March 2018 1
From the desk of Scott Martin, direct response copywriter, Aspen, Colorado.
Some Thoughts About Refining Your Client Search ... So You Find Great Clients Instead of Total Plonkers and Punters.
I wrote a PDF last year titled, “The 17 Worst Ways to Find Clients” … or something like that … and maybe one of these days, maybe in a few weeks, I’ll dig it out and send it to this database. It makes for interesting reading. Many of the ways you've heard are really great are, in fact, a total waste of time.
If you’re a copywriter, then I’m certain you have tried several different ways to find clients, likely with mixed results. Or just really poor results.
I have ample work, especially from a couple of clients, and I’m fortunate that my website generates leads ... over 700 in the past 5 years.
Some of the people who contact me are serious direct marketers; others are serious but have “one and done” project work, which is fine, but it’s always preferable to have regular assignments from a company: you get to know them and their list plus you're not constantly searching for clients.
Still, having a website that generates leads is ultimately a passive exercise.
So … over the next few months, I’m going on the offensive. I’m going to keep working for the two clients I just mentioned, provided they still like me, but I’m going to FIND two, maybe three, additional clients.
What do these clients look like?
Great traffic. Great list. Excellent traffic buyer. Superb products that really appeal to their current and prospective customers. The need and desire to keep selling products and services. Total compliance and dedication to ethical business practices. The willingness, if not rampant desire, to invest in copy and PAY THEIR COPYWRITER. A direct marketing mindset. One of my current clients has a copy of Breakthrough Advertising in the bathroom. A growth mindset. The constant desire to improve. A general disdain for all things branding. The ability to test like crazy … and celebrate both success and failure. Generally amenable and pleasant people in the organization. A paucity of corporate bureaucracy. An entrepreneurial mindset … plus ambition. Speed … getting products to market quickly. No copy police looking over my every word. They trust me. Ample cash in the bank. Size: between 10-30 employees. The potential to work together for many years. A need for direct marketing expertise.
I could probably think of a few other criteria but that’s a pretty good list above.
As you can see, I’m not going to work with a lot of punters. And if you don’t know what a “punter” is then search a little … for the British meaning … it’s one of my favorite words and extremely malleable.
But I digress.
Some of you who receive this email might be extremely experienced. Others might be more nascent. Either way, it’s VITAL to define your ideal client profile.
Eight years ago, that client was a digital advertising agency with regular copy needs.
Once you have a sense of your ideal client, you can ignore all the ads and online guff you see asking for copywriters.
Most of these potential clients are like people who walk into a Ferrari dealership with precisely $500 to spend on a car ... but still think they can get a Ferrari.
But most importantly, once you have a sense of your ideal client, you can search with much more precision.
Look … there’s triage involved here. I might cruise around looking at more than 300 potential clients before I find one that matches my criteria. That’s great, if you ask me.
Why should I settle for a client who is not a good fit?
Let’s remember something crucially vital. Yes … it’s important to have a great list. Yes … it’s important to have great products. But without copy, there isn’t a sale … there isn’t a phone call made to a 1-800 number.
So why am I settling for clients who will make my life miserable? Why are you?
Be aggressive. Find those great clients. Don’t work for companies that don’t deserve to work with a copywriter who can produce results.
Two more things to consider.
One. All those so called “A Lister” copywriters … were they actually really great copywriters? Or did they find and work with the top clients? Hmmmmmm …
Two. Notice I haven’t said the “niche” word. You can focus on a niche to the point where you’re willing to take on bad clients.
My niche … especially in the next few months? Finding the top clients … clients who are a good fit with my career goals over the next decade.
Scott Martin Direct Response Copywriter
P.S. If I seem mean or even snobby then my apologies. I don't want to sound like either. I simply want serious copywriters to work with excellent clients. Is that too much to ask?