Working From Home: Episode 19 – How a stay-at-home mum grew her copywriting business to 6 figures in 2 years with Dayana Mayfield
Nelson is joined by Dayana Mayfield, a SaaS copywriter and business coach who has worked with companies such as Drift, TravelPerk, and StoryChief.
– Earning six-figures as a freelancer
– The pros and cons of UpWork
– Niching, vertically and horizontally
– Why you need to master the art of cold pitching
– Using systems to get the most out of your VA
[1:29] – How Dayana launched her business and began earning a six-figure income.
[5:32] – Addressing the myth that you can’t earn a high wage as an artist or creative.
[8:32] – Getting started in the freelancing space. The pros and cons of UpWork.
[13:50] – To niche or not to niche, a question many of us must grapple with at some point.
[19:32] – Are you leaving money on the table? Horizontal versus vertical niching, and expanding your scope of work.
[32:03] – Why you need to start cold pitching, and how it can grow your business.
[39:54] – Mastering the art of cold pitching through processes and systems.
[50:39] – Pitch and Profit, Dayana’s newest business venture exploring digital PR.
[53:22] – Hiring a VA that pays for themselves and supports you in taking your business to the next level.
Nelson: [00:00:44] Hello, and welcome to the working from home podcast with your host me Nelson Jordan. Today, I’m thrilled to be interviewing Dayana Mayfield, who is a conversion and SAAS copywriter. She’s been freelancing for five years now and is very experienced and I’m so excited to have her on because she’s going to teach us how to market ourselves as a freelancer.
Dayana, thank you for joining us.
Dayana: [00:01:09] Hey Nelson. Thanks so much for having me.
Nelson: [00:01:12] No problem at all. I’m. I am genuinely very excited because I think you’re going to have some tips that I can apply myself. So absolutely anytime I can kill two birds with one stone is, is fantastic. Would you mind starting us off with kind of a brief introduction to yourself please?
Dayana: [00:01:30] Yeah. So I am, as you said, a SAAS copywriter and also content marketer. And I started my business in 2015 when my husband and I decided that he was going to go back to school. So I to say I had to provide a man. So I had to learn to charge a man, because I think a lot of female service providers and freelancers tend to undercharge, I think women tend to do that more than men do. And because I became my family’s breadwinner, I was , all right, I got to figure this out and get to that six-figure level. as soon as I can. So I just kind of kept looking for ways to make my service more valuable and also ways to work with more profitable companies that could afford the rates that I wanted to charge for my services.
Nelson: [00:02:22] So I’m sure lots of people know, but there might be others that don’t, what’s meant by SAAS.
Dayana: [00:02:28] So, right. Good point. Cause I’m so used to saying it, but in normal life, if I say that at a cafe or something, people are like what? So yeah, SAAS is software as a service and it basically refers to instead of purchasing, like back in the day you would buy Microsoft Word on a CD. It would be a one-time fee of say a hundred bucks for Microsoft office suite. And that was it. You paid it. You’re done. Software as a service is an ongoing subscription. So you pay it typically monthly or annually and a lot of freelancers are already using SAAS products, such as Calendly or QuickBooks or Zoom, those are all really well-known SAAS products.
Nelson: [00:03:17] Fantastic. So super clear. And as you say, lots of freelances, either know about SAAS or know about it as soon as you say the products that they use, because they’re yep. Tick, tick, tick. I use all of those. Yeah.
Dayana: [00:03:32] It’s basically the cool new way to say software. And some people think saying that because now everything is SAAS you know, it’s not really the transition anymore. Some people say, okay, we should just go back to saying software instead of SAAS, but now it’s stuck so we’re just stuck with it.
Nelson: [00:03:50] Yeah. There was that kind of transition a few years ago when everything started coming out. But then as more and more companies have just changed their pricing models and their business models entirely to just have this subscription, it does seem more commonplace.
So, for within copywriting, what is your kind of experience? Were you doing anything before this?
Dayana: [00:04:16] So the funny thing about me is that, I had never had a real real job quote unquote, real job. So I’ve always loved writing. ever since I was a kid I’ve always kind of pursued writing, taking creative writing classes written poems and novels in my spare time and always loved it.
But I didn’t connect that to having a career, you know? So I was just doing odd jobs. Graduated college in 2009 and the recession. So there were two factors working against me. There was the recession and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I kind of just did odd stuff like working as a secretary or being a caregiver, a house cleaner. And neither of my parents are white collar workers. So my dad’s a motorcycle salesman and my mom was always a house cleaner. So I didn’t know what is a career even the idea of you could work in PR or marketing or being an accountant. I had no access to even understanding what is a career and how do you do that?
I have a lot of people that in my family that work retail or that are not, educated. So yeah after college I just had no idea of how to use my skills in a way that would make money. So I did not connect the fact that you could make money as a writer.
And I think that’s really common. I think a lot of people still see creative skills and talents as something that’s a long shot. And it’s okay, unless you’re a famous author or an actor or an artist, you’re not going to make a living as a creative. And you know, now having five years of experience within marketing, I know that that’s so not true.
