Do great work. It’s as simple as that.
OK, there’s a little more to it, otherwise we wouldn’t have written a blog post.
When you’re first starting out as a copywriter, especially if you want to or have already quit a full-time job, it’s super tempting to rush to land clients.
And that’s great if you feel ready and like you can add value for your clients.
But that’s the key: you want to make sure you’re offering value. Otherwise, you may get a few one-and-done clients and then … that’s it.
When you do great work, clients want to work with you again. And again. And when you do great work, they’re more likely to refer you to their contacts that may benefit from your services.
Getting referrals or repeat work with a client you’ve already worked with and who liked working with you is much easier than landing brand-new clients. And the more you work with a client, the more value you’re able to add as you gain a deeper understanding of the client and their business.
For Copywriters at the Start of Their Journey
If you’re just starting out and you want to make money as soon as possible (and who doesn’t?!), you need to make a plan one of two ways:
Plan Option #1: Work Forwards
Make a list of all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Really: break out a piece of paper or open a Word document and write every single little step. Try to put them in order of what you need to do first, knowing there may be some overlap.
For example, you’ll want to start by learning the fundamentals of copywriting and practice flexing your copywriting skills. But you may also want to start working on your portfolio and finding designers to create spec ads.
Whether you wait until your portfolio is in tip-top shape or you want to land work before your portfolio is finished, you’ll want to pitch clients. Once you have all the tasks you need to complete—broken down into small steps—add these to your calendar. What actions are you going to take on which day? Once they’re all added to your calendar, you have a sense of how much time you need to get where you want to go.
Plan Option #2: Work Backwards
Choose the date you’re aiming to achieve your goal, whether that’s launch your website, have a handful of clients, scale back on your full-time job, or any other goal. From there, take the steps you need to complete and fill them in on your calendar.
Depending on your date and what steps you need to complete, it may be an aggressive timeline, which may mean using weekends or increasing the amount of work you need to tackle each day. Or it may mean honestly assessing whether that date is realistic or if you need a slightly longer timeline.
No matter whether you choose to work forwards or backwards, come up with a schedule that works for you and stick to it. If you schedule dates are on your calendar and treat them as seriously you would any other appointment on your calendar, you’re more likely to treat your copywriting work as a business versus treating it like a hobby.
By ensuring you’re learning the ins and outs of copywriting first, you can lay a strong foundation for delivering value to your clients.
For Copywriters Who Have Landed Clients
Once you’re working with clients, it’s critical to deliver your best work. That means getting crystal clear on the creative brief so you can write copy that hits the right tone and meets the intended goal. It also means asking for feedback from clients and making sure you get all the information you need to revise that copy until your client is thrilled with it.
Whether your clients have a lot of edits or a few edits, you want to ask for feedback on what they like and why they like it. This will give you additional knowledge that will help you the next time you work with the client or it might give you new ideas to pitch them.
But beyond feedback on the copy, you’ll want to ask about the process. What did they like about working with you besides nailing the copy? Are there things you can do to improve the client experience?
These questions not only help you provide better service moving forward, they show you care about your work and your clients (and they may also prove to be fantastic testimonials for your portfolio!).
You may be the best copywriter in the world, but if you’re inflexible, unresponsive, or unfriendly, your client may not want to work with you again. These less concrete qualities go a long way to building rapport with your clients.
When you’re a freelance copywriter, you’re a copywriter, but you’re also head of your customer service department. Make sure you’re offering the kind of customer service that makes your customers come back for more.
Your turn! What are your tactics for getting repeat client work? Let us know in the comments below!