How to sell copywriting for absolute beginners

If you are a complete beginner setting up your copywriting business, or if you’re a copywriter who is just branching into running a new business, I’m going to show you how to sell your copywriting services for absolute beginners even if you’ve never ever made a sale before.

In this blog post, I want to talk to you about how to sell your copywriting services if you’re an absolute beginner.

When you start off selling copywriting services, you’ve probably come from maybe a technical background, or maybe you’re starting up your business and you’ve had the idea to start selling copywriting and content creation.

How do you attract clients?

The problem then is, you know how to do the work, it’s how do you attract the clients so you can do more of that work.

Lots of copywriters make the classic killer mistake of going to things like Upwork and Fiverr and putting their services on there.

Don’t use Fiverr

You can make that work but I don’t recommend it to start with, because I think it’s a method of scale rather than attracting cold leads.

It’s also only going to attract people who are looking for the cheapest option.

There is a way of making it work but I’m not going to talk about it in this blog post.

Instead, what I want you to do is think about packaging up your copywriting as a service and a product that makes sense to solve a specific problem.

Going after Upwork and Fiverr, the reason it doesn’t work is that it’s too broad. Any time you see a business that does work, especially when they’re brand new to the market.

Be very specific about what you offer

If you are selling your copywriting services, what you want to do is be hyper-specific.

I know that sounds scary because I’m immediately saying to you to ignore 99% of the other opportunities out there.

What you need to do is get hyper-targeted about that 1% and ignore all the other marketplaces out there, which are really just fish markets as we call them.

It’s just people going through them, looking for something kind of non-specific. Whereas if you want to start making serious money with your copywriting services, you’re going to have to be specific.

If you’re looking to define the perfect niche for your copywriting business, I’ve got a list of 49 free niche examples for funnel builders here:

You need to be very specific about what you offer. Copywriting and content creation can be very broad and people actually often ask you to do a lot of different things, but when you’re starting out, what you need to do is get traction in one area.

You don’t win one marathon by starting 10 of them. You have to start it and see it through to the bitter end. I think a lot of the time when we start out as a copywriting business, selling copy and content creation, it can feel a little bit like, “I just need to take what comes in. Beggars can’t be choosers.”

That’s actually not the case. What you need to do is the exact opposite of that. Become hyper-specific about the type of customer that you want to go after and the type of problem that you solve and the type of copy and content that you create.

Working on things like product launches, email campaigns, Facebook ads or squeeze pages is going to be way more profitable for you in the long run, because you’re able to offer a very specific service to a range of customers. It’s going to be much easier for you to productize, systemize and create a process for what it is that you do and get really good at it when you focus on just one thing.

For example, let’s say that your passion is advertising creativity. You are better off creating just Facebook advertising copy to give to customers and say, “Look, this is how we work. This is what I want to work with you with. This is the stuff we’ve created.”, rather than trying to do a little bit of everything.

It’s entirely possible that after working with you on one small project a customer might say to you, “Oh, could you also do squeeze pages and sales pages?” That’s fine. That’s great. That’s a really good way and a good method of finding kind of broader contracts with customers. But when you’re starting out from scratch, you need to be hyper-specific about what it is that you do.

Even finding what we call is an intersection. You might say I’m just going to do Facebook ads for veterinary services, something like that, which is where you find the problem or the action, Facebook ads, and the particular type of market that you want to go after.

It doesn’t have to be an industry. I’ve talked about that. I remember I’ve actually got that list of 49 different niches that actually gives you an idea of the types of intersections you can go after here:

For example, you could say, we specialize in writing Facebook ads for product launches that have just come off Kickstarter.

That’s what you’re going to have to go after. When you’re really specific about it, it’s gonna be much easier for you to create your own website, copy, create your own websites, create your own marketing campaigns, tell people what it is that you do.

Yes, in the short term, you are going to face more rejection, but in the long run, what it’s going to do is position you as an industry leader. There is a reason that I went after teaching sales to funnel builders, just sales. I do a little bit of funnel building but actually mainly focused on teaching funnel builders how to sell their services.

That’s the intersection I went after, sales training for funnel builders. That’s what you need to start thinking about. What is the specific problem or actionable result and who is the person who’s going to benefit from that?

When I first started selling copywriting and content creation, I used to get really flustered with objections. People would say things like, “Why would I hire you? We’ve hired copywriters before.” And then I would start saying, “It’s 12 and a half grand for a sales letter.” They go, “I’m not paying, I didn’t even pay that for my website.”

I’m like, “Fine. That’s great.” What you need to do is become comfortable and okay with objections. You can and hear all of these and more.

