Direct Response Copywriter on How NOT to Find Clients. Part 11.

How NOT to Find Copywriting Clients. Part 11.

Method #11. Social Media.

A Series of Essays for Copywriters and Fellow Creative Professionals.

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NOTE: You're reading a series of essays about how to find copywriting clients ... and how NOT to find them. This series will be extremely controversial. Read the blogs and you’ll discover my experiences with finding direct response copywriting clients … what works and what’s a waste of time. The goal is to help you find “elite” level clients with deep pockets who are looking for top-quality creative talent. My focus is on direct response copywriting but it all applies to all creative talent.

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I regularly read articles about how social media is either changing everything or going to change everything.

When I talk about social media, I’m talking mostly about the big names like Twitter and Facebook.

I discuss LinkedIn in another post. I don’t consider LinkedIn to be social media … although some people might disagree. LinkedIn actually has some value.

You’ll find numerous private groups for direct response copywriters on Facebook. People who are looking for copywriters will often post opportunities. I have responded to some of these postings and it’s almost always a WHOPPING mistake.

Why?

Because the people who post here are, in my experience, raw amateurs who either have no money or know very little about direct marketing ... or both.

Some of the opportunities sound great but when I respond, I wish I hadn’t. I discover my mistake in the first 30 seconds of a conversation when it becomes clear the person on the other end of the phone is very pleasant ... but a total amateur when it comes to direct marketing.

Even if you get some gigs from a client, it will be painful and you risk not getting paid. It’s harsh perhaps but that’s my experience.

You have to GO AFTER the clients you want.

This means building a database of really awesome clients then pounding away at them.

I have used this methodology to build a database of over 2,000 potential clients for copywriters and creative professionals. To get access to this list, click here now.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on How NOT to Find Clients Part 10

How NOT to Find Copywriting Clients. Part 10.

Method #10. Trade Shows

A Series of Essays for Copywriters and Fellow Creative Professionals.

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NOTE: You're reading a series of essays about how to find copywriting clients ... and how NOT to find them. This series will be extremely controversial. Read the blogs and you’ll discover my experiences with finding direct response copywriting clients … what works and what’s a waste of time. The goal is to help you find “elite” level clients with deep pockets who are looking for top-quality creative talent. My focus is on direct response copywriting but it all applies to all creative talent.

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Over the last 15 years, I have attended trade shows and conferences. A couple of reasons.

First, I wanted to see current clients. Just a few minutes in person with a client can mean a lot to the client. Second, this can be a great place to meet new clients ... in person.

This past January, I attended a whopping trade show. I saw some current clients and simply asked, “are you happy with my work and the services I provide?” It’s important to ask this question and listen very closely to the answer. Fortunately, the client is happy. I also made a point to see a couple of potential clients. I’m in Charlotte and the client is in Texas. We met in Florida and this meeting has led to some work.

In October, I usually attend a conference with about 400 other direct response copywriters. The event features presentations and there’s a “job fair” one afternoon. There’s a room full of people who are eagerly looking for a direct response copywriter like me. It’s tough to argue with an opportunity like that and I’ve met many a strong potential client at this event.

Clients can be found at these events. You can cement relationships plus you can begin new ones.

Is it the BEST way to find new clients? No. The sheer scale of these events makes it hard to focus on the best clients for your copywriting business. One show I attend has 400 exhibitors. Another show has 45 with just 2 hours to find these clients.

Here’s how I approach a situation like this.

Before an event or conference, I try to target good potential clients and meet with them in person at the event. Many events have a Facebook or LinkedIn presence; you can see who will attend and plan accordingly.

The stronger approach is to get the list of people who are attending. One trade show lists all the exhibitors in the official guide plus there’s a listing on the event website. Another conference gives you a list of the people who are looking for a direct response copywriter.

You can take these directories and then start to build a list of strong potential clients. I have used this methodology to build a database of over 2,000 potential clients for copywriters and creative professionals. To get access to this list, [click here now][1].

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on the Copywriter's Perspective

What are copywriters looking for?

I like (almost) all my competitors and I compare notes with them. Based on conversations with my colleagues, we all want pretty much the same things.

• Good opportunity for good/great income. • Quality traffic and lots of it. • The ability to test. • Patience from the client. • A professional environment. • Prompt payment. • A “white hat” approach. • Respect.

No great revelations there so let me give you some reasons I have fired clients.

