One of the first things you need for a copywriting career is training. After all, to have a career in anything you have to know what you’re doing, right?
But there’s an important step in between: telling your network about your business.
This is an intimidating step for a lot of new copywriters. It’s where the “what if” part of the brain goes wild and where imposter syndrome kicks into hyper drive.
“What if old colleagues see it and think I’m a fraud?”
“But my website isn’t perfect!”
“I’m not an expert yet. Aren’t people going to see through this?!”
And the ultimate: “But what if I fail … and everyone sees?”
I can almost guarantee anyone in your network will be happy for you pursuing your dream (otherwise, why are the part of your network?). And they’ll be happy to help spread the word—if you ask.
That moment you consider telling your network about your copywriting career and feel resistance kick? That’s exactly when you need to tell them. The sooner you tell people, the sooner you have the opportunity to make new connections and, potentially, find projects.
Start by sharing the news with your family and immediate friends. Just by telling them about your business, you may find one of them needs your services, or wants to put you in touch with a friend or friend of a friend who needs your services. Or maybe their son or daughter is studying graphic design and they can put you in touch to create spec ads.
Share the news on your LinkedIn, personal Facebook page (you can link to your business page if you’ve created one or to your portfolio), Instagram, Twitter—whatever social channels you use. You by no means need to be on every social channel or share the news on every single platform. Share where it makes most sense for you.
Remember to tell people you’ve launched your copywriting business and ask them to help spread the word. Consider using a version of your USP to infuse your announcement with a compelling reason why businesses should work with you.
The major exception: if you’re currently employed, and are not allowed to have a side gig or haven’t talked to your employer about their stance on side hustles, you may want to limit who you tell about your business until you’ve ironed out the details with your manager and/or HR.
But, for everyone else, there are no excuses. Because here’s the thing: until you tell your network, there’s no way for them to know. And, therefore, no way for them to help you.
And at this stage in your career, it’s smart to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to getting your business up and running. Your network is a key component to making that happen.
The worst case? Nothing happens. You continue to pitch and build your business.
The best case? someone within your network needs a copywriter. And they want to work with you, now or in the future.
There are tons of statistics to back up the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising report (pdf) revealed that 90% of people completely or somewhat trust recommendations from people they know. And the actions people take are consistent with their level of trust.
Once you get a client referral, be sure to thank the person who referred them. And, of course, be prepared to deliver great copy!
Word-of-mouth marketing is not only important for gaining first clients, but gaining subsequent clients. You tell 10 people in your network about your business. They each tell 5 people in their networks. That’s 60 people that know about your business. Say one of those businesses decides to work with you, has a great experience, and tells businesses they know about it. You get the idea.
Once you land a client, that’s not the end of the relationship. You always want to find ways to add value for your existing clients.
Think about it: the more customers you retain, the fewer customers you need to find on your own. (But remember: you never want to stop pitching clients—that’s how you avoid slow periods of little or no work.)
And retaining customers means they’re thrilled with your work, and even more likely to recommend you to their network.
Word-of-mouth marketing has a snowball effect. The longer your career goes on, and the more clients you impress with your work, the larger your client base grows.
By telling your network now, you have the opportunity to start with a decent sized snowball!
Your turn! How have you benefited from word-of-mouth marketing? Do you have any tips for getting word out about your business?