I felt elated the day I landed my most lucrative freelance blogging client – $250 for a single blog post. Many of you may recall that I shared this experience in my blog post How to Land Freelance Writing Jobs Online, Fast.
Instead of targeting websites and publications, I targeted writers in my niche. I found out who they wrote for and then pitched those publications using a variation of a proven email template.
The technique works because it cuts prospecting time and weeds out low-paying clients. By sending only seven emails, I got three replies with the one response leading to the $250 blogging gig.
I’m particularly proud of that. But, you know what? I’m prouder of the fact that I’ve since made $5100 with that client in over five months. But I’m not here to blow my own horn; I’m here to help you.
You see, this achievement made me realise that if you want to make money freelance writing, only finding new clients won’t cut it.
You must focus on your existing clients. Because you already have a relationship with them, growing your income won’t be hard. You just need to approach it in the right way.
And so, today I want to show you how I skyrocketed my freelance writing income with one client.
It all started with a simple email. I’ll explain the context of the email, share the exchange, and detail strategies you can use in your career.
Let’s jump in.
Context of the Email
I landed the $250 gig in April 2017 and had been writing for them for a few months. My income, however, was sporadic.
I had earned $250 in April, $750 in May and $250 by Mid June when I sent that email. That’s a total of $1250. Not bad, but certainly nothing to write home about.
Little did I know that sending that email would cause a chain of events that would lead to more work and income than I could ever imagine.
But I now recognise that by following a similar approach with all my existing and future clients, I can replicate these results. Over, and over, and over, again. And you can too!
The Email Exchange
I sent an email asking if she was happy with my work and if there was anything I could improve. My goal was to see if I could provide more value.
Here’s the email:
For those on mobile it reads:
Hi [insert name],
I just wanted to check in with you as I’ve been writing for a month now. Are you happy with everything? Is there anything I can improve on?
Also, have you managed to get those keywords you want to rank for? It will help and provide me some guidance for future articles.
I was also thinking…I know we discussed compiling an Ebook or a lead magnet in the future. Is this still on the cards? I recently wrote an Ebook for my own online business.
Just thinking about ways I can provide as much value as possible.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
The client responded telling me what she was happy with, what I could improve on, and listed several topics I should focus on.
She mentioned I should concentrate on mid-to-low funnel story ideas and that she would be happy if I had “any insights to leverage around small business/accounting/finances.”
Before I move on, let’s have a quick look at what mid-to-low funnel story ideas are. It’s essential to have an understanding because it will help you create targeted content for your client.
And to understand what mid-to-low funnel story ideas are you need a basic knowledge of the sales funnel.
The sales funnel is the process that businesses lead customers through when buying products. It starts with the awareness stage (customers know little about the company’s products).
The evaluation stage follows. They are now evaluating many different products that can solve their problem (your clients’ product may be one of them).
Finally, it ends with the purchase stage where the customer is seriously considering a purchase.
When customers land on a company’s website, they will be at one of these stages of the funnel. And it’s your job as a freelance blogger – in working with your client – to create content for customers who are at the different stages of the funnel.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say your client owns a pet store that sells pet products. They’ve asked you to create blog content for them. Understanding the different stages of the funnel you create the following three blog posts:
- Top of the funnel story – 5 Quick Tips To Take Care of Your Pets
- Middle of the funnel: 3 Types of Pet Food Your Pet’s Will Love
- Bottom of the funnel: Why [insert company’s pet food) is The Best Food for Your Pets
For the top of the funnel story, you educate prospects; there’s no hard selling.
For the middle of the funnel story, you list three types of foods, one of which is the companies’. You subtly hint to the fact that the company offers it. Again, there’s no hard selling. Instead, you help them make a decision.
For the bottom of the funnel, you can aggressively market the company’s pet food.
It’s as simple as that.
But I digress.
With the client telling me what she wanted, I responded. I thanked her for her feedback and told her I would do some keyword research on small business, accounting, and finance. I would then pitch 5-10 blog post ideas.
After doing the work, I sent six blog post ideas:
She replied, loved the ideas and thanked me for them. After making a tweak to one idea, I started writing.
I submitted that post, and she enjoyed it. After thanking her for the payment, I asked if I could work on other article ideas from the list.
She responded and told me what idea she wanted me to work on:
I promptly got started.
Again, I wrote that article, submitted it and she loved it. Bet you can guess what happened next? Yes, I asked if I could work on another idea from the list.
She said yes, things spiralled from there; story upon story followed.
Not only did we work our way through many of the ideas I pitched, but she also started sending me ideas of her own.
I was proactive. More importantly, I was delivering what she wanted. She loved my work so much that she even increased my rate to $300 for a blog post.
You know you’re doing something right when your client increases your rate by $50 per post, effective immediately.
Since then my income has grown exponentially from that one client. I made $1450 in July, $2400 in August and If I complete the ten blog posts outstanding for September, I’ll make $3000.
And to think it all started with a simple email where I checked in and asked what I could improve.
Now how can you achieve similar results for your own business? What strategies can you implement right now?
Strategies You Can Use To Make More Money
1. Send a simple email like I did and ask the client if there is anything you can improve. Re-iterate that you are here to provide value for them. And, to do this, you would appreciate their feedback.
2. Ask them if there are specific topics that need urgent attention. Chances are the client will tell you, and you will have direction. With that direction (and even if they haven’t given you any) pitch some more story ideas. Go the extra mile. Don’t pitch one idea, pitch two, three, four or more.
3. Pitch new story ideas with each new story idea you send.
4. Always be on your client’s radar. Communicate often and show interest in their business. If you show interest in them, they’ll show interest in you. It’s that simple.
You could show interest through a simple email. You could share new ideas to grow the blog. You could even, like I recently did, email the client and let them know there’s a comment on a post that needs attention. The little things matter.
6. Upsell other services to your client. For example, I recently asked the client if she wanted to explore writing an eBook as it is a service I offer. She is, and we’re currently in talks.
Jacob McMillen recently wrote a great article on this topic titled Why Upselling Is Magic (Watch Your Clients Thank You For Taking Their Money). He shares three strategies you can use to upsell your services:
- Provide a better quality version of your work. For example, you give your client different package options starting at a low price and ending at a higher one.
- Offer extra services that reduce your client’s workload. In Jacob’s case, he offered a turn-key content marketing service that includes writing promotion and link building.
- Focus on other client problems. Jacob mentions how he started as a copywriter, writing landing pages, but then pivoted also to offer blog posts because many clients needed them.
7. Be more than a writer. Offer value beyond your writing ability. For example, learn how to do keyword research if you’re a blogger. If you don’t know how read 9 Killer Ways to Generate a Constant Stream of Blog Post Ideas. Scroll down to number 9.
The above strategies highlight the importance of being proactive. You don’t have to know everything.
In fact, you can’t possibly know everything about your client’s business. This understanding and the subsequent relationship that follows comes from asking questions, and showing interest in your client’s business.
Embody such proactivity, and implement the techniques and strategies I list above and you’ll be on your way to earning serious money as a freelance writer.
How do you grow your income with your existing writing clients?