I’ve been at this copywriting and internet marketing game for quite a long time. Full-time since late 2005, and many more years before that writing for my own products and companies.
So I rarely make the mistake anymore of accepting clients that don’t know what they’re buying – copy that’s intended to generate results – but at times, it happens.
That’s when I get to put on my educator’s hat again and accept the merry-go-round, for a little while. 🙂
Sometimes copy commenting turns into direct response education…
I’ll share a few of the ‘greatest hits’ comments I sometimes get from inexperienced clients (also heard by a LOT of my colleagues, for sure), and the answers I (mostly) patiently give them. 🙂
The common ‘note’ comes first, followed by my response.
Ready? Here we go!
- “It’s too long” – “That’s what she said”… but okay. I understand this because it reflects a common discomfort when you don’t know what you’re doing with your writing and you end up rambling… and it ends up horribly wrong, or worse: boring. “The more you tell, the more you sell” still applies.
- “Snake oil!” – So you mean it elicits powerful emotions and contrast… Good! So it’s not bland anymore, you can actually expect people to react. Not what you’re used to, I know…
- “I can’t say THIS” – Why? Because you care about your image more than you care about getting results for yourself and for your customers? As Steve Jobs would say: ‘don’t be afraid, you can do this’
- “This is not correct language according to our brand” – Well, unless you’re Coca Cola, it really doesn’t matter – your brand is defined by what you DO repeatedly, a single solitary campaign won’t suddenly change your whole brand image… if you really have one in the first place. An if a single ad makes your brand crumble, it had to be pretty flimsy to begin with.
- “Well what if people get angry” – Oh, you mean they break out of their sofa stupor and actually react? Can I get a Hallelujah! Besides, only the wrong kind of people for you would ever get angry, which means they’re not a good fit anyway so let them go alright?
- “This kind of copy won’t work with our market” – Really? You don’t actually KNOW that until you run it, you just assume based on past (often poor) results of, well, dabbling. Besides, wouldn’t you love to be the first to succeed in your market, for once, for something?
- “Our staff, partners etc. have issues with the copy” – That’s completely fine. Let them have issues. I only care about what your qualified prospects say and how THEY act a.k.a. buy from you. This should be your focus, too.
- “But in our opinion…” – Sorry, YOUR opinion still doesn’t factor into this. Neither does mine. What the market says, determines what works and what is good. Sales copy is for the buyer, not you or your peers or stakeholders.
- “What if this bombs?” – This is entirely possible. Copy is just one part of the whole. A bad offer, a bad list or a bad product can each undermine the greatest copy. Which is why I bring more to the table than just copy; I offer ongoing consultancy and testing to make sure your offer converts and produces results in Long term. I call it Profit Optimization.
- “This is not how we do things” – Yawn. I should hope so! That’s why you’re hiring me, after all. Right?
- “This is not how we like to project ourselves” – You can’t control that projection anyway, let alone how it’s perceived. Embrace the intimacy and just run with it, okay?
- “But this doesn’t describe or represent us as a company…” – That’s right, and rightly so! Unless your aim is to actually sell the company itself, your focus should be on the needs of the customer, and then how your product fulfills that need. To cut a few corners, but that’s the big difference between self-obsessed, yawn-inducing corporate copy and juicy, adrenaline milking direct response copy that generates sales in the real world!
- “You’re just a writer, what do you know?” – If this happens, it’s probably your fault. You need to position yourself as a marketing consultant who also writes, not a writer who also knows a little about business. Big difference there.
- “This is not us” – That’s correct, it’s not supposed to be… it’s about your prospects and customers. That focus will ALWAYS bring you more sales than navel-gazing, guaranteed.
- “I need to include these 8 things… retroactively.” – No you don’t. You’re just getting cold feet because you don’t understand all the choice that your copywriter made. I can either explain it all to you, or you can run the copy and see the results for yourself.
And so it goes… many, many more where these came from. 🙂 All seasoned copywriters recognize each of these and more. But what’s important is that the client gets their results, then everyone will ultimately be happy. Now go forth and multiply sales!
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