And it makes me sad to think of all the kids out there who are creative and their parents are still telling them Oh, you can’t make money this way. You know, because now we know a creative talent is something you can, make a great income from. So I got off on a tangent. What was the original question?
Nelson: [00:06:27] That wasn’t a tension briefing the, I asked kind of how you got your start and that’s exactly how you got your stuff
Dayana: [00:06:33] I’m back to it. Okay. So basically. When I was 27, I had an 18-month-old baby at that point. My husband wasn’t yet ready to go back to school but I felt okay, I have an 18-month-old daughter I want to show her that she can provide for herself because my husband’s an awesome guy. He’s super nice. But you know, my mom was in an abusive relationship for six years. So I know that not every woman always gets that lucky. And sometimes you pick the wrong guy or whatever. It’s just a very antiquated thing to think women can’t provide for themselves, but I’m well, here I am in that situation.
And I thought, if my husband dies. I would have to deal with grieving him and trying to figure out how to care for my kid. You know? So it’s when I was younger in my early twenties, I didn’t care. I just I’ll clean houses or be a secretary or whatever. But after I became a mom, I gotta figure out how to make more than $12 an hour. I got to figure that out because if anything ever happens, I’m not going to be able to buy a house and you know what I mean? I have to provide a good life for my kid. So I’m all right, I’m finally going to figure this out. I’m good at writing. There’s gotta be a way to make money writing. So I got a copy-editing certificate. Cause at that point I still didn’t have enough confidence to think I can make money from writing. So at that point I was thinking let me start with editing. For some reason, I thought that was going to be easier, which is so not true. Cause it’s still, you have to build a business out of it. So I got a copy-editing certificate from UC San Diego extension. It’s their online program and, then I found out that I suck at copy editing because I’m not meticulous enough I don’t want to make everything exactly perfect because we all think we know where the period and the comment and the quotation marks go. But if you’re really a copy editor and you get things ready for publication, you realize it is way more complicated than you could ever imagine. And it’s not that fun. So then I finally got the confidence to go all right, let me just try this whole copywriting thing. So I got on Upwork and just started writing blogs and emails on Upwork. And my starting rate on Upwork was $14 an hour. And within two years I bumped that up to $150 an hour and then got off of Upwork completely and started using different strategies to grow my business. Off of their platform so that I wasn’t reliant on Upwork for gigs. And then I think Upwork gets a lot of flack from people, especially people in our industry who have maybe I suppose moved on from it. Because we all remember the horror stories that we experienced. And for me personally my first ever client, Upwork, but for copywriting, I think fired me after two hours and 20 minutes. Looking back on it, I don’t think I was at fault at all. I was pretty annoyed. It didn’t ruin my day or anything, but I mean, Upwork seems to be really, really good for people kind of getting that stock if you’re willing to put in the hours and do kind of pitches that don’t go anywhere and just to get some kind of portfolio pieces on your belt, some samples and things.
The people that you bring on afterwards is clients don’t need to know that you weren’t paid very well for those samples. So it’s really a question of can you make a decent living or the living that you want? You know, from Upwork and I think in countries ours, where the cost of living is a bit higher, I think it’s really tough to do. I think you can be in other places in the world and make a pretty good living off of work. Yeah.
Dayana: [00:10:54] I think that because so many freelancers, especially skilled freelancers, have a bad taste in their mouth with it and don’t want to use it. There is an opportunity to be one of the people that says Hey, I’m going to be on Upwork and be one of the top talents and I’m going to be really selective about who I work with. And I’m going to capitalize on the fact that all of these other freelancers don’t want to touch it, you know? And that’s what I did for a while. So even after I had pretty great portfolio samples, I still just left my profile up there and I would just only accept invitations.
So I wouldn’t be crawling for gigs and applying for things anymore. I just accepted invitations. And then I would just be selective. I would check out the company, how many employees do they have on LinkedIn. Okay if they have nine or more employees then they’re a fairly established company, so they’re going to have a bit more of a higher budget. So I think there is an opportunity to work within Upwork even for quite a while. But, where it got to the point for me, where I was dealt with it was, it just didn’t feel okay, what am I getting out of this? What am I really growing? Because initially you’re benefiting from the fact that you don’t have to have an external presence. You don’t have to have a presence on social media, on your website. You’re benefiting from it because you can make money without that. But then you hit a point where you want to kind of strengthen my position as a business owner, make my business more future-proof and then you’ve got to start doing the work of making a great website, working hard on LinkedIn and all that good stuff.
When you’re on Upwork, you’re really capitalizing on the fact that they’ve already got a large number of potential clients on there who are searching. You don’t have to go out and do all of these fancy things websites, social media profiles, blogging, whatever it is. it’s ready-made all you’ve got to do is create a profile. You can be up and running in half an hour, potentially winning your first client within 45 minutes. And that’s an attractive proposition for sure.
Dayana: [00:13:22] And get that income coming in. Because you’ve got to have some income to support the time it takes to do your website and post on social media networks. You also want to have your base level income coming in so while you’re doing all that stuff, you’re not freaking out about money.
Nelson: [00:13:47] So when you made the decision to move away from Upwork, was it for something in particular? Was it I’ve got this in my head that I want to niche down and become this type of copywriter? Or was it just say I know I need to move away. I’ll figure it out later.
