Convert More Customers from “Potential” to “Paying”

Convert More Customers from “Potential” to “Paying”

convert more customers with the know, like, trust factorWhen dealing with a potential customer, you must build a relationship with them so they’ll feel comfortable enough to give their money in exchange for your services.

This can be quite a process. But, luckily, there are several things you can do to put their worries at ease and secure their business.

It all starts with a common marketing principle that you may have heard about: the “Know-Like-Trust Factor.”

Remembering and using the “know-like-trust factor” will help you convert more customers.

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Here’s how you can apply this principle to your business:

1. Know

Converting more customers starts by letting your potential customer get to know you. This is best accomplished with your business website. Ideally, your website will give anyone wanting to get to know you – like potential customers – a direct path to all the information they need.

Just by looking at your site, they need to know that you can solve their problem either because you have the right training or experience. They need to know what you can do for them. And they need to know that you’re a real person who won’t take their money and run.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • As you share things about yourself, make sure the customer always understands what’s in it for them. Share things that add to your credibility. For example, if your niche is food writing, then your experience as a chef is a great thing to talk about. If you don’t have that much experience, you could talk about your passion for cooking, how you never want to leave the kitchen, or how you travel the world to try new flavors. Explain how your passion or experience is of value to them.
  • Add a little personality into your marketing messages. You want to be seen as a professional, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuffy or uptight. If you’re a funny person, add some humor. This will help your customers realize that you’re a real person.
  • Include a contact form or contact information on your website so potential customers can reach out to you. Then respond to messages and emails in a timely manner.
  • If you have a blog, use it to help potential customers by writing about the biggest issues or questions in your niche and how you’d deal with them. You’ll be their hero, and they’ll consider you an expert. This will lead to them hiring you and referring you to others.

2. Like

Once a potential customer has a good understanding of who you are, you’ll want to do things to make them like you. This is a lot like building a real relationship – it takes time.

The average website visitor won’t be ready to buy the first time they find your website. That’s okay. Instead of getting upset, you can do things to bring them back to your site and build a relationship over time so when they are ready to buy, you’re the one they come to.

The best way to follow up with them later is via email. Basically, you offer them something they really want, a “bait piece,” so they’ll give you their email address to get it. This is usually some form of information – like a free report, email series, video training, or critique.

Later, you send them emails that share more of your personality and make your name familiar to them. The more often you follow up with them, the more they’ll know, like, and trust you. And, you’ll convert more customers.

For more help creating your own bait piece so you can gather email addresses of potential clients, check out these articles:

3. Trust

When people are looking for writers (and other freelancers) online, it’s easy for doubt to creep in. That can create hesitation and kill your ability to get hired.

To overcome this doubt and create trust so you can convert more customers, you need to first reduce their risk. When someone is ready to hire you, you don’t want anything to scare him or her away.

Here are two ways to get your website visitors to trust (and hire) you:

  1. Offer an ironclad guarantee. A guarantee for services is different from the guarantee you’ll see for products, but the purpose is the same: to dissolve the fear that what you’re offering might not be as good as you claim. If you’re a freelancer, you may not want to guarantee specific results from your services (like copy or web design), but you can guarantee things like on-time delivery or that you’ll do revisions until they’re satisfied. Just make sure your terms are clear – you don’t want them to think a revision means they can change the entire scope of the project after the work is done.
  2. Give proof that others know, like, and trust you. Potential customers will feel more at ease if they see other people trusted you and it went well for them. Become more active in social media and get more followers. Add links to these profiles on your website. Also, interact with people online – in a professional capacity – as often as possible. This will increase your search engine results and make you much more trustworthy. (The more you can find on a person online, the more real they seem.)

Also, every time you do a project or help someone out, ask for a testimonial. Then add them to your website as proof that other people know, like, and trust you.

