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Why Copywriting Isn’t Cheap

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, good copy = good marketing. And marketing isn’t cheap. What I’ve noticed as both a business owner and copywriter is that pricing services a la carte off the bat is extremely confusing to other business owners who need my services but don’t exactly know what they need. The truth is, as a business owner you should have an idea of what your business needs to succeed but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what marketing strategies work best for your company and then adding copy and content to the mix is a whole other bag.

Do you know what your business needs?

Maybe a startup knows they need email campaigns and product descriptions but they don’t know that their site isn’t optimized effectively and with just a few tweaks with copy and some small design adjustments their sales will increase. It’s not the job of the business owner to know this. But it is the job of the service provider to highlight this. Just like it isn’t the job of the business owner to come up with their own prices for copywriting, it is the service provider to know and understand their own rates. While most people have a budget, it’s not a business owner’s job to dictate the cost of a service they are incapable of completing. It would be as if copywriters came to that business owner and told them this is what they should charge for their products or services. The truth is, copywriting can be worth millions of dollars. Some copywriters price a la carte from the get-go and some charge based on what they believe the return will be from their copy. Pricing is subjective because no job is the same. And also no copywriting is the same.

When I used to offer services a la care, like one blog here, one service there, I’d have businesses asking if I could do one-off blogs or one-off this one off that. And while that may seem helpful in the short term, if they weren’t working with a copywriter (which they weren’t) one blog or one email isn’t going to get you too far. Sure, an email blast about a sale for one day can work as a one-off, but what’s the plan after that? Marketing is planning and strategizing.

When it comes to emails, a copywriter needs time to not only get the brand’s tone and voice down but also see how the emails are performing. If a subject line is getting less than a 21% open rate (my open rates range between 25% - 84%) then a business should start split testing. While a lot of copywriters don’t offer this service, I do. I like to be hands-on and see how well my copy is performing and what tweaks work best to get the business the best outcome with my ideas. It’s important for a business owner to know that copy, just like most things in this world, is not a one-size fits all. This is more of a content mill ideology, which you can read in my last post about content mills.

And while a one-off email blast may help keep your list warm, it will mostly just do that. Just like a one-off blog post will be just that, a blog post. Sure, if keywords are used and if the blog is over 700 words it might do great things for indexing on Google, but again, blogs are part of a bigger picture just as emails are, copywriting, web design, and so on. Copy should usher readers to a goal. Just like a film or TV show (I have a background in Film/TV, if you didn’t know) copy should evoke feelings. A want to learn more about the brand and products, a need/desire for the products, a feeling like they want to take out their credit cards and purchase, a reason to keep coming back - just like your favorite show on Netflix - you keep binging because the story hooked you in. It’s the same with copy.

So let’s talk about pricing.

Prices for copywriting are subjective. One copywriter might charge $100 and one might charge $1000 for a project. Why do prices range so much? I think it boils down to three things:

  1. How confident the writer is at their job.

  2. How much experience the writer has.

  3. The size of the project.

As a business owner, I pay my own taxes. At the end of the year I receive a 1099 (there’s been times when clients didn’t send them which made things more difficult, but that’s a story for another time), and I generally pay out around 15.3% in taxes. I pay around double of what an employee at a company pays. I don’t get sick time, holiday pay, vacation time, etc. But I do get to set my own hours and rates and do what I love from wherever I chose, so that’s a win.

With that being said, while every business is different and the needs vary from business to business, if you’ve been working long enough you know to a certain point what a business needs from a quick scan, at least on the outside. For example, I wouldn’t suggest a dental office send out as many email campaigns in one week as a fast fashion company like Fashion Nova.

I can also make an educated guess that if a website has no blogs and is poorly formatted leaving anyone reviewing the site confused about products and services, it’s likely the business doesn’t nurture its email list and is missing out on the amazing benefits of doing so. So when my rates are created, I’m taking the above into consideration. Whether it’s a small or large company, I don’t base my rates on that. I base it on how many hours - copywriting and administrative work - it will take.

I’m confident in what I do and I have a great amount of experience.

So when I speak to businesses about working together I know my general rates, but I also take time to create a proposal going over what they need, the benefits of the service, the plan, and the pricing of the package or packages that will work best for them. Not the business down the block, but a tailored plan for this business.

A la carte pricing also confuses business owners. Some business owners may think that one or two blog posts are what they need and one newsletter a week. And maybe that’s all the budget they have, that’s no problem. However, they are expecting the copywriter to upload the copy onto their site, analyze the copy’s performance as if they were performing split tests, and a lot of other additional things that cost time and money and aren't the job of the copywriter. And because they saw a price on the copywriter’s site, they might try to negotiate that rate and ask for free work. That’s not how it works. You wouldn’t go into McDonalds and ask for a number 3 meal for cheaper because you ordered your burger without pickles and ketchup, so the same goes with copywriters.

You can view my rates here to get a general idea of how I structure packages for clients. If you’re looking for affordable copy and content created by a professional, who also knows a thing or two (definitely more than 2) about A/B split testing, email segmentations, and email campaigns, connect with me about working together.

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