Dayana: [00:14:04] At that point I was already kind of niching down within SAAS copywriting and I have my website already set up. So I got my website set up within the first few months of working on Upwork, but I wasn’t working on building up any traffic to it. So the decision at that point was just to kind of push it a little farther and do something that was going to set me up for the long-term. Cause when you create a personal brand, as a freelancer, you have a foundation to launch other things. Now I have my course on cold emailing. I’m creating another course right now on digital PR. So I have more of an audience and something of a launch pad that I can sell things from. And so at that point, I didn’t know if I was going to make courses or what kind of courses I was gonna make, but I knew I wanted to set myself up for other revenue streams, or I thought, Oh, maybe I could do a YouTube channel with business and marketing advice, which I ultimately have not taken that on.
I don’t know if I will, but I just, I knew I wanted to create that kind of launchpad personal brand to be doing more. So I had SAAS copywriter as my headline on Upwork, which helped because then I was already kind of niched down. So I have been niched down for quite a while and I highly, highly recommend that – I’ve had the SAAS niche for four years. I was calling it tech copywriter for a while. And then I switched over to SAAS copywriter as that phrase became more popular. But, yeah, it’s just so helpful. Not only does it help you get more clients, but it helps you qualify your clients. I said, with the employee head count, How many employees do they have or what kind of SAAS product is it?
Cause I know the market fairly well, is it something that’s just 5% better than something popular or is this something really special? If I was to be serving all these different niches it would be so much harder for me to know what kind of companies I want to select because I want to be, I want to be picky, right. I want to find the best clients. So it’d be hard for me to be picky and it would be hard for me to help them because I wouldn’t be able to say well, here’s what’s working for other companies? it would just be, I can’t even imagine how hard it would be. I don’t know how people work without a niche. I honestly have no idea.
Nelson: [00:16:50] I can probably speak to this because I take the complete opposite approach to you. The things I’ve realized for anybody listening is that Dayana is further on in the copywriting journey than I am so that’s kind of important to understand, because it may be that I eventually do change my mind and kind of start to niche.
So to niche or not to niche, this kind of big discussion for freelancers in general, not just copywriters. It happens as well with designers, social media as well, but I personally don’t niche and it’s because I do a service that’s called full funnel copywriting. So what I do is instead of working in particular industry, I work with certain frameworks and I focus on how to get somebody from never having heard of you all the way through to a customer and I provide all of those pieces. So it might be the Facebook or social ads to start with. It might be the creation of an opt-in page for a lead magnet and the lead magnet itself, then kind of a sales page and follow up emails. So for me, what I do is understanding the process and applying that process to different industries.
It’s not necessarily that I think it works better than niching. It’s from a personal level. It stops me getting bored. I actively enjoy the variety that comes with doing research, but I can definitely see that if I had to choose and have to make a decision just on the financials, I can definitely see the benefits of niching for sure, because I wouldn’t necessarily have to do the volume of research that I do for every single project. I could just focus on the writing and gradually on building up this kind of knowledge in the back of my head or former research and things that. So I get it for sure and I think it’s just a personal decision and I think it’s something that everybody should just experiment with anyway, trying different things, trying out niches.
I think sometimes we get into this mindset, mistake of thinking, if I do something, it has to be forever. You know, if I make this decision, hi, I’m a SAAS copywriter now, I’m going to have to be a SAAS copywriter forever. It’s just not the case.
Dayana: [00:19:32] Right. And the funny thing about SAAS is it’s the niche that isn’t a niche because it’s across every business vertical.
So having my niche does not remove the research part because I could be doing a SAAS within marketing. And then the next one is a product for project managers. And then the next one is within customer research for manufacturing. It can be all across the board. But I do think that’s true for certain ones. If you work for all wellness coaches, of course you’ll have to kind of understand their different modality for healing or whatever, but you’ll get to a point where you know a lot about that industry so that that could reduce the research for certain ones. But one more thing I want to say about niching that’s really important to understand is the difference between horizontal niching and vertical niching, because you could possibly say that funnel copy is sort of a horizontal niche. It’s a broad one because it pulls in a lot of different things. But I think that freelancers actually should consider their personality and what sort of selling they want to do, because let’s say your horizontal niche is website copy, or even website development, you’re going to need to sell that as a project base and then once one customer is done with that big website project, they might just need a couple of hours a month of tweaking and optimization, but they’re not going to need this $5,000 project again for two more years. So you’re going to be selling yourself all the time. You gotta be selling these big projects.
The benefit of that though, is it gives you expertise. in something. So Tarzan Kay is a really good example of a horizontal niche because she’s specified within email copywriting and now she has a course on email marketing. So it gave her a jumping ground for a great course that her potential clients could buy, former clients, other copywriters who were spying on her.
