Last updated on September 4th, 2021
The #1 question most new copywriters have is… “How do I get copywriting clients?”
And even though the internet has shrunk boundaries, the fact is… finding copywriting clients isn’t the easiest.
And if you’re from a non-English speaking country, that gap between you and your dream client half a world away feels immense. Like a gaping chasm.
So, how exactly do you get seen by international top-shelf clients when you don’t even feel like a tiny, little speck on the radar?
How do you convince your dream client halfway across the world to give you a second glance, let alone trust you or even one day want to work with you?
How do you muster up the confidence to pitch them when you struggle with the fact that you’re not a native English speaker?
How to Get Copywriting Clients 101: Prepare to Succeed and Stand Out
Let me be clear: finding those perfect-for-you copywriting clients is not easy, but it is definitely doable.
Mayank and I live in India.
We’ve NEVER lived anywhere overseas.
English is NOT our first language.
And yet ALL our clients are based in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia.
When we started waaaay back in 2011, we didn’t start with the agenda to work exclusively with “big fish” and roll with the crème de la crème of marketing.
We simply wanted to work with businesses we respected and people we genuinely care for.
I’m going to share what helped us successfully (and sustainably) scale our business, build our client roster, and get in front of international dream clients.
Our success was not overnight, but more a deliberate long-haul built over the years with relationships we’ve created and nurtured (and still endure to this day).
It all started off with email pitches.
Back in the day, before sophisticated DMs and personalized video messages were a thing, we used basic plain text emails to pitch cold and warm prospects.
The difference for us, we weren’t timid.
We had nothing to lose when we started out. We didn’t jump in unprepared and we didn’t repeatedly hit CTRL + V keys over and over again.
Our pitches were prepared, tailored, and personalized.
We understood how we could help our prospects and knew enough about their business to describe what that value looks like for them.
With warm and cold outreach, you need to learn about your prospect’s business, invest your time in understanding what they need help with, and detail how your service can help their business.
Make it easy to understand what’s in it for them.
For example, I sent a pitch to an influential blogger and reached out to her just as the summer holidays were approaching.
I told her we would love to take some of her social media management needs off her plate over the summer holidays so she could spend more time with her kids. And I tied it up with a no-pressure close.
We ended up managing their social media account for over 2 years.
The mantra here is preparation, preparation, preparation.
Reference something developing in their business that you noticed and can help with. Did they mention on a podcast that they need an editor? Is their VA on leave? Are they launching a new course and need support with their webinar strategy?
You’re looking for a relevant opportunity, not a vague, shapeless into-the-horizon possibility.
Specificity and guided direction are the difference-maker between a forgettable generic pitch that only wastes their time (and is, frankly, irritating) and someone who has taken the time to know their business.
Show that you are invested. Be empathetic. Prove that your pitch is not a template.
Don’t be afraid of cold outreach and don’t hesitate to follow up. If there’s no reply, don’t take it personally. You have no idea what’s going on in their business, schedule, or life.
Remember the same process for your existing contacts. The past 18 months have been, for most of us, a roller coaster. So, it’s likely that there will be some development to their status quo.
Circle back, check in with them, see what they’re up to, and see if there’s a relevant opportunity where you can help.
But remember to prepare, then pitch.
How to Get Copywriting Clients with Confidence
The best clients want to work with the best copywriters. Not the second or third best.
Constantly improving your copywriting skills is one way to stand head and shoulders above the rest.
You need to demonstrate your proven expertise, your follow-through, and your results. A lot of that comes from true confidence, not simply grit and wishful thinking.
Anyone can throw up a website and start an online business tomorrow, but not everyone has the commitment and tenacity to constantly learn, level up, and put it into practice.
Continuously investing in your skills means you can continually bring more to the table. Your perceived value and expertise don’t plateau.
I invested in Sold Out Launch and Mass Persuasion Method with Bushra Azhar. Followed it up with Copy School and The Copywriter Mastermind with Joanna Weibe. (That mastermind is the one where Jo certified THREE of us out of 15 copywriters!)
Sidenote: Can you imagine how incredible it was then to write for BOTH Bushra and Jo? Surreal, I tell you!
If there’s a knowledge gap – fill it.
If there’s a big hairy goal or skill you want to have under your belt…chip away at it.
If there is something that you can offer that your competitors don’t…do it.
Once you understand your value, you can raise your rates.
There’s no room for shoulda-woulda-coulda.
How to Prevent Learning Overwhelm and Confusion
A big part of our ethos is financial stewardship.
That means being intentional with our investments. So we only take one course, workshop, mentoring, coaching, or biz development program at a time.
But here’s the rub: we actually have to finish it.
So yeah, you’re never “done” learning.
Good news: this translates into real confidence (not “fake it ‘till you make it”) that lets you step up with a little extra swagger you need to be visible to your dream clients.
Find Your Perfect Fit Clients with a Community
Mayank and I cannot extoll the virtues of community enough!
Yes, the online course creation space is a competitive market, but playing the role of the lone wolf makes it that much harder.
And it’s no fun being lonely, especially if you’re starting out or trying to break into a new market.
You need people to rally around when you’ve hit the wall or digitally fist-pump you when you FINALLY get a win.
Communities give you people to bounce ideas around with and get constructive feedback, sage advice and support you when you’re dealing with a particularly tough project or client.
