… so you can stop writing your own marketing materials, free up your time & focus on running your business with the knowledge your copy is driving more bookings, calls and customers.
Do you ever get the feeling your copywriting isn’t working the way it could (and should) be?
When your products, services and experience are top notch, chances are it’s frustrating when the words you use on your marketing materials fail to convince people to take action. You’ve got something special to offer your customers… but they’re just not seeing it.
If that sounds painfully familiar, odds are you’re reading this because one of two things has happened:
One: You’re sick of spending hours writing your own copy with no confidence that it’s connecting with people or compelling them to take action.
Two: You’ve hired a copywriter before who burned through your budget and delivered sub-par copy that you ended up rewriting yourself.
Whatever camp you’re in, it can seem impossible to find a decent copywriter who understands marketing AND conversions in a way that actually generates sales. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible…
In this article, we’ll share our tips for finding a good great copywriter so you can avoid wasting time, money and energy and get the results you want for your business. When you need a copywriter, use these 9 strategies to unlock words that sell.
Strategy #1: Identify the type of copywriter you want to hire by setting specific goals
Before you fire off a single email to a potential copywriter or request a single consultation, you’ll need to be clear on the type of copywriter you want to hire.
There are a range of different copywriter niches that have their own area of expertise when it comes to helping your business. To make the right choice, identify your goals and work backwards.
Let’s say you want to spike website downloads, increase course sign-ups, more bookings in your calendar or a rush of sales on your latest product. A direct response copywriter is the ideal choice because they live closest to the point of sale and can help generate new clients, customers and sales. Direct response copywriters are responsible for compelling your site visitors to take action and are an ideal fit if you want to turn curious site visitors into bookings and clients.
Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s easy to work backwards and find the type of copywriter that can get the job done. This approach works because it’s all too easy to get swept up in price (“oooh, they’re cheap”), or flashy sales tactics (“oooh, they have a great website”), but focus on the thing that matters – your goals.
Once you know what you want to achieve, it’s easier to hire the right person for the job!
Unsure what type of copywriter you need? Compare the top copywriting styles here
Strategy #2: Ask for a portfolio of their work
Any copywriter can talk a big game – but their work can’t lie.
Always review a copywriter’s portfolio to see samples of their previous work. You wouldn’t hire a builder without viewing a few of their finished homes, or purchase art from a painter whose work you’ve never seen. So don’t invest in copywriting services sight unseen either!
Similar to the previous strategy, you’ll want to see if their work helps achieve the goals you have in mind. Well-written and flowing copy might suit a blog or social media. But if your goal is to increase sales you’ll want to look for examples of compelling sales pages and landing pages.
Oh, and if a copywriter says they can’t show you examples of their work because it’s “protected by an NDA” then that’s a red flag. Sure, *some* clients will keep their copy under lock and key. But any copywriter who’s been in the game long enough will have examples of their work that they can show you, so don’t work with a copywriter who can’t show their work to you.
Speaking of portfolios, we wouldn’t be following our own advice if we didn’t share ours.
Check out a few of our ‘Before’ and ‘After’ transformations here. 👈
Strategy #3: Look for testimonials on their website
Let’s be honest, every copywriter thinks of themselves as a “gun” or a “rockstar” or whatever adjective is doing the rounds. But you’ll need to take their self-assessment with a little grain of salt.
A better metric to judge a copywriter’s quality and ability to deliver results is to see what other people are saying about them. It’s hard to force or fake a reputation. If previous customers are singing a copywriter’s praises, that’s a great sign that they deliver results.
Head to a copywriter’s website to see what their clients have said about them. It’s best to look for common themes that appear in multiple testimonials. Most importantly, look for professional feedback rather than personal feedback. It’s great to know a copywriter is friendly, courteous, and approachable. But it’s even better to know they have a track record of increasing sales and filling a booking calendar.
