Mo’ clients, mo’ money

Dec 22, 2023

Hopefully you’ve been making merry this week as Christmas approaches. Unfortunately, it’s been a tough week with my mom now in the ICU at the hospital… at my insistence she was moved there, due to some major failings with her care in the regular unit.

Yet when visiting her in the ICU yesterday, I discovered she wasn’t getting a medication that she desperately needs. It’s ridiculous how constant vigilance is required these days when someone is hospitalized. Make sure you are there for your loved ones, and that someone is there for you if you end up getting sick.

In other news, the holiday spirit wasn’t on display at our HOA’s Annual Meeting last night. Yes, more HOA drama. At one point, one woman called me a b*tch (srsly), even though it turned out I was chiming in to agree with her.

Then a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute erupted into one neighbor bringing forth a motion to remove the other neighbor from his position as VP of the Board.

He had 10 minutes to make his case, which involved showing videos he’d secretly taken (this was all done via Zoom) of said VP walking his dogs and neglecting to pick up poop, and spraying leaves and debris onto the other neighbor’s sidewalk.

Yes, for real. My only regret is I didn’t make popcorn first…

But even while my mom and I battle against incompetence in the hospital, and our neighborhood HOA continues its never-ending drama, I’m still feeling the holiday spirit.

I still feel super-hopeful about humanity and the love and caring that even complete strangers show each other every day. It’s probably why I love watching “Love Actually” every holiday season. Love is all around us, indeed.

Okay, before I get too sappy, let’s get to the business at hand here. This is the last issue of Santa’s Mailbag for 2023, and there are several questions that need answering for all the good boys and girls who submitted them. So let’s get rolling.

Here’s a question I just dug out of my mailbag from Copy Insider Syed Danial…

“Hello Kim… Asking a question from you personally is a dream come true for most copywriters (including me) and clients out there. Thank you for doing this. You’re awesome 🙂 

“Okay so here’s my question: -> Let’s say if you were a beginner copywriter today and starting your journey from $0 knowing fully well that AI is also on the rise and that it can’t pump out a great copy YET!!! What would you do? 

“I mean what actual steps would you take from this moment onwards to score clients and make hundreds of dollars and then launch yourself into making thousands of dollars… Like would you first focus on personal branding on LinkedIn or begin right off the bat by doing extensive outreach? 

“PLUS how would you deal with demotivation knowing that you got 0 to no replies after sending cold outreach messages to 20-30 companies in the last 30 days. EDIT: You are beginning from $0 so you can’t rely on any tool YET. Again, thank you for doing his, KIM.”

Hey Syed, hopefully you (and others) got some insights on the first part of your question last week (12/12 to be exact) when I answered a similar question from Copy Insider Pete R. (subject line: “WTF with AI and my future career”).

I suggested that newer and even more advanced copywriters consider going in-house with a company where you’d get up to speed fast on copywriting, marketing, and using AI tools. There are many other benefits to kicking off your copywriting career this way that I got into in my answer.

Then in my next Santa’s Mailbag (subject line: Client bullies who belong on the “naughty” list) I provided an email template you can use as a complete beginner that the King of cold email outreach — Jon Buchan — provided. So give it a try.

While creating a personal brand on LinkedIn may well be a good path to go, you have to have something that differentiates you, that solves a specific problem that your audience wants… otherwise, you’re just another inexperienced copywriter looking for their big break that’s lost in the noise.

One thought is this: while you continue sharpening your skills with copywriting, also make sure you’re getting up to speed on using AI tools for copy ideation, research, and producing sales copy.

Then offer coaching and consulting to solopreneurs, coaches, and others who write their own copy and offer to coach them on how to use it themselves and/or set up ongoing AI-generated email campaigns.

These busy business owners know they can save money and time by using AI tools, but many don’t have the time or bandwidth to figure out how to use them. You could provide that solution to them, and demonstrate your know-how as part of your personal branding strategy on LinkedIn and other social media.

I’d also highly recommend you put together a lead magnet (a 6-10 page free report) that you can offer your target prospects, and have them opt into your email list in order to get said report. Then you’ll be in a much better position to email and follow up with them later, nurturing them as a potential client.

