Cheap Versus Expensive Copywriters – Which Should You Choose?

Sometimes small figures can make a massive difference.

For example, the difference between a 1% and a 2% conversion rate sounds small, right?

Wrong.

If a 1% conversion rate pulls you in $2,000 of sales a month, then a 2% conversion rate would bring you $4,000 of sales a month… doubling your revenue!

Ultimately, the difference between an “expensive” and a “cheap” copywriter might be a 2% conversion rate compared to 1%…

… but that additional 1% doubles your revenue. That’s one of the advantages an “expensive” copywriter could bring to the table – an additional $24,000 a year in revenue (in this example).

Or looked at from a different angle, a “cheap” copywriter would throw $24,000 of your money down the drain – year in, year out.

With that in mind, is it really a smart idea to hunt around for the “cheapest” copywriter? I don’t think so.

Of course, if you’re just starting out and you need a sales letter written, I understand why you’d want to keep your costs down.

Just keep in mind that by going the “cheap” route, you could be throwing a lot of future revenue down the drain.

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t skimp on the foundations. That would be foolish, and a little dangerous, don’t you think?

Well, your sales material is the FOUNDATION of your business. It’s what generates the sales! The last thing you want to do is skimp on this aspect.

Now, I’m not really pitching anything here. (I do have a stable of students who are willing to write for various budgets – contact me if you’d like me to put you in touch with one)…

… but the bottom line is this: with copywriting, the difference between a “cheap” and an “expensive” copywriter isn’t just the price, almost always it will be reflected in the results.

So lay a solid foundation for your business, and don’t skimp on the thing that is going to generate you the sales, the lifeblood of your business!

How To Create Real, Compelling Urgency

In my last post we discussed what makes people buy now, rather than later… and I said that what was missing was a sense of overwhelming urgency.

The question is, how can you create that sense of urgency in the first place? I’ve written a free 24 page PDF report for you to download, entitled: “Buy Now! – How To Create Compelling Urgency”.

In it, I explore the 3 main ways of doing this:

  1. Explain the reasons why they should take action now, rather than later.
  2. Explain the consequences of not doing so.
  3. Create an offer which creates urgency in a credible way.

So please download and enjoy it. I recommend you download it to your computer, which you can do by right-clicking the link below, and selecting “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”

Right-click here to download the BuyNow.pdf report

What Makes People Buy Now?

buy-now-or-elseIt’s probably happened to you many times before.

You see something you really want to buy. You get all excited about it, and you’re even ready to buy.

And then something happens. Maybe you get distracted. Maybe you have second thoughts. Maybe you decide to put it off for a day or two.

Then, for whatever reason, you don’t buy it – either now, or at any time in the future – even though right at that moment you really wanted it.

So what was missing?

It was a sense of urgency. You had the desire, but you didn’t feel an overwhelming need to buy it right away – so you didn’t.

A real sense of urgency is the “missing ingredient” needed in a lot of sales letters and marketing campaigns that I see online.

Often there is no sense of urgency at all, leaving the potential customer to make up their mind as and when they feel like it. (The problem is, most people put things off, including buying decisions… meaning they are highly likely to forget about the offer.)

Or the sales letter goes to the other extreme, barking “Buy now!” commands repeatedly and attempting to generate a false sense of urgency – “Hurry, because I can’t hold these prices for much longer… I may put the price up at any time!”

The trouble with this is it’s vague, and therefore weak. “At any time” could mean days, weeks or months – or, as is more often the case, never.

What copywriters need to create is a genuine sense of urgency – the feeling that the potential customer MUST have it now, and that they will lose out if they don’t.

We’ll talk more about this another time, but I wanted to tell you that I’m just putting the finishing touches to a free report which will explain precisely how to create a genuine sense of urgency in your sales copy, or with any offer you make.

As a regular CopySnips reader, you’ll be the one of the first to get hold of this free report once I’ve finished it. If you’re not yet a regular reader, subscribe to the RSS feed or by email. Oh yes, you’d better do it now, or you’ll miss out on this crucial information, and will forever be tormented by thoughts of what might have been. Or something like that.

