Responding to email enquiries is a lot like fishing. You dangle a rod (a.k.a your marketing strategy) waiting for a prospect to swim by and take nibble on your hook. Fail to bait it properly, with the right offer, and you wont develop enough interest to reel them in. The same applies if you try to reel them in too quickly by stating your fee upfront. You need to develop the relationship by finding out what they need first.
This is why it’s vital to treat enquiries as you would selling face to face. Ask plenty of questions to identify your prospect’s motivations and expectations before talking about money. That way, you build confidence in your copywriting service and justify what you need to charge.
Here are 10 questions to ask prospects that will help to convert them into clients:
1) Who is your target customer? – If they say ‘everyone’, and it’s a new product, suggest they focus on a niche or segment of early adopters first. Otherwise they will find themselves competing in the brutal waters of the ‘red ocean‘, where buying decisions often come down to price.
2) Why is it different? – What sets it apart from the competition? If they can’t think of anything, suggest using complex copywriting to create a USP.
3) Why should people buy it? – What it is the pain people feel in their gut that will subconsciously drive their desire to buy? Logic alone isn’t enough.
4) Why did you make it? – What is the reason why their company exists? What are its brand values and driving motivations? This will help you to find ways of building a long-term emotional attachment to the brand that will help keep those feckle consumers loyal.
5) How are they going to promote it? – SEO? Social media? Online PR? Suggest they adopt an inbound marketing strategy that combines all three. Better yet, recommend someone who can do it for them – you!
6) Have they considered direct mail? – If they’re a service based business, recommend Dan Kennedy’s 5 Step Salesletter Sequence. With less competition in mail boxes, people are more influenced by direct mail than in decades. If you really want to impress them, tell them about how print’s tangibility has a haptic effect on the brain, which has a bigger subconscious impact than reading a message on screen.
7) Do they have any existing marketing copy to show you? – If they do, politely point out the reasons why it isn’t converting (but only if it’s bad, of course). This will reinforce why they desperately need your copywriting expertise.
8) Is there anything else they need help with? – Graphic design? Video production? This will allow you to bring on-board extra people from your network to provide a complete package of services that makes their life easier. It also provides a powerful reason to select your proposal.
9) What’s the deadline? – Are you going to have to kiss another weekend goodbye, or have they factored in enough time for three drafts before submission, feedback from multiple parties and a few rounds of amends? If not, advise of the time frame they can expect and why. Receiving your copy should be like awaiting a custom built Harley Davidson, not a nondescript brand off a factory production line.
10) What’s their budget? – I have yet to get an answer to this question, but if they can give you an idea of what they have/want to spend you can recommend a package to match their budget. You can also offer them an upgrade if they’ll spend that little extra.
So there you go. Working through these questions will give you at least an hour’s Skype time or similar time spent engaging with your emails. This gives you plenty of time to demonstrate your copywriting expertise and your ability to deliver the professional, polished service they’re looking for, and convert a hesitant prospect into a confidence filled client, delighted they found your dangling hook.
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