Is there an easier way go about landing your first high paying client?

337/365: The Big Money
Image by DavidDMuir via Flickr

A Blueprint for Landing the Highest-Paying Web Clients
By Rebecca Matter

I recently mentioned to you that online advertising spending is projected to increase to $32.5 billion in the next year. Today I want to show you how you can claim your piece of that pie, even if you’re just starting out.

The key to your success is landing clients who have the biggest demand for web copy, and are therefore willing to pay big bucks for it. I’m talking about writing copy for SEO, PPC ads, websites, and e-letters.

If you know how to write web copy effectively, here is an easy-to-follow outline for landing clients in each of those areas. We’ll start with the easiest client to tackle and work our way to the one that requires the most prep work and expertise.
Writing E-Letters

Smart companies know the key to success is establishing a long-term relationship with their customers, and today e-letters are used more often than not as the primary tool.

The first step to identifying good potential e-letter clients is to figure out what you’re interested in learning and writing about. What topics do the magazines you read cover? What e-letters do you already read? Due to the frequency of e-letters, you’ll be doing a LOT of writing on the topic. So it’s best if you enjoy learning more about it.

Whether it’s fishing, golf, the environment, marketing … a long list of potential clients is waiting for you. Once you nail down your interests, search Google for companies in that area, and sign up for their e-letters. Next, find an area of weakness, approach the company, and let them know what you can do to help make their e-letter more successful (make readers buy more, open more emails, read more often, etc.).
Search Engine Optimization Copy

SEO copywriting allows a company’s website to show up in the search engines whenever a user searches for a specific word or phrase – without paying a dime to the search engines.

SEO copywriting expert Heather Lloyd-Martin told me a good way to find new SEO clients is to find a business that will let you use their website as a case study. Case studies are wonderful marketing tools and clearly demonstrate how you’ve helped to increase a client’s bottom line. You can show how your copy helped increase sales, increase click-through numbers, gained higher search engine positions … it’s powerful stuff for the sales process.

Surprisingly, finding case study clients is actually pretty easy. One way is to write copy for a discounted price in order to show the before and after. (And what client doesn’t like to hear that they’re getting a one-time discount?) You can also donate your time in exchange for a testimonial and being able to publish a case study. Once you have the case study, promote it on your website and offer to send it to prospects. They’ll be impressed by your client’s success – and will want you to perform the same magic for them!
Writing for Websites

From the homepage, to landing pages, to subscription pages, the opportunity is unlimited. There’s a huge demand and big dollars waiting for copywriters who understand the complexities of writing web pages that can convert website visitors into buyers.

According to web copy expert Nick Usborne , when it comes to landing pages, the easiest way to get clients is to write one for yourself. For example, if you are going to target companies in the pet care business, you’d write a landing page selling your own services to those companies. Then you send your prospects to that page instead of your regular website. In other words, SHOW, don’t TELL.

Now if you’re looking to get business revising a website, you’ll want to focus on one aspect … just to get your toe in the door. For example, maybe a company’s page descriptions and metatags need improving. Once you’ve identified a potential client, go to Google.com and type: site:www.domain.com in the search box. (For example, if you wanted to see what Google had indexed for AWAI, you’d type site:www.awaionline.com.) What you’ll get is a list of all the pages Google has indexed on that site, and each page’s corresponding title. Websites often have weak or repetitive page titles, which is a very bad thing – yet very easy for you, the professional web copywriter, to fix!

To get started, make a list of sites in your target industry, use this tool to find a weakness, then contact that company and say, “Hi, my name is Jack, and I’m an expert at writing for the web. I did an analysis of your website’s page titles and metatags, and I’m seeing a lot of potential for improvement. Can we talk?”
Pay-Per-Click Ads

Similar to SEO, companies use PPC ads to drive visitors to their websites. However, with PPC, advertisers pay the search engines to have an ad appear whenever a user searches for a specific word or phrase. But instead of paying upfront, they pay only if and when someone actually clicks on the ad and visits the web page.

Good web copywriters, who also understand PPC, are hard to come by. And many companies have been burned by “PPC experts” who don’t know the first thing about writing good copy. So showing a potential client you know what you’re talking about will be very important.

As with all areas of web writing, PPC involves a well-thought-out plan that can be approved by your client and then executed by you. Once you’ve identified your potential client(s), spend some time researching the hot keyphrases in that industry, see what their competitors are advertising with PPC ads, and put together a campaign overview complete with keyphrases and the concept for the landing page(s). Then approach your prospect saying you have an idea for a PPC campaign that could make them some real money. At that point, your foot is already in the door … because I can’t think of a single marketer I know who wouldn’t at least listen to your idea.

At the same time, make sure you also identify other companies in the same niche. That way you’ll be able to get some good mileage out of your plan. And the first marketer to hire you gets to use it (and the numerous other campaigns that will follow)!

Now you have a blueprint to landing web clients who are willing to pay the most for your web copy services. And don’t forget, the client who hires you for SEO will most likely also need PPC ads, web pages, and e-letters written, too. A few web clients can give you all the work you’ll need!

This article appears courtesy of The Golden Thread, an e-letter from AWAI that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on how to build your freelance copywriting business. For a free subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/thegoldenthread

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