Whereas if she was just copy for coaches that wouldn’t have been as good of a jumping ground for a course, right. But then me, I do something that a lot of people don’t want to do and don’t where I write a lot of different copy for SAAS companies. So the way that I get clients is typically a website or content marketing, an e-book and blog posts, funnel. But once I’m already working with that client I’ll do a lot of different copy for them. So I might write their Facebook ads, their search ads, their PPC landing pages, then I’ve written advertorials for a magazine, as long as it’s still with the same client so I know their business and I know the format, it doesn’t really matter to me. And the benefit of that is I don’t have to be selling all the time and the clients actually really like it too. Cause they’re like well, I know you do good work. I know you can pivot within this format. And I know my company, so it’s within the cool kind of freelance advice, space, nobody would ever tell you to do that. any type of thing, but it makes sense. I’s a smart way to do business. That’s how a lot of people work with their virtual assistants, they’ll do your website and then they’ll manage your email marketing and it makes sense. So anyways, just anybody listening, if you’re confused on that niching thing. Think about the vertical versus the horizontal, what your clients want and then also how you want to be selling your services and how you want to set yourself up for the future.
Nelson: [00:23:46] No, I I’m wholly with you there and the way you described it, is exactly what I do. So I think people don’t understand about freelancing in general is that there are two very separate areas. There is doing the job, and there’s everything that surrounds the job. So when I say doing the job in both of our cases, that’s actually the copywriting and everything that’s involved in that. So that’s the research, the production of the copy. That’s the editing, that’s the testing. That’s the optimizing then the kind of, almost bigger part of it, is how you run your business. That’s how you win clients. how much revenue you’re able to charge per client, how many cold pitches you’re doing and everything that goes along with that.
Now you can be a really great copywriter and still make no money if you don’t know how to do everything around the business, which is why, Dayana and I are spending so much time kind of harking on about this. Cause it’s super, super important. So, I always found that because I’ve been operating a few different businesses as well as my freelance business – a small marketing agency in the past. I also own a rope import business into France and Scandinavia for the Marine industry – And one of the things that we do in that business, as well as what I try and do in my copywriting, is once we find a client who accepts a quotation for say some sort of rope for their yacht, then we try and sell them other things, because we’ve already got that customer we’ve already gone through all the time and the effort and the energy to find them, to convince them, to buy from us, to trust us and they’re there and they need other things. So if we can also provide those other things, why wouldn’t we do the same thing? I think sometimes with copywriters, this desire to be seen as a specialist stops us from taking easy money-making opportunities and kind of shooting ourselves in the foot because you don’t necessarily want to say oh, yeah, I can do anything for you in terms of copy, but it’s very much down to how you position that. If you position it something that’s incredibly high value, so I know your business inside out, I’ve done all this research, my way of working, you know that you’re going to get results or I’m going to stay with you until I create the copy that gets you the results. If you frame it that way, rather than this kind of perception of Jack of all trades master of none, that’s incredibly high value. But I feel I hear from a lot of people that they’re just only do website pages, for example, or they specialize in Facebook ads in terms of just writing the copy for those and I think yeah okay I get it, but are you leaving money on the table there.
Dayana: [00:27:05] Right. And there’s what’s on the stage. And then there’s what’s behind the scenes. Because you might have website copy on the stage. Because I don’t want to confuse people and I don’t do ad copy very often so I’m not going to put that on my site. You know, I have two main services on my site. And then the rest is behind the scenes. So just remember there’s a difference between what you go after and what you’ll also take in, because you do want to have clarity and concision with what you’re going after and then you can always have boundaries. I don’t do social media posts, or I don’t run social media accounts, because I just don’t feel that’s something I’m good at and I know there’s so much more involved with growing the accounts and the engagement and all that stuff, so I just don’t want to get involved in that at all. You know what I mean? So, you can still have lines in the sand where you’re saying yeah, I’m not going to touch that, but then also be open to taking on fun projects. One thing I love writing is video scripts. You know, those 60 second explainer videos are really popular and important in the SAAS world and so when a client asks me to do one of those, I’m like, Oh yeah, those are super fun.
Nelson: [00:28:26] Yeah explainer videos, demo videos, SAAS companies love them don’t they? So I’ve actually only done three or four for YouTube videos. It was for an electrician service, actually, it wasn’t, it wasn’t SAAS tool, but just, going back to what you were saying, just to kind of sum up that whole okay, I’m a bit unsure of what to do and whether that kind of muddies the water by listing all of these services. I’m with you as well. I win clients mainly through website copy. A couple of times it’s happened that people have come to me because my expertise within email automation specifically within e-commerce, because that’s something that I did a lot of as a consultant for e-commerce companies before I started copywriting. But for the most part I win people through website redesigns and that sort of thing. So long form sales pages, home pages, about us services pages, the standard. I don’t win very many people for blogging at all because I don’t try to because typically the sort of clients that you win a lot of the time for blogging want the cheaper end of the market. You know there’s the question of actual value versus perceived value there. And I feel a lot of the clients that say things like we need to SEO our site, which is a big red flag right there, that the 10 people that have come to you and they’ll want to pay 50 or a hundred dollars per blog posts and that’s fine for some people, but if you’re trying to live kind of a certain lifestyle, have a certain income, you’re just not going to get that doing that. Whereas if you win a client and you’re doing a 12K or 13K funnel for them you’re just doing full funnel copy, they’re more likely to have the budget to want to pay somebody who’s going to give them a very, very good quality, blog, post or white paper or e-book or something that’s not necessarily longer form, but it tends to be with those kinds of value-based blogs, for sure. So I love that about what you put in your storefront and what you keep in the back, I guess.
