5 rookie mistakes copywriters make when finding new clients

A confident copywriter with red hair gesturing a stop sign with her hand, next to text about common mistakes copywriters make when finding new clients.

Having transitioned from a full-time copywriter to a copy coach (clocking 13 years “in the biz”), I’ve guided hundreds of copywriters away from common pitfalls that hinder their success in attracting and retaining clients. 

And finding copywriting clients is always the #1 struggle named, when asked.

Fancy a shortcut around the mistakes? Of course you do!

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Mistake #1: Hitting pause on marketing

Ever heard of “feast or famine”? 

One minute you’re swamped with clients and consuming coffee at an unhealthy rate to keep your workflow flowing. The next you’re binge-watching old sitcoms into the wee hours while you worry about your next gig. 

The rollercoaster is real and totally preventable. 

The secret? Always Be Marketing. Even when you’re busy. 

Something as quick as a 15-minute LinkedIn routine could keep your client stream steady. Pop a comment here, send a DM there, share a cool post—boom, you’re still in the game. This keeps you on the radar and your client engine running. 

Other marketing tasks you can do include catching up with old clients to see what they’re up to (and what copywriting they might need) and boosting your digital footprint on social media. 

The key is to create a schedule you can stick to. 

Mistake #2: Ignoring your business buddies

Don’t just eye the big agency fish when thinking about recurring gigs. There’s a whole sea of potential in collaborating with businesses like:

  • Web developers who need snappy copy for new sites.
  • Graphic designers looking for that perfect tagline.
  • Virtual assistants managing clients who are itching for quality content.
  • Print shops that might refer you when businesses ask for branding help.

And let’s not forget other copywriters who might be drowning in too much work, don’t specialise in the project they’ve been asked about or need cover during leaves of absence. 

Remember, cooperation beats competition every time.

Take part in industry conversations, comment on relevant social conversations and share podcast episodes from creators you would love to know better. Then, book a coffee chat to see how you can help each other. 

Mistake #3: All about the copy, Forgetting the experience

Yes, your copy needs to impress, but many copywriters overlook how they can WOW a new client before the copy is delivered.

Because it’s normal for a client to feel uncertain after they have said yes, especially for a project that’s a stretch for their budget or where the cost was higher than they thought. 

A client-satisfaction-boosting onboarding process can make them feel like they just made the best decision ever and that their budget is already well spent. 

  • Share your enthusiasm to work with them! 
  • Remind them of your process
  • Share key dates and milestones 
  • Sprinkle in some delight and personality wherever possible.

It’s about making them smile before they even see the final draft.

If you need ideas on creating an experience, one of my favourite books on the topic is The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. 

Mistake #4: The “One and Done” Mindset

Finished a big project? Great, but don’t disappear on your client! 

Many copywriters make the mistake of seeing a closed door once one project is complete. But someone who just got a new website actually needs a butt-ton of other marketing efforts. 

Such as:

  • Social media posts and emails to announce the new site. 
  • A new list-building opt-in page and newsletter. 
  • A welcome sequence to nurture new leads! 

Take some time before each project wraps up to consider: what will they need, next? 

You can kick-start a conversation as part of your off-boarding process by asking some questions about their next-step plans, and even sharing some you have. If they aren’t ready to jump into a new project simply say,

“That’s cool. I’ve loved working with you. I’d love to loop back and check in with you in a few months time.” 

Then, schedule a follow-up task to avoid slipping off your radar (or theirs).

Mistake #5: Shying away from asking for props

Finished a project? Ask for a shout-out! Whether it’s a testimonial or a referral, never underestimate the power of a good word. 

When it comes to testimonials, create a form with some questions your client can respond to. Or prompts they can follow. You’ll get much better answers to craft into a killer review. 

Check out questions you can ask, here.

And asking for a referral can be as simple as:

“I loved working with you! Do you have any business besties who need some killer copy? I’d love to help out.”

Just pop that question (and be as specific as possible about what you offer and how you can help) —it’ll pay dividends in getting your name out there and keeping your client list healthy.

The next step is up to you

So there you have it—five not-so-secret mistakes that might be standing between you and a steadier stream of clients. Whether it’s getting cosy with LinkedIn for 15 minutes a day or making sure you’re not ghosting clients post-project, these are pretty manageable, right?

And hey, if you’ve noticed you’re guilty of one (or a few) of these blunders, no sweat—every copywriter has been there. This post isn’t a permission slip to beat yourself up; it’s about getting pumped to do something about it. 

If you’re looking to boost those client-catching skills to the next level, grab a ticket to my Crickets to Clients coaching week.  5 days of reusable resources, tasks and coaching to help you set up an ongoing stream of copy clients. APRIL 29 – MAY 3.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to Hit Turbo on Your Copywriting Business?

Want to Hit
on Your Copywriting Business?

Of course you do.

Find out your copy biz shortcut so you can focus on the actions that will accelerate your business growth.

You’ll learn what YOU should focus on right now (spoiler alert: it’s not all the things) and get a bunch of tips, advice and extra resources to help you take action.

Have Some Feedback?

Let us know if you see any missing content, weird bugs, or just have general feedback about the new site design!