When new copywriters want to get clients, they make the process too complicated.
They do things like:
- Set up a blog and start posting articles.
- Run Facebook ads to a landing page.
- Create social media accounts and pitch their services.
Sure, these could all work, especially if used over a long period of time. The problem? These tactics take lots of time, lots of money, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get in front of clients who need a copywriter!
So what’s a better way?
Go to the place where your clients are and show them you can help with their copy!
But how to do that?
I came across this post by David Tendrich that had a simple but genius idea:
- Find an event that your ideal clients will be at.
- Wear a shirt that sells your services for you.
I used David’s idea exactly as he described it, even down to the design of the shirt: all lower-case, black t-shirt, white letters, “copywriter.” I used a website to make it in about 15 minutes, and it looked like this:
I wore the shirt to TechDay NYC, which is billed as the “Largest Startup Event in the U.S.” Here’s proof:
I had to wait on a loooong line for about two hours to get in:
Much line. Very hours. Many long.
Even though the line was long, it was a good use of time because I got to talk to cool people and even got some of my first connections before entering the event.
Once I finally got inside, there were three types of responses from people who talked to me:
I followed up with these people, hoping to get them on a call.
My plan for following-up:
Specifically follow-up and ask for a call with companies who said they need a copywriter now.
Now, before I tell you about the results, let’s compare this strategy to another popular client-getting strategy - sending cold emails. Cold emails involve this process:
- Google around and find relevant clients.
- Craft a personalized email to them.
- Exchange emails and maybe get on a call.
- Take up HOURS OF MY LIFE.
This t-shirt experiment reversed that process in a way. Each time I stood in front of a booth was equivalent to one cold email. The founder looked at my shirt and me, was able to think about if they have any interest in a “copywriter” and reach out to me if it looks like a good fit. In about 3 hours of walking around and talking to people I got
- 30 total contact information shared
- 5 people who told me they specifically need a copywriter immediately
- 3 agencies who said they often contract out extra work
So far these are the results of the PEOPLE WHO SAID “WE NEED A COPYWRITER” GROUP:
5 people approached me like this:
3 people jumped on a call with me soon after the event:
2 people became paying clients so far!
This was my first time using this strategy. But now I have the shirt, so I’m definitely going to use it again. How could I make this work even better?
If I could find out the list of companies in advance, then I can save a lot of time. One, I could talk to the founders whose companies interest me, and show them that I know about their business. I could also look at which startups are growing fast or hiring, as they might have more money to spend on copywriting consulting.
I could even look at the copy of some of the startups in advance, and come prepared with advice to give them.
The best part of this "Human Billboard Experiment" is that it is an example of what Seth Godin calls Permission Marketing.
Basically, I had permission to pitch startup people who needed a copywriter by walking by them with my shirt on. I wasn’t spamming them or demanding their attention, I was just presenting a useful offer that they could choose to engage (or not engage) with.
Gerard Dawson - Copywriter
P.S. Here's some more resources on getting copywriting clients:
- "Copywriter" Tshirt
- More Kopywriting tshirts
- Consulting as a side job
- How to become a copywriter
- Get your first writing gig
- Make a Copywriting Command Center
- Make your first copywriting portfolio