Just as clients find me via my website, LinkedIn and other social media websites, so do other freelance copywriters. Not a month goes by that I don’t hear from at least three or five freelance copywriters asking either for advice or if I have any extra work I could steer their way.
I always go out of my way to help people. I remember when I was starting out, I would have loved to be able to talk with other freelance copywriters and learn from them. And I certainly would have loved getting their overflow work.
Unfortunately, that was a very long time ago, and the internet had not yet been invented. Finding other freelancer writers wasn’t easy. It’s not like they took out ads in the Yellow Pages. Most got their work through personal contacts that they made pounding the pavement, cold-calling prospects and doing old-fashioned networking.
These days it’s a whole lot easier to identify and interact with people in the industry. Social media has groups you can join where you can meet other like-minded folks. And a Google search always turns up an abundance of prospects. And because it’s so easy, I must admit I’m a little put off by people who write me what is essentially a sales letter and make only the minimal effort.
For example, here’s an email, in its entirety, that I got from a freelance copywriter a few weeks ago. (I’ve changed his name, as I don’t want to call him out specifically.)
Does your company have any freelance writing work available?
If so, I’d like to be considered for it.
Not too impressive, right? In fact it was such a half-assed effort that I decided to ignore it. So the following week, I got the exact same email again. This time, it really irked me. I had to respond.
This is the second time you’ve contacted me with this same email. You’ve obviously found me via my website, which has my name all over it. So why not make the effort to personalize your email and address me by name?
Perhaps both emails were mass mailings, which I realize is less work for you, but it’s not how you make a great impression. Your letter fails to offer me benefits or garner my trust.
Furthermore, if you’re a copywriter, why not send me a link to your website or portfolio? Why not mention any of your credentials or what benefits you can offer me if I give you work?
So, why am I sharing this freelance copywriter’s lame attempt to get work from me? Because I want you to know this approach to writing what amounts to a sales letter or letter of introduction is off-base. Don’t assume that my need is so great or that the supply of freelance copywriters is so limited that I will jump all over your offer. That’s unrealistic.
Albert’s approach smacks of laziness. It obligates me to take a chance that the sender is worth my time and invest the energy in asking him questions about his abilities and interests. Sorry, but I’m not going to bite. The onus to spark my interest is on him. Let’s be clear about who’s imposing on whom.
According to Vappingo professional editors, “Introductory sales letters offer you an important opportunity to present your products or services to your target customers and tell them what your business can do for them. Introductory sales letters often constitute your best opportunity to make a great first impression, and that’s why it’s crucial that you get them right.”
My advice to Albert and other freelance copywriters hoping to score some business is to write a decent sales letter introducing yourself. Tell me, briefly, about your abilities and background. Then show me what you can do in the form of links to your online portfolio, your website or work you’ve done for others.
Wow me! Excite me! Make me feel like today is my lucky day because I got to meet you! When you demonstrate that you’re the solution to my work overflow problem, then you’ll get my attention.
* * *