Recycle Your Clients! – Angie Papple Johnston

Recycle Your Clients! – Angie Papple Johnston

Pounding the pavement, making cold calls and advertising is exhausting for a copywriter, and it takes valuable time away from your current clients. All that hard work will eventually pay off, but it’s too bad you don’t already know people who would be thrilled to work with you…

…Or do you?

There’s Big Money in Recycling

We’re not talking about recycling cans and bottles. We’re talking about recycling clients who haven’t contacted you in months, or in some cases, years.

Past clients usually make the best future clients. They’re already impressed with your work ethic, they know why you charge what you do and they love your style. You don’t have to dazzle them with flashy advertisements to reel them in, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells when you deal with them because you’re already familiar with the way they do business.

Snail Mail Makes All the Difference

Keeping in touch with past clients ensures that they automatically think of you when they need a writer. Even better, your name will come up when their colleagues need a writer.

You might be sending all your clients a monthly e-newsletter. That’s a great way to keep your name out there, but it’s not enough. You have to be a cut above the dozens of other people they do business with in order to outshine the crowd – and that’s where hard-copy, hand-written snail-mail cards come in. Nobody does that anymore.

That’s exactly why your past clients will appreciate it, and it’s why they’ll choose to work with you before they consider running an ad or start scouring other copywriters’ websites. You’ll take them by surprise and your gesture will stick with them when they need a writer. The best part? It costs under a dollar to drop a personal card in the mail that can equate to hundreds of dollars in business.

Use Your Gift with Words

Avoid sending holiday cards, which can get lost in the shuffle. Instead, buy a box of generic seasonal greetings and use those. Your note will be a pleasant surprise and it won’t be competing with mountains of cards from family and friends. Keep your note short and sweet, and make sure most of the content is about them – not you. Saying things like “It’s been a while since we worked together, so I just wanted to drop you a note and say hello,” and “I stumbled on your website and wanted to let you know I love the new design,” are excellent icebreakers for your card. If they have previously shared personal details about their lives with you, be friendly and ask about them – their children, their hobby, favorite sports team, etc. Customers love it when you remember personal details!

Invite Them to See What You’ve Been up To

If you’ve been updating your portfolio each time you complete a project you’re proud of, your past clients might want to to take a peek. If you haven’t, try to carve out some time in the next few days to update it – people want to see recent samples of your work to make sure you still have what it takes. Try writing “I’ve updated my portfolio since the last time we talked, and it’s available on my website,” or “I recently created marketing materials for a firm like yours. It’s in my portfolio if you’d like to take a look.”

Make Sure They Know How to Find You

As with any correspondence you send a client, include two business cards. It never hurts to print your own return address labels that include your business address, email, website and phone number, either.

A solid note includes a friendly and personal greeting, an invitation for them to contact you and a professional closing. Generally, a four- or five-line note is enough to grab your past clients’ attention. Even if they don’t call you immediately (many of them will), you’re back on their radar – and you’ll be the first one they call when it’s time to hire a writer.

Angie Papple Johnston is a freelance writer and former combat journalist for the U.S. Army. She currently specializes in providing web content to attorneys and high-end retail stores. Visit Angie online at