• I have a thick skin but I won’t work with a company that berates me. This happened recently. • Lack of trust. • Poor communication. • Too many people critiquing the copy – especially when members of the inquisition are not copywriters. • Letting copy get “stale” … especially in the financial area.

I’m also leery when a company brings in a “copy chief” to critique my work. One of my clients recently did this. The “expert” bashed me personally and bashed the VSL I wrote, essentially saying the VSL had no chance to do anything.

The client ran the VSL anyway and it produced over $20,000 in revenue from a small segment of the client’s house list. A $19 sale. Not too shabby – especially as it was a prevention theme.

Copywriters are almost always going to bash the work of other copywriters. You all saw an example in a forum when I showed the blood pressure supplement copy to the group. I knew the other copywriters might bash the work but I was genuinely interested to see why so many potential customers were getting to the order page right at the end of the funnel then not buying. I wrote nine versions of that copy across the entire funnel. The click through numbers were excellent but something wasn’t working. And I was looking for some insight from this group – at the risk of getting hammered by some copywriters.

The guy I was working with thought the traffic demographic was wrong plus there were some funky things going on in that company: with a lot of chiefs plus the involvement of the owner’s daughter, an MBA and expert copywriter.

But something wasn’t working and it proves that testing is the only correct critic. There’s only one copy chief that matters: the customer.

I saw some copy for two conferences. The copy for the first one was OK at best – I thought – but the event was full. The copy for second was short – too short – and didn’t give me enough information to get the live feed. But the event was packed. I only judge direct response copy on the results.

In the last 24 months, I’ve noticed a shift in the copywriting world where several famous – or infamous – copywriters are no longer writing much copy.

Instead, they’re forming coaching groups and charging a small fortune to mentor copywriters and speak at events.

It’s because someone moved their cheese and I’m not sure they have the speed and/or desire to chase the new cheese. Finding great clients is hard. But finding needy copywriters is easy.

In the case of one of the gurus, I’ve seen his work in one of the niches where I’ve helped a client build a multi-million dollar empire pretty much from nothing. The guru’s work in this niche comprises bold-faced lies and when I’ve asked him about results, he avoids the subject.

I can see bringing in an accomplished copywriter to help a totally nascent copywriter get up to speed. Even then, constant bashing will only make them hate the trainer, copywriting, and the client. They will want to work behind a bar or at the lost luggage area in the airport instead.

Patient testing is an awesome copywriting coach. Plus there are so many superb books, manuals, and resources available. Gary Bencivenga’s bullets are on the Internet – for FREE. Mike Palmer of Stansberry cites these as superb advice for direct response copywriters. Spend less than $1,000 on copywriting books for your copywriter and you’ve pretty much covered it. I provide a series of 100 “how to” copywriting videos for $9 a month … the price is low as I build this resource to critical mass.

I’ve taken several paragraphs to stress an important point – be careful about how you train your copywriters and critique their work. I’ve had copy I thought was excellent fail miserably. I’ve had copy the copy police would scoff at produce epic results. So don’t bash … test. And give your copywriter the width to fail and learn.

Let me give you a sense of how to treat a copywriter so the copywriter produces sales and revenue for you … and so you don’t have a “copywriter carousel” where you’re constantly hiring and firing copywriters – or having them fire you.

• Expect the copywriter to meet deadlines but give the copywriter input on the deadline. • Make sure they understand the ‘state of awareness’ and ‘state of sophistication’ at an almost professorial level. • Be careful about bringing in an outside ‘copy basher in chief.’ • Great copy does not come from a committee – it comes from research plus linking the benefits of the product to the desires of the customer. • Understand that copywriters have different styles. Some copywriters like to hyperventilate. I’ve seen Gary Bencivenga copy that’s understated. • Test like crazy and get the copywriter to feed the testing beast. • Communicate, be professional, and treat the copywriter with respect. • Keep the copywriter in the loop when it comes to testing results. VITAL. • Provide the copywriter with as much information about your products and customers as possible – and spend several hours doing this. • Don’t expect the copywriter to write on spec/royalty right away. • Avoid crowdsourcing sites like elance. • Provide a clear creative brief. • Be realistic … don’t ask your copywriter to sell sunlamps in the Sahara. • Let the copywriter write and test across the entire funnel.

Now let’s get to compensation.

Let’s be brutally frank – and I know I’m biased … based on what I hear and my research for my database, there are lots of companies who understand the value of copy who are desperate for serious copywriters.

You cannot learn to write direct response copy at any college I know of. Universities pump out lawyers (yay!) but they don’t pump out direct response copywriters.