If you can’t find any references on their website, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a low-quality copywriter. They could be in the process of filming video testimonials or undergoing a website upgrade.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for references if you’re not sure. The questionable copywriters won’t be forthcoming. The good ones will be happy to direct you to past clients and provide references upon request.
Strategy #4: Be wary of freelance platforms like Fiverr or Upwork
Chances are you’ve come across freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork before. You might even have experience hiring a freelancer from these sites where copywriters pitch their services for bargain basement prices.
As a business owner, the idea of cheap copywriting services can be too tempting to pass up, but buyer beware. 99% of copywriters on those platforms don’t have the skills to sell your business the way you want them to.
That doesn’t mean online marketplace copywriters can’t string together a blog or knock up social media posts for you. But if your goal is to sell your services and generate more work, you’re asking for trouble.
Because the best copywriters know how to sell their services independent of these platforms – and that’s why they’re able to sell your services too! If a copywriter relies on a freelance platform to generate leads for them, would you feel confident they can generate leads for your business?
If you do choose to look at Fiverr, Upwork and co, always look for a personal website filled with examples, reviews and testimonials to make sure they have a track record of delivering results and aren’t just piggybacking off an online marketplace to get work.
Strategy #5: Determine whether they’re a content writer or copywriter
It’s all the same, right?
Not so fast.
These are two very different niches and you can invest significant time and money hiring a content writer when you really need a copywriter. Making things harder for you, plenty of content writers will call themselves ‘copywriters’ (hint: they’re not).
As we mentioned, there are many different types of copywriting – and content writing is one of them. Content writers typically create blogs, articles, guides and even website pages. But these resources typically have a job of informing – not selling.
To get the most out of your investment in professional copywriting, you need to find a copywriter who specialises in generating sales – like a direct response copywriter. As a ‘salesperson in print’, a copywriter should be able to demonstrate their ability to sell your products and services by showing your audience how valuable you are – or how badly they need you.
Long story short, don’t hire a content writer if you want to fill your calendar with bookings. Hire a copywriter with a track record of increasing conversions and generating new business instead.
Strategy #6: Find out how they sell their services
The best copywriters don’t just talk the talk, they know how to sell a business because they do it for themselves every single day.
That doesn’t mean you should be asking about their income or revenue. But it does mean any copywriter you hire should practise what they preach and know how to tap into their audience’s wants and needs to drive conversions.
Get a feel for a copywriter’s ability to sell by checking out the copy on their own marketing materials. When you read it, ask yourself:
- “Is this copy describing my current situation?”
- “Is this copy making me aware of a problem?”
- “Is this copy showing me the risks of doing nothing?”
- “Is this copy presenting a clear solution that feels like the obvious choice?”
Great copywriters tap into their audience’s psychology. If you’re reading a copywriter’s work and it’s making you feel like you’re wasting time writing your own marketing materials, or putting your business at risk of stagnating without improving your copy, odds are they’re tapping into your wants and needs too.
Chances are you do want to stop spending so much time and energy writing your own copy (or micro-managing your current copywriters). You might need a solution that lets you step back and focus on running your business (instead of getting bogged down in the small things). And you might finally be feeling like outsourcing your copywriting is a solution that’s good for you.
If a copywriter is making you aware of your problem and your need for a solution, it’s a great sign they can have the same effect on your audience when selling your products and services.
Strategy #7: Ask about their research process (this one is CRUCIAL)
Whether you sell SaaS, coaching services, physical services, online courses, or products, chances are there are parts of your job that aren’t sexy or fun – but they are crucial to delivering a quality service.
For copywriters, that’s the research process.
Unfortunately, this is the part that most copywriters skim over. It’s not glamorous to dive into research and get to know a client’s business inside and out… so plenty of copywriters don’t do it. No matter how eloquent a copywriter is or how many awards they’ve won, nothing can make up for a lack of research.
