From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Solid ... Or a Dud?
Every month, I speak with, on average, 10-15 potential clients. I use that word, "speak" with some wiggle room. Sometimes, it's texting (really!) and other times, it's just by email. But most of the time, if there seems to be a good potential fit, it's a direct conversation.
How can I tell if a potential client is going to be wonderful? How can I tell if they’re going to be a total waste of time? A complete mega-dud?
First of all, I’ve organized my website to repel people who are not going to be a good fit. I make it totally clear I’m not the least expensive copywriter. This keeps the price shoppers away; they can go to Upwork and the commodity sites. Second, I have a page on my website titled, “are we a good fit?” which you can see here. Again, I’m working to attract top clients while repelling poor potential clients. A great website purposely repels the people who cannot, and will not, buy.
As a result, the potential clients who contact me know who I am and they are solid people and solid companies. I don’t have any data but they tell me they have spent time on my website … at least 30 minutes.
One important note: while I want to keep price-shoppers away, I want to be approachable and amenable to the type of clients I’d like to work with. I don’t play “hard to get” and write absurdities like “let me see if I can fit you into my schedule.”
Way too many copywriters have a sort of “reverse snobbery” they think potential clients will find impossible to resist. Look … here’s what I know about great potential clients: my schedule is wide open to them! And yours should be too.
A cautionary tale. I know a direct response copywriter who got a huge gig about three years ago. It was just one promotion but it was a high-profile gig. This copywriter got a lot of traction plus some top-quality testimonials. The acclaim went to this copywriter’s head and suddenly this copywriter went into “let me see if I can fit you into my schedule in two years” mode. Then I saw the same copywriter at the AWAI bootcamp the very next year blatantly interrupting meetings I was having with potential clients … in order to find clients. I also recently saw another copywriter, an extremely famous copywriter, talking about losing a big client. Again … this copywriter is simply waiting for the power of pure reputation to fill that all-important schedule. A bad idea.
But I digress, and I apologize.
I have to admit I have a “sixth sense” when I’m speaking with potential clients. I can tell, in about 90 seconds, whether the potential client is a serious direct marketer … or they want to be. I speak with marketing directors at direct marketing companies and they obviously speak our language. But I also speak with the owners of micro-businesses who are just beginning that direct marketing journey. For example, they might say, “I just went to a direct marketing seminar and I’ve been reading some Dan Kennedy books and I hear it’s important to hire a direct response copywriter.” I love both types of clients. But you have to be careful. The other day, I was speaking with a potential client who was pretending to know a lot about direct marketing. He’s actually a branding guy. In time, you’ll develop this “sixth sense.”
Here are some more “empirical” ways to determine if a client is right for you. • Are they crazy about direct response marketing? • Do they have any money? • What’s their website like … even if it’s a corporate site? • Is it a one person operation? Or a big company? Note: well-funded companies in the 10-30 employee range can often be the best clients … at least for me. • Do they have traffic? If so, what sort of traffic? • Are they ethical? • Will they back up a guarantee? • Have they worked with copywriters before? If they have fired copywriters in the past, what happened? • What does the LinkedIn profile of the potential client look like? • Do they test? • What sort of products are they selling? Is it something people might actually want? Or is it a silly idea, hatched in a bar at 1:30 in the morning? I’m sure you can come up with other questions you want to ask. Remember … when you’re looking into clients it’s a two-way conversation. They’re interviewing me but I’m interviewing them. The supply of direct response copywriters is extremely low. The demand is extremely high. Why should you deal with potentially poor clients?
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter