How to win more clients in a competitive industry
This post was written by TCCS member, Leanne Shelton
Not everyone can write well. But these days, more and more business owners – large and small – recognise the importance of high-quality written communications.
Whether it’s influential conversion copy, engaging websites, heartwarming scripts, or captivating blogs, they need us to help them market their business.
Yes, our copywriting skills and expertise are in high demand. But that doesn’t always translate to an inbox or voicemail full of enquiries.
Because before we can help other businesses, we need to market our own.
And that’s easier said than done.
Especially when there are so many other talented copywriters out there.
However, in my experience, it all comes down to building connections.
After all, you are your business.
But I promise the effort will really pay off.
To help you out, I want to share my 10 terrifying (but terrific) ways to market your copywriting business.
1. In-person networking
I’ve freaked you out already, haven’t I?
But honestly, in-person networking has been one of the most effective marketing strategies for my business.
By putting yourself out there and meeting new people, you’ll find endless opportunities to find collaboration partners, referrals, and clients.
I recommend looking into the various networking groups in your neighbourhood, such as:
- Free or low-cost MeetUps
- Your local Business Chamber
- BNI (Business Network International)
- Business Facebook groups that also run events such as Misfit Entrepreneurs with Kate Toon, Freelance Jungle and Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine
They all have different styles and structures, so visit a few (or ask others for feedback) and see which ones suit you best.
- If you receive a list of attendees before the event, make a note of the people in your target market or niche. When you arrive, ask the event host (or someone who appears to know a lot of people) to introduce you.
- Start a casual conversation by asking the other person about their recent wins or current challenges, or compliment them on what they’re wearing. (Everybody loves that.)
Remember: Networking is NOT about the hard sell and throwing your business cards around. Don’t aim to score work from the event. Aim to make new connections instead. You never know where they will lead.
2. Facebook Lives
Ah yes, those scary Facebook Lives.
What if I forget what to say?
What if I look like a complete idiot?
What if I have broccoli wedged in my teeth?
Well, here’s the good news: if you stuff it up, you don’t have to save it.
Editor’s note: Keep in mind that when you first start no one but your friends and family will be watching anyway. I’m not sure if that makes it more or less scary.
Facebook Lives are great for building relationships with your audience.
It’s your opportunity to show the real person behind the brand. And the less scripted it is, the better.
After all, real-life conversations aren’t usually rehearsed.
Step 1 – Choose a topic that shows your expertise or highlights your opinion.
Step 2 – Think of a few points to cover, but don’t overthink it.
Step 3 – Decide on an attention-grabbing line that describes your topic
Step 4 – Take a deep breath and go ‘Live’.
You could go live on:
- Your own business Facebook page
- Within a Facebook group (with permission from the admin, of course)
- Your <eek> general newsfeed
Remember to keep it short and friendly. Going live will both build your personal brand and attract kudos from those too scared to do it themselves.
3. LinkedIn videos
If you’re not on LinkedIn, now’s the time to get on board. It’s not just a hub for job seekers anymore.
Yes, I’m talking about videos again.
But uploading a pre-recorded video to a platform where powerful and influential business people hang out can be even more excruciatingly biting-your-nails-off terrifying than Facebook Lives.
Because unlike Facebook, your LinkedIn videos won’t be seen by just friends and family.
They could also be seen by real-life money-paying potential clients.
Which is precisely why you should do it.
While I suggest having a clear message in mind to avoid babbling, you still need to show the real you. Here are some great LinkedIn video tips from HubSpot.
4. Cold pitching by phone
Before email and SMS, business owners had to reach out to potential clients by – wait for it – calling them.
Oh, the horror.
These days, most of us feel snug and secure thanks to the email safety net. But if you want to make yourself stand out, pitching to clients by picking up the phone is the best way. It shows confidence in your abilities and is fantastic for building rapport.
- Check out their website and get an idea of what their business offers.
- Don’t try to predict how the conversation will go. Just call and say you’re enquiring about the job posted on the TCCS job board or job request in the Facebook group and go from there.
- Find opportunities to connect with the potential client, such as highlighting something you saw on their website or asking about their weekend.
On multiple occasions, the person on the other end of the line has been surprised and impressed when I’ve called, and I’ve instantly won the job.
5. Cold pitching by email
Even if you choose to email, cold pitching in writing can still create a whole lotta pressure. After all, you’re a copywriter. So any spelling or grammatical mistakes won’t exactly leave a great impression.
Ultimately, it’s a great opportunity to sell yourself in a non-salesy way.
- Remember to pitch according to the job request, but also add some personality.
- Use conversational language.
- Consider what experience and skills you bring to the table. Highlight why they simply must choose you for the task.
Oh, and if you’re often victimised by autocorrect or spelling mishaps, it’s best to use a tool such as GradeProof or Grammarly before pressing ‘send’.
