I’ve been an SEO copywriter since mid-2007. When I first entered the field, I knew absolutely nothing about it beyond what SEO stood for. I didn’t know what a duplicate content penalty was (or more correctly, was not); about black hat tactics; keyword strategies; etc.
And I knew nothing about the foundation of SEO – internet marketing itself. And to my great surprise, neither did a lot of my clients.
The reality of internet marketing that’s pertinent here is twofold: (i) it is a rapidly developing medium that very few online marketers really understand; and (ii) you will have to educate your clients to sell more.
You Know More Than Your Clients
If you’re a regular reader of Copyblogger, then you’re probably pretty internet savvy. More than likely, you understand at least the foundation of marketing online. For example, if I asked the following, you’d be able to answer:
Would you like to start with a PPC campaign or do you want to work on building more organic traffic via an article submission campaign?
Many of my clients don’t understand this question. They don’t get phrases like “organic traffic,” “PPC campaign” and “article submission.”
Initially, this astounded and confused me. You see, I’m used to being “just the freelance writer.” I’m accustomed to getting my direction and feedback from clients. Once I realized that I knew more than many of my clients about internet marketing, I had to switch hats – from SEO copywriter to internet marketing consultant.
At this point, I knew I had two choices. I could either shy away from the challenge this presented and stick with basic web copy, or I could seize the opportunity to expand my writing business. I chose the latter.
And, this is where the work began.
How to Prepare Yourself to Teach Clients
I did two things to prepare myself to help clients. I became an “expert,” and I prepared a tutorial. Expert is in quotation marks because internet marketing is a constantly changing field. There’s always something new to learn; you never know it all.
On Becoming an Expert: This was a little nerve wracking in that when you teach, there’s no chance to back out by saying “I don’t know.” You either must know — or you must know how to find out — quickly.
I read – and still do – a lot about SEO: from site architecture, to how to research keywords, to effective link building strategies, to common SEO myths.
You see, I knew how to write SEO content. But to teach, I realized I had to gain an intimate understanding of how all of the pieces of the SEO puzzle fit together. Doing this not only made me a better teacher, it made me a better SEO copywriter as well.
Teaching Tip: It’s okay not to know; clients will forgive you this. BUT, you must know how to find out. So bone up on those research skills if it’s a weak spot.
Preparing Your Client Tutorial: It took me a while to realize that I needed a client tutorial. Why? Because I hadn’t wrapped my brain around the fact that a lot of my clients knew less than I did. I think subconsciously I didn’t want to accept this fact – because it meant I’d have to do something about it.
Once I decided to write one though, it came together seamlessly. The following is how I went about it.
- Questions from Clients: The endless questions from clients were the first thing that made me realize I needed a tutorial. Hence, this was an excellent starting point. I simply started by answering client questions.
- A Broad View of Internet Marketing: In order to ground the answers to these questions, I started from ground zero. I literally went step by step, explaining what SEO is, how search engines find and rank sites, the difference between organic and paid traffic – and a whole lot more.
Before I knew it, I had a 21-page PDF document entitled SEO & Internet Marketing 101: An SEO / Online Marketing Tutorial for Those New to Internet Marketing (you can take a look at it here).
How Educating an Interested Prospect Closes the Deal
As I was putting together the tutorial, I had one prospect on the hook. He was the marketing manager for an online gift card seller. He was unsure about which service he wanted to go with, in spite of several phone consultations. I practically begged him to let me finish writing the tutorial so he could read it before he made up his mind (it was the holiday season and he was anxious to get started).
I was putting the finishing touches on the copy around 7 one evening. I sent this prospect an unproofed copy. He said he wanted to read it on the train on his way home and didn’t mind an unfinished version.
By the time he got home, he’d made up his mind about which service he wanted to proceed with. The next morning, he placed his order. He said the tutorial helped to clarify a lot of the questions he had about internet marketing. This allowed him to easily choose the right service.
This client chose the article submission package for $595. It’s a popular service that many SEO copywriters offer. Simply selling two of these packages a week will gross you $61,880.
Successful SEO copywriters offer many more services, which is why it can be such a lucrative profession.
Why “Teaching Sells”
As the name of Copyblogger’s Teaching Sells training program suggests, teaching gets you – and the client – invested in the process. It’s a give and take that there’s no substitute for.
Once clients understand the process, they’re much more likely to invest in it. And, if you’re the one doing the teaching, the SEO copywriter they’re most likely to invest in is you.