Bonus points if they have excellent taste in GIFs. 🤷🏻♀️
Even Steven Covey agrees! Looking at you Habit #4: Think Win-Win, which spells out the need for community and collaboration for long-term mutual benefits.
Likewise, you’ll reciprocate with your time, energy, and attention to your community.
After all, you’re looking for connectors, not clients.
Strength in numbers. Your community is the unspoken hero of building your business.
Whether your community is small or big, you need to show up!
Make time to introduce yourself and identify a few people you’d like to know better. Whether it’s their personality, values, skills, the type of work they do, or just how they show up in chat; look and find “your people.”
Once you get to know other freelancers and business owners a little better, you’ve begun to cook the secret sauce to establishing your own referral network; you’ll discover that the online world is surprisingly smaller than you would think.
It’s a referral marketing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of thing.
It’s also a friendly, no-pressure way to find fellow collaborators, partners for projects that are outside your scope of expertise, people to outsource work to, and, in some instances, a place to find potential clients.
This gist: It’s not just about getting your name passed around.
It’s about creating real relationships that last, doing your part to contribute to a thriving, supportive community while cultivating a healthy professional network and building your reputation.
Whether you build trust in small, tight circles or become micro-famous within larger communities, if you show up with commitment and intention, people will learn what separates you from the pack.
Keep Up your Client-Getting Momentum with your Online Presence
So, suppose you’re building your community, honing your expertise, and trying to establish your “it” factor within your network.
That’s awesome! But make sure it’s not crickets everywhere else because you know, like…the internet. 😂
It makes sense to continue to build on that momentum beyond internal associations, communities, Slack channels and Facebook groups.
Whether it’s your blog, website, preferred social channel – dole out the flavor!
For us, it was our blog and email list. Followed by Facebook and now, Instagram.
What do you share on these “stages”?
Share your biz details, client stories, behind-the-scenes sneak-peek, and other little tips and hints about what makes your work exciting and noteworthy.
It’s a frictionless and non-committal way for people who are curious to learn more about you, get a sense of who you are; your values, and your personality.
Give them a taste of what you’re working on, client high-fives, and other projects on your plate.
Sort of like an amuse-bouche before the main meal. #foodiereferencesalways
If you’re really ready to up your game, you can get in front of your ideal clients by post and guest posting on their preferred podcasts, blogs, and print publications. In our case, it included Forbes, Smart Passive Income, The Copywriter Club, and others.
Similarly, you could teach something within your community, social media channel, or become a featured speaker at online events.
We regularly, even now, do guest expert trainings for select programs and events.
The idea here isn’t to follow a cookie-cutter formula but to create a little vortex of intrigue that slowly draws people in and showcases your profile (and your results).
How to Confidently Pitch Your Dream Copywriting Clients
Alright then… you’ve done the groundwork. You know you have solid chops. You’re seen and noticed.
How can you now reach out to and finally get that dream copywriting client?
By being human first.
Relationships are the foundation for our business and have always been.
Working with dream clients is no different.
First up, you want to connect. Social media, podcasts, emails… the works. Not in a stalkerish way but in an “I want to know more about you” way.
Then, because you’re connected and they will be “communicating” with you, you want to create that conversation, that natural back-and-forth. Again, be respectful of boundaries and personal space, both physical and virtual. Do NOT land up at their house. #justsaying
You can choose to keep that connection going by attending an event or summit they may be speaking at or even enrolling in one of their programs.
Quick sidebar on the above-mentioned: If you do decide to enroll in your dream client’s program, private group, or community, make sure you do so for its own merit. It’s important that this be mutually beneficial, that you are in that space out of respect for their reputation and expertise.
In other words, you’re not there for the sake of “knabbing” them as a client or a stepping stone to a sneaky pitch. Ick! 🤮
This relationship is slow-baked. And human.
As much as you would love to work with them, any outreach and interaction should be done with genuine interest and respect. Not with bots.
People can smell desperation and a rushed, sketchy pitch coming a mile away.
It takes time to build that momentum to burn, let it simmer, and catch a spark enough to build mutual interest.
You can reach out with a well-meaning “no strings attached” pitch once you feel you’ve put in the time, there’s shared rapport and you’ve showcased your value.
The connection you forge with your dream client should be genuine…out of an honest admiration for the work they do.
You’ll have the opportunity to get to know them and they will have the opportunity to learn more about you.
The bottom line?
Be ready to step up once (and only!) there’s a fit, you really understand their business, you’ve identified a need and you feel you can add value.
Bridging the “client gap” with a relationship-first approach
At the end of the day, this is just one of many approaches for bridging the gap between you and your ideal client on the other side of the world.
It may or may not be the approach for you.
This is simply what worked for us.
We were able to overcome what some may consider a disadvantage, an obstacle.
We proved ourselves to ourselves that we didn’t have to be limited and got to create a business that we can feel good about.
ALSO… That’s not to say that all limitations are perceived and can simply be overcome with an abundance mindset or “pull up your socks” approach.
The truth as harsh as it may sound is that no one is going to simply “discover” you.
It takes work. It takes time. It takes building those confidence muscles.
Bridging the gap isn’t easy and some people’s challenges and circumstances are going to be significantly more difficult than others.
Prepared outreach, solid positioning, honing our expertise, strengthening relationships, create profit-rich, client-focused offers and nurturing our network.
For us, finding and working with copywriting clients is always about long-term relationships and working in alignment with our brand ethos and our core values.
Relationships, not location, are at the core of our business.
And shall always be so.
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