How To Tell The Perfect Story

I think I’ve found the perfect story.

I’d like to share it with you… and maybe you’ll get the same nuggets of copywriting and writing wisdom from it as I did.

It’s a true story, just 500 words in length, called What Makes Me Feel Beautiful, by Anne Roiphe. I urge you to read it, and then come back here, so you can read the 4 elements I feel contributed to making it the perfect story:

(1) The perfect story leaves questions unanswered until the end.

For instance, her opening paragraph is one of the most compelling openings I’ve ever read:

“It was mid-December of 2005. I don’t know why he said it… I don’t know if it was just coincidence or intuition that prompted him… but about a week before my seemingly healthy 82-year-old husband suddenly died…”

This arouses our curiosity. Who said it? What did he say? What was coincience or intuition? What happened? Why did he suddenly die?

Notice she doesn’t ask those questions herself, but she gives us enough information that we naturally ask them in our minds. She doesn’t reveal WHY her husband suddenly died until the end of the story, compelling the curious reader to read until the end.

(2) The perfect story arouses the reader’s emotions.

As a guy, it’s not easy to admit I had a tear in my eye by the time I finished reading that story – but I did.

Of course, emotion doesn’t have to equate to sadness. It could be a sense of excitement, anger, passion, or nostalgia. In fact, I think it was the sense of nostalgia she evoked that, for me at least, gave the ending its emotional punch.

Another way in which she aroused the reader’s emotions – which is also very important for copywriters – is to write in a way that relates to the reader.

After all, not everyone is a supermodel – but most people can relate to the concept of inner beauty, and the feeling of beauty.  When we can relate to what is being said, we are much more likely to care about the story, and find it interesting.

(3) The perfect story is entertaining.

It’s difficult to say precisely what makes an entertaining story, but if I had to sum it up, I’d say that a story is entertaining if it doesn’t bore us, and if we care about the outcome.

In the case of Anne’s story, she doesn’t bore the reader with unneccesary details, but gives us just enough information to form a picture in our minds.

(4) The perfect story teaches without preaching.

Even though her husband’s death played an important part in the story, it wasn’t primarily about that. It was about beauty, and what made Anne feel beautiful.

The take home lesson of the story was that beauty isn’t simply about outer appearance, but also about inner qualities.

Now, she could quite easily have written her article as, “3 Ways To Feel Beautiful Inside” – but how compelling would that have been? And would we have paid as much attention to the take home lesson?

Copywriters (and good storytellers) use stories as a way of conveying important truths and lessons, in a manner that doesn’t come across as preaching.

So while I admit, I don’t really know if there is such a thing as “the perfect story”, I think this one comes pretty close to it.

What do you think?

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How To Eliminate Objections Using Headlines…

I recently stumbled across a headline… by sheer accident, honest!… of the squeeze page for David DeAngelo’s main dating product for men, the ebook Double Your Dating. (A “squeeze page” is basically a web page designed to collect the visitor’s email address before allowing them to go any further.)

A while back I spent some time reverse engineering his entire sales process and analyzing his sales letters to show you precisely what clever and sneaky copywriting devices he was using to compel people to buy.

Well, it seems like he’s changed his squeeze page. It’s now a video, along with a clever headline which I wanted to talk about. The new headline is…

dyd-headlineThis headline does something quite clever, because when the average guy thinks about “learning how to meet and attract beautiful women”, one of the thoughts that might pop into his head might be, “I need to be tall, rich or handsome to do that!”

So the headline immediately tackles that objection head on: “… even if you aren’t tall, rich or handsome”.

This is a great technique to use whenever you’re making a bold or remarkable claim, especially in a headline. First, think about the claim you’re making… then think of the objections people might raise to that claim… and then, reverse those objections immediately.