I’ve been to the AWAI boot camp three times now and yes – 400 copywriters show up – but in that 400 you’ll find 10 super-experienced writers who are booked and/or coaching and not writing copy. You’ll find about 50 writers like me who have helped clients sell stuff but want to get to the top of the trade. Then you’ll find about 340 people who have bought into the AWAI dream and are just trying to get started. Most will not return, sadly. They will never get their copywriting business off the ground and I feel really, really bad for these people.

The forces of supply and demand are not in your favor when it comes to finding and keeping copywriters. Brutal but true.

But you can get a great copywriter to join your team – essentially for FREE. Sorry but my keyboard can’t type that word FREE in small caps.

You don’t have to pay a fortune in upfront fees for a copywriter and, to keep them happy financially, you can provide a portion of the increase in revenue. Get your model right and the services of a great copywriter simply help you make more money AND increase the value of your business.

But my best advice when it comes to treating copywriters is to be like Marty Edelston, who found great copywriters and treated them like royalty.

From my perspective – and I’m getting better at this – I look at how much time I spend on a project … and what I’m earning.

And I’m kicking out the people who are wasting my time.

Am I a great copywriter? An A-lister? What does that really mean, anyway?

I just had a health project fail. Great click through numbers but no sales. But another health client became the fastest growing company in Charlotte, which has a crazy-good economy. My golf client has succeeded where a ton of people have failed and one promotion generated $1.6 million in sales of wedges from an obscure manufacturer.

The copy on my site has generated over 500 leads in 4 years. There have been more failures than successes. I won an AWAI competition … $1,000 spent that night in The Blue Anchor in Delray Beach on other copywriters. Oh well. Clayton Makepeace said he liked my stuff. My clients typically keep me around – because the copy converts.

If you want my attention, then put me on a retainer for a few months and let’s see how things go. If there’s some traction then let’s move forward with a fee plus a slice of the increase in revenue. I’m doing this with one of my biggest clients. One of the owners of the company used to work for Goldman Sachs and he understands the “eat what you kill” compensation model.

I sort of like the NFL compensation model where most rookies get minimal pay but if they do well, they can get some guaranteed money plus certain bonuses. NFL players can also get cut at any time.

Someone coming up to me and saying, “it’s a great opportunity if you’re willing to take a step backwards” is a bit of a turn off.

Digging deep into the soul of the direct response copywriter, we all live in a state of semi-panic as it’s us vs. the world. The company that provides some succor is one that will get the attention of the freelancer.

Finally – let me introduce a key concept in my little world.

Fixers and punters.

Both terms from my upbringing in the UK.

My father is one of the top classical musicians on the planet. He also used to work in the session world – playing on pop records and movie soundtracks. The person who booked the musicians was/is known as the “fixer.” An IMPORTANT person with great work and plenty of money.

In the UK, the word “punter” has at least five meanings.

Someone who bets and usually loses. A customer. For example … “this bar is really getting the punters in the door.” Someone who visits a betting shop. Someone who visits a “business” woman. A general person – usually of low intelligence and dodgy demeanor.

I separate potential clients based on the fixer vs. punter rule.

When you’re approaching copywriters, be a FIXER and not a punter.

Did Gary Bencivenga work for punters? I think we all know the answer. He told copywriters not to take on marketing challenges.

I will never say that the success of a direct marketing business depends entirely on copy. Other factors come into play.

But others who have been supremely successful will tell you that much of their increase in revenue comes from finding – and keeping – ambitious copywriters.

Now you know a little about what makes copywriters tick … and I hope this helps you grow your business and become even more wildly successful.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter on How NOT to Find Clients Part 9

How NOT to Find Copywriting Clients. Part 9.

A Series of Essays for Copywriters and Fellow Creative Professionals.

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NOTE: You're reading a series of essays about how to find copywriting clients ... and how NOT to find them. This series will be extremely controversial. Read the blogs and you’ll discover my experiences with finding direct response copywriting clients … what works and what’s a waste of time. The goal is to help you find “elite” level clients with deep pockets who are looking for top-quality creative talent. My focus is on direct response copywriting but it all applies to all creative talent.

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Method #9. Networking

Early in my career, I attended a large number of “networking” events. These typically took place in Charlotte where I live.

I’m usually an outgoing person and I usually like meeting new people in a social setting but I never really liked the networking events.

There were two reasons.

First, as someone who spent his formative years in England, I have an English accent. This becomes the first point of conversation at a networking event and I got tired of providing my life story NINETY times in the space of 60 minutes.

