This was underscored by an email I received from a new SEO writer recently. On 7/19/2012, she wrote:
Hi I am one of your previous customers that has purchased a few of your ebooks, which are excellent by the way; specifically the SEO [content] writing ebook. [This] is the one I purchased that interests me the most and I have a question about marketing for clients for the first time.
When I . . . market to . . . companies to start getting work is it important and necessary to include a phone number . . . or is email interaction good enough?
I am just starting out and while I do expect to eventually provide a phone number to clients in this business, I am a little concerned about my inexperience when speaking to them on the phone initially since I am still learning about this type of work.
I feel that if its email interaction I have enough time to think about my response to clients and their questions, or find out if I don’t already know. But on the phone, I won’t have that kind of time and I will need to know everything right away so I can answer their questions and speak professionally with them. I think I may lose clients that I could have had if I sound too much like an amateur while interacting over the phone with them.
Do you believe it is important to provide a phone number and email address right away when marketing for clients, or is providing a contact email address enough in the beginning stages?
Before I get to my answer, let me give a little background on my beginnings as an SEO writer.
When I first started in 2007, I included a phone number on my site. I can count the number of phone calls I fielded on one hand. When I first started, I was marketing my services as an independent (ie, freelance) SEO writer, not a full-fledged SEO writing firm.
I started New Media Words, my SEO content writing company, in 2008. I believe it was sometime in late 2008 or early 2009 that I removed the phone number from the site. I did so for the following reasons:
1) Few calls: As previously stated, I just wasn’t getting that many calls;
2) Personal cell: My phone number was my personal cell. I had always intended to get a separate business line, but once I realized that I received so few calls, I could never justify the expense (even though with things like the MagicJack.com and Skype, it really isn’t expensive at all).
3) How I like to operate: One of the joys of being self-employed is that you can build your business to suit you and your work style. I don’t like talking on the phone. Oh, I will when I have to. When potential clients wanted a phone consultation, I always readily agreed. But for the most part, they didn’t, so I didn’t feel like I was losing business.
Now, does that mean I wasn’t losing business? I don’t know (you can’t account for what you can’t quantify). But, I’ve always managed to stay busy as an SEO writer, so I never worried about if NOT listing a phone number has cost me business.
4) The competition: When I looked at a lot of SEO service providers – everyone from small internet marketing firms to large SEO companies – I noticed that a lot of them didn’t have phone numbers.
They had forms that you fill out to “request a quote;” or email addresses to “contact them for more information” or for a “free consultation.” This made me feel even more comfortable not listing a phone number.
5) My goals: My goal as an SEO content provider was never to be the biggest company, but to build a business that would allow me to earn a nice living, while enjoying my life. If I was trying to build, for example, a $10 million dollar a year company, then I would probably have made a different decision.
This is where having a life plan comes into play.
The Most Important Thing to Consider When Trying to Decide Whether to List a Phone Number or Not on Your Content Writing Site
Once you know – across the board – what you want out of life, making decisions about almost everything becomes crystal clear because then it’s just a matter of choosing the course that’s going to move you closer to your dreams, or further away from them. Here’s a personal story that gives more insight into why having life goals is so important.
I hope this insight helps you to decide about listing a phone number or not. FYI, here’s a related post you may find interesting when you’re just starting out as a freelance / SEO writer. See the comments section in particular for some great insight from other freelancers.
Share Your Insight?
Do you list a phone number on your content writing site? Do you believe NOT listing a phone number has/can cost you business? Please share in the comments section below.
On a Personal Note . . .
It’s hot as heck here in Atlanta! I wish I was back in Jamaica; I could use some beach time. Here’s hoping the heat of summer is more bearable where you are. 🙂
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