If you’re a freelancer, you need to write a sales letter that sells your services – especially if you’re just starting out.
Prospects also find out about your writing services from referrals, from your website, from social media, from your newsletter (see different ways to get started selling your content writing services)…
But a letter helps you cut through the noise and speak directly to the person that will hire you. You can follow up your letter with email, direct messaging, and a phone call.
But you need to write it first.
When I sat down to write my first prospecting letter draft, I panicked.
Even though I had completed a well-known article writing course, had published clips, and had learned to write a sales letter from AWAI’s Accelerated Copywriting Course, I felt like I was “pretending” to be a writer. How could I expect a prospect to spend real money to hire me when I had just paid someone else to teach me to write? What if I bombed an assignment? What if I couldn’t deliver what she needed on time?
Here’s what took the edge off: I didn’t try to “sell” my services. Instead, I offered a freebie to my prospect. A freebie – a lead magnet – is an incentive that you give to prospects that’s relevant. A good lead magnet solves a problem for a reader.
(Download a free template of my prospecting letter here to personalize as you write a sales letter of your own.)
My lead magnet was a short booklet that explained six ways a small business leader could save money. The last item on the list was “Hire Outsource Providers” like copywriters. (More on how to write more powerful lead magnets.)
I wasn’t selling myself. I was offering free, helpful information. This is important because …
A leader may not even know that she needs content: blog posts, web pages, landing pages, email campaigns, social media posts, brochures …
And if she knows she needs content, she may not be aware that she can outsource her writing to a freelancer. Freelancers save time (you get the writing done while you take care of a thousand other tasks that demand your attention) and save money (you can pay per project or per hour rather than pay a full salary).
And even if she knows she needs content and knows she can hire a freelancer, she may not have time to find one.
So when your letter lands in her mailbox or inbox or social media message application, she is ready to bite. Especially if you offer her a freebie (lead magnet) that is helpful to her.
Include a response device (with a hard copy letter) or an opt-in link (in emails , social media posts, and direct messages) that collects the prospect’s name, title, organization name, phone number, email address, and street address. You’ll use that contact information to follow up with the prospect. She may not need you now. She may not need you in a month. But she may need your services in six months or a year. Your freebie lays the groundwork for the relationship.
Your prospecting letter’s goal is to get your message into the hands of the decision-maker. Remember, you want her to request your freebie so you can start a dialogue with her. Address the letter to a specific person and include that person’s name in the salutation.
Structure the letter with short sentences and paragraphs. Include plenty of white space. (Check out these additional tips for writing cleanly.)
Avoid using a throwaway opening line. Instead, address head-on a problem that the prospect faces every day. Explain that you’re writing to offer help because “you’ve been there before.” Your lead magnet helps solve the reader’s problem.
Explain what the reader needs to do in order to receive your freebie. Tell her that you’ll include additional information that will help her. That additional information will be your information kit that explains your services. Include a response device (with a hard copy letter) or an opt-in link (in emails , social media posts, and direct messages) that collects the prospect’s name, title, organization name, phone number, email address, and street address. Remember, you’re not selling yourself. You’re offering free, helpful information in exchange for the prospect’s contact information.
Sign each print letter by hand. If you have time, add a quick note on the margin like, “This booklet could really help you. I hope you’ll allow me to mail you a copy.”
Most readers check a letter’s salutation first to see if you spelled their name correctly. Then they skim down to the letter and check the P.S. If they are intrigued, they will go back and read the letter body. So use the P.S. to make your Ask: offer your lead magnet.
Once you receive the prospect’s request, then send your lead magnet and your information kit right away. Add her to your email list. Follow up with the prospect by phone, email, or direct message in a few days.
I’m a big fan of not reinventing the wheel. That’s why I like writing formulas, blueprints, and templates.
Would you like a template to follow to write your own sales letter? Download this one and personalize it. And let me know how it works for you!
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