Here is some nuts-'n-bolts advice on how to sell yourself...and therefore, your writing.
You may not be selling your services in the marketing arena, but the basic principles hold true: Keep it brief, show the editor/prospective client you know their market, show them what's in it for them (wait; didn't I write a post on that a while back?), and give them a call to action. Remember, the call to action doesn't have to be as urgent as Yuwanda's example if you're dealing with a magazine editor whom you already know has a 6-month lead time, but you should still place the idea of taking action in the editor's mind.
Freelance Writers: How to Increase Your Business with a Simple One-Page Letter
by: Yuwanda Black
When I owned my editorial staffing agency and would put out a job opening for freelancers, I would get a ton of responses. If I asked for work samples, I would get slammed – even if the ad specifically stated to send, for example, “one writing sample on real estate investing.”
To quickly get through the pile of resumes, the first thing I would do is weed out anyone who sent more than I had requested. The point of this little story – more is not always better.
BUT, you may lament, “I want to show the client what I can do for them.” You can do this very effectively via a simple one-page introductory letter.
SECTION I: About you. In this paragraph, you simply want to state your name and give a very brief background summary and niche specialty. Eg:
I am Yuwanda Black, the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com. A freelance copywriter for over 13 years, I specialize in increasing the referral rates of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and insurance agents via newsletters, brochures, e-books, etc.
Whatever your written marketing needs, I can deliver measurable results. Samples of my writing/portfolio can be found at mywebsite.com (you do have a website, right?).
SECTION II: You know them. Illustrate to the client that you are familiar with his product, service, specialty, etc. and how you can improve it, supplement it, overhaul it, etc. for better results. Eg:
I noticed from your website (brochure, postcard, sales letter, etc.) that you have been in business for 5 years and service the xxx market. I can help you increase your sales by at least 15% over a year’s time (maybe more). How?
Studies (cite a source) have shown that consistent contact is the number one way to get clients to call YOU – and not your competitor. According to xxx (here you would input a reliable marketing stat), in your industry, only X percent of mortgage brokers do this.
Imagine how many more clients you can add to your business by becoming the go-to expert in your sector? I can position you for this – bringing in referrals for years to come!
SECTION III: The wrap up. Here, repeat their number one benefit of using you, eg, to increase their bottom line. Eg:
My job is to increase your bottom line. As a results-oriented professional copywriter, I know how to move prospects into your (not your competitor’s) paying customers when they’re ready to buy.
SECTION IV: The call to action. Ask them to do something – now!
Call today for your no-obligation consultation. I can be reached at:
SECTION V: The P.S. (EVERY sales letter should have a P.S.). In this section, you can give a way a freebie (e-books are great for this) and/or reiterate a major benefit (eg, increase your bottom line by 15%).
Feel free to use a P.S. and a P.P.S.P.S.: With your free consultation, you receive a free e-booklet, “For Real Estate Professionals: 10 Ways to Turn Referrals Into Paying Customers.” This e-book is free, even if you don’t use my services.
5 Copywriting Tips for Your One-Page Letter
a) Use lots of white space and bold headings. Eg, between each section, create a bold heading that clues the reader in to what they’re about to read. Most people skim copy – especially from unfamiliar sources – this makes it much more likely to get read.
b) Write from a “what’s in it for the client” point of view instead of a “what’s in it for me” point of view. At every turn, reiterate how you can help them make more money, save more time, reach more prospects, etc. In business, most people either want to make more money or increase their referral ratio – these are safe objectives to state that you can help them with.
c) Make a connection: Eg, I read on your website; I heard in your seminar; I see from your brochure – everyone likes to feel that you have at least taken the time to know their business.
d) Give stats: This lends credibility to your “sales pitch.” It’s not just you saying x, a noted source can back up your contention.
e) Use a call to action: If you don’t ask them to do something, they may do nothing. So, use phrases like call today, log on to our website, subscribe to our newsletter, register for your free gift.
I guarantee you, if you follow the format outlined above, your direct mail and/or e-mail conversion rate will be higher, garnering you clients for years to come.
About The Author
Yuwanda Black is the publisher of http://InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. First-hand freelance success stories, e-courses, job postings, resume tips, advice on the business of freelancing, and more! Launch a Profitable Freelance Writing Career in 30 Days or Less -- Guaranteed! Log on to http://InkwellEditorial.com to learn how.