own boss, you gotta act like it. This is business and business is all about sales. You need to put yourself out there to earn the success you deserve.
So once you get a handle on the 4 points I mentioned before this, make marketing part of your modus operandi.
Get active on social media and join relevant online groups and communities to spread the word. Make it known to your network and even your groups of friends that you are available for hire…
Jay Clouse, the founder of Freelancing School, suggests sending out an email to 5 potential clients a day. Jay also recommends adding some urgency to your emails by offering a special price for a certain period of time. Or offering a specific package of services to a limited number of clients.
And be sure to have your portfolio ready so you can attach or share immediately upon request!
Even those that say ‘NO’, might come back later and say YES, which is why it’s so important to follow all the steps I just talked about. Got it guys?
Watch This Instead
And, if you want step-by-step guidance and support directly from me as you start and scale your copywriting business, click here to find out about my Copy Posse Launch Pad coaching program where you’ll learn how to create a portfolio of high-converting, high-paying copy assets to ignite your copywriting business in only eight weeks.
As always, thanks for reading and subscribing! I’ll see you next week. Till then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!