6. Showing your face
Selfies are no longer limited to obnoxious teenagers. These days, selfies can actually be beneficial to your business.
Similar to videos, showing a selfie is your opportunity to display the face that’s usually trapped behind a computer screen. It also means giving your audience a snapshot into your world.
- Attending a conference? Take a photo in front of the massive signage as proof.
- Having coffee with your favourite client? Just met an influential leader? Get a photo together and show how well connected you are.
- Add some words around the scenario and ask a question to create engagement. And selfies usually attract very high engagement.
7. Being a guest on a podcast
Appearing as a guest on a podcast or local radio station allows you to present yourself as an industry expert. But it’s bloody scary.
What if you don’t know the answer to a question?
What if you start babbling?
What if you feel like an absolute knob-head at the end of the interview?
- While it can be extremely nerve-wracking, the host will be eager to make you relaxed to produce the best possible interview for their show. So just follow their lead and be yourself. You’ve got this.
- Share the podcast link across all your social channels and website once it goes live. You gotta make sure people hear it.
8. Showing your true personality
People buy from people they like and trust.
But the reality is that not all business owners or marketing managers will connect with every copywriter. We’ve all got our quirks and skills that will appeal to some but repel others.
The key is to be yourself so you attract the right people.
- Be consistent in your personal brand. (For example, I always wear something turquoise when I’m in a business setting.)
- Use your normal conversational language when writing an email.
- Don’t be afraid to express your true feelings in a Facebook Live or LinkedIn video.
- Don’t switch to corporate speak or jargon when you pick up the phone.
The right people will be eager to work with you
9. Checking in with old clients
Have you had a great working experience with a client but haven’t heard from them in months, or even years? It doesn’t need to be the end.
While it’s good to keep in contact via a newsletter, sending a personalised email or making a friendly call to an old client to check in may be very well received.
You might feel salesy and annoying. But they’ll probably see you as someone who actually cares about their business, rather than being just a one-night-stand.
- Casually start the conversation by asking how their business is going.
- If you wrote their website copy, blogs, or landing page, you could ask about the views and click-throughs they’re getting.
You never know. They might have a series of copywriting tasks on their to-do list and been meaning to get in touch. Or they may have ended up hiring an internal communications expert. But you’ll never know unless you ask, right?
10. Speaking up (TOON TIP)
Now that you’ve done all those Facebook Lives, Podcasts, and LinkedIn videos, you should feel more confident about your subject matter.
It’s time to take it on the road, people.
It’s time to clamber onto the stage, clutch that microphone with sweaty paws, and SPEAK.
People often ask me how I get speaking gigs.
The answer? I apply.
You’d be surprised how few (decent) applications events get. You could be one of the lucky few. It’s an amazing way to build your expertise, authority and trust. And you get to connect with humans in a real and genuine way.
- Review previous speakers to ensure you’re pitching new content ideas.
- Look through Facebook groups to ensure you’re picking a hot and relevant topic.
- Prepare well. Rehearse your speech a few dozen times before you go on stage.
- Keep it simple. Don’t fill your slides with thousands of bullet points.
- Include a CTA. Give the audience a way to follow up with you.
- Brand it, baby. Ensure your presentation branding is strong and encourages watchers to take photos and share on social media.
Yes, some of these marketing tips are super scary. But you don’t have to do them all at once. I suggest picking a couple and seeing how you go. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.
Here’s a summary of the tips
- Try a few networking groups to see which ones suit you best. Start a casual conversation by asking the other person about their recent wins or current challenges, or compliment them on what they’re wearing.
- When doing a Facebook Live, remember to keep it short and friendly.
- When doing a LinkedIn video, have a clear message in mind to avoid babbling. But still show the real you.
- If you’re doing a cold call, find opportunities to connect with the potential client such as highlighting something you saw on their website or asking about their weekend.
- For cold emails, consider what experience and skills you bring to the table. Highlight why they simply must choose you for the task.
- Attending a conference? Take a selfie in front of the massive signage as proof.
- If you’re a guest on radio or a podcast, follow the host’s lead and be yourself.
- Be consistent in your personal brand.
- When checking in with old clients, show an interest in their business by asking how it’s tracking.
- When pitching to present at an event, look through Facebook groups to ensure you’re picking a hot and relevant topic.
Over to you
Feeling inspired to take action? I hope so. If you have any wins from trying any of these 10 tips, please share them below.
Leanne Shelton is a freelance copywriter and content marketing trainer in Sydney. As a mum of two young girls, she enjoys attending evening networking events to escape the bedtime routine and listening to inspiring podcasts. Otherwise, you’ll find her curled up on the couch with a tea and gluten- and dairy-free chocolate biscuit.