That First Paid Invoice is Gonna Feel Great, but How Do You Get There?
One of the most common questions I get from new copywriters is how to get your first copywriting client.
Your first client is a HUGE milestone. Putting your skills into practice for the first time really shows you how much you’ve learned during your journey of learning copywriting.
And if you’ve put in the time and effort to learn the core skills, you’re going to see how naturally it comes to you when you sit down to write your first paid piece.
But, how do you get to that point? Let’s talk about how to get your first copywriting client and officially launch into your new career.
Getting Your First Copywriting Client: A Quick How-To
Here’s a quick tip: Use this post as a checklist for getting your first client!
Cover the Basics
Landing your first copywriting client isn’t as simple as just sending over your portfolio and getting an enthusiastic “YES!”
If you want to get that first client, you need to have your foundations in place. Your first impression needs to be one of professionalism, instilling confidence in your prospects that an investment in your services is a wise one.
Before you start pitching, make sure you have the following:
- A Relevant Portfolio
If you’re pitching yourself to a business coach, content related to dentistry probably won’t bowl your prospects over. Your potential clients need to be able to picture themselves in the position of your client. Create a portfolio specific to the type of business you’re pitching to.
- A Calendar Link
A quick scheduling method is especially important if you’re doing cold outreach. Even if you’ve piqued the interest of a potential client, if it’s too much of a hassle to get on your calendar, they’ll move on. Instead of asking them if they have availability, give them yours.
- An Onboarding Process
Nothing dampers a new client’s excitement about working with you more than a shaky onboarding process. If there are hiccups in your process, your client will start to doubt your professionalism. Make sure that your onboarding process is water tight before you even think about getting your first copywriting client.
- Set Up an Outreach Tracking Document
Keep detailed, organized notes on who you’re reaching out to, when you’ve reached out to them, and their responses. This way, you’ll avoid reaching out to the same prospect multiple times and looking like you don’t know what you’re doing.
Have all of your proverbial ducks in a row. It will serve you well in the long run.
Make a Genuine Connection First
Where is your ideal client spending their time? Are they posting on Instagram? Are they hosting Clubhouse rooms? Is LinkedIn more their speed?
Understanding where your clients are spending their time helps you make connections with your prospects before the initial outreach. Follow them. Interact with their content. Send them a connection request on LinkedIn. Name recognition goes a long way when pitching yourself to a prospect––if they recognize your name, even if they don’t completely remember from where, you’re much more likely to get a response instead of showing up as another faceless marketing pitch.
Keep Your Outreach Short and to the Point
Remember that you’re dealing with decision-makers. A lengthy email with a list of every single thing you can do for your client might sound like your pitching value, but what you’re actually doing is being overly “sales-y.”
Keep it brief. Introduce yourself, let them know where you connected with them, let them know what you do (I’m an email copywriter/I write sales pages/I write conversion copy, etc) and indicate your interest in working together. Include your calendar link.
Don’t Forget the Follow Up
The follow up is hugely important. Think of every single marketing email you receive on a daily basis. A lot, right? Now, imagine how many your clients are getting. Most of the time people ignore their marketing emails, forget about them (even if they’re interested), or delete them, thinking they’re canned emails.
Your follow up should be even shorter and simpler than your original outreach. A simple approach shows that you’re definitely not a bot. Excessively long follow up emails with a million reasons you should work together just make you seem like spam, or desparate. You can learn more about what exactly to put in your outreach emails and follow up emails in my Landing Your First Copywriting Client course.
Prepare to Nail Your Discovery Call
So, you’ve piqued the interest of a prospect! NICE! But, the deal isn’t done until that contract is signed. You need to approach your discovery calls with confidence, ask the right questions, and build the right rapport to seal the deal (don’t worry, I’ve got a guide to help you totally crush your discovery calls).
Step Outside of Email Pitching
Connecting on social media or cold emailing clients is one of the most popular ways to land copywriting clients, but don’t forget that you’ve got a ton of other options.
Freelancer platforms are another way to go, especially if you’re brand new. Sites like Upwork or PeoplePerHour might have a lot of freelancers to choose from, but (this is personal experience from both the hiring side and the freelancer side), good talent is hard to find on those platforms. If you’ve got the chops, you’ll stand out. And, you’ll be speaking with people who are actively looking for your services.
Whether in person or digitally on a platform like Clubhouse, networking is a great way to meet business owners interested in your services. When someone can hear your voice or see your face, it’s likely you’ll make a more authentic connection and build the know, like, and trust factor.
I know, it’s hard to imagine phones doing more than texting or doom scrolling Instagram, but don’t be afraid to use the phone for its original purpose––actually speaking. Like I mentioned above, connecting through voice is a great way to build real connections. Calling up businesses you’d like to work with and asking for a meeting can get your foot in the door.
Knock on Doors
Are you a copywriter in the pediatric dentistry niche? Visit local pediatric dentists offices with a packet of information and a business card. Do you write for plastic surgeons? Go in, ask to speak with the owner or office manager and ask to set up a formal meeting. Locally owned businesses love working other other locally owned businesses. Remember, though, if you take this route, be prepared for some people to want to discuss the details on the spot, and be equally prepared for people to just ask you to leave your card.
(But…remember the follow up for each of these non-email outreach strategies is equally important!)
You Know What They Say: You Always Remember Your First
Client, that is.
Your first client makes you officially a professional copywriter. While landing that first client seems intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. Put yourself out there. Every professional copywriter in the world was once where you are right now. It all starts with a single client. Go land ‘em.