This post was written by TCCS member, Claudia Bouma
Top tips for winning (and keeping) the clients you want
Winning more clients is high on your priority list, right?
If only you had a constant stream of clients coming your way, begging you to write their copy.
Let’s get one thing straight: it’s about winning the right clients.
You know, the clients who understand the value of your work and are willing to pay your rates.
So what’s the secret of winning and keeping those clients?
1. Work out who your ideal client is
The starting point for winning great clients is understanding your own business and what you do best.
Let’s face it: We’ve all worked with low-budget clients who expect sensational copy while sucking the life out of you.
You definitely don’t want to attract more of them.
So sit down and work out who you want to write for.
Maybe you want to target a certain industry, or are more interested in writing a particular type of copy.
Whatever the case, narrowing down your target audience will help you come up with a strategy to win those ideal clients.
Toon tip: Not sure where to start? Try the target audience worksheet in the TCCS shop.
Cathy Camera promotes herself as a building and construction copywriter.
She understands the construction industry and knows the challenges builders and contractors face in their business.
Her website addresses her ideal client’s pain points, resulting in quality leads.
I’ve chosen to specialise in SEO-friendly website copy and tone of voice development instead of niching down into a particular industry.
I’ve included website packages on my SEO copywriting page so clients know what I charge.
After increasing my prices I no longer receive enquiries from cheapskates, and I’m winning bigger projects.
2. Develop your brand messaging
Armed with your ideal client profile, create your website, blog, and social media content with them in mind.
Now’s the time to communicate who you are, why you do what you do, and why you’re the best person for the job.
Grab ahold of every opportunity to express your values, principles, and brand personality.
Do you want to be known as a content writer, a marketing strategist, or a branding expert?
Is it important for you to be known as reliable, efficient, or quirky?
Maybe it’s time to develop your own tone of voice guide to nail your brand personality.
Sandra Muller talks consistently about using plain English to create a better user experience.
This message is repeated on every web page to ensure the client understands what she’s all about, and it’s extremely effective.
Clare Hastings markets herself as a content writer who helps position brands as a trusted authority through expert content.
She repeats the phrase, ‘I think like a marketer. I write like a journalist’.
3. Be Consistent
It seems obvious, but many business owners fall down when it comes to showing up and doing what they say they’ll do.
And it’s the little things that matter:
- Responding to a first enquiry within 24 hours
- Jumping on the phone for that initial call
- Sending the brief as soon as possible
- Preparing a proposal
Sadly, I’ve talked to multiple clients who told me I was the first copywriter to respond even though they contacted a couple of copywriters.
In many cases, I’ve won the job simply by showing up.
I took the time to respond to their enquiry and answer their questions.
A clinical psychologist sent me an online enquiry through my website, and also contacted me via email.
She wrote the enquiry on Thursday night, I rang her the following morning, and by that afternoon I had a signed proposal and a large deposit in my bank account.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
You know those clients who seem to be hanging out to kickstart a project and then suddenly fall off the face of the earth?
Well, many copywriters treat their potential clients the same way.
I’ve worked with various clients who’ve had a negative copywriter experience.
The general feedback was that they didn’t respond to enquiries or ring them at the specified time for a discovery call.
Communication is the key to building a positive client relationship.
Your client wants to know you’re reliable from the word go.
It’s also essential for the client to know without a shadow of a doubt that you’re genuinely interested in their brand and their business.
5. Recognise the red flags
Sometimes a project that starts well doesn’t end well, even after you’ve done everything you can to attract the right clients.
When you find yourself in a sticky situation with a client who isn’t happy no matter what you do, you need to have a process in place.
Sticking to your process is crucial when dealing with difficult clients.
Be clear about deadlines, specify how you want clients to review their copy, and always tell them what the next step’s going to be.
I worked with a client to develop her brand tone of voice, which was a great success.
However, when it came to writing the web copy she was unhappy with the first draft, even though I followed the brief and used the tone of voice document.
To cut a long story short, I deviated from my normal process and wrote two more drafts that resulted in the same negative response.
After spending way too many hours on the project, I realised she’d never been happy.
I terminated the project, and have never been happier to end a job.
Looking back, it wasn’t worth the money, stress, or sleepless nights.
6. Be yourself
Clients want to connect with the person behind the copywriter.
Yep, who you are matters.
You don’t have to be the best copywriter.
In the end, it’s all about building client relationships that go the distance.
In our increasingly disconnected world, clients are looking for someone who shows genuine interest and will deliver a professional outcome.
They want a smooth process with clear expectations.
Read through your client testimonials to find out what your clients appreciate about you.
Is it the fact you meet deadlines?
Or is it because you’re easy to work with?
The ultimate goal is to build trust because that’s what keeps people coming back.
Winning, and keeping, the clients you want is about:
- Building trust
Over to you
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Claudia Bouma is an SEO copywriter and brand strategist who works with big and small businesses across the globe crafting copy that engages, compels and sells.