Testimonials should include the name of the person who wrote it, job position, and everything that makes them important to listen to – the more the better. It’s best if you can get a video testimonial from happy customers, but if you can’t, a picture of the person is still good. If you can’t get a picture either, use the testimonial anyway. A testimonial without a picture is better than no testimonial.

Of course, there are many other ways to build credibility, help potential customers know, like, and trust you, and convert more customers.

What have you tried? Have you found a great way to quickly build a solid relationship with a potential customer? Comment below to let us know.

5 “Shortcuts” to Success

5 “Shortcuts” to Success

If you’re a freelance writer – or working to become one – nothing will get you off course faster than a shiny object.

Shiny objects are tips, tricks, or techniques that distract you from your main path. They make you think there might be a better, faster way to succeed.

Many shiny objects come in the form of promised shortcuts to getting what you want.

But, it’s important to understand there are two types of shortcuts:

The first is the distraction kind. For example, you might see another niche or technique for getting to the writer’s life faster and easier. If you buy what they’re selling, you’ll likely get a plan that might work. But you’ll be distracted from your original path and likely never finish anything. Many “shortcuts” are just that – distractions.

The second is the kind of shortcut that works. They can be applied to any situation to increase your effectiveness and decrease your learning curve. Here are five shortcuts I’ve found that work:

1. Pick a Niche

It’s been said many times before, but the best shortcut you can take to the writer’s life is to pick a niche. This needs to be done before you do anything else because your niche will determine many other factors in your business, like your website, potential clients, and marketing message.

Yes, you can learn the basics without a niche. But without a niche, you don’t have a focus. And without focus, you’ll flip and flop from one plan to another without getting any real traction.

Plus, having a niche will give you a huge shortcut when it comes to learning the ropes. If you know, for instance, that you want to be a social media expert, you can ignore all the advice for B2B copywriters because it doesn’t affect you. This will cut back on the material you need to absorb and allow you to take action faster.

2. Invest in the Right Training

Once you choose your niche, you’ll need to invest in a program that will give you relevant advice for that niche. Many of AWAI’s programs tell you step by step how to get from wherever you are now to a successful freelance career – and they’ll be specific to your niche.

Decide on a program, and then make a commitment to go through the entire thing and take the recommended actions before moving on to anything else. When I first started this writer’s life journey, I didn’t know my niche. I floundered about, reading every course and wondering why I wasn’t seeing any progress. If I would have picked any of those programs and actually completed them, I would have seen results right away. Sticking to one path will give you a complete roadmap to success. Don’t discount the value in that shortcut.

3. Get Started Now

So many beginning writers think they have to know everything before they get their first client. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Fact is, you could know just one thing – how to write a great email, for example – and get more than enough clients.

This shortcut is simple – learn just enough get your very first client. Then build your business from that.

If they ask you something you don’t know, say you’ll get back to them, and then look up the answer. You don’t have to know every answer as soon as someone asks the question.

Just remind yourself that no one knows everything, and you can learn what you need to know as you go.

4. Start a Swipe File

A swipe file is a collection of sales letters, ads, and other examples of copy that are eye-catching, successful, or interesting. It’s important to have a library of these promotions to “swipe” ideas from.

Most “A-level” copywriters use swipe files so they can learn from other copywriters and gain inspiration when they experience writer’s block.

I have a virtual file saved on my computer and a physical file next to my desk. I put “direct mail” from my mailbox in the physical file and save screenshots, websites, or emails to the virtual file.

Anytime I see copy that makes me want to buy something, I save it. Later, I can look through my collection to get inspiration and trigger ideas for current projects. Because of my swipe file, I rarely have writer’s block. This alone makes having a swipe file one of my favorite shortcuts to the writer’s life.

Helen Buttery, an experienced marketer, says, “The trick to building a big swipe file is getting your name ‘seeded’ onto mailing lists.”

5. Create Cheat Sheets

I’ve found that there is so much advice floating around that if I try to remember it all, my head might explode. Now, whenever I come across something I want to remember and use often, I write it on a “cheat sheet.” I have one for headlines, one for leads, and one for every type of copy I write. I also start one for every client.

