Communicating clearly with prospective clients

As a freelance copywriter, I know that the rules for content writing have changed, but not many other people have taken any notice.

Some untrained writers still churn out what they think readers want to know without doing much or any research. If your content is not of the highest quality, you’re wasting your time and effort.

Today, readers are time poor and want as much information as possible and instantly. For this reason content must be more accessible than it has ever been before. You need lots of sub-headings so people can read quickly and understood just as quickly. Remove any ambiguity. If a reader has to read the material more than once, you have failed as a communicator.

Website Content

Your website is often the first contact a prospective client will have with your company. If you don’t make an excellent impression within the first three seconds, your prospect will go to another site.

A web designer will tell you “it’s the design and structure” you need to spend the money on. Yes, design and structure do count. As a freelance copywriter I know that if the content is not good enough, no amount of fluff, colour, wiz bang sliding imagery will sell the prospect on your company or products. The content sells who you are and what you do and importantly the benefits of working with you. Unfortunately, graphics alone can’t do that.

Your written material needs to be clear, concise, plain English, readable, specific for readers and definitely no jargon.

Electronic Devices

People are reading written material on all sorts of devices, so make sure it looks good on a small telephone screen as it does on a desk top computer. This means considering sentence and paragraph length. There is nothing worse than big blocks of text that look difficult to read.

Your job is to make it as easy as possible for prospective clients to do business with you.

If you would like to know more about what I do please visit my services page.

Do you write down your goals?

Despite what you may think, setting goals is not difficult. All it takes is a little time to think about what you want to achieve and then write a plan to make it happen.

When you work for yourself as I do as a freelance copywriter, I know it is important to have simple ways to set goals and note my achievements.

Setting an income goal

I know that setting income goals is usually at the top of the list because being rewarded for your work is important. If you want to earn $50,000 a year, that’s $1,000 per week, $200 per day, and if you charge $50 per hour, that’s four chargeable hours a day. Double all these figures if you want to earn $100,000 a year.

Don’t keep the figures in your head, write down exactly what you want to achieve.

Now that wasn’t difficult.

Goals and your to-do list

On Friday decide the goals you want to achieve during the next week and write them in your diary on Sunday or in your electronic calendar. On Monday write your to-do list for each day in your diary  or electronic calendar so you have a plan to achieve your goal. I use a paper diary as this works best for me. The list should have about three to five activities.

Turn to Saturday in your paper diary or electronic calendar and list each day’s successes there. This is a reminder how you are moving towards your goal.

You may not have signed a multi million dollar contract, discussed the formula for changing the world, but I bet almost without exception you have achieved much more than you realise, simply because you didn’t write it down at the time. Or thought it was not worth recording.

Here’s a quote “A self-employed person plays their own tune and stands out from the rest of the band”.

Make sure you acknowledge your successes regardless of how small.

I’m a freelance copywriter and if you would like to know more about what I do, please visit my services page.

Tips on writing readable content to attract prospective clients

When I’m speaking to clients in my role as a freelance copywriter, I tell them they need good readable content if they want to connect with people.  Their messages should never contain a long, difficult word when the simple version would be much better. For example:

  • Fugacious means fleeting, hard to capture
  • Precipitation means showers, drizzle, rain, rainfall
  • Somnambulism means sleepwalking
  • Ameliorate means improve
  • Ambulatory means moveable
  • Clandestine means secret.

It’s important not to use three words when one will do. Although, it’s not good to reduce a phrase to just one or two words if the person reading the message will not be able to make sense of it.

Read sentences carefully because some phrases can be left out completely or the sentence can be rewritten. For example:

In terms of the marketing strategy, we intend to use a good cross section of exposure…. The alternatives are… We intend to use a good cross section of exposure in our marketing strategy. Or… Our marketing strategy will give us a good cross section of exposure.

Your aim is to have good readable content.

Sentence Length

Studies have shown the average length is between 15 and 20 words: 25 maximum, so don’t make your sentences too long.

When writing advertising and marketing material write sentences of between 10 and 16 words, and cap the length at 20 words for formal writing, procedures manuals and other instruction material. Tailor the sentence length to the message.

If you’ve written sentences with 30, 35 or 40 words, rewrite the sentence. Usually, you can take out, “and, the, that and but”, add a full stop/period and start a new sentence.

The longer the sentence, the more concentration is needed to understand the message.

Paragraph Length

The same rule applies to the length of paragraphs. If they are too long they will look like a solid block of text and readers may think the message is too hard to read and won’t bother.

Keep paragraphs to between two and four sentences to make them easy on the eye and readable.

If you would like to know more about what I do, please visit my services page.

Are you having trouble writing a tender submission? Need help with retendering for a contract you already have?

As a freelance copywriter, I’ve helped many companies win very profitable tenders. This tip is to help you understand what you need to include when writing winning tender responses.

You need to demonstrate to a prospective client that you’re the best person/company to handle their business. You also need to demonstrate that you understand what they need and can deliver it.

Competitive Tendering

Competitive tendering isn’t about what you do. It’s about what you can do for the client. Tell the client what you have done for other companies and how this is similar to the requirements of the tender request. Demonstrate that you have the skills, capabilities and flexibility to do the work and make life easier for the client.

If you’re responding to a tender for work with a new client show them (in your paperwork) how you will:

  • Service the contract
  • Report on your progress
  • Provide innovative ways to help the client.

In fact, provide whatever the client needs to choose you and your business.

If you already hold a tender and need to retender you still have to show the client that you’re the best person/company for the job. Don’t forget there will always be a competitor. Competitors will challenge you for the work. Your job is to make it easy for the client to recontract with you. Let them know why you’re the lowest risk option.

Contracts worth millions of dollars go to tender and it’s in your best interest to secure as many contracts as possible. This is a great way to grow your business.

Regardless of whether you’re a micro business, small, medium or large enterprise, work in the services, products or manufacturing industries, winning contracts and where possible becoming a preferred contractor will provide the desired income and cash flow stability.

Six tips to help with writing winning tender responses:

  • Read the whole tender request document carefully at least twice
  • Make a list of what information you need to gather so you can prepare the best response
  • If possible, collaborate with others in your company
  • Schedule time to write the response
  • Don’t leave it too late to ask for help if you’re finding the process difficult
  • Never miss the deadline.

Apart from standard information about your company, never cut and paste from a previous submission. The evaluation panel will always know.

The final tip, check the response document for any spelling, typo and grammatical errors. Then check it again for readability and consistency.

If you want to win, your response must show the evaluation panel you are the best prospect for the contract.

Good luck.

If you’re still having trouble, send me an email, I’d love to help.