Who’s more important… me, or you?
As new copywriters prepare to market themselves, they’re often self-focused, insecure, and worried about losing the desperately needed job.
But one of the first lessons a direct response copywriter learns is that it’s a mistake to focus on one’s self in marketing, because no one is interested in “you.” But they are supremely interested in themselves.
Marketers often use the phrase, “what’s in it for me?” to remind themselves that prospects don’t want to hear about the company or the product… they want to hear about the benefits of the product… they want to know what it will do for them.
So the first thing a novice copywriter needs to do is quit thinking about themselves and their possible shortcomings, and step into the shoes of the prospect.
“What does the prospect want or need? How can I give her this? What’s music to her ears?”
These are the kinds of thoughts that should be going through the copywriters mind. It’s a total state-of-mind flip-flop, from hand-wringing over bills and worrying about rejection to thinking about how you can genuinely help someone else.
By taking the focus off yourself and putting it where it belongs — on the welfare of the client — you can leave the jitters behind and let your body fill with strength of purpose.
So lesson number one in your own psychology as a copywriter is that you’ll get in the door much faster if you shift your thoughts from “I need the money” to “I can really help this marketer.”
This changes everything, from the words you use, to the energy in the air, to the response you get.
If you’ve never done this exercise before, and you try it the next time you can, it’s as if the whole universe shifts. It’s amazing, unmistakable, and profound, and I don’t think you will ever forget it. Once you see this in action, the lesson will sear into your brain like a firebrand.
Eeek — you’ve found my weakness!
Another insecurity copywriters have pertains to a weak portfolio. It takes time to get “lots” of samples and it can take even longer to get a nice array of formats. Even intermediate copywriters struggle with this if their portfolio reflects only a particular niche or format.
Sometimes having experience in a format really does matter, like writing a Direct Mail Package, or a Magalog, or a Video Sales Letter. This is because these formats are complex and hard to do. Usually, the best you can do here is find another copywriter who has the sample you need and try and buddy up (and learn from them).
But many times, the potential client is asking for more mundane samples like blog posts, web page copy, product descriptions, and so on. If you don’t have a sample of what it is they want, all you need to do to turn it around (turn the focus from you to them), is ask them what they’re trying to accomplish.
Because this potential client didn’t really come to you to study one of your samples. They came to you to accomplish a goal. They want more leads. More sales. More comments or engagement. When you fear that the potential client’s question for samples is putting you in a corner, just go back to the conversation that’s going on in his head and turn it around.
For instance, the client might say, “Do you have any samples of lead-generating sales letters?” (You don’t.)
So you respond, “Ahhh… you’re looking for leads. Sure I can help you with that. Are you trying to beat a previous benchmark? Or what is the objective?”
So now you are bringing him back to what he really cares about, and that is having a more successful lead-gen campaign.
The point here is that rather than freeze like a deer in headlights, you take control of the conversation by refocusing on his real need, and then keep control of the conversation, taking it to the conclusion you want.
“I’m going to eat you!”
A third mistake new copywriters make with new potential clients is an overly aggressive pursuit. Many times copywriters engage in a conversation with a potential client that seems to be going somewhere.
But then all of a sudden, conversation stops. Silence. No email response after one follow up email. Wait a few days, no email response after the second follow up email. What to do?
What to do is stop. You never want to look desperate for work. The more you contact them the more they think you have no work and you’re going to be a loser for them. It’s just human nature. The busier you look, the more attractive you are.
The world of work looks just like the world of dating in this respect. The more someone chases you, the faster you run away.
The best thing you can do in this case is pull back. Keep your integrity. And plan to contact them again in two or three months. You can also send them a short email saying something like this:
Thank you for our discussions up to this point. Since they’ve dropped off (no response to my last two emails), I’m going to assume that other priorities have cropped up.
I remain interested in helping you with (XYZ), but must now turn my attention elsewhere. I do promise to contact you in a month or two to see if we can resume our conversation at a more convenient time, so I can help you (get more leads, etc. – end with the BENEFIT to them). Here’s my phone number again if you want to contact me between now and then.
So there you have it. Three ways copywriters mess up in the conversion process… and how to turn it around!
What do you think about these ideas? LMK in the comments below!