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Friday, May. 18, 2007 at 11:14 am

Do You Want the $5 Web Copy or the $100 Web Copy?

By Dave Young
May 18th, 2007

In Chapter 61 of his best-seller, The Wizard of Ads, Roy Williams recounts the story of a friend faced with saving a little money on services. His friend was flying a single-engine airplane into Mexico. When he radioed for a weather report prior to landing at a small airport, he was asked, “Do you want the 2-peso weather report or the 5-peso weather report?”

In the past week, I’ve read a couple of stories about the commoditization of copywriting and the outsourcing of journalism. I’ve also seen a company decide to write their copy in-house after interviewing a top-notch writer (a colleague of mine). Surely, these notions must make the publicly traded “management by quarter” crowd jubilant. We’re Saving Money!

Roy’s point with the weather report is that you should always negotiate the price of hard goods, but take great caution in negotiating the price of services. Your very existence could depend on the results.

Let’s say you saved over $2,000 on your copy, but your copywriter couldn’t connect with even 20% of your visitors. Have you really saved money?

So, how have you been saving money this quarter? What’s the true cost of your savings?

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Comments (21)

  1. Brand DNA shows exactly why good copy is worth it. Cracked me up. It’s enough to make David Ogilvy turn in his grave.

  2. Spot-on post!

    Years ago, I was working with a small but growing one-person company. He asked for a quote for writing a direct mail package. When I gave him the price, he was stunned and stuttered out, “But Roberta, it’s just words!” I calmly replied, “… and a symphony is just notes.”

    I write the words that make the whole world sing :=)

  3. [...] Source:Conversion Rate Marketing Blog – GrokDotCom by Future Now, Inc [...]

  4. Copywriters craft your message. Words are so incredibly powerful. Politicians know it – they spend gobs of money on writers who can craft their messages.

    Don’t think words make that much of a difference? Look at the difference between “Withdrawl date” and “Surrender date”.

    one word – and it makes a statement so powerful it’s almost impossible to battle against it.

    Politicans understand the power of words. They pay big money for those words. Advertisers should take note.

  5. So, where does one find a really good, online copywriter?

    This article hits me hard because I have nickled-and-dimed myself by hiring copywriters for $200, or $300, up to even $1000, and never felt the person really had a talent for online, persuasive copywriting.

  6. We always max out on referrals. We don’t do copywriting but we specify exactly what we expect from copywriters who work on client projects. Sadly, there are more people who think they write persuasively than those that actually do. Ask the copywriter for references that can offer you details of the results they’ve helped them achieve.

  7. If you’re a copywriter and you charge $5, you’re worth it. If you charge $1000,you’re worth it. In other words, you know your own value in the marketplace. To Steve…offer a small upfront and a percentage of sakes increase over previous promos.

  8. I agree. How does one go about finding a good copywriter?

    Plus once we get the copy done, is there a way to tell if it’s a good copy aside from monitoring the conversion and lead opt-in rates? There are still so many questions, and I think that’s one reason why so many people hesitate and opt to go with the low priced copywriters.

  9. There are ways to know. We offer a copywriting course where the largest part of our audience are the people who hire copywriters.

  10. A successful copywriter (i.e. one that can actually live on what they earn)is a lofty goal in achievement. Unless you have the documented results to put value to your work, it will be a subjective issue….and acquiring the hard value results is even more difficult to obtain. Education, experience and work examples are still undervalued. Those who are lucky enough to work for named advertising companies or PR firms seem to be the only freelancers able to cross the value perception barrier.

  11. [...] Dave Young has written a post about the value of copywriting and how creating quality content and persuading users to take a desired action. Quality is immediately apparent, regardless of your industry, and it is not possible to fool people with a low quality service. The point with the weather report is that you should always negotiate the price of hard goods, but take great caution in negotiating the price of services. Your very existence could depend on the results. [...]

  12. “What’s the true cost of your savings?” I love that question.

    Hiring a cheap copywriter is often like buying the cheapest product at Wal-Mart. The product will often break after less than a week of use, and then you’ve got nothing.

    By the way, I’m speaking from experience. I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart after buying two different products that didn’t work fresh out of the box. The other product had a major design flaw; it worked only half-way.

    The cost of my savings was expensive indeed.

  13. How could anyone expect to get copy that produces results for $200 to $1000? I won’t even consider a copywriting job where the budget is less than $5,000 and most of the jobs I accept run twice that. To write copy that sells well, a writer has to 1) have acquired substantial expertise in an industry, so that the writer knows what features and benefits will matter to that industry’s customers 2) extensively interview the client’s owners/key employees to pinpoint how the client’s products /services excel at delivering these features and benefits 3) be skilled enough at marketing to help the client devise quick-to-implement benefits and features if the client’s products/services don’t otherwise excel: money-back guarantees, unusually fast delivery, 24-hour ordering, whatever 4) do some independent industry research, write the copy, rewrite it, edit it, edit it, and edit it. Show it to the client and edit it again. Think about it and edit it further. That can’t be done for $200, or even $1000. If you’re paying that little, one or more of the crucial components to good copywriting is missing.

  14. мдяяяя ….. *много думал*….
    автору спасибо за пост !!

  15. “лучше и не скажешь”

  16. The price is not the matter. It is the quality I would be looking for. If it is $5 has quality than $100 I will go for the Dollar five one.

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  18. Just create your own copy. Or if your time is worth a lot, buy the $5 copy and re-word it. I am guessing if you time is worth a lot more then that means you are smart enough to write good copy.

  19. Any decent web copywriter should have a portfolio that you can judge them on. The difference between a 5.00 writer and a 100.00 writer is the simple fact that the 5.00 copy will not persuade your client to buy the product. It will be drivel spun off to meet strict time requirements, and usually a rewrite won’t cut it unless you completely redo the copy.

  20. content is the king of seo… useful content written is useful for both the user and the seo… no matter whether its $100 or more

  21. in that case no, then you’ve wasted money

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