Do you have a sales and marketing kit to send out to leads and proposals to new clients? This blog is a practical guide for freelance writers needing a quality set of marketing tools to support query letters, client proposals, and quotes. Let’s go.
Create a prospect kit
Creating a prospect kit was one the best things I have done for my professional writing business. After about a year of sending out masses of query letter and emails, Upwork proposals and quotes I decided to standardise my approach and put together a set of marketing materials to accompany each and every query. A prospect kit.
My kit is an eFolder of PDF documents and consists of:
- Brochure for each of my services
- Professional resume
- Work methods statement
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Writing samples
Even though I have about 8-9 document in my prospect kit, when I put together a contract proposal or query letter I usually only send one or two documents. Clients don’t really like their emails clogged up with heaps of attachments, so I usually limit it to a service brochure and the resume. Sometimes I add a work sample if requested by the client or it supports the proposal. I’ll discuss each of the documents separately below.
You can create simple but professional looking brochures using online tools like Canva. I created a brochure to support each of my writing services (copywriting, blogging, SEO content, resumes etc). A services brochure reinforces your professionalism and is another way to showcase your writing and ingenuity.
Let’s be clear. By professional resume I mean a one page summary presenting my professional education and qualifications, a summary of my services, full contact details, and links to my portfolio and services pages. Sending a resume can establish trust and again reinforces your professionalism.
Work methods statement
My Work Methods Statement details exactly how I manage every client project — from the time a client first contacts me through each process including:
- the quote
- pricing and agreement
- deposits, billing and payments
- project work and turnaround times
- drafts/edits and reviewing copy
- finalisation and approval
I have this information on my website also, but I like to submit it in hard copy because it quickly establishes that I’m experienced and have a consistent work method.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A set of FAQs is useful for fixed fee services to help clarify exactly what the client will recieve for their money. Some writing projects require a lot of background research and include a number of client interviews and many clients don’t understand that the bulk of what they pay you is for that research, investigation, and interviews. The FAQs can help them understand the depth of work required and how long the job will take.
My prospect kit has a number of different writing samples that I don’t want to include in my public portfolio. You can create PDF samples of blog posts, press releases, published advertisements, newspaper and magazine articles, as well as technical documents.
Create a professional writing portfolio
A professional writing portfolio is a selection of your published works also known as clips. Your portfolio establishes you as an industry professional and allows a prospective client who has never hired you before to view your writing style, your professional experience, and the types of clients you have worked with.
When you apply for a writing job or send in a quote, always refer your prospective client to your professional portfolio. Your portfolio could include links to :
- Published articles and blog posts
- Content you have written for websites
- Linkedin articles
- Scanned copies of printed newspaper stories and magazine articles
- PDF copies of brochures, flyers and advertisements you have created for clients
- Scripts of videos, TV ads, radio announcements
- Downloadable samples of technical writing: operations manuals, resumes, job applications, grant funding proposals, tender documents
There are so many options for creating an online writer’s portfolio. Apart from your own writer website, you can create a portfolio on Linkedin, Pinterest, clippings.me, JournoPortfolio, Pressfolios, or using any number of job board sites (Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Contently).
If you don’t have any published works yet I suggest doing some free guest posting or starting your own writer website. Make sure you keep your portfolio up-to-date so it showcases your best and most recent work.
REMEMBER: when you are a professional writer, every piece of content you write is a representation of your writing abilities. Use the opportunity wisely.
Create a writer website
There is no excuse for a professional writer in 2019+ not to have a writer website — or at the very least a Facebook page. If you’re smart your writer website can actively:
- Get you found by prospective clients who google ‘writing services’ (or similar)
- Sell your writing services, books, courses and workshops
- Engage with prospective clients through contact forms, comments, and surveys
- Grow your audience through blogging or an email newsletter
- Publish a weekly eZine
- Showcase your published work and professional writing
Remember: the more information you have on your website the better. Sure most clients aren’t going to read every page, but you create the perception that you are an established writing business with industry experience and a professional approach.
Have an individual page for each writing service your provide with a contact form at the bottom of the page so people can get in touch with you. Your service pages might include copywriting, blogging, SEO content writing, technical writing, academic writing, grant writing, email marketing, resumes/CV writing, social media posting. Remember to make the services pages about how your writing will do amazing things for the client, rather than how much you need the work.
On each of my services pages I have a contact form that includes a detailed questionnaire. The questionnaire is an excellent tool because if someone actually fills it out it means they’re quite serious about engaging my services. I always follow that up by sending a brochure and a welcome email.
TIP: make up a nice banners with a program like Canva for each of your services and have them scrolling through your blogs or in a side-bar. Maximise selling spaces on your own website with your own services.
Having a professional bio on your website allows helps establish trust, especially if you take the time to include a couple of recent photos. For freelance writers you’ll include your professional background and how it informs your writing process. Mention awards, certifications, and key writing achievements and maybe include a few personal quirks. The most important thing to remember is to make your professional bio relevant to the client, something that makes them want to hire you.
Your writer website is a great place for your professional portfolio. It’s a collection of published works including blogs, articles, and other examples of your work. On your website you’ll include a series of links to live articles and websites, or downloadable sample files. I like to use screen shots to give my portfolio some colour, but that’s a personal choice.
Being able to share testimonials of existing and previous clients is a powerful marketing tool. Ask clients if they would be willing to provide a testimonial and a photo each time you finish a job on time and under budget. Web software programs like WordPress have some cool plugins that enable scrolling banners, which are perfect for client testimonials.
Create a new client kit
Every time I secure a writing assignment with a new client I have a ‘new client kit‘ on hand to help me get to know more about their business and how they work. It establishes our professional relationship and makes the whole process run more smoothly.
One of the key tools in my new client kit is a set of questionnaires to help me get to know their products and services. This is essential if you’re a copywriter and your writing assignments are designed to make a sale, but makes good business sense no matter what you’re writing for them.
You might consider creating the following documents to include in your ‘new client kit’:
- Client questionnaires
- Project agreement
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Statement of work
TIP: keep you client kit in a dropbox folder ready to email out as new clients come on board. My clients respond well to my questionnaires and appreciate me being proactive about confidentiality.
Use your marketing tools to support a great query letter, client proposal or quote. And remember that the best query letters focus on the client, demonstrating how you are going to help them (or their business) rather than how great you are.
Finally make sure your marketing tools are:
- free of typos and layout errors
- have short logical filenames
- open correctly and all the links are working.
Keep them updated as your business changes or expands and most of all have fun. Creating new marketing materials can be an enjoyable experience and done properly, can increase the amount of clients who say yes to your quotes, queries and proposals. And best of all your profits.
© 2019 Melinda J. Irvine