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 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 writes his own ads. And sometimes, when he’s too busy, he hires a guy from one of those freelancer sites.”
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 to just slap this guy upside the head, and tell him to go away.
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 basic 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 those 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?) So I continued…
You see, one problem is when most business owners write ads, they write from the company’s point of view. Starting with the mindset – “What can we say to sell our products (or services)?”
And I get it. After all, selling stuff is how you stay in business. And you know your business from the inside-out.
But here’s the thing… your customers are looking at your business from the outside-in.
It’s a completely opposite mindset, and you need to understand that, because it makes ALL the difference when writing compelling sales copy.
Look… I’m not here to cut you down, I’m just telling you how it is.
Simply put – “It doesn’t matter how amazing you think your product or service is, if you can’t communicate it to your customers in a way that makes them want to buy from you.”
That’s where a “professional” copywriter can help you.
A true professional copywriter spends years studying consumer psychology. And we’ve been trained to think like your customer
Addressing his second comment, about hiring low priced freelancers?
I told him point blank…
One of the biggest problems we have today, is the sheer number of low end freelancers on the internet.
There’s millions of freelancers out there, calling themselves “copywriters” who will sell you a sales page for $50 or $75 (or even less). But most of it is just regurgitated crap they copied and pasted from somewhere else. And they only change a couple words to make it look unique, (like they wrote it just for you)
On rare occasions, you get lucky, and the copy actually works. But if it doesn’t produce results… they have no idea why not, or how to fix it. And most of the time, they don’t really care anyway. Because for cheap money, what were you honestly expecting to get?
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 spend more than you think you should, but you get great results… then we’re talking about an investment of a few extra bucks.
But, if you spend less than you should, and you don’t get good results… then you’ve lost it all.
Basically, if you write it yourself, or you go for cheap … then you get what you get.
Maybe it works… maybe it doesn’t.
But when you pay someone who actually knows what they’re doing, then you get someone who will take time to do the research… write a quality sales piece… stick around to help you analyze the response rates… And help you get the best possible results.
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 my business card and told him to give me a call if he’d like my help with his next promotion.
Then, (because I just wanted to end on a clever note)… I handed him a second card I sometimes carry. It 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.
And with a smile, I told him if he has any trouble figuring out what order to put them in… then give me a call.
Of course, we both chuckled about that one. And who knows, maybe he’ll call me when he wants his next ad to actually pay off?
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.
Anyway, I gotta get back to work now. So, until next time…
Onward and Upward!
All the best,