Sometimes, the one cheat sheet turns into a few pages, but it really helps to keep all the information I need in one place. Instead of spending time searching for six articles about headlines, I can glance at my cheat sheet and have all the advice I need.

Keep in mind that your clients aren’t testing you. Just like they don’t expect you to know everything, they don’t expect you to remember everything either. If you need to have cheat sheets and note cards and write friends to ask for help, that’s completely okay and encouraged.

These five shortcuts have worked wonders for my freelance business. While there aren’t any magic pills, there are tips and tricks that make it easier and faster. I hope these shortcuts work for you, too.

What about you? Have you found any shortcuts that work? Let’s talk about it in the comments below …

3 Ways to Profit as an Expert

3 Ways to Profit as an Expert

As I told you yesterday, gaining expert status is one of the quickest ways to succeed as a freelancer. You’ll attract more clients, get more projects, and as a result, make more money.

In short, you’ll be living the writer’s life, with the ability to set your own schedule, pick and choose your projects, and more. And today, I’ll show you how to boost your expert status even more to make living that ideal life a reality.

1. Money-Making Websites

A money-making website is an informational website on a topic you’re interested in. It’s created to attract visitors who are searching the Internet for information on your topic.

Once these visitors find your website, you get paid when they buy the products mentioned on your site. And it’s passive income, which means you make money even when you’re not working. All you have to do is the initial setup and add content on a regular basis – which is as simple as writing a short article here and there.

I once heard it explained as, “Like a paid vacation.” I thought that was a great analogy. If that appeals to you, you might consider a money-making website.

Another benefit of a money-making website is you’ll be seen as an expert in that niche.

Let’s say your money-making website is on marketing. Because you’ll write blog posts every week to grow your marketing website, your visitors will view you as the expert.

This expert status can then turn into more passive income through more visitors to your money-making website, or you can use it to get clients who need marketing help … or both.

There are a lot of options when it comes to creating a money-making website. You could pick a niche that has nothing to do with writing – like growing tomatoes.

Or you could pick a niche that is all about writing – like how to get your book published.

Either way, your money-making website will bring in passive income for you and function as an impressive case study of your expertise.

And the more you write, the more you’ll grow as an expert.

2. Self-Publishing Info Products

Another way to enhance your expert status and make money writing is by creating your own information products and self-publishing them.

An information product (or info product) is a book, e-book, CD, audio recording, or video that provides advice and information. They can be anything from a few-page report to a several-hundred-page course, complete with worksheets and video lessons.

I’ve been creating info products for my clients for years – on topics ranging from social media to building WordPress websites – and I’ve decided it’s time for me to write my own info product.

Having your own info product will give you expert status in your niche, but it’s also a great standalone way to live the writer’s life.

Like a money-making website, self-publishing your own info product is a way to make passive income because sales will come in whether you’re working or not.

With low overhead, low investment, and minimal time required to capture your own expertise into an info product, it’s also a fantastic way to take advantage of (and show off) your writing skills.

3. Copywriting

Copywriting is, in my opinion, the best way to live the writer’s life. If you want to be a freelance writer who makes a killer living doing what you love, I encourage you to spend some time learning the art of persuasive writing.

Copywriting is a huge industry, with businesses hungrier than ever for writers who can produce results. They need all kinds of copy … and they’re looking for experts who can help them with their specific needs. That’s why specializing in a certain type of copy will help you gain expert status and propel you to success even faster as a freelancer.

You could become an expert in one of these areas:

Web Writing

As a web writer, you would use the same skills as a direct response copywriter, but you would use those skills to sell products online.

Types of web copy include landing pages, squeeze pages, autoresponders, emails, sales letters, headlines, blog posts, articles, press releases, and even complete websites.

B2B (or Business-to-Business)

Another big area of copywriting (both in size and income potential) is the business-to-business (or B2B) industry.