Another classic one is, “Do you have any credentials or testimonies?” You’re going to hear all of these. My advice is to pause, take a breath, and learn how to turn objections.

They don’t go away as you get bigger and as you become more competent at what you do, you’re going to find that you still get objections all the time. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s part of the process so become comfortable with the fact that you’re going to hear objections that don’t show any indication of where your business is going. If anything, the more objections you’re hearing, the better you are at your sales process so don’t get flustered by them. You’re going to hear them now. You’re going to hear them for the rest of your life.

I’ve been selling for a long time, and I can assure you, I hear the exact same objections that I heard when I first started compared to where I am now. So yeah. Don’t worry about it. Just take a breath, pause, and learn how to answer objections as well. And you’ll find they’re actually pretty easy to turn around and in some cases, even indicate that someone does want to buy from you.

The last two points I want to focus on here are hyper pragmatic. You need to have a very basic website with a consultation page. This is a place for you to be able to capture leads and sales without you having to actually be there. If you’re good at copywriting, you should be spending the majority of your time trying to attract customers.

The problem of course is when you’re doing all of this, it becomes very difficult to constantly keep up with new sales and new customers. That’s why your copywriting website could only be a homepage, it doesn’t have to be long and complex.

Josh Garafolo, who I’ve interviewed in the past, his website is a great example of this. It basically tells you who he doesn’t work with. Then like any other decent website, there’s a place to get a free lead or a free consultation which might be like a free 15-minute clarity session.

I know in past videos I’ve said you shouldn’t use those, but what you can do is use that as a lead capture. If you’re at a networking event and someone says, “I’d love to work with you.”

“Go great. Just head to website/consult or discovery and we actually to do a free 15-minute call. Just put your email address, phone number, and your name and that means that I can go ahead and have a common conversation with you, and I can follow up with you later.” That means that your lead capture is being done by something else, it means that you’re not having to do that manually.

The second one is to get something like Calendly or gravity forms or a PayPal button to have a paid two-hour discovery workshop. There’s nothing worse than when you find a customer or find someone who does want to work with you and you could then go, “I don’t know how I would start this or what I should do straight away going for a $500 or a $1000 discovery call.”, whatever price you want.

I’ve got tons of other content about that if you want to figure out what you should charge for that. You just say, “Yeah, just head to website.com/consult or strategy and that’s where you can find my details. Just put in your card information, we’ll book a call and we can take it from there.”

Once you’ve got their information and they’ve paid for you, that means you’re not having to faff around writing proposals or sending links or doing bank transfers, make it as easy as possible and assume that people who you’re talking to want to buy from you and you want to remove that friction of buying and make it as easy as possible for someone to buy so make sure you have a basic website with a couple of different consultation pages, a free one to capture leads and a paid one to capture paying customers as well.

The last piece of advice I’d give you is to spend more time on discovery and qualification. What this means is you need to spend less time doing copywriting if you want to sell copywriting. I know that sounds completely counter-intuitive.

A colleague of mine used to do copywriting and she would do about 300 pounds worth for some copy. It was basically like sales letters, that’s what she specialized in. She did it on websites, a little bit of blog writing, but mainly sales letters and she charged 300 quid for those sales letters and blogs.

She had roughly 10 customers last year which brought her in around 3 grand, which is not enough to live on. That’s crazy low. I told her that she needs to charge 6 grand for one sales letter, which is obviously a huge increase. That’s a 20 times increase in revenue.

Of course, initially, she rejected that but if she only did one of those, she would double her revenue. She would also work with fewer customers, one-tenth of the customers, doing one customer for 6 grand.

If she spends more time qualifying the customer, talking with the customer, having conversations with them, and networking. She’d actually spend more time doing less work and then less time doing the actual work that she needs to do.

Charging for consultation, charging for discovery, making sure that you’re deep-diving into the customer’s business, asking them what their goals are, qualifying people out.

If you spend more time qualifying people out and not just going after everyone, it actually ends up working out more profitable for you to work with fewer customers and charging more money for them.

It is hard work and it does require a leap of faith. When you get started, no, one’s going to want to have conversations with you, but the more time you spend qualifying and doing discovery calls, paid discovery calls, and to some extent, a free kind of super-quick discovery calls as well, but spend less time actually doing the copywriting, increase your prices and allow yourself to spend more time understanding the types of customers you’re going to work with, having those one-on-one conversations.

The funny thing is the deeper, the relationship you build with one of those customers, the more likely they are to pay more money in the long run.

If you are looking for a bunch of ideas on the types of customers you could go after, make sure get your free list of 49 different niches that funnel builders and copywriters like yourself can go after, below.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.