Need more freelance writing clients? Try a tripwire offer.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

Freelancers, please heed the following awful truth. You should probably tape it to your wall or around your desk when you’re having a difficult time with prospecting:

Just because the market wants what you’re offering does not mean that they want it from you.

It’s also true – in freelancing and dating (so I’m told) – that we become more urgent and desperate in our approach when times get lean. Your first meeting with a new client is like a first date – don’t propose “marriage” right away. Stop assaulting prospects and new clients with pitches for doing a lot of business with you right away. (Of course, if they want to hire you for a big job, don’t play hard to get.) You have to build the relationship, and entice them to get to know you and your service offerings.

That’s where the tripwire offer comes in. The tripwire offer is an irresistible, super-low-ticket offer that helps to convert prospects into buyers. It gets the prospect to buy something small, and turns them into a client. It changes the relationship – once someone buys from you, and they’re satisfied, they will tend to buy from you again.

Note: The tripwire offer IS NOT A COUPON – it does not discount your current offerings. It is a special offer, designed to provide value in advance of using your key services.

A good tripwire offer is a “splinter” offer. It is a portion (or splinter) of your core product or service. It should be geared to addressing the prospect’s key problem. It provides a quick result, or solves a small problem. Once the person buys the tripwire offer, they become a client, and you can promote your main services to solve bigger problems.

Another key advantage of the tripwire offer is that it helps to address doubt:

  • Doubt in you (what you can do for them)
  • Doubt in themselves (their ability to achieve a goal)

The tripwire helps the client to achieve a little victory, thereby erasing both doubts. They now believe your ability to help them, and believe that they can achieve their goal. The client feels satisfaction – it’s a positive feeling toward you, and relief that their problems will be solved.

For example, suppose that I come across a client who needs their website rewritten from scratch. It’s a huge job, and it can cause a lot of grief as there are a lot of things to consider. My tripwire offer would be to revise one page on their website for a fee (say $50). I would make sure that the new page hit all the markets – solid, attractive copy that targets their desired client. Another option would be to create a brand new bio for their LinkedIn page (again, for a fee). It would make them look great, which makes them feel great. Then we can discuss a larger project after that.

Give the prospect a taste of what you can for a reasonable fee, and make them feel good about their issue and what you can do. You can create a few tripwire offers for your target market, or tailor one for a prospect you really want to work with. It’s up to you. Know your benefits, and know your prospect’s needs, to create a great offer.

Do you need help with creating a tripwire offer? Want to discuss other writing or editing needs? Let me know –


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