It’s time for another edition of “Ask Danny”.
Today’s question comes from Paul…
I usually see a variation of this question from potential clients:
How long have you been doing email marketing? What are your best results to date?
How do I show authority in my response if I don’t have proof?
Thanks a lot and keep up the good work you’re doing.
I was once on the phone with a potential client who asked me both of these questions…
Being brand new, I more or less answered with, “Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…….”
He basically hung up on me.
It felt like a kick to the gut. At that moment I was convinced my freelancing business was over — before it ever really begun.
If that sounds harsh, don’t worry … if you follow my advice, I’ll show you how you can prevent the same thing from happening to you.
First and foremost: If you’re brand new to freelancing, you can absolutely feel free to safely skip over job posts that ask questions like this.
There are gaggles of entry level gigs on Upwork and other freelancing sites (Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, etc) that offer much lower hanging fruit if you don’t have a lot of experience. And many clients simply don’t ask how long you’ve been at it, or what kind of tangible results you’ve gotten.
My first email marketing client didn’t ask any questions before hiring me (you can see the sample email I used to win that job here). In fact I got all the way to six-figures in freelancing income without any real way to prove my worth to clients via hardcore results.
So please promise me you’re not going to freak out if you don’t have any results to show off just yet, okay?
At the same time, it never hurts to be thinking about how to get those tangible results, since they can be a useful tool to help you land clients and raise your rates as you progress forward.
My first tangible results trickled in slowly, and informally.
By that I mean they were “organic” results — a client looks at your copy and likes it. Yes, that’s a good result, even if it’s not fully tangible.
For the most part, clients are pretty smart… If they like your copy there’s usually a good reason for it, especially since they have skin in the game — they’re paying for it, remember.
Things get a little more tangible when they leave you a review, either on a site like Upwork, or even a LinkedIn recommendation. (You can ask for these, you know.)
That’s how my first “measurable” result came in — a client wrote me an Upwork review that said something along the lines of, “Danny is a great writer, and our sales are up from the previous year after using him!”
Now if you notice, they didn’t say that my writing increased their sales — just that their sales were up from the previous year. Maybe I contributed to that, or maybe they just liked my writing and were being nice. We’ll never know.
Many clients don’t have sophisticated results tracking in place to definitively figure out what kind of results you helped them get, or didn’t get.
But … who cares? In this case, I was rehired for more work, and they referred me to another great client too. In other words, I accomplished the main goals of freelancing, which are making money, and helping clients. As long as you’re doing those two things, there’s no need to get hung up on the details.
Over time, even better results started coming back to me in the form of direct feedback from clients. One emailed me to expressly state (with gratitude, I might add) that my copy helped him go from making zero sales on his website, to making thousands of dollars per month (he was sure my copywriting was the catalyst for his sales boost because it was the only variable of his marketing that had changed and his results were up BIG).
Another client sent me a screenshot of their analytics showing that an email I’d written had outperformed their previous version (known in the copywriting business as their control, if you want the technical jargon) by several multiples.
Keep in mind, no one hits a home run every time.
Even as I got better and better, sometimes the results just didn’t show up, for whatever reason. Maybe I just swung and missed, or maybe something about the way the client was doing their marketing (or measuring their results) was just off. Again, we’ll just never know … and that’s OK.
In the meantime, there are still plenty of ways to show clients what you’re doing (even if you don’t have tons of experience just yet):
- Testimonials. If a client leaves you a good review, don’t assume new prospective clients will see it — show it to them! You can even paste them right into your proposals.
- Stories of other people you’ve helped. Helped your friend (or another client) with email marketing? Talk about it. Write about it. You can even take some screenshots and create a short but impressive PDF case study to show to new clients.
- Create something similar to what the client needs, and show it to them. Mike N. wanted to win a job making green screen videos, but he’d never done it before. So he went to google, figured it out, and made a sample 30-second green screen video to show the client. He was hired a few minutes later.
- Share your knowledge. Talk to clients about what you know! Even a single surprising or counterintuitive truth that relates to what they’re doing can be extremely impressive, especially since most (or all) of your competitors won’t think to do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read about a new marketing trick at 8:00am, immediately started writing proposals telling clients about it at 8:30am, and had a new project booked by 9.
- Show clients how you can help them. Giving clients expert suggestions on how to make their projects a success shows you know what you’re doing, you’re a good person to work with, and you care about helping them win.
Remember, your goal is a freelancer is to make money, and help clients. Focus on those two things first and foremost, and results will come in time.
Meanwhile, think of your clients as friends or family members and take the attitude that you have a single-minded focus to helping them succeed.
Keep working to become better at your craft. Read books. Learn from the masters. Take time to walk, breathe fresh air, and let your mind rest and process all of the information you’ve taken in. Your brain is like a muscle, you can give it a workout but in order to grow it also needs plenty of down time to recharge.
That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Ask Danny. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind, so if you have a question you’d like me to answer, please ask it here.
Creative Commons Image via BarbeeAnne