When comparing copywriting services, always ask about their research process. This should include:
- Getting to know your brand
- In-depth customer research
- Data mining to understand your message
- Calls with your clients AND their clients
- Competitor and market analysis
- Business questionnaires
The most effective copywriters are like icebergs – what you see is only a fraction of what’s going on compared to what’s happening out of view. Oh, and they’re cool under pressure. 😎
Don’t let a copywriter hype you up in buzzwords or flashy promises about the future. Make sure you get them to break down their research process, how they identify a target audience’s pain points, and what their strategy is to use this research to drive results.
Strategy #8: Ask about their digital marketing experience
Your copywriter might have all the latest tech and tools to help them write copy, but can they explain how a simple, high-converting funnel works?
Forget an annual Grammarly subscription. Can they outline basic tips to increase your sales and conversions?
Digital marketing experience should be a prerequisite for any copywriting service you hire. Think of it this way, let’s say you’re looking for a career coach to help you take the next step in your professional development. Would you rather work with a coach who’s been in the industry for 20 years, run their own business, and coached Fortune 500 CEOs… or a career coach fresh out of University with stars in their eyes?
We don’t need to be a mind reader to know where you’ll spend your money.
The best copywriters understand digital marketing and have a bird’s eye view of what you’re trying to achieve. Whether this comes in the form of a sales page, email funnel, or new lead magnet for your website, it takes digital marketing know-how to deliver the most value from copywriting services.
At Savvy Copy, we’re not just copywriters, we’re digital marketing experts. 10 years ago we started life as a digital agency before going all in on copywriting (which means we pour 10+ years of marketing experience into every word we write).
Strategy #9: Don’t hire a copywriter who promises to deliver copy in under 7 days
“I’ll have your copy back to you in under 7 days”.
For plenty of copywriters, this is their unique selling proposition… but it should be a major red flag. As attractive as it sounds to get your copy fast – especially if you’ve been procrastinating your campaign or your website launch is around the corner – speed isn’t a superpower.
As we mentioned, great copywriters have an in-depth research process that allows them to fully understand their target audience and craft the most appropriate message in response. Between research, writing, proofing and delivering work to you for review, anything that’s “fast” is likely cutting corners on quality.
Instead of the speed of delivery, focus on the quality of delivery.
Would you rather
a). Get your landing page done fast but without the quality it needs to generate quote requests and bookings.
b). Wait two weeks for a well-researched and carefully crafted landing page that is designed to generate quote requests and bookings.
Yeah, we’re not winning any mind-reading contests for knowing which you’ll choose.
Accuracy beats speed so don’t focus on when your copywriting is finished but what your finished copywriting can do for your business.
BONUS STRATEGY: Be wary of anyone who claims to deliver fast, affordable AND quality copy
The truth is, no copywriter can deliver fast, affordable and quality copywriting. You’ll always have to make a choice.
You can have it fast, cheap or good – but not all three.
Think about your own business. Maybe you’re an online coach, could you put together a complete custom program and deliver it to your clients inside 48 hours? Speed can be a powerful advantage in plenty of industries… but copywriting isn’t one of them.
Copywriting is one of those ‘you get what you pay for’ industries. If you’re being promised a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid wasting time and money
It’s always easier to spend money when you know what you’ll get in return.
You wouldn’t want to buy a pair of shoes that fell to pieces in a few weeks, or a house that would need constant repairs. The same goes for the copywriting services you hire.
Whoever you trust to craft the words for your business should have:
- A background in direct response copywriting
- A portfolio of work and testimonials
- A track record of selling their own services (so they can sell yours)
- A clear and repeatable research process
- An experienced digital marketing mindset
- A system for delivering quality copywriting (not ultra-fast copywriting)
The next time you’re considering hiring a copywriter to help you craft your website or sales page copy, make sure you keep these non-negotiables in mind to ensure you’re not wasting any of your precious time, energy or money (or having to re-write whatever work comes back!)
Tick each of these boxes and you’ll find copywriters who understand your business. More importantly, you’ll free up your time to stay focused on what matters most to you.
Are you ready to save time and trust your copy to a team of direct response superstars with a track record of success? Book a call below to chat with a Savvy Copy expert.