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Become A Copywriter: Where to Find Prospects And How To Market Your Copywriting Business
Where do you find prospects for hiring copywriters? Well, they are everywhere. You know where to find them. And here I will list exactly where you can find potential customers.
o Yellow Pages – Starting from the first page you can go back and forth to contact businesses in your area.
o Craig’s List – This website lists writing jobs in every city.
o Agency Red Book – Just go to your library and ask for this great resource. It lists every single advertising agency in the entire country with name and contact information.
o Book of Advertisers – Same for this resource. Just go to the library and ask the librarian where you can get it. It lists businesses that spend more than $30,000 on advertising each year in the United States. It categorizes businesses by type and includes name and contact information.
o Online Search Engines and Online Yellow Pages – Here you can find businesses and their contact information across the United States.
o Business Journal – This is the only source of spending money on this list. This is a local business newspaper that provides valuable articles about what’s happening in the business world in your area. Also, your local business journal may publish The Book of Lists, which is a collection of every business in your area, classified by type, along with the names and contact information of the people in those businesses. If you subscribe to a business journal you should receive a book of lists for free. If you choose not to subscribe to the weekly business journal you will have to pay for the book of lists. You can check online at http://www.bizjournals.com to find out if your city publishes a business journal.
These businesses are the best sources to contact to market your services. There are many ways to go about it. The best way I’ve found to organize your prospects is to create a prospect list. I created the list in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and included the contact’s name, email (if you can find it) business name, phone number and contact date. That way you can go and know exactly when you contact each prospect so that when you want to contact them again (say every month) you’ll know when it’s time.
Contact information is different for each resource. Finding emails for individuals is difficult and can be time consuming. Your best bet is to simply dial the phone number provided and ask for a freelance writer recruiter. You can also ask marketing managers for businesses and creative directors for advertising agencies. These are the people who are usually in charge of hiring freelance copywriters. At the end of this instruction manual you can find a sample phone script that explains what you should say when answering the contact. You can also use it to leave a message on voicemail.
Now that you know where to look and have compiled your list, it’s time to figure out how you will contact your potential customers.
There are several ways in which you can get in touch:
2. Direct mail
3. Cold calling
One way to contact your potential customer is to send them a prospect email.
It’s just like sending a sales letter to a physical address, only you’re sending it to their email inbox. The major problem with this form of prospecting is that it is difficult to find the email addresses of the people in the organization responsible for hiring you. If you look in the Yellow Pages, the Agency Redbook, the Advertisers’ Book, or a trade journal, you won’t find any specific email addresses. Some may have a generic email address such as: info@bigjohnscarsales, and you may send a prospect email to that address but it may not go to someone with the power to hire you and delete your email. Your best bet for finding the email address of a specific person in an organization is the Internet. Many businesses online will list contact emails for certain decision makers in their organization. If you’re looking for a corporation or small business website, look for someone in the marketing or communications department.
And if you’re looking at an advertising agency’s website, the creative director is the person you want to send your email to.
Now some online businesses do not list specific emails. They may have a generic email like the one mentioned above. You can send an email to that address but it may not be as effective. In this case you’d be better off calling them on the phone, which I’ll discuss in a moment.
The prospect email you write should be straight to the point and minus any real pushy sales language. People receive many emails in their inbox daily and most of them are selling products and services. You need to have an email that is direct, short, with a small description of your service, and some specific benefits they will get from working with you.
Email subject lines should also be short, straight to the point, and tell what the email is about. If you send them an email with a subject line unrelated to the information in the email they will delete it. Also, don’t include any words like free, or bargain, or any kind of sales language as this is more likely to be caught by the user’s spam filter and deleted without being opened.
The subject line I use goes like this: From Business and Marketing Writing
very easy. Pretty straight forward. It tells the recipient what to expect when they open the email. If you still have a full-time job and can’t cold call during the day, email is also a great way to use it.
I can’t go into too much detail about direct mail potential because I believe that as a bias method, it is too time consuming and cost prohibitive. You need a lot of time to create paper, envelopes, stamps, and very specific and direct sales letters. Personally, I don’t believe any beginning copywriter should use direct mail as a potential strategy.
If you do, however, decide to use direct mail there are a few things you should know. Make your sales letter very specific. Find out who you are writing to and include their name in the letter. A generic, Dear Sir or Madam letter will not be as effective as a letter addressed to a specific person. And try to keep the letter 1 to 2 pages. You are sending your letter to people who are probably busy and they don’t have time to read a 10 page sales letter.
Benefit, benefit, benefit. Don’t write your letter talking about yourself. Talk about how you are going to help him/her increase profits. You want to see how hiring them will benefit their business. Essentially, just follow the sales letter structure. If you are selling a product or service for a company, the only product/service is you.
This is a great way to contact your customers because all prospects have a phone number. Whether you use the Yellow Pages or a business journal, phone numbers will be available for all organizations.
Here’s what you need to know about cold calling prospects:
o Do not call on Monday or Friday. On Monday people are too busy to catch up from the weekend and on Friday people are eager to leave and many decision makers (the people you want to talk to) won’t be available. Your best bet is to call on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. These days people are in the flow of the week and it will be easier to catch up and talk to people who actually have the power to do the work.
o Overcome anxiety. Cold calling can be nerve-wracking and make it seem like you’re teasing or bothering these people. You may sound like a terrible telemarketer. Well, we are not telemarketers. We are professionals selling a valuable service. Think of it as the single best way to get your business off the ground and ignore any negative feelings you may have about this method. It will work.
o Sheer numbers. You have to make a lot of calls. And I mean a lot. I have earned around 1,000 in a month before. It’s in the numbers. If you contact enough people you will find those who need your services. And it can take time. People you talk to or leave voicemails with may not need your services today. That doesn’t mean they won’t be needed tomorrow or next week or next month.
o When you call an organization/business ask for the Marketing Manager. He is the person you want to talk to. If no one has that title, ask anyone who is in charge of hiring freelance copywriters. Some receptionists will be happy to assist you – others may not be so friendly. Just remember, you are selling a valuable service. The service these companies need. If you call an advertising agency you ask for a creative director. He or she is a freelance copywriter recruiter.
o When you get a prospect on the phone, speak to him in a natural, calm voice, and don’t push the sale. Ask him about his marketing needs and their current marketing strategy. Listen, listen, and then listen some more. That’s the key. Once you build a relationship with that person you will be able to transition into selling your services much easier. Also make sure you get their email address. This is the key to keeping in touch with them in the future.
Resuming the conversation
After you contact a customer you need to follow up after some time. If you sent them an email during the email prospecting session, you should call them a few days later to ask if they received it. If you speak with someone on the phone during a cold calling session, be sure to get their email address so you can send a follow-up email thanking them for their time and reminding them to keep them on file for future freelance copy projects. If you send someone a direct mail letter, call them a few days later (when you’re sure they’ve received it) and talk to them about your freelance copywriter needs.
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