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The Four Best Ways to Launch Your B-to-B Copywriting Business

by Marcia Yudkin

B-to-B (or B2B) means business-to-business - selling specifically to businesses rather than to individuals or the general public. If you're writing copy for b2b clients, then they might be selling web technology, niche-specific insurance, just about any kind of consulting, training or research; doing catalog design and mailing, environmental assessments, product photography, trucking, specialty office supplies, legal services, forensic weather reports and on and on.

While unglamorous, b2b copywriting can be lucrative. With just a moderate amount of talent, discipline and initiative, you can make a decent six-figure living at it, with many of your clients coming back to you with additional projects year after year. Here are the four best ways I currently know of to launch your practice.

Best starting method #1 is sending a piece of direct mail to carefully chosen members of your niche, with a specific offer that has high appeal and low risk for the client. A postcard is my favorite kind of direct mail piece, but it can also be a sales letter. The offer should provide value to the client even if they never hire you to do anything else, but it should also serve as a get-acquainted project that can readily lead to further work. The offer might be free or paid. If paid, it should be low-cost. 

Discover the Lucrative World of B-to-B Copywriting
Copywriting courses heavily promoted online provide a skewed picture of the realities and techniques of working copywriters, overlooking the unglamorous but pleasant and profitable opportunities in business-to-business copywriting.  Listen to a recorded teleclass in which I explained the 10 keys to success in b-to-b copywriting and answered questions.  B-to-b copywriting audio.

Best starting method #2 is cold calling with the goal of getting a meeting with someone in the position to hire you. For this method, I suggest you devour Peter Bowerman's book, The Wellfed Writer, because this is exactly how he got started, and he explains the strategy in great and convincing detail in his book. Peter found that for every three meetings with potential clients he was able to set up, he walked out with one project. Those are terrific odds, if you are comfortable cold calling.

Best starting method #3 is an industry survey with personal followup. In a nutshell, you think of a question that will have great appeal for the niche you are targeting, that relates to the kind of help you want to be offering your clients and that might very well yield surprising or at least interesting results. Set it up using something like SurveyMonkey. Then using email, Linked In, a press release, Twitter, industry forums or listservs, ask people to take your confidential survey and promise to send them the results if they provide their contact information. 

Copywriting Course

Learn to Write No-Hype Copy
Six-week self-study course teaches you to wow people into buying through the power of well-chosen words.  Includes challenging and varied assignments to practice on, with answers from the instructor and participants.  Replace incomprehensible jargon with reader-friendly, motivating content.  Copywriting course.

When you tally up the results, you then do another round of publicity and contact the survey takers who asked for the results with a personal message that invites them to continue the relationship, which will lead in some cases to a client engagement because they now regard you ask an expert. 

Best starting method #4 is to join the trade association of your target market and network with them locally, regionally and nationally, become involved in the organization in some highly visible role, speak to their meetings, publish articles in their publications and so on. Within a year, you typically become the go-to person for marketing writing for members of the organization. Years ago, a friend of mine launched her writing business this way by volunteering to be the publicity chair for her local Chamber of Commerce, north of Boston. Within a matter of months, this made her the reigning queen of publicity within that organization and she never looked back.

Get Your Facts Straight,
Every Time

Readers and clients love it when you pass in scrupulously checked, error-free web copy, blog posts and articles. Learn to separate truth from rumor, get crucial dates and spellings right and be able to back up your assertions. Take the online fact checking course.


Fact Checking Course

There are many other good ways to get your b2b copywriting career off to a roaring start, including creating a blog on topics of interest to your target market, creating a content-rich website with tips, advice and resources for potential clients, using Linked In, Twitter, and more. But if you want to start with the best possible payoff from your time and effort, use one of the four methods described here.

Copyright 2015 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

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