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I recently received the following email from a freelance copywriter. Her questions and my responses are pasted below because they may prove helpful to other copywriters facing similar situations.
I had a weird situation pop up and I’d love to get your advice. For the past six months, I’ve been doing copywriting work for a mid-sized company that makes skincare products and cosmetics. They’ve assigned me regular, high-paying work that I love, and I really appreciate them as a client.
The weirdest thing happened though. Last Friday, I saw that Lisa, a marketing person who works there full time, posted on LinkedIn that she is looking for a skincare copywriter who is familiar with HubSpot, a company that offers software products and services for inbound marketing and sales. I looked them up but am not personally familiar with what HubSpot does.
After that post, I reached out to the client to ask them a question about a social media request they sent me, and I haven’t heard from them since. I even texted Jenna, the head of marketing who always texts me, to follow up and…crickets. Jenna and her team are usually quick to respond to me, so this is out of the ordinary.
I’m assuming they don’t want to work with me anymore, which is fine, but I really don’t like that I’m being ghosted! They’ve always given me great feedback on my work, never complained about my pricing, rarely edit anything I write, etc. so I thought everything was good.
I’m really at a loss for why they’re suddenly being non-responsive unless that LinkedIn post I saw referencing HubSpot is the reason they’re dropping me. I really wonder what happened.
Should I try to follow up with them again, as I’d really like to continue working with them, or just let it go and move on?
Do you think the fact that I’m not familiar with HubSpot is a dealbreaker?
Have you ever been ghosted by a regular client?
Thanks in advance for your insight!
If I’m understanding you correctly, it hasn’t been that long — less than a week since you contacted the client. If you still haven’t heard anything by say next Tuesday or Wednesday, try again. But for now they may just be busy with work or exploring their options.
If this is their way of saying adios, it’s not professional, but there’s not much you can do about it. Following up with them once or twice more can’t hurt if that’s the case. I’m hoping they’re up to date with their payments to you.
As for not being familiar with HubSpot, subscribe to HubSpot’s free newsletter. They crank out a ton of marketing content, and much of it is very good. They clearly have the resources to do research and hire talented writers, so their content isn’t just fluff.
I think what you’ll find after reading their newsletter for even just a few issues, is that you basically do for your clients what HubSpot recommends to its clients — write good content, apply SEO best practices, and use multi media (web pages, landing pages, social media, direct mail, ads, etc.) to generate leads and sales.
I think HubSpot also offers some free certifications for copywriters and marketers. They’re online courses. So it’s something you could do and then tell your client, “Oh look, I’m now HubSpot certified.”
I’ve never bothered to do the certifications myself because I don’t think most clients know what they are, but in this case it might be worth it. And from what I’ve heard from other freelance copywriters, it’s super basic stuff. You’ve been writing and marketing for years so I’m sure you’d ace the courses with minimal effort.
As for whether I’ve ever been ghosted, one client comes to mind, but my situation sounds different than yours. My client owned a business consulting company. He had me do one writing project and was thrilled with my copy. Because he was a new client, he paid up-front for that first project.
The problem came with the second project, on which I did not request payment up front. I let established clients pay upon project completion.
After submitting that second project, the client went silent. I knew the work was good; he just didn’t want to pay. After ignoring my emails, I decided to contact him through social media. I knew he ran Facebook and LinkedIn groups, so I joined them both and then messaged him there.
At that point, I think he knew I wasn’t going to give up and go away, so he eventually replied with some b.s. excuse — “Oh I’m so sorry, I’ve been traveling and I thought my bookkeeper had taken care of your invoice.”
Whatever. He paid, so pursuing him through social media was effective although if I had wanted to continue working with him — I didn’t, of course — my persistence would have definitely put a strain on the relationship.
So, to summarize:
1. Follow up with your client once or twice more next week. Can’t hurt, may help. You might even try a passive approach, such as sending a link to an article the client might be interested in with a quick note, “Hi Jenna, just happened to come across this article on skin nourishment and thought your might find it of interest. Regards, Annie.” And if email doesn’t work, you might even try contacting her through social media.
2. Subscribe to HubSpot’s newsletter. You won’t have the time to read every edition because they send out a lot of stuff every week, but you’ll soon get the gist of what they’re about.
3. Look into HubSpot certifications. The course on Content Marketing could be worth pursuing.
4. Don’t give up just because you don’t have HubSpot experience. You have been writing for clients for years and helping them with their inbound marketing, so essentially, you do have HubSpot experience; you just call it Annie experience!
Susan Greene, freelance copywriter
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