Dayana: [00:30:59] Exactly. It reduces a lot of anxiety when you understand that. I remember when somebody told me that in different words. Because you can kind of get yourself balls spinning in a freak out with that obsession with that specialization. And there’s a lot of hype around what you’re supposed to do and not do. And hey, if you’re making six figures and you’re only working 35 hours a week, you’re good. Don’t worry about what other people, that’s my thoughts
Nelson: [00:31:35] I’m not there yet so I’m going to take your word on it.
Dayana: [00:31:40] That’s my thing. Hey, I got here, so I’m going to ignore people and do what I want to do. Yeah, I got here partly by ignoring people every step of the way you have to kind of figure out, because there’s something, what’s the difference between what people are actually going to say versus this client is trying to hand you money.
Nelson: [00:31:59] Yeah, exactly. It’s easier said than done to ignore that stuff as well. So one of the, one of the things that I’ve seen, I think is the differentiator, it’s not even about quality of copy. It’s about the strength of copywriter’s businesses. The people that I kind of look up to in terms of lifestyle in terms of revenue goals, in terms of, just kind of being out there in the industry and being well known, because that makes it easier to do all of the other things, the difference that I see, and I’d love you to weigh in on this is how open they are to cold pitching. I think it’s way more important than a lot of people talk about, going after people and being quite thoughtful about who you’re going to work with and then actively trying to make that happen rather than just sitting back and just say, Oh, okay, well I’ll work with this one and then, okay maybe, hopefully I’ll get some work from here next month and stuff that. Do you have any experience or thoughts on that?
Dayana: [00:33:09] Absolutely. So I love that you bring that up because, I mean, I love cold email. And the funny thing is cold email gets such a bad rap, but every big software company that you can think of does it – Drift is a really well-known SAAS company in the US. Well they have teams of employees whose job it is to send cold emails. So it’s for us as solopreneurs to think oh cold pitching is gross and I’m not gonna do it and blah, blah, blah… it’s really very silly. And I think part of the misconception around it is that lack of quality, you’ve said, and lack of understanding of being strategic and who you’re going for. Cause they think , Oh, you’re just going to send a massive emails and then people are going to flag you as spam. And then something’s going to catch fire and it’s going to be all over, you know?
Actually inbound and outbound can work quite well together. So as an example, let’s say that you want to work in a specific niche and you have a dream client that you want to go for. Now, imagine if you had that logo on your website within this niche. And then other people that came to your website would be saying Oh, I recognize that logo, I want to work with that person. So that’s the inbound and the outbound, because if you can use outbound cold email to get your top three to five relatively well-known client logos and you get those logos on your website, you get testimonials from those people. Then when somebody visits your website, they’re going to fill out the contact form because they’re going to be saying oh this person has experience, or I recognize this person, and it doesn’t always have to be globally well-known you can think about things within a certain location. For example, one of my clients Story Chief, they are located in Ghent, Belgium. And so I have gotten two other clients from Ghent, Belgium because they know Story Chief. So somebody in New York City, they might not have heard of Story Chief yet, but Story Chief is a successful startup out of Ghent that serves the American market so other local startups look up to it as a company that’s a small local startup that is serving the American market. So it doesn’t have to necessarily be this super famous big company Pepsi or Nike or something you can get clients within a certain space. So another example for me is Travelperk , because I worked with Travelperk that’s out of Barcelona, I have other clients from Barcelona and you can keep doing this in kind of a symbiotic cycle. So you could get one client out of a certain well-known hub in your industry. You’ve got that on your website, you’ve got the testimonial. Then you do outbound marketing to other companies in that same city. And as soon as they see that testimonial from that company, and they’re going to be saying yes. So it could still be just outbound where you’re doing outbound within not just a specific niche, but even a specific location. And then it also is a lot less work because you are being very strategic.
So whenever you go to a company that you’re going to pitch with outbound, you want a relevant case study or portfolio sample that you can send them. And then you just keep building on that. And then at some point you don’t have to do it anymore if you don’t want to, because you know, and you’ve just have built up enough referrals and interest.
But yeah, I don’t think I know any six figure service providers that didn’t do some level of email pitching at some stage, at least within the B2B world. if they only serve coaches and solopreneurs and consultants, a lot of those people can sell and get to six figures on Facebook. But I think for the B2B world, I think that cold emailing is just, it’s just amazing really.
Nelson: [00:37:51] Yeah. I think even within coaches, consultants, masterminds, that sort of area, I think there’s room for it. I know a couple of successful copywriters that are in that specifically specific industry and one of that big focuses is cold pitching.
