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That's how I started copywriting. I rewrote advertising, because I thought I could do better. You can do same thing to start your own copywriting business. Become aware of all copy around you. Just for fun, and to get some writing samples, rewrite some of it. If this gives you a real buzz, and you find it easy, you've just found yourself a new profession. Here's a newsflash: most copy is basic and uninspired. Display creativity in copy you write, and clients will line up to hire you.
Develop a prospective clients database
Your prospective clients fall into two groups: businesses which write their own marketing communications material in-house, and advertising industry --- agencies for advertising, public relations, graphic design, and marketing.
Start out by targeting local companies stuffing your letterbox. The competition will be minimal. Chances are you'll be first copywriter to approach them. The writing experience and confidence you gain from doing this work will encourage you to move on to bigger businesses.
Here's your business prospecting process in a nutshell: * find a prospect; * enter prospect into your Prospective Clients database; * brainstorm how you can offer prospect a better ROI; * phone and/ or send a letter to prospect outlining what you can do for him; * follow up.
You need a way to keep track of your prospects, so create a prospects database. Your Prospective Clients database doesn't have to be fancy. I use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can keep your database in a word processor, if that's what's easiest for you.
Write your first direct mail letter advertising your services
The easiest and cheapest way to get clients for your new business is to write personalized letters. In future, when your business is well established, you may want to invest in a commercial list, and send your letters to a few thousand advertising or PR agencies at once. When you're starting out however, sending personalized letters is cost effective, and you won't find yourself with more work than you can handle.
Each letter you send out addresses a specific need you perceive business has. When I send out a letter to real estate agents I mentioned earlier, for example, I'll be using copy from their flyers, and making suggestions as to how copy could be improved. (I'll be doing this extremely diplomatically, of course.) I'll be emphasizing "retain-ability", how to get people receiving flyers to keep them.
Each letter I write will take me around half an hour. Why? After all, I could just do a mail merge, and send out 100 letters in that time. The reason I don't do that is because when you're writing a direct mail letter, you need to think like person who's receiving your letter. Everyone in world has a single mindset: "What's in it for me"? Therefore, you need to show what you can do for their particular business. You have to provide something of value, up front.
A week or so after I've sent out letters, I'll call businesses to follow up. Not every business I target will use my services. However, a number will. They'll either have work for me immediately, or within a few months.
Get started today. Give copywriting a try. Although you don't get a byline for your work, you do get gratitude of your clients, and real money for your writing.
(c) Copyright Angela Booth 2002
***Resource box: if using, please include*** When your words sound good, you sound good. Author and copywriter Angela Booth crafts words for your business --- words to sell, educate or persuade. Get in touch today for a free quote: email@example.com. Free ezine: Creative Small Biz --- subscribe at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Creative_Small_Biz/
Australian author and journalist Angela Booth writes about business, technology, health and creativity for print and online publications. She also writes copy for businesses large and small.