An experienced copywriter will help you fine-tune your strategy before writing a single word. The only thing better than a well executed plan is a better plan. You should expect a questionnaire from your copywriter which will likely uncover some surprising benefits and selling points to your offer.
2. Choosing copywriters by their hourly rate
People often ask copywriters, “What’s your hourly rate?” Then they say, “Wow – that sounds too high” or worse yet, “That sounds too low – is there a catch?”
Instead, think about what you need. If you wrote the copy yourself, you would need at least 20 hours for a website (maybe more) and even more for a long-copy sales letter (10-30 pages). Now calculate your own hourly rate – not the copywriter’s. If you charge $100 an hour and you write your own copy, you give up 20 billable hours or $2000.
Or consider how many new clients you might win from better copy. If you average $1000 from each new client, and your new website gets you 2 more clients, you break even by paying $2000. If you hire a copywriter worth his salt, you will get many more.
3. Not Giving Time to Research
Have you ever tried to write about something you know little about? Before a copywriter can write intelligently, especially product-focused copy, they need to become an expert—which sometimes doesn’t happen in a day. Human psychology doesn’t change, but they need time to highlight the specific triggers to craft a compelling sales message.
4. Setting Strict Word Quotas
If you hire a freelance copywriter for 1000 words of landing page content, you create conflicting objectives. Your writer is tasked with creating effective landing page content; and ensuring it’s at least 1000 words. Often, these objectives clash. Instead of writing effective copy with fewer words, and less cost to your business, your copywriter is forced to write unnecessary words, at a greater cost to you.
Why are you hiring a freelance copywriter? For the length of your content, or the outcome? Allow your writer flexibility in their writing, and set the emphasis on the outcome of your content – not the length.
5. Hiring The Cheapest Writer
Freelance sites are full of cheap copywriters, and you can pick up thousands of words of content for a couple of dollars. But you shouldn’t. It’s incredibly easy to join freelance websites like Elance and oDesk. With copy, you get what you pay for.
Is your freelance copywriter from a different country?
$50 goes a lot further in the Philippines, Indonesia and India, and may represent a decent rate for an aspiring freelance writer. However, it’s likely that these same writers aren’t native-English speakers. It’s entirely possible to find skilled writers in these countries – but it’s risky. If you want to avoid potential language barriers and culture differences, stick with native speakers.
6. Hiring A Friend Or Relative To Write Copy
No one should have to choose between family and business. Would you let someone inexperienced speak for your business/brand? Every freelance copywriter has to start somewhere, and it’s all in who you know… This can be great for both parties – but if you’re commissioning a crucial piece of content, you probably want to find a more experienced writer.
7. Not Testing And Constantly Trying To Beat The Control
There is no such thing as once-and-done. The only thing that is constant is change, so you’ll want to continually test and improve your copywriting. Sometimes this means keeping the original copywriter on retainer or incentivize them with royalties based on their work’s performance.
Sometimes you’ll want to bring in fresh eyes to look at a project from a different perspective, to give new insights, and create new profits. Depending on the amount of traffic your copy sees, a 1-2% increase in conversion rate would equal 10-20X your gross profit.
Wouldn’t it be smart to keep tweaking, testing, and reaping cash windfalls?
Go on to the sixth post in this series – Nine Invisible Objections Your Offer Must Overcome To Make An Irresistible Offer