I just want to kind of differentiate a little bit, I don’t want to create some kind of false dichotomy because everything exists on a scale, but that you often hear about two different approaches for pitching. And I think the most popular one is a volume kind of very much templated approach. So you create one template, you find a list of companies, you find the email address of those companies, and then it’s just email blast time. Basically. You just check, check, email, done. On the other side, there’s this hyper personalized bespoke approach where you will review the company ,you will dig in, you will find out the right people to contact. You’ll find out what their pain points as a company are at the moment. if they’re growing. if their market has contracted, if there’s something specific that’s happened in the market, if there’s a particular event that they’re gearing up for – less so now maybe a virtual event – all of these things, and you’re trying to provide some value in terms of addressing that pain point, whatever it is, maybe they’re too busy with this particular event to address something else, or maybe you’ve seen that they’ve done a new landing page or they’ve released a blog on a particular topic and you’d you think, Hey, if you’re a blogger, I see you might think I’d love to expand on that topic and propose this, this and this to them.
So between those two, where do you typically find yourself?
Dayana: [00:39:56] So I’ve definitely more on the customization side, but I did figure out ways to make it feel custom without having to fully customize it. So I’m going to explain this. also as a copy writer, I’m very lucky because I can look at the problems on somebody’s website and pitch something specific to that. So what I do, as I’ve mentioned, the top two ways that I get clients in my biggest services are writing website copy, and then writing blog posts – SEO blog posts – and within the SAAS world they pay good money for blog posts because search ads are so expensive. It’s $30 to click on a Google ad that says customer support software so they really want to rank those blog posts. So they do pay good for those, which is definitely not true in other industries. So if let’s say I’m doing some research, I’m doing some prospecting research. I search computer, internet, software, whatever, inside of LinkedIn with at least 10 employees. I come up with companies, I check out their website. Then I see if they have a confusing homepage where it’s it’s just not conversion focused. It’s not focused on results. The product isn’t clear. Then I put them in “I’m going to pitch them website copy bucket”. If their website looks great and then I go check out their blog and maybe their blog does not have a lot of SEO focused posts, it’s product announcements and then it’s just case studies, but it’s not SEO focused content. Then I put them in the bucket of “I’m going to pitch them SEO posts”. So then I have templates. One of them is “I noticed your website has great design, but the copy isn’t clear or results focused.” So that is a template. And it sounds very custom because it’s true to that person, but I didn’t have to rewrite it for every website because I do that on the prospect research side of putting them in these buckets. So it’s a lot faster. You could make as many buckets as you want. For me, I just do two. And if they don’t fit in either, then I just don’t pitch to them. But you could have four or five, depending on what service you do. It may be hard to find, evidence of problems, but for most freelance services, it would be quite easy.
If you do Instagram account management, you could easily find problems with their Instagram accounts or if you run Facebook ads, you can check out their Facebook ads and the ad library. And maybe you won’t know what’s going on the backend, what they’re targeting, but you might be able to say, I noticed that you know, your ad creative doesn’t include blah, blah, blah, whatever, kind of common problems. So the strategy with this is you have to find what are the common problems in your area. If you want to avoid the customization for every single template, then you have to think of the most common problems in your service or your industry and so the other thing that I do is I have my virtual assistant build the prospecting sheet. So then all I do is click through from the spreadsheet to the website and see what bucket I want to put it in. Then I just selectin the dropdown, the spreadsheet: This is website copy. This is blog content, and then she loads the whole rest of it.
So that’s actually the process that I have in my cold email course. So yeah, it just makes it a lot faster because once you get to a certain point, you want to keep doing cold email to keep attracting better and better clients, but you definitely don’t want to be doing it yourself because you could easily spend a couple of hours a day doing it and so you’ll quickly come to the point where you don’t have that time.
Nelson: [00:44:08] Yeah. It can get quite time consuming, especially if you’re going for the kind of bespoke or getting towards that kind of angle. Anyway, it definitely can do. In terms of sending the email out, do you have some sort of software that you would recommend people use?
Dayana: [00:44:26] Yeah. So I think that reply.io and outreach.io are both really great options for sending cold email. You still always want to kind of watch your volume because you want to protect your domain and not get flagged as spam. So customizing your pitch with that bucket strategy does help because people see it as relevant to them but you still want to kind of be careful with how many you’re sending per day. So you can just do five or 10 per day, but for us as freelancers, that’s all that it takes because you only need a handful of clients a month or possibly two handfuls, depending on what you charge.
So five to maybe 10 or 15 emails per day, you don’t want to do the spray and pray method where you’re sending thousands of emails a month, because that is going to lower your chances of success. And then also put you at risk of getting flagged as spam. So a lot of the work comes with the research part of it, finding the right companies. So having very specific criteria, whether that’s employee head count or even just the quality of their website. Right. If their website looks it’s from 20 years ago, they might be crazy, so I don’t want to work with them. You know what I mean? You can have whatever criteria that you want or there’d be a certain number of followers if you do social media management, figure out within your industry, what are the metrics? That shows some level of success and some level of profitability, so that you’re avoiding pitching to people that don’t have money. So when you do all of those things, you have that criteria, then you’re reducing the number of people that you’re sending to, then you can get to that five to 15 a day number, but it’s still really high quality and you have a great chance of actually working with those people.
