Survivial Skills for Freelancers

I bet you didn’t know a copywriter could do THIS…

“So, you’re a copywriter – what do you actually do?”

For a while now, my stock response to that question has been “I write websites” – mainly because it’s something everyone can understand.

But I’ve had a few meetings recently in which the client has been visibly surprised when I’ve talked about some of the projects I’ve worked on – which got me thinking about how easy it is to get typecast in business.

It goes a little like this…

I write a website for a start-up business. They love it. They tell their colleague, who’s also setting up a new business. They ask me to write their website. They love it… and so it goes on.

While this isn’t exactly a problem, it does mean businesses are missing out on a bunch of the marketing and messaging services that I – and other copywriters* – can help them with.

Strange…

I remember an ad from a Cheltenham-based printing company that ran daily in the local paper some years back. All it said was, “strange…. some people just use us for printing…”

I found it odd at the time, but now I understand what they were getting at. In the same way that certain graphic designers are best known for designing logos, writing websites is just one aspect of what a good copywriter does.

With that in mind, here are just six of the lesser-known things a skilled copywriter or editor can do for your business:

1. Preaching to the converted

If you have no problem attracting leads but you struggle to convert those leads into business, chances are your emails are to blame.

A copywriter can review the email enquiries you receive and your responses to them, then create a set of email templates that you can adapt to suit each enquiry. They’ll tighten, polish and strengthen your message, add personality and sparkle, and make sure your call to action is clear and compelling.

2. Get connected

Done right, LinkedIn works wonders for business. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93 per cent of B2B marketers consider it to be the most effective channel for lead generation, and I’ve lost count of the number of new clients who’ve got in touch after finding me on there**.

If your profile is a bit of a mess, a copywriter or editor will help you knock it into shape and inject the personality you need to present yourself in the best possible way.

3. Case in point

Do you show off the work you’ve done for your clients? Case studies or project profiles are a great way to bring to life the ways in which your products or services solve problems for your customers.

Done some great work? Shout about it! A copywriter will interview your clients and write up a set of case studies that you can add to your website and promote on social media to attract the clients you want.

4. Speechless?

I’ve edited many a speech, TV or radio interview over the years, including dozens for the CEOs and directors of Europe’s leading entertainment network. Most of them aren’t native English speakers, so I help them ensure their tone is just right for an international audience.

An experienced editor will make sure your message is crystal clear for your audience, and that it presents you in the best possible light.

5. Style it out

Everything you write on behalf of your business reflects your company’s image. Does your writing support your brand, or damage it?

House style guidelines cover everything from the use of dates, capitals and punctuation to words and phrases that are specific to your company, and your industry. They’re a handy reference guide that can help take the pressure off anyone who’s writing for your business, and many good copywriters – including this one, of course – will be happy to develop guidelines for you.

6. Show off

Been offered space in a local magazine or the trade press? Perhaps you have a PR company that can knock up some tasty copy to make your new product or service shine. If you don’t, a copywriter will relish the challenge.

If you have a relationship with a good copywriter they’ll understand your business and what makes you tick. If not, provide a sound brief so they can produce an article that makes your business stand out from the crowd.

Above and beyond

So there we have it – a quick outline of some of the services that go beyond the standard ‘websites, brochures, leaflets and blog posts’ you’d expect from an experienced copywriter.

If you’d like to find out more about how any of these services can help your business become more successful, call me on 07973 269608 or drop me an email.

*While I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience or skills, I’m pretty certain I’m not the only copywriter who provides these services for their clients. It’s just a question of finding one with the combination of experience, skills and approach that works best for your business.

**According to LinkedIn, I have an all-star profile. It’s not hard to do, but if you need help getting yours up to scratch, get in touch.

Increasing a DJ’s conversion rates with hardworking emails

The client: Midlands Wedding DJ, Birmingham, West Midlands

John Horton owns Midlands Wedding DJ – a professional wedding disco and entertainment service covering Birmingham and the West Midlands. He got in touch when his responses to emails from potential clients weren’t working hard enough to convert leads into customers.

The need

Being well known on the wedding circuit in the West Midlands, John receives lots of emails asking for quotes and availability, which he responds to promptly – but these enquiries weren’t getting him the bookings he needs for his business to be successful.

When John asked me for help with his email responses, he was frustrated with the number of enquiries that simply weren’t converting into business.

His costs are competitive, his reputation is good, and his service is professional. I’d already written his website, and this works hard to generate leads and raise awareness of his business. Something wasn’t working.

The solution

I asked John to send me examples of enquiries he’d received from potential clients, together with his responses. I could immediately see what the problem was. First, the emails contained spelling mistakes that could lead potential clients to think the business was unprofessional. Price wasn’t the issue. For a quality service to generate bookings, there needs to be a perception of quality, and the emails weren’t communicating this.

John’s responses contained none of the personality or warmth that’s so important for service businesses, so I changed the tone to make his replies informal, friendly and approachable, while maintaining a professional tone.

The emails focused on the technical features included in the price. I flipped this to focus on the benefits to the client, and kept the language simple and concise.

I added a question to find out where the enquirer heard about John’s business, as a way of opening up a dialogue and showing he cares – with the added advantage of giving him inside information on where his leads are coming from – a line about the need to book now as dates are limited, to communicate scarcity, and added a clear, compelling and persuasive call to action.

In the client’s words…

“Sarah is a true marketing expert. She’s written two websites for me, so I knew I could ask her to look at my emails. She puts herself in the customer’s shoes, and understood where I was going wrong and how to put things right. She just gets it. 

“In just a couple of hours, she wrote four email templates that I started using straight away and I’ve already seen results. I converted one enquiry within a couple of days, and lots of customers have called me to ask for more details after Sarah told me to make it easy for people to get in touch. Her work has paid for itself already, and I’m feeling really positive about my business again.”

John Horton, Owner, Midlands Wedding DJ
www.midlandsweddingdj.co.uk