That’s what I would do, Syed… hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration. Don’t be afraid to think big for yourself. And like a good marketer/copywriter, keep yourself focused on what does your prospect need, what are their biggest pain points, and how can I help ease that pain point and solve their biggest problems.

Good luck! Oh, and before I forget, top email copywriter Chris Orzechowski and I are planning to do a live workshop in February on this very topic. We’ll be covering the best tactics and tips for “newbies” and more experienced copywriters alike to help them avoid common deal-closing mistakes, find clients, and more.

You can sign up to get on the wait list and be among the first to hear about it…

Okay, now on to the next question that I’m pulling out of my mailbag as we speak. This one is from Copy Insider Zainab M…

“I am having trouble marketing myself as a direct response copywriter. I’ve been gravitating towards CRM, Marketing Technology SaaS, but haven’t landed clients there yet. Honestly, I’m not looking to stick solely to SaaS; I’m also into non-profits, fashion, and beauty in e-commerce. 

“How do I market myself without seeming all over the place? I want to showcase my skills in these diverse areas without giving off the vibe that I’m just trying to do everything. Any advice on maintaining a professional image while tapping into various industries would be awesome. Thanks for your help!”

I think it’s fine to dabble in more than one niche. I’d focus more on your “USP” i.e., what problem are you able to uniquely solve for your prospects. Focus on the results you’re able to bring them, and provide proof of results you’ve produced for other clients (like I said, they don’t all need to be in the same niche… in fact, that can be part of your positioning — that your methods work for any business).

Create a system or process that you use and perhaps give it your own name. Own it and make it yours. It can be the same or similar method that other copywriters or consultants use, but use the strategy of pre-eminence (i.e., the Schlitz beer story where Claude Hopkins romanced an aspect of beer-making that made Schlitz appear superior to other brands) to differentiate what you do.

This will give you the professional image you’re looking for. Hope this helps!

Okay, I’ve got to wrap things up, but I’ve got a few more questions. Here goes…

“Santa, I have some troubles in freelancing — mostly sales calls.

I get nervous and sound unconfident since I don’t know what they’re expecting from me…

Since I’m just a beginner.

Do you have any advice for me Santa?

P.S – I hope I’m not on the naughty list!


And here’s one more question…

“How can I use inbound marketing to attract freelance copywriting clients?”

I’m going to have to keep my answers short and sweet at this point. But the main way to build your confidence, and not flub up at sales call, AND use “inbound marketing” so that clients come to you, is to focus on being excellent at your craft.

When you know you’re able to deliver quality work, you’ll feel more confident on sales calls. When you begin to get referrals, develop a reputation, and have samples of your work that serve as proof of your abilities, things get easier.

Starting down that path is hard… hopefully in this and recent “Santa’s Mailbag” issues I’ve provided some ideas for succeeding and breaking into copywriting. I’ll make sure I add today’s and the last two issues to my blog, in case you missed them.

And no, Don, you’re not on the “naughty” list! It’s normal to feel scared. It’s just like learning to talk in front of an audience on stage. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Hint: see if you can sign up to take an Improv class. It’s super-fun, and it makes you much more comfortable in “on the fly” situations, like being on a client call or when making a presentation or doing public speaking.

As for the other question on “inbound marketing”, see my response to Zainab about building an email list and attracting potential clients to you that way (in addition to building your work portfolio, getting referrals, and getting good.)

That’s it for Santa’s Mailbag… thank you for the questions. I hope you’ve found my answers helpful. And be merry and kind to each other out there!

Yours for smarter marketing,


P.S. Want more client-getting and client-closing advice from not one, but two top copywriters? Be sure to get on the wait list for an upcoming workshop with Chris Orzechowski and yours truly simply by clicking here.

P.P.S. If you’ve been thinking about signing up for my new Copy Champions 6-month mentoring experience, there’s no time like the present.

My ongoing copy critiques and mentoring can set you up to soar in 2024 and beyond. Plus there’s office hours and a private Slack group where you can get more feedback and support, while building valuable connections.

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If this is something you know you want to do, you’ll want to act before I raise the price January 1st. Actually you’ll want to act sooner than that, as spots are filling up fast and I need to keep the group to a manageable size. So make sure you secure your spot now before I have to close the doors to this program.

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