Nelson: [00:46:36] Amazing. I think it was something that I heard the other day that really resonated with me that that applies here. And it was this thought that sometimes when we are looking at websites we are analyzing people’s email copy and we think actually that copy is quite good. Sometimes it happens, you come across companies and you’re thinking that’s pretty good and then the question to the person was what should I do if their copy is good? And the thing is this was a bit of a mindset shift for me; it’s this understanding that if websites and if companies have good copy, they need more good copy. If they already do that, it shows that they value good copy, which means that they have budgets for copywriters that are already doing good stuff. So propose more good stuff, stuff that’s tangential and kind of add adds on. So if they’ve got good blog posts, propose them more good blog posts. And you can use, tools, BuzzSumo, for example, to find out which of their blogs did diversity well, which was shared multiple times. And then you can even use that stats and say I’ve noticed that this blog you wrote was shared 2000 times, on these social platforms I think it’s because of this. I’d love to write you this, this and this, that is based on that around a similar topic. Or if they have really good landing pages, you notice that they’ve got a great landing page or sales page for service A and service B. And then you look and see if they’ve not got anything for service C yet, because they haven’t either prioritized it put into the time. That’s a really good indication that you can go well, they do that and they do that, I wonder what creating a new page for this particular service would be worth to them in terms of revenue.
Dayana: [00:48:44] Yeah. No, that’s really smart. You definitely don’t have to do it problem-based you can definitely focus on I love this page because it’s XYZ and then go about it that way. What would really support getting this more traffic would be blah, blah, blah. So that’s a really good idea and that can help you. And you want to go for more established companies. Cause you’re not going to go to a billion-dollar SAAS company and be your landing page sucks. And they say well, no, it doesn’t because it converts it 5% or something. Totally. That’s a really good strategy If you do want to work with established companies that aren’t just small business owners that don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing.
Nelson: [00:49:30] Yeah. But just to expand that even small businesses that are experiencing a certain level of success that applies for as well, because they might have, pushed one service and got one service or one sales funnel, really, really tight they might have refined it. They might’ve got it really to a good place that they’re happy with. But then they’ve got a launch in six months of the new products and they don’t have any of those things. Or they’ve got another service that has taken a back seat because of all the energy that you’ve been putting into this one. So I think between that strategy and the pain points, I strongly recommend focusing on the pain points just as we do when we’re writing the copy for those clients themselves, the same applies for the cold email pitching, I think.
Dayana: [00:50:28] Totally. Yeah. Very cool. Then there’s no reason not to pitch any company that you might find.
Nelson: [00:50:32] Yeah, exactly. So, what does, what does the next couple of years look for you?
Dayana: [00:50:40] Well, the next couple of years looks building up a new brand, which is called Pitch and Profit. The website is under construction, so that is my new brand. That’s going to be focused on digital PR because that’s just an area that I know that a lot of companies are just not doing everything that they can do. And what really excites me about digital PR is how it corresponds with content marketing. So, I said, with the SAAS world, Blog posts are so important because search ads are just crazy expensive and very competitive. Of course, these companies are still doing Google and Bing ads, but they want to balance that out with organic rankings and so the quality of the content matters. And then what also matters is the amount of backlinks to that post and the website as a whole. So a lot of companies know how important this is, and they’ll do some things to get more backlinks and digital publicity but they’re really not doing enough. And so that’s kind of a problem that I’m looking to solve, particularly with the SAAS world. So Pitch and Profit is going to be a blog and then also a training program about how to work as a team to get digital publicity, and then also get back links to important pages and posts. So one way to do that is of course, by being a guest on podcasts, which I’m doing now because you know, you do get a link to your website from most episode pages, that’s pretty standard. So that’s just one of the strategies that I want to talk about in Pitch and Profit, and the main focus of it is how to outsource this work internally in your team so you don’t have to do it alone as an entrepreneur, and you don’t have to hire an agency. You can hire virtual assistants to pitch podcasts and guest posts for you. And it’s been a big, big, big win for me as a freelancer because I rank in Google search for SAAS copywriter. And if I had just done the website optimization without doing any digital PR, there’s no way I would rank for that key phrase.
Nelson: [00:53:16] Exactly, I can imagine it’s fairly competitive. And it’s very interesting for me on a personal level, because I hired a VA on Monday. And the first thing that I’m having them do is work with me on a collaborative process to put together a pitching strategy, basically, because part of the issue I found is that because I’ve got so many other things going on, I’ve got multiple businesses, I’m trying to get this podcast off the ground and grow that, and spend some time with my wife as well, and not go insane. It’s very difficult to have the energy and the motivation. I think I could find the time, but to have the energy and the motivation on top of everything else, for me, it’s tough to carve out even an hour, a day on a regular basis just to do pitching, that’s quite tough for me with my current time restraints. So the ability to kind of outsource that to a VA to know that there’s constantly progress being made in the background, even if you’re not necessarily the one doing pitching, I think is just incredibly valuable, not just from a business level, but from kind of reassurance that, that confidence that you get, that something is happening.