Let’s come up with another example. You have an information product that teaches people to speak fluent French. A major objection to this might be that a potential customer doesn’t have the time to learn. So you could tackle this objection immediately in the headline by saying something like,

“Learn How To Speak French Fluently… In Just 5 Minutes A Day”

Of course, you’ll want to make sure the product or service you’re offering can do what is promised. Just remember, your potential customers will always be raising objections to what you say, so the quicker you can address them, the greater your chances they will read on.

So can you address at least one major objection in the headline? You don’t have to be tall, rich or handsome to use this technique!

How To Instantly Transform Poor Copy Into Great Copy

One of the world’s greatest marketing experts, Jay Abraham, is about to reveal to you a superbly simple technique for transforming poor or average copy into spectacular copy just about instantly, and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

If you haven’t got time to watch the following 10 minute video, then I’ve provided a summary of his key points below, but you really MUST watch it… several times:

What’s amazing to me is Jay’s admisson that it took him years to figure this out, and yet here he is handing this technique out to us on a plate, in this video. So thank you, Jay Abraham.

The technique itself is deceptively simple. It involves using Amazon.com not only to do your market research, but also to get laser focused phrases you can use in your copy, that will touch your target audience and create empathy with them. Here is a summary of the suggestions, but please watch the video if you can – it will be 10 minutes well spent:

(1) Go to Amazon.com, and type in the keywords related to your niche. Look at the titles and subtitles of the products for “the big payoff”, i.e. the key benefits being offered. You can use these for your own headlines and subheadlines. (Each subheadline in your copy, every 4-6 paragraphs, should summarize the “big payoff” for the content below it.)

(2) Go to the reviews of each product. The editorial reviews usually contain good, professional copy that sells the book for Amazon.

(3) However, the customer reviews contain the polarization, where people either love it or hate it. These are (usually) real people writing their honest, heartfelt thoughts and feelings about the product. Pay attention to what people loved about it, and especially the phrases they use. Adapt these phrases for YOUR copy. Also pay attention to what people hated about it, so you can move your readers away from these things in your copy.

According to Jay Abraham, this is one way to make poor performing copy great instantly. Of course, you should watch the video because there’s even more valuable information in there than I could cover in this post. So what do you think of Jay Abraham’s “School Of Amazon” technique?

How To Earn $0.10 A Word For Your Freelance Writing

Last post we talked about why you should value your content and I showed how an article on a decent blog could easily be worth $100 or more. However, I know that many freelance writers struggle to command rates anywhere near that.

So today I want to give you an example of a writer and copywriter who has no problem charging $50 for a 500 word article (that’s $0.10 a word), and I’ll give you three key reasons why she’s able to do that (and you can do, as well). By the end of this article you’ll have some fresh ideas for your own writing service, and by the end of the series of articles (all this week) your mind will be bursting with new and fresh ideas for your writing service!

Lisa Giannetti is currently ranked #2 out of about 270,000 service providers at RentACoder.com, a place where service providers bid for jobs. (And since the top company does programming only, she’s really the #1 rated writer and copywriter there.)

Here’s an excerpt from the bidding page where she won the bid to write an article for an internet marketer (and pay careful attention to ALL the bid prices):

Article in **** niche

I need a high quality, original content article written that is optimized for the keyword phrase “****”.

View All Bid Responses

8/13/2009 9:45:50 AM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 24 ratings. $20.00
8/13/2009 12:03:56 PM *** 8.83 (Superb) out of 6 ratings. $10.00
8/13/2009 2:26:42 PM *** 10 (Excellent) out of 4 ratings. $15.00
8/13/2009 4:04:22 PM *** 9.98 (Excellent) out of 56 ratings. $15.00
8/14/2009 2:21:23 PM *** 8.33 (Very Good) out of 3 ratings. $10.00
8/15/2009 6:13:38 PM *** 9.85 (Excellent) out of 381 ratings. $15.00
8/16/2009 1:56:20 PM *** 9 (Superb) out of 1 ratings. $25.00
8/17/2009 11:48:11PM Lisa_G 9.89 (Excellent) out of 1525 ratings. $50 (was accepted)

Notice the range of prices offered before Lisa’s bid – from $10 to $25. At $50, her bid was twice the second highest bid… and yet it won!

