I can’t get clients! I can’t get clients! I can’t get clients!
I’ve heard this time and time again from copywriters…
Yet when I ask them to show me their outreach, it’s clear why:
Most copywriters have no clue how to talk to a client.
I know in my last post, I mentioned how WRITING better copy is a way bigger leverage point than closing clients.
That being said, I still see people make a ton of mistakes in their outreach.
Let me share 3 big lessons that will help you close more clients.
Lesson #1: Don’t Be A Beggar - Be A Doctor
Imagine you’re walking down the beautiful beach-side boardwalk in Pacific Beach, San Diego (where I live).
You’re enjoying an amazing view…
Breathing in the salty ocean air…
Suddenly, a dirty, ragged homeless man approaches you from the side, surprising you.
“Please sir, can you give me some money? Anything will help. Please.”
What would you do in this situation?
It’s a bit alarming…
And most people would avert their eyes and walk on by.
Here’s the thing…
Most copywriters sound exactly like a beggar when they send client outreach messages.
“Please, do you have any work? Can I do any copy for you? Do you have copy jobs for me?”
It’s all “Please, give me work, please give me work!
This frame of reference repels business owners fast.
Here’s the thing: client outreach is a sales process in itself.
The best copywriters who land client after client certainly don’t think about it like begging.
They think about it like a doctor.
When you go into the doctor’s office - what does the doctor do?
He doesn’t walk in and ask you please please please give him money.
He diagnoses your problem.
He asks you when your health problem started.
He checks your blood pressure.
He takes your temperature - looks in your ears and nose with his instruments.
He checks you out - THEN he gives you a diagnosis: “Looks like you got yourself a nasty case of ________________”.
Then he gives you the solution to your problem.
That’s the key.
In client outreach you want to be a problem-solver - not a beggar.
“Hey, I noticed you don’t have an abandon cart sequence set up - you may be leaving money on the table - would you like me to write some emails for that?”
“How is this sales page doing? Oh, it’s fatiguing? I’ve actually seen a lead for a similar product do really well, I think it would work well here. What do you think?”
Instead of opening up calls looking wide-eyed and waiting to see what the client is going to say…
Why don’t you DIAGNOSE the problems of their business?
Ask questions like:
You’re looking for a place to give them a quick win.
Lesson #2: Research Your Client
You may be asking…
Great Ning, but I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO DO THAT!
How would I know what their problems are or whether they have an abandon cart sequence or whatever?!
Well, you haven’t researched your client.
Client outreach is like writing a sales page.
The more research you do, the easier the sale.
I always teach copywriting research in 3 focus areas: the product, the marketplace, and the avatar.
In this case, the product is YOU and your copywriting services.
The marketplace is a bunch of other copywriters selling their services as well - how are they acquiring clients and how do you position yourself in the marketplace?
The avatar is business owners - how do business owners think? How do they hire? Where do they hire copywriters? What qualities are they looking for?
If you’re reaching out to a client you seriously want to court, you should be digging through ALL THEIR STUFF.
Look for weaknesses in their marketing and their strategy.
Even if they don’t have weaknesses - they for sure have copy needs.
If you have the funds, buy their stuff, take screenshots of all their funnel steps and upsells.
Look in their ad libraries on different platforms - peruse their website.
Where are they acquiring customers?
What do their ads look like?
Are you getting retargeted?
What are their back end products?
What strategy are they using on their email list? (are you even on their email list?)
To catch the fish, you must think like the fish. You must understand how the fish acts, behaves, thinks day to day. The more you understand that, the more successful you will be.
In my coaching, I actually have students do role-play for meeting clients at events.
A typical conversation might go:
You: Hey, nice to meet you, I think I’ve seen you around.
Client: Hey, yeah pleasure to meet you.
*exchange pleasantries, talk about commonalities, joke around to establish social rapport*
You: Are you a copywriter? Business owner?
Client: I own a health brand called ___________.
You: Oh cool, you sell supplements or …?
Client: We actually do blah blah blah
You: That sounds like a front end product, blah blah blah
You: How’s that funnel performing?
Client: blah blah blah
*You take out your phone, ask for the link, then you go ahead and READ their copy*
*Then you provide your feedback and advice on what new angles might work or improve their numbers*
*It naturally transitions into a problem-solving conversation - business owners can talk about this all day*
*You exchange info to chat about this more later*
Congrats, you’ve just positioned yourself as a problem-solver, not a beggar. A value-giver instead of a value-taker.
Lesson #3: Itemized Proof Or Zero Risk Offer
What if you’re sending a message?
What should you say?
By far the number 1 most important thing to include in your outreach message is proof of your past success.
I’m talking about an ITEMIZED list of your past wins with SPECIFICS and DATA.
For example, I would write:
I’ve Sold Over $30 Million Worth Of Product Online. I’ve written controls for Organifi, Agora, New Market Health, and other leading direct response companies.
From 2018-2022, I was the copy chief for PaleoHacks, where I handled all funnel work, split tests, new product development, and copywriting. In that time, I:
In 2021, Copy Accelerator (a copywriting mastermind headed by Justin Goff and Stefan Georgi) hired me to be their first 1-on-1 copywriting coach.
(I have references I can connect you with to verify all of this)
Notice the specificity - specificity in your itemized list is key.
What company did you write for? How big is that company? What is their bottom line revenue? What did they sell?
What did you write for them? How many pieces of copy?
How did they perform? Can you include data / stats at all?
Include ALL past jobs - as many as make you sound impressive. It’s like a resume. Stack the deck in your favor to position yourself as a gangsta copywriter.
This ITEMIZED LIST OF PROOF is your #1 asset on client outreach messages - yet most people either SKIP it… or fill it with a bunch of vague generalities instead of SPECIFICS.
I guarantee you if I looked at your outreach messages, I can show you how you can write this area with more specificity - go back and look at it yourself and ask yourself… how can I be more specific in each of these pieces of proof?
Now what if you are brand new?
And you don’t have ANY experiences?
Well, how do you first show you are not a hobo on the street?
Do you have a bachelor’s degree in something?
Did you work in sales at all?
What was your past career? What did you do there?
That shows you’re not a hobo on the street and you are somewhat professional.
Then, figure out how to make your business owner a Zero Risk Offer.
And yes - this does mean in your first few jobs, do some work for free!
Or do it with a money back guarantee.
Write, write, write - improve, get feedback - and GIVE.
Just give your copy out.
If business owners see your copy and it’s legit - believe it or not, they often are HAPPY to pay you and they don’t WANT your free work.
They’re just looking for writers who are professional, who work hard, who have an appetite for learning and improving, who have potential, and who they like and get along with.
Become that person, and you will find work, no problem.
If you’d like some help, click here.
Hope this helps you, my friend.