This is my first article of the Robert Plank Challenge. Not all articles will be on copywriting or copywriters, but this one is. Take a look…
Title: Message To New Copywriters
By: Stephen Dean
If you’re a new copywriter, this is my message to you.
Hi. I used to be where you were at. I started writing copy for others 5 years ago. At the time, I had just enough copywriting know-how to pass myself off as a copywriter.
Because my copy skills were very young, I barely charged anything. Only $97 for my first few sales letters. Then $197. Then $297.
(That pattern is important, but I’ll get back to that.)
At that rate, my clients were essentially hiring me for manual labor. This was good because I knew I wasn’t ripping anyone off. I didn’t want to claim to be the best copywriter in the world and charge thousands…
…when I was still learning the trade.
At the time, I was pretty much the only copywriter working for so cheap.
HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.
Now everyone seems to be starting a copywriting career.
While people were shocked to see me offering copy services for so cheap, it’s now commonplace to see people writing sales copy for $197.
And actually, now that the economy is worse… these same copywriters are DROPPING their prices. I’ve seen offers for writing copy for $50!
Listen. As a copywriter you should know better than to compete on price. “Cheap” is not a benefit of strong sales copy. More sales is the benefit!
Instead of positioning yourself as a “cheap copywriter,” use your copywriting brain to come up with a unique angle that doesn’t COST YOU MONEY. An angle you can CHARGE FOR!
If you pick a niche, you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”
If you offer more bells and whistles than just the sales copy (emails? graphic design?), you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”
If you come up with a strong guarantee, you can charge more than the guy who brands himself “the cheap copywriter.”
DO pick a unique angle, but don’t try to sell your services based on price. It’s bad from a sales perspective and it’s bad business in the long run.
On the other hand, if you want to start at $50, go ahead. Maybe you’re working at manual labor prices… but you need to consistently raise your rates!
When I first started, I often DOUBLED my prices from one month to the next.
In fact, I once double my rate from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 without any drop off in work!
Sure, start small and charge less. But treat your clientelle well, stay in touch with them after you finish, and keep raising your rates.
Continue to IMPROVE your skills by reading classic copywriting books like “Tested Advertising Methods” and “How To Write A Good Advertisement.”
Read my blog (http://www.stephensblog.com)
Read Michel Fortin’s blog (http://www.michelfortin.com)
Read Clayton Makepeace’s blog (http://www.makepeacetotalpackage.com)
Whatever you do, don’t keep the same price from one year to the next. It’s like running on a hampster’s wheel. And you’re better than that.