5-Point Checklist to Effectively Market Yourself to Clients

Male writer, sitting at table, reviewing his laptop screen

Recently, a writer came to me for help with a concern that 9 out of 10 writers share, both newbies and veterans …

How do I get potential clients to respond to me?

He had sent hundreds of prospecting emails to small businesses and nonprofits … and yet didn’t get a single reply.

Of course, he was frustrated …

He couldn’t figure out why he had gotten zero response.

And he needed help, fast. It was clear we needed to audit what went wrong by using my five-point checklist …

While it might not always be the case, in my experience, there’s usually a disconnect or a breakdown with one (or more) of these self-marketing elements.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the checklist, as well as point you to some AWAI resources that can help you improve each of the steps along the way.

1. The Companies You’re Targeting (Your List)

Defining who your ideal clients are, and then building a list of contacts is an important step …

It means you’ve chosen a niche, identified companies who value their marketing (and therefore your skills!), and spent time researching the right people to email.

If you’ve yet to choose a niche, and have been randomly emailing companies, I want you to pause and watch this free webinar.

In it, our Director of Training (and the Niche Queen!) Pam Foster will walk you through a process that ensures you choose the “right” niche for you.

Once you’re sure your list isn’t the issue, it’s time to move on to the next step in the checklist …

2. The Email Copy Itself

As a freelance copywriter, you know better than anyone that copy can make or break a campaign … including your own.

It’s important to review it from the prospect’s perspective (i.e., your potential client).

Is the tone right? Is it conversational but also persuasive? Is your call-to-action compelling?

Have you gotten to the core of what your prospect wants and answered his question: What’s in it for me?

I realize evaluating your own copy can be challenging. So you might consider finding a copy buddy … or several … to give you feedback …

Ask them to look at the email and answer the following questions:

  • Does the email look generic — like something that was sent to hundreds of other people?
  • Does it read like a real email written from one person to another?
  • Can they quickly tell you why they’ve received the email?
  • Is it clear what you can do to help them?
  • Do they know what action you want them to take next?
  • Do you come across as a high-value professional?

Of course, feel free to add more specific questions based on your email’s intent …

But I find giving reviewers questions to answer helps me hone in on any issues — and stops them from trying to “be nice” so they don’t hurt my feelings. ;)

Here are some other resources on reviewing/critiquing your email copy:

So now you’ve got the right audience, and your first point of contact is well written … let’s move on to the next critical factor …

3. Your Overall Marketing Message

Is your overall marketing message targeting your niche, selling your value, and resonating with your prospect?

Is your message consistent on your website, your LinkedIn profile, and anywhere else your prospect may go to do their due diligence before replying to your email?

Can they quickly understand what you do and the value you provide?

Nick Usborne is a master at creating strong marketing messages … and he’s a master at teaching others how to do so, too.

And be sure to watch this free webinar I did with Katie Yeakle and Ilise Benun on crafting an effective, professional LinkedIn profile to promote yourself.

If you do nothing else, I highly recommend you have a LinkedIn profile targeting companies in your niche. More and more of the success stories I’m hearing are originating with clients finding them there.

Next up …

4. The Writing Services You’re Offering

What types of copy and content do your ideal clients use most in their marketing? And are you offering writing services they actually want and need right now?

This is a biggie …

Because if you’re offering something they don’t want … something they don’t need … you’ll never get them to respond.

Spend time in your niche looking at the copy and content types most used, and if you don’t yet offer them, consider getting the training you need so you can!

Here are some resources that will give you more insights into in-demand projects in many industries …

5. Your Proof

It’s one thing to claim you can do the job …

But any good copywriter knows you have to prove the claims you make!

You want potential clients to feel confident they’ve found a professional who is capable of delivering what they need.

Now, often new writers think proof only includes things like samples, testimonials from previous clients, or success stories from past projects.

And while those are good forms of proof …

Proof can also come in the form of industry experience (your previous job) … passion about a topic (e.g., 10 years of martial arts), or training you’ve completed (AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, etc.).

So, even if you’ve never been paid to write once in your life, you can still come up with enough proof to encourage clients to respond.

This webinar is a good starting point if you get stuck, How to Create a Portfolio of Winning Samples (Even If You’ve Never Had Any Clients!).

So, there you have it …

Five things to troubleshoot if you’re not getting the response you want from potential clients.

Remember, a disconnect with any one of these things can impact your response. Identify and fix the problem … and get ready for a better response!

And if you hit any other roadblocks, or opportunities you’re unsure how to navigate, be sure and contact us.

The AWAI team and I are here to help you every step of the way!

Do you have any other questions about getting started? Share in the comments so we can help.

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: November 13, 2020

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