Lets’ face it, no one knows your product or service better than you. But when it comes to promoting that product or service, hiring a professional copywriter can transform your sales from ordinary to extraordinary.
So what do you look for when hiring a copywriter? Here are five key strategies to keep in mind as you try to find the right fit for your business needs.
A good copywriter:
- Asks the right questions. Who’s your competition? What differentiates your product/service from the others? What’s your goal with this project? As you interview copywriters, don’t be scared off by those who ask as many (or more) questions as you. In fact, embrace them! Warning: If the first thing a prospective sales copywriter asks you is how much you’ll pay, you might want to continue your search.
- Knows the audience(s) – and the medium. When it comes to copy, one size does not fit all. A B2B (business to business) brochure is written in a different style and tone than a consumer piece. A good sales copywriter knows this – and knows how to tailor the communication accordingly.
Likewise, a printed direct-mail piece should not be copied verbatim for digital content. While a long-form letter may work well for direct mail, it won’t on the web, where the audience has a much shorter attention span. Both web visitors and search engine spiders scan your web pages. That’s why you want a copywriter who knows keywords and SEO (and that’s probably not your CEO).
And if customers and prospects are reading your content on a mobile device, less is definitely more.
Keep in mind, though, that rewriting copy from one medium to another is not the same as writing a piece from scratch. A fair-minded copywriter will charge you the full amount for the initial copy, and a reduced fee for other versions. However, just because copy is shorter for certain mediums, such as mobile devices, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will cost you less. Most copywriters will tell you – and rightfully so – that it’s often more difficult to write short copy than long. Which brings me to my next point…
- Skips the fluff. Today’s consumers are savvy. They’ll see right through any content that’s too flowery or not believable. Their time is precious; they want to know what you’re offering, why they need it, and how much it will cost them. A good copywriter cuts to the chase. Now I’m not saying you need to hit them over the head with your offer. You need to establish a rapport first. If you do so and then follow it with copy that oversells, you’ve just undone all your good efforts.
You want a copywriter who can evoke emotion or address unmet needs (needs that the consumer may not even realize he/she has!). For instance, compare “The softest pillow in the world!” to “Our patented pillow conforms to your head and neck, promoting proper alignment and deeper sleep, leaving you looking and feeling rested in the morning.”
- Explains the benefits. Customers want to know WIFM (What’s In It For Me?). This ties in to my previous point. A skilled copywriter will describe what your product offers. For example: “This widget is the first of its kind!” So what? Instead: “This widget will reduce your monthly electric bills by 50%.” Now you’re talkin’.
- Ends with a strong call to action. The golden rule in sales is to close the deal. The same applies to content written by an experienced sales copywriter – it must include a strong call to action. If you don’t ask for the sale or request an action, you won’t get it. Examples of calls to action are:
- Shop now!
- Visit us online at www.yoursite.com.
- For more information, call 1-800-555-5555.
- Try a free sample today – enter code FREE at checkout.
In short, a copywriter should understand basic business principles. Award-winning copy is fine, but you want copy that wins customers and builds your business. Think about it: How many clever Super Bowl ads have you seen that you can remember… but not the brands they are supposedly advertising?
You’re hiring a copywriter for his or her expertise, so listen to the advice you receive. Copywriters know there’s a fine line between delivering exactly what the client wants as opposed to what will best achieve the intended results. A good copywriter should put ego aside – and put the client’s needs first. Don’t be afraid to push back. But also don’t be afraid to give the copywriter a little leeway.
Darcy Silvers Grabenstein is a member of the Content Launch blogging team. As a freelance copywriter, she specializes in ecommerce and email marketing. She is professionally accredited in public relations.