Where’s the Demand?

I just got back from speaking at the Copywriters Bootcamp in Florida. What a wonderful event. (Not to mention wonderful weather!) I got a chance to chat one-on-one with dozens of business writers and copywriters. Some, old pros who have been in the game for years. Others, talented people who are just starting out. I met one copywriter who has had tremendous success in the past couple of years targeting and writing for Microsoft Partner companies. Another writer I had coffee with writes for the gardening industry – a niche I wouldn’t have guessed was viable. She does very well. What those writers have in common is that they have “found the demand”. In other words, they have discovered a niche or target market where there are plenty of companies that need and, most importantly, want copywriting help. Legendary sales trainer Stephan Schiffman once said in one of his books that if you’re targeting a niche where there is a strong demand for your services, you can overcome just about any obstacle and succeed. But – and this is a big but – if you target companies for which there is little or no demand, then you’ll just be banging your head against the wall. You might as well be selling penguin traps in Nunavut. (As you may know, there are no penguins in Nunavut.) I can’t think of anything more frustrating, discouraging, disheartening, maddening than putting a lot of effort into a particular niche only to find out months or even years later that it’s a crappy market. So how do you determine, in advance, if there’s going...

How to “date” a referral source

I wouldn’t call it a date exactly. (My wife doesn’t allow me to date.) But having a coffee with Mike many years ago was one of the best things I’ve done for my business. Here’s what happened… I was hired to write a website and some other marketing pieces for a sales tax consulting firm. During the project, I discovered that my client also hired a freelance designer — a guy named Mike — someone I didn’t know. So I picked up the phone and invited that stranger out for a coffee. We met a few days later at a local Starbucks and chatted about family, beer, and the ups and downs of freelancing. We never discussed referring business to each other. Not once. It was just a friendly, chummy meeting. But a couple of months later, Mike called and said, “Hey Steve. I’m working with a new client who needs some copywriting help. Would you mind if I gave him your name?” (Hmm, I don’t know, Mike. I’ll have to think about that. Pretty busy these days. Well, okay, sure.) Actually what I said was, “Yes, please. You’ve got my number, right? Here’s my email. Should I call him?” That referral ultimately resulted in a new client for me. In fact, over the years, Mike has referred tens of thousands of dollars in business my way. I’ve also recommended his firm on many occasions. Now I’ve never asked Michael why he recommends my services so often. (I don’t want to jinx it!) But I suspect he does for two reasons: He knows me and my business well. He...

How to ask your client for a raise

I just posted an article on my other website (SteveSlaunwhite.com) on how to increase your fees with a current client — without losing that client! If you’re a self-employed copywriter or business writer, you may find the advice useful. Here’s the link: http://www.SteveSlaunwhite.com/blog If you have a question, tip or comment, please comment on that blog or this one. I’ll respond!...