If you go this route, you would help companies market their products and services to other companies.

B2B is a great niche because your clients are usually large companies with large budgets. Because they use your copy to generate huge streams of revenue, they’re already aware of the value you bring to their business. This means a higher project fee for you.

Grant Writing

Grant writing is a niche I wish I had known about when I first started. It involves writing on behalf of an organization to obtain large amounts of funding from government programs and private donors.

There’s a lot of research involved, but it’s also extremely rewarding because you can help organizations you care about get the money they need.

A few months ago, I met a copywriter who wrote grant proposals for fire departments. She was extremely proud of each department she was able to get a grant for. She loves her freelance career.

If you have a cause you care strongly about and you would like to help them while living the writer’s life, you might consider becoming a grant writer.

The specialties and niches I mentioned today are just a few ways you can further cement your status as an expert and live the writer’s life.

Of course, there are probably thousands of other ways I didn’t list here.

There are hundreds of industries and countless ways to niche yourself within each industry.

For example, your niche could be baby products, pet supplies, kitchen appliances, green energy, or anything else you could come up with. You could write all copy or just some types of copy for your niche.

I’ve niched myself both in the type of writing I offer and in the industry I service. My niche is web writing for the self-help industry.

Plus, niches can even be combined, making unlimited possibilities.

For example, Copyblogger.com combined the blogging industry and the copywriting industry to make their own niche: copywriting advice for bloggers.

Let’s say you want to write for the baby industry, but you think that’s too broad. You could combine it with the green industry and write only for companies that offer environmentally safe products for babies.

The options really are limitless, but my advice for beginning writers is to pick a niche, one that gets you excited, and get started today.

Don’t waste time analyzing every inch of a niche.

If other people are able to live the writer’s life doing it, you can too.

I’d love to hear what specialty or niche you choose – or if you’re still deciding, maybe I can help. Comment below to join the discussion …

How to Create Content That Makes You Look Like an Expert

How to Create Content That Makes You Look Like an Expert

A quick way to position yourself as an expert is to create content.

This could be in the form of your own blog, a money-making website, a book, or even guest blog posts or articles.

If you’re holding back, it may be because you think the only way to create content that makes you look like an expert is to brag about yourself or exaggerate how good you really are.

That’s not the case.

Writing content is one of the best ways to show you know what you’re talking about without having to say you know what you’re talking about.

When someone comes to your website, picks up your book, or sees your articles demonstrating your knowledge and skills, they’ll automatically assume you’re an expert who knows what they’re talking about.

You won’t have to say you’re an expert because it will be obvious.

Here are five things to keep in mind when creating content that makes you look like an expert:

1. Provide Value

All your articles and blog posts should, first and foremost, provide value to your readers and potential clients.

Your readers don’t want to read about you. They want to find out how you’re going to solve their problem.

Show them you can solve their problem by providing original and valuable ideas, and they’ll see you as an expert.

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Rather than tell people what your expertise is, your writing is a great place to show off your expertise.

For example, if you’re an expert web writer and you’re trying to get more clients in that area, write articles about web writing. Share what you’re learning and how it can be applied to your preferred niches.

Share case studies that show you’re successful at what you do, and people will believe you’re an expert.

The more often you write, the better off you’ll be. Frequent updates to your blog or guest posts show you’re dedicated and have a lot of knowledge.

Plus, people who agree with your point of view will feel drawn to you, and they’ll be more likely to hire you or become a fan of your website.

3. Write Often

The more often you write, the faster you’ll become an expert. Writing often requires research and knowledge in your field.

Don’t worry if you don’t know everything about your niche or topic right now. You will always be learning and growing.

Plus, coming up with new ideas and experiences shows you’re really into your topic.

4. Repurpose Your Content

One great thing about writing often in order to be seen as an expert is you can use your content in many ways.

You can compile all your articles into a book that you sell or use to generate leads.

If you’re writing guest posts and the website owner is okay with it, you can use your articles on your own blog to bring in more traffic.