Here’s what the client said when he accepted Lisa’s bid:

“Hi Lisa, I am very excited about this article. I have never paid more than $10 for an article before and I think the quality or lack of showed.”

You should read this comment two or three times, and really let it sink in. This guy was genuinely excited about paying more than he was used to – that is, paying no more than $10 an article and seeing a “lack of” the kind of quality he wanted. So he was ready and eager to pay more, for the virtual certainty of getting what he really wanted.

Here’s what he said after she delivered the article:

“Hi Lisa, The article is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you very much”

Now, before you jump to conclusions and double your prices right away, you need to understand the three main reasons I think Lisa is able to consistently charge more for her writing:

(1) She delivers quality.

As I talk about in my report Write To More Money, everyone says they offer “high quality” writing. But many writers (especially the very cheap ones) don’t deliver it. Instead, the client gets boring, spun and barely researched articles. (Some clients are after that, it’s true… but many want real quality, not just a rehash of someone else’s content.)

The difference between them and Lisa is that, based on her experience, she knew exactly what the client really wanted from his article, and delivered it.

(2) She has built a solid reputation.

I’d say the rating and reviews you get on sites like Elance or RentACoder are far more important than testimonials on your own site, because the rating systems on those sites are considered by clients as independent of you. After all, you can easily edit, pick and choose the testimonials you use on your site, but you can’t do that with the reviews your clients will leave you on outsourcing sites.

And let’s face it, in Lisa’s case, scoring 9.89 out of 10 over 1,500 jobs gives you a strong, credible reputation that can be trusted.

For example, here’s just one of the many reviews left for Lisa which also gives additional insights into why they picked her:

Let’s see… She is the #2 coder on RAC and has phenomenal feedback and an amazing portfolio. I lost any bargaining power when I basically bowed down and gushed over her skills before she bid. Despite that, when she did bid, it was still less than I would have expected for someone of her caliber.

Then she started on my project sooner than she estimated and also finished it sooner than she estimated. She was a pleasure to work with, easy and quick to communicate with, and even improved our layout a bit, which wasn’t part of my bid… just something that a true professional like Lisa does simply because it *should* be done.

Not sure how I can give her better feedback, but if there was a rating of 11, she would deserve it. Pretty rare in this world to find such a great partner. I guess now I know why she is rated so highly over an incredible 1,600+ jobs as I write this.

Thanks Lisa, truly excellent work – will definitely hire you again, and soon!

Scott Harvey

For that reason alone it’s worth building up a profile on at least one major outsourcing site, such as Elance or RentACoder, to enhance your credibility – and then let potential clients read your profile.

Bonus Tip: Study profiles like Lisa’s, to see exactly WHY she is so highly rated. These clients of hers are telling you, in their own words, why they were willing to pay more.

(3) She asks for more!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you don’t ask, you won’t get. Lisa wouldn’t have earned $50 for that article, had she not asked for it. Lisa herself freely admits she doesn’t win all the bids:

“I win 30% of my bids. That means my competitors win 70% all combined. But here’s the key: I work 30% as hard as they do and I make more money doing it.

If person “A” bids $10 for a 500 word article and I bid $50, and assuming it takes us each 1 hour to write it. I made $50 per hour and they made $10.

They have to do 5 times the work I do to earn the same amount. I can lose 4 bids to them and still end up with the same amount of money in my pocket.”

I appreciate it’s not easy for many writers to even consider raising their prices, which is why I wrote an entire 90+ page report on the subject of asking for, and getting more money for your writing.

Tomorrow I want to reveal to you another secret to commanding higher rates, used by the top writers, that even newcomers can use right away. So you’ll want to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this valuable advice – which could make all the difference to you.