Does this scenario sound familiar. You’ve gotten frustrated with writing content and considered hiring a copywriter.
But then you discover copywriting is one of the most expensive services to outsource.
And you start asking, “I’m new at this business. I can’t pay for top copywriters. Isn’t there some way I can get help with copywriting …without breaking the bank or spending a year learning to become a copywriter?”
Maybe you’ve been up late, working on a sales page that just isn’t coming together. Or the goal “website makeover” has been on your To Do list for the last six months…and you’re still living with the same website that’s not bringing you clients. Maybe you feel a knot in your stomach every time you hear the word “website.”
But you wonder … will a copywriter really do anything for me? Or will I be stuck with yet another headache.
So let’s set the record straight. Why do people hire copywriters?
A key reason is that copywriters get things done faster. They write all day, every day. They know the short cuts. So if you need that sales letter or website, you’ll be seeing revenue faster when you hire a copywriter.
We’re also able to turn chaos into organized copy. Every so often a client will show up with just a few vague ideas — nothing on paper, certainly not a draft, maybe a stack of sticky notes with scribbles. Almost always, as we end our first 90-minute consultation, they walk away with a blueprint for a new website, white paper, ebook or even full-size book.
How can I do this? It’s because, like many copywriters, I’ve learned to see patterns. The same principle holds when an art expert looks at a painting or a radiologist looks at an X-ray. When you review something over and over, you know where to look and what’s important. You diagnose quickly.
But there’s no denying, good copywriters don’t come cheap.
So people often ask me, “What do you recommend for newbies and business owners who want to get quality copy at an affordable price?”
That’s not a bad question. Even 7-figure business owners want to get the most value when they hire a copywriter. You absolutely can get great value at affordable prices – if you know what to ask for.
Here’s the way to do it.
(1) Be very clear about what you want.
If you hire a painter to paint your wall green, you’ll get a green wall. If you look at the wall and say, “It really should be blue,” or, “I’d like a couple of red stripes,” you’ll pay extra. Similarly, when you begin working with a copywriter, you’ll have a project plan. If you expect the copywriter to revise and make changes because you forgot something, you’ll pay more.
Be aware that when you get your first draft, it’s easy to say, “Now that I see something, I realize it wasn’t what I needed.”
When I moved to my new home, I had a wall painted a particular shade of purple. It had looked great on a wall in my former home. But the light here was different. It looked very purple.
I did what I tell my clients to do with their copy. I lived with the wall. I got advice from friends with a knack for decorating. Ultimately, I decided I loved the color. But if I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t ask the painter for a free do-over. I’d pay.
In my experience, this is the single biggest reason people complain about the cost of copywriting.
(2) Write a road map for your copywriter.
You’ll often get advice to “draft the basic content yourself and then hire someone to edit your copy.”
Editing isn’t the same as copywriting. Without training in copywriting – and some healthy distance from the original challenge – it’s easy to end up with a nicely written piece of content that doesn’t do the job.
A tech company once asked me to revise a white paper they had drafted. I could certainly clean up the grammar and make the document more readable and engaging. I could even add stories.
But editing the white paper wouldn’t lead to more sales.
The document was structured like a textbook presentation. The business owners weren’t thinking about the purpose of the white paper. They wanted to share as much information as possible. They didn’t have a hook that would draw readers – which is important, because a white paper gets written primarily to introduce your audience to what you offer. Your white paper needs to intrigue your audience and then leave them convinced you’re the expert with answers to their problems.
Instead, write a road map for your copywriter. Many copywriters will customize the contents of the road map they request. If you’re not sure, include these sections:
Purpose of Project
Target Audience’s Problem that you solve (or Deep Desire that you fulfill)
At least three success stories (proof that your audience wants what you have, and an understanding of the reasons why)
Any ideas you’d really like to include in the project
Now you’ve given your copywriter some direction, but she’s free to use her expertise to transform your ideas into the most appealing source of content for your audience.
(3) Do the copywriting math.
This is the second biggest complaint I hear from clients who worked with other copywriters. “I wouldn’t pay more than $50 an hour. But I ended up with a bill for $5000.”
The truth is, that client could have gotten his website for $1500-$2500 — but only if he’d insisted on a project-based quote.
First, think of the results you’ll get from the copywriter and the cost you’ll incur to DIY.
Once I had a client who created a program to sell at $997. We couldn’t predict how much she’d ultimately earn. But we knew clients really wanted the results her product could deliver; it was just a matter of convincing them. That’s where the copywriter comes in.
If she sold just two more programs as a result of my copywriting than she would otherwise (a conservative estimate!), she’d break even if she paid me $2000. Anything else would be gravy.
And to sell a $997 program takes a lot of work. She needed to network, hold webinars, answer prospect questions, and generally do a lot of marketing that couldn’t be delegated.
Add up the value of your time.
If the business owner took the time to write the copy, she’d need a good 20 hours — much more than an experienced copywriter. Even if she paid herself $150 an hour, she’d be paying $3000 for her copy. So as a minimum, she’d budget between $2000 and $5000. She might pay as much as $10K or even $20K to work with a copywriter who had unique expertise.
Of course, she could go to a bidding site and bid $250 or even $500. She might get lucky with a competent copywriter who was strikingly naive about setting prices. She might find someone looking for a portfolio sample in her niche, who was willing to negotiate more flexibly. (I’ve done that with SaaS and finance – but not that low.)
More likely, she’d get copywriting that would turn off her high-end clients. People who pay $997 expect to see quality content.
Copywriting quality doesn’t move along a continuum from “average” to “spectacular.” At the lower end, you’ll get copy that’s so bad, you may actually lose sales.
If you’re new and your budget is really tight, don’t go for the cheap copywriter. Instead, book a few one-to-one sessions with a top copywriter who will coach you to write the copy.
For example, I offer website reviews, which can also be applied to sales letters and even white papers. You submit your content and get a video review. It’s like looking over my shoulder while I comment on your copy. Learn more here. Click here to learn more.
If you’re ready to dive into some serious copy creation, let’s book a 90-minute Power Hour. We’ll look at what you need. We’ll blueprint the project. We’ll start drafting. And you’ll end up with quality content that’s as professional as you are, so you persuade your prospects and convert more lookers to buyers.
Sign up for the 90 minute consultation , mention this article, and I’ll throw in a free website or sales letter review. If you’ve got questions, complete this form and I’ll get back to you: http://CathyGoodwin.com/contact
If you’d like to learn more, download my FREE report –
3 Big Ways A Copywriter Can Grow Your Small Business