You can use your articles to create videos, podcasts, or even mini-courses that you can sell for extra income.

5. Be Yourself

Don’t worry about scaring any potential clients away. If they don’t like your writing style or what you have to say, then they probably wouldn’t like the work you do for them anyway.

It’s far easier to be yourself all the time instead of having to pretend to be what your clients want some of the time.

A lot of clients will like the way you write, and those working relationships will be a lot easier in the long run.

At all times, remember to write about solutions to your readers’ problems.

Writing content to position yourself as an expert isn’t difficult – especially when you stop telling people what you can do and start showing them instead.

So what about you? What have you written lately that shows you’re an expert? Comment below to join the discussion …

3 Skills You Must Master To Succeed

3 Skills You Must Master To Succeed

I have a question for you … Are you still afraid to jump 100 percent into the writer’s life?

Do you feel like you’re a great writer, but something is holding you back? Do you find yourself not taking action to find clients?

If you said yes, you might be missing one of three vital skill sets. According to multimillionaire business coach Dani Johnson, author of First Steps to Wealth, there are three skill sets you must master to succeed:

1. Professional Skills

This is your profession’s basics. For a writer, that might be writing a killer headline … finding the “big idea” for a promotion … or crafting intriguing bullets. Anything that gets results for their clients, whether that’s increased sales, more visits to their website, or whatever.

If your skills are at a high level, you’ll make more money. Skill is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. More clients will hire you. You’ll be paid more per project.

Professional skills are easy to improve. All you have to do is study and practice. The more you learn, the more experience you earn … the better you’ll be.

For example, if you choose to specialize in autoresponders, you’ll be able to focus all your attention in that area – studying, practicing, and increasing your skill in writing autoresponders – and multiplying your pay per project.

If you’re serious about working as a freelancer, don’t delay in working to improve your skills. It’ll have a tremendous effect on your bottom line.

2. Personal and Leadership Development Skills

How often have you thought, “I’m scared to call Client X”?

Those feelings aren’t a reflection of your talent and professional skills. They mean your personal development skills – like confidence, mindset, and attitude – aren’t as strong as they could be.

Johnson says, “If you have a low level of personal development, you are only going to surrender to however you are feeling at a certain moment, such as ‘I feel afraid today’ or ‘I feel worthless today’ or ‘I don’t feel like things are going to work out today.’ Those kinds of feelings do not pay.”

If you’re feeling worried, scared, or discouraged, it’s not time to give up. It just means you need to work on yourself to increase your confidence. You could:

  • Work with someone who has already been successful to create a full goal plan to reach your goal of becoming a successful writer. Then just take one step after another. Ignore your fear and just do the next thing on your list.
  • Work with your peers to get feedback on your writing. When you hear other people compliment your abilities, you’ll believe it yourself.
  • Work on smaller projects for local businesses or offer to do some pro bono work for a charity you care about. This will give you some experience and samples – and you’ll gain confidence when you see businesses and organizations getting results because of your effort.

3. People Skills

Writers who get along with clients, network with fellow writers with ease, and work well with everyone they come in contact with … succeed. Because they are a pleasure to work with, they get referrals and are in demand. As a result, they can increase their rates.

Why?

Because they understand that they are people working with people. Their clients want to be treated nicely and feel like they are more than the next paycheck for the writer.

By learning to communicate with people effectively, you’ll find they want to work with you.

As a copywriter who specializes in the personal development industry, I’m always poring over courses, programs, and books in my niche to increase my skills in various areas that can help my career.

Later, I’ll share some of the techniques and strategies I’ve learned recently to get you moving toward mastering what I consider the three most important skill sets: professional skills, personal and leadership development skills, and people skills.

If you have any techniques for increasing these skills, I’d love to hear about them. Comment below to join the discussion …

The Sad Truth About “Experts”

The Sad Truth About “Experts”

Let’s imagine for a moment you were one of the first web designers on the scene when businesses realized they needed to get a website up to stay competitive.