Dayana: [00:54:46] Yes exactly. That it’s just running. And that’s what I’ve done with the cold email. I was, probably investing maybe 400 bucks a month in that, cause she was also doing other things for me, but then just to know I’m always having these pitches getting sent out. And so for me, I’m just getting replies, right? It’s I do that thing where I look at the websites to get in the buckets. And then after that, I just look at my email and now I’m getting the replies right. So now I’m taking that on, with the digital PR work, because previously I had done that all by myself. So same thing, I’m just logging into my email and I’m getting a reply from somebody that’s saying yes, we want this guest post. Can you send it by this day? Or yes, we want to have you on our podcast. So it’s pretty awesome when you do set up that system and train your VA very carefully on exactly the kind of target outlets that you want and what are the goals, cause if it’s for publicity versus backlink SEO, that kind of changes it, right? The changes, what kind of outlets you’ll be targeting, but yeah, at this point, it’s just now I’m replying to those incoming, responses so that’s really awesome and I think for right now I’m really just doing $200 a month on this with my VA. So Pitch and Profit is designed for people that want to spend between $200 and maybe $1200 on different VAs and assistance. So for me, I’m just having the VA do the research and the pitching, but Pitch and Profit also goes over how to work with writers. Because I’m a writer I’m just going to write it myself. But at some point. you know, I may have ghost writers to write guest posts for me and I’ve done that a lot for clients. So yeah, I’ve done a lot of digital PR for clients as well. And it’s really powerful because it’s a quality over quantity thing where you’re not saying let me put one blog post out a week. It’s more let’s focus on the blog post that’s really got a chance of ranking and it’s going to increase my revenue if and when it ranks and let me drive backlinks and traffic to it. So it’s really not quality over quantity approach too.
Nelson: [00:57:13] Fantastic and is that what you’re planning to cover in the course, is that mainly focused on the processes or do you also include an understanding about how to create the topics that are really going to capture people’s attention as well?
Dayana: [00:57:31] It’s mostly on the promotion process for your content and your pages. I think at some point, depending on interest in what customers say, I might include kind of a bonus module on how to kind of get the upfront work done. But my initial goal is to launch this within, SAAS companies and so they’re already doing, most of them are already doing, SEO content. They’re not doing well enough this side of it. So I’m kind of solving that problem with it. So yeah, I’m busy creating the course modules and materials right now. So I feel you on finding time for stuff and that’s kind of, as you go along, you see more opportunities of how to grow your revenue as a freelancer and a solopreneur.
And so that’s why you’ve really got to get these things off your plate. And so I think for most freelancers pitching clients and then pitching publicity outlets, I think it’s a great place to start with outsourcing. I found it much more successful than outsourcing social media content you know, for a while I had my VA helping me with Instagram and then I got a lead for a website, because you’re just collecting whatever, Oh, Instagram was done, helping me get quality leads. Maybe other people have it figured out depending on their niche. But, for me within the SAAS world, cold pitching clients and publicity makes me actually be able to get ROI from hiring a VA. Because I think a lot of people have used, but I don’t know, you know what I mean? A lot of people are not really getting the profit from it,
Nelson: [00:59:31] Yeah. I mean when I was hiring my VA, I made sure that they had a very specific skillset – that makes them sound Liam Neeson in Taken now doesn’t it, but that’s not really what I meant, but I kind of want my VA to pay for themselves and I feel, don’t get me wrong they’re going to be helping me with uploading content to the website and that sort of kind of admin-based things as well, but I also want them to be working on stuff that can basically pay their own salary in terms of winning new business or helping me kind of expand the business that I already have. It’s not going to be the focus for everyone, of course, but that’s mine.
Well, I think that’s kind of so many, so many tips that we’ve, we’ve covered that the whole cold pitching thing. I can’t believe that we managed to talk about niching and not niching as well because normally you could do a whole episode on those. I think the most important thing for me is for people to understand that there’s no one right way. A lot of this is about feeling what you’re comfortable with, what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and just trying to kind of take what people myself and Dayana say with a pinch of salt. I could try something that Dayana is doing and absolutely fall on my face and vice versa and you guys might have great success with it or you might struggle. So yeah, I think just go out there and, try lots of different things. Give things a good effort when you do try them, don’t give up on them, even before you start. And, yeah, I think that’s a great, great message. So where can people find out more about you Dayana?
Dayana: [01:01:27] So, for now you can go to dayanamayfield.com and I have some resources if anybody’s interested in that. You know, the SAAS world and all that, that, so you can go to my blog dayanamayfield.com/blog. And then on the right hand side, there’s the B2B SAAS copywriting templates. And then the customer research questions. Those can really, really help if you are looking to write within the SAAS world and Pitchandprofit.com is totally under construction. So if you go there right now, I don’t know what you’ll find, but if you happen to be listening to this, after January in 2021, then it should be live. So thank you so much for having me Nelson this was really great. And I love sharing all this stuff because it’s a tough road so we got to stick together.
Nelson: [01:02:25] From a personal perspective, I found it super valuable. So I’m sure other people will as well. Just for reference for all our listeners, all of those links will be on my site and the transcripts and any way that you’ll kind of listening to your podcast. So Dayana, thank you so much.
Dayana: [01:02:44] Thank you so much. Bye.
Nelson: [01:02:48] And that’s it for today. You’ve been listening to the working from home podcast with me, Nelson Jordan. We’ve been talking about the good, the bad and the ugly side of remote work. Thanks so much for listening. And I really hope you’ve enjoyed the time you spent with us today.
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