A 5 minute conversation about why professional copywriters cost so much
Why are you sales writers so damn expensive !!!???
That’s the question I was recently asked by a local business owner, while we both waited in line at the coffee shop.
We’ve chatted in the past, so he knows what I do for a living. But this was the first time he ever came right out and (aggressively) asked me this question.
He went on to say, “anybody can write an advertisement. All you have to do is write down what you’re selling… tell them where to find you, and how much it costs… and if they want it, they’ll come buy it.”
So how can you copywriters justify charging so much?
Of course, the first thing I did was ask him if he writes all his own advertisements. He answered “yes, he and his staff write all their own ads.”
So I asked him how well his ads worked?
His response…? “We usually get a few sales, but advertising doesn’t really work that good, anyway.”
Well, in the back of my mind that little voice was screaming at me to just slap this guy upside the head, and tell him to shut the hell up.
But, I’ve heard his same story many times in the past (plus, I’ve learned to control my anger issues), so I already have a much calmer response sitting in my reservoir.
This was my response
I explained to him that successful copywriting – the kind that produces measurable results – is the product of skill, talent, creativity, psychology, experience, and effort, (and maybe just a touch of magic).
I could already see by the look in his eyes, and the smirk on his face, that he was prepared to dismiss anything I said.
But I still had his attention for the moment, and I had a few minutes to spare, so I continued…
I went on to explain, there’s also a number of time-consuming factors that go into the total cost of professional copywriting.
Things that need to be considered before the first word is ever typed out.
Starting with research:
– market research,
– product research,
– researching the competition to determine what they’re offering, and how to make your offer different,
– researching what your target market already wants, and figuring out how to connect your offer with those desires.
(just to name a few).
There’s also the technical skills of proper spelling, grammar and syntax. Along with the time it takes to properly edit and polish the copy.
Then there’s testing the copy, measuring the results, and determining which parts to tweak in an effort to improve the results.
If you don’t get a good response…Why not?
Was it the market? The message? The medium? The timing?
All of these things need to be considered to make advertising work.
Now he was looking at me with a little more interest. (I guess because I was starting to sound like I knew what I was talking about?)
Then I told him, one thing that’s more expensive than a good copywriter, is paying for advertising that doesn’t work (and not knowing how to make it work)
Think of it this way… If you keep spending hundreds of dollars on advertising that doesn’t work; then it can start to get expensive.
But, if you spend $1,000 on an ad that brings in $5,000 in sales, that’s not an expense… It’s an investment. And why wouldn’t you continue to make that same investment, over and over again?
At this point, he was beginning to get the picture, and he asked me if I had any tricks he could use to make his own ads work better.
Well, my coffee and bagel were ready, so it was time for me to head out.
But before I left; I handed him 2 cards.
The first one was my business card, and I told him to give me a call if he’d like my help with his next promotion.
The second card was my complimentary DIY copywriting kit, with all the tools he’d ever need to write his own compelling copy.
On one side is the numbers 0 – 9, plus a few punctuation marks. On the other side is the alphabet. All he needs to do is figure out which order to put them in… and he’s good to go.
So that was basically the whole conversation I had with this guy.
If anyone else has an alternate way of explaining why good copywriters are expensive, I’d love to hear it. Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little bored giving the same answer every time someone asks me that question.
Until next time… Keep on marketing.
All the best,