A reader writes:
I am always on the search for more information that will help me to develop my career. One thing I noticed on your site was your mention of having a marketing mindset. That struck me.
I ask a lot of questions of copywriters such as how to reach certain people, the usual how to get new clients and such. One of the questions I keep asking, how is the best way to reach prospects, always gets answered in relation to writing the copy. I'm of the frame of mind that the copy is no good if you can't find the right medium to deliver it.
I mean is email or a direct response letter best for prospecting? Is a yellow pages ad better than a newspaper ad? Or do you do better posting flyers on lamp posts? I know some of this sounds silly but, this subject does not seem to be answered anywhere I can find easily.
Do you have any recommendations on which is best? And how to determine the best mediums? Is handwritten better than printed labels?
Any advice would be appreciated. (I am thinking of when I referred A. to you with a brand new product in the development stage, taking something from an idea to the market... do you have suggested guidelines?)
Here is my response:
For a campaign to be successful, you must have the right market, media, and message.
That is how Dan Kennedy describes it.
Sometimes you will see others say the most important elements to the success of a campaign are:
Notice that "media" is missing here. That's because these three elements are critical no matter if you are using the Internet or direct mail or space ads.
You asked what the best medium is. The answer is to test. It will be different for every market. In general, almost any medium can be made to work, so long as your prospects can be reached by that medium. So, for instance, handbills are out. You cannot easily reach business owners that way. (But maybe handbills would work if you were selling house painting services.)
To discover which media work best, conduct a test. Use direct mail in one case and perhaps an ezine ad in another. Measure the cost per customer. Whichever achieves the lowest cost per customer is probably best.
Question: If one source provided 20 clients at a cost of $20.00 each and another source provided 1 client at a cost of $1.00, which would you choose? The one may be cheaper, but there is little volume.
Then again, must it be a choice? If a medium is producing copywriting clients for you, then you can pay almost anything to get them. That's because copywriting fees are, in general, high. The story would be much different if you were selling something for less than $10.00.
You asked which was better: hand-written or printed labels. Answer: hand-written. Printed labels scream "commercial mail." The way to get a letter opened is to make it look as personal as possible.
If you are bringing a new idea, service, or product to the market, go slow. Conduct small tests to prove profitability. Then take profits and reinvest them so you can grow. The trouble with any new product is you probably won't see any money for a while. So you have to have financial means to invest for a few months without receiving pay.
I never ended up working with A. He didn't have a strong sense of urgency. The time it would take to make his product a success would be months, if not years. (The h_____ buying cycle is about 12-18 months long.) I knew I didn't have that kind of time to invest. Neither does almost anybody else.
In general, you only want to work on projects that you know will work. This almost guarantees your success and makes it more likely you will receive a testimonial for your effort.
Right now I'm involved in a project that pays only if we succeed. It will take at least 3-6 months before I see a nickel. But the payoff could be huge. The trick is to only handle one of these at a time. That way you can still take on projects that pay today instead of tomorrow.
You should be careful not to get into a situation where cash flow has stopped and you can't pay your bills. This happens easier than you might think, especially during a growth phase when you're reinvesting profits.
My two best "media" for getting new clients remain: seminars and referrals. With these two things, almost anybody can succeed as a copywriter.
P.S. To learn my personal system for getting copywriting clients, please go here.