Second, I never really met a good client for my direct response copywriting services. There were lots of people selling life insurance. Plus lots of people selling real estate. Nothing against insurance and real estate but the people I met just weren’t good potential clients for this direct response copywriter.

In some cases, I joined, or was added to, the committee that organized the networking groups. This was enjoyable because I met some fun and wonderful people but it was also a painful waste of time … especially when I had to listen to committee members drone on about nothing for several hours.

Building and developing a network is extremely valuable. I think back to the days before the Internet when people had a Rolodex … or two. Just the Rolodex itself could be extremely valuable.

From time to time, I attend so-called networking events where I can potentially meet clients and “network” with other direct response copywriters. Again – it’s a nice time but I can’t say it’s a great way to meet great clients.

It takes years … decades even … to build a great professional network. And the network can be extremely valuable. Websites like LinkedIn can be useful and speed up the process but, ultimately, network building the traditional way takes a long time.

Fortunately, there’s a way to build a really strong network quickly and with a much more targeted approach. You have to be proactive and go after the clients you want.

To get the clients you want then you must create your own list of "ideal" clients ... then go after them. I have a hand-crafted list of 2,000 potential clients. To get access to this list, click here now.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter With Some Advice for Fellow Direct Response Copywriters

An open letter to my fellow direct response copywriters about finding clients.

If you’re a direct response copywriter, pay close attention to this blog because I’m about to reveal something extremely personal.

It’s about clients.

You might be saying, “that’s not personal … that’s business stuff.”

No. It's personal.

The quality of your clients determines pretty much everything in your life. Money … time … mental health … professional satisfaction … and everything else.

If you’re a direct response copywriter, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Think about it. Bad and mediocre clients create all sorts of problems. Great clients with big budgets make life a ton easier.

OK – it’s not quite that black and white but you KNOW what I’m talking about … and you know it’s true.

Right now, I rank #1 or #2 for many key search terms like “direct response copywriter.” And this brings me tons of leads: over 500 in the past 4 years. And you might think I’d be happy with this.

But I’m not. And here’s why. It’s something I thought about the other day.

Every competent direct response copywriter should be grossing at least $200,000 a year in fees – before royalties. And that’s based on working just 30 hours a week … no more than 45 weeks a year. That’s $148 per hour if you’re counting and that's achievable.

Based on the clients I have through my website, I wasn’t coming anywhere near that.

So I made a big decision. I looked at all the different ways to find clients. I found the hardest but most powerful way to find the ultimate clients.

Bob Bly used this method and I’m sure you know all about Bob’s success. David Ogilvy used this method to get his advertising agency started … and he built a whopping advertising agency.

The method? Build a database of the clients you want and pound away at them.

Building that database is extremely hard and time-consuming. That’s the bad news.

The good news? In building my database, I created a list of OVER 2,000 potential clients. These are people who are looking for copywriters … or they will lead you to people who are looking for copywriters.

Even better news … I’m making this database available to other copywriters on a first-come first-served basis.

“Why would Scott share this list?” you might be asking. “Why would he share HIS leads with the competition?”

Good question(s).

First – and I’m not ashamed to admit this – I hope to make some money here. I’m a self-employed entrepreneur with financial goals. Second – there’s so much work out there that I’m happy to share the list.

As the late Gary Halbert once said to a group of copywriters, “there’s an ocean of work out there, and you’re a thimble.”

How many times have you heard this from a decision maker ... "we're always looking for copywriters."

OK – enough of this ethereal blog stuff … let’s get down to business.

As I official launch my database, I’m making it available to serious copywriters like you for $99 a month for 9 months.

It's normally $1,295 as a one-time payment.

And because I’m a direct response copywriter, I’m going to use the “coffee justification technique.” Maybe you've heard of this!

Every day, I spend $2.65 on a large coffee. That’s almost $80 a month. You get the picture – depending on how much you spend on coffee.

To go to the official sales page, click here.

And one more thing … you won’t find this database anywhere else.

The “usual suspects” like AWAI and Dan Kennedy and Bob Bly don’t have this. And I have bought items from AWAI and Dan Kennedy and Bob Bly and have huge respect for them all.

But you certainly won’t find it with anyone else ... none of the people who are in the "client getting" business have anything like this.

OK – that’s enough from me for now … or I will start to drift into direct response copywriter language and say things like …

CLICK HERE NOW!

But seriously – if you want to get my list … click here now.

And if you have any questions, please use the contact link below.

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I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.