Companies would have begged you to build their website – for any amount.

You could have worked hard for a couple of years and retired early.

There is a similar opportunity right now – and it will be around for several more years. I’m talking about social media.

Social media is a great freelance opportunity right now because it’s changing the way businesses market and reach their potential customers. And businesses don’t have time to learn everything they need to know about social media.

They need an expert who can take all the information and give them only the parts that are relevant to their business.

I’m talking about businesses using social networks (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, YouTube, Twitter, among others) to connect with people who might want to buy their products or use their services.

Not all businesses will need all social networks – that’s where you come in. You can create a social media strategy that tells them where to focus their efforts.

Another perk is your social media knowledge can mean big, long-term revenue for you because managing a client’s social media is not a one-time service.

Once you create their strategy and their social profiles are set up, they’ll need someone to keep their profiles up to date and interact with real people on a regular basis.

If they simply set up social profiles and forget about them, they’ll never reach enough people to build momentum and increase their client base.

Some businesses will hire you to consistently reach out to potential customers over time. They’ll want to increase their brand awareness and annual sales.

Others will want you to come in and create a social media campaign that will quickly increase their website traffic, leads, and sales. They might have a new product, and to increase its sales, they’ll launch a social media campaign. Depending on the network they’re using, they might have discounts, contests, prizes, or free samples.

The entire goal is to spread their message far and wide as fast as possible so they can sell a lot of their new product.

One example is the clothing store Gap, which used Groupon (a popular social buying site) to offer $50 worth of clothing for just $25. This social media campaign brought in $11 million in one day.

As you can tell, there are many options when it comes to social media campaigns. That’s why business owners are hiring social media experts to handle it for them.

As I said, the opportunity is now to get in on the ground floor of this trend. I’m putting everything in action to be one of the “lucky” ones. And I want to show you how I’m doing it so you can become a social media expert too.

Many people think it’s already too late, that there are already too many social media experts out there. But let me bust this myth for you …

Yes, it is true that the Internet is full of people claiming to be social media experts. But we all know that proving it is a completely different thing.

Businesses only care about results. They expect increased sales, more leads, and more visitors to their websites from social media campaigns. And only a teeny-tiny fraction of these so-called “social media experts” know how to get those results.

They don’t know anything about marketing, writing, or building relationships with potential customers.

I promise you, the majority of them will disappear quickly.

But you and I won’t.

Because once you know how to use social media to get results for businesses (like more visitors, more leads, and more sales), you’ll never have a shortage of jobs. That’s been my personal experience.

I recently consulted with a copywriting client who flat out refused to take an interest in social media. He wanted to stick with the old way of doing things. He thought social media was a fad that would quickly pass.

I really believe every business needs a strong social media presence, so I kept trying.

I finally convinced him to give it a try. I offered to spend just one hour on his social media strategy.

During that hour, I set up his Twitter account, followed several people interested in his niche, posted a few tweets linking back to his content, and engaged with potential customers.

And to make sure I proved the value of social media, I also made sure to create tracking links so he could see any sales that came in from Twitter.

Then I waited …

Within a few days, he had made almost $1,000 directly from Twitter. From just an hour’s worth of work.

This was enough to convince him of the value in social media. Now I’m managing all his campaigns. I’m even training other people on his staff to pitch in.

The true potential in social media is the value you bring to the businesses you can help.

If you can create a strategy for a business that gets results, you will be their hero. Clients will be excited to pay you because they know you’ll get them a huge return on their investment. And they’ll recommend you to everyone.

Most self-proclaimed social media experts don’t understand that having a social media profile alone will do nothing for a business. It takes an actual comprehensive strategy to make social media work.

Learn why anyone who wants to live the writer’s life should embrace social media now, check out this article: “3 Reasons You Should Embrace Social Media Now.”

Do you have a social media success story, or are you just getting started? Comment below to join the discussion …