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3 old-fashioned ways of winning new clients you’re proud to boast about – without giving up on social media and content marketing

man and woman shaking handsEvery few days or so a freelance copywriter emails me asking for advice. And one of the most common topics is getting clients. Either the precious first one, or just more.

The topic crops up on our LinkedIn group discussion board too from time to time.

The question they tend to ask is a variant on, How do I use social media/content marketing to get clients?

My answer is always the same.

Don’t. Unless you like the idea of passivity as a new business strategy.

Here are three strategies I recommend instead. Each one enables you to do something that no amount of blogging, tweeting or posting ever will…

You get to pick the companies, brand and products you want to write about.

The first one isn’t difficult. It’s not particularly expensive (though it does cost more than tweeting). And it’s not even scary.

Step one. Make a list of companies you’d really like to work for.

Step two. Research them online and get hold of the name of their marketing director.

Step three. Buy some nice paper and write a letter to them asking for work.

I recently tried this on two big-name media brands I wanted to do a deal with for our Breakthrough Copywriting course. So far, one has come back to me asking for a sample video from the course.

For the mathematically challenged, that’s a 50% response rate. Or roughly a gazillion times more than you’d get from tweeting.

Total outlay about 60 pence.

If you can’t bring yourself to do something as old-fashioned as writing letters to people you want to do business with, how about networking?

Not social networking, the real kind. The kind that happens at events.

Now, this can be more expensive, since you will have to buy a ticket. Although you might be able to swap one in return for giving a speech or leading a workshop.

At the event, you will come face-to-face with the very people who could be hiring you.

Better still, they have just heard you talking intelligently about copywriting, so you appear as an expert.

Or, if neither of these appeal to you, how about hosting a free lunchtime seminar on copywriting?

Hire a room in local hotel for a couple of hours, lay on some refreshments and publicise the event through local media.

Although nominally giving attendees the information they need to start writing their own copy, what you’re really doing is showing them that they would be far better off hiring you to do it for them.

Should you do these things instead of social media/content marketing? Not necessarily.

There’s nothing wrong with using all the marketing channels out there. I just think there are better, faster and more profitable ways to win new clients.

Particularly if you want to be the one deciding who you work for.

Oh, and one last thing. If you liked this post, why not consider joining the Academy? It’s free and I’ll send you three free reports to help you forge a successful career in copywriting.

Categories: Content marketing, Freelance life, and Selling.

One Response to 3 old-fashioned ways of winning new clients you’re proud to boast about – without giving up on social media and content marketing

  • Matt Ambrose
    April 4, 2013

    Here! Here! Sending letters has always been the most effective strategy for me. You can even open a business account with Royal Mail to get the postage costs down. Even without the saving, you only need one response to justify the time and expense. Me? I’ve been targeting marketing agencies with 3-10 employees and starting to wonder why I ever bothered with SEO.

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