If you’re a new freelance copywriter, sending a quote can be fraught with anxiety:
- Will they think you’re professional?
- They know you’re not a content mill writer, don’t they?
- Did you cover everything they mentioned?
- Are they going to accept your price or try and haggle over freelance copywriter rates?
- Did you include an upsell?
- Are they going to say no?
It’s enough to distract you from your paying clients, get frustrated, and start second guessing your career as a freelance copywriter.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If any of these post-send fears sound familiar, you might be making some common, but easily fixable, freelance copywriter mistakes.
Here’s how to find out, fix the problem, and earn more:
Mistake #1: You don’t think you’re worth it
This is the biggest mistake you can make with your presentation to potential clients as a freelance copywriter.
You don’t think you’re worth the price you’re asking, let alone more. You clamber to justify the costs, reiterating all your inclusions and throwing in so many extras that your profit margins disappear altogether. You’re uncertain. And clients know it.
Remember, if you don’t believe it, they aren’t going to buy it – or you.
Confidence is contagious so before you start talking to new clients, give yourself a pep talk.
Remind yourself of the value you bring to each project.
You offer more than the words you write. This client came to you needing help and you’re bringing all your life experience, your copywriting know-how and your perspective on your clients’ challenges.
When you think about it, you’re probably under-charging.
Mistake #2: You’re undercharging
Speaking of under-charging for your copywriting services, you probably are. We all do. Especially when we’re starting out. Our price and our sense of value are so tightly linked, it can be difficult to separate them.
Sending out a high quote (regardless of how big the project is) can induce feelings of nausea and uncertainty so terrible that we can’t focus on anything else. We start googling “how to unsend emails” or planning how we’re going to lower our price when they say no.
We end up selling ourselves out before our client has had a chance to accept.
Put your prices up for your next client. Don’t discuss it. Don’t explain it. Just do it.
Very early in my career as a freelance copywriter, a more experienced copywriter told me that I should put my project price together then add 25 percent, as I will naturally under-price myself.
That bump in your project price will also cover the little time-sucking extras that you haven’t factored in. Like, the extra phone calls and emails you get from a client who decides to micro-manage you. Or the copywriting brief that ends up taking twice as long because your client is uncertain about what they actually offer. Or the proofreading you under-estimated.
A good rule of thumb is that if every client accepts your quote, your prices are too low. A healthy conversion rate is about 50 percent.
The strange reality of pricing is that quite often, putting your prices up makes you more appealing and more exclusive as your premium price hints at your premium value.
Mistake #3: You send a quote
Wait, what? Isn’t that what you do when a client asks about your copywriting services? You send them a quote. Well, yes. And no.
A quote is often a short document with a focus on price. If you don’t want potential clients to reduce your amazing value to a cost (rather than a benefit), thereby turning you into an easily replaceable commodity, then you need to change the way they understand your service.
To do this, you need to turn your cost-centric quote into a proposal for investment.
This is a document of persuasion that needs elements like:
- A summary of the project objectives to show that you understand what brought them to you.
- A profile of you and your business, focusing on how you help your clients.
- An overview of how you work to help clients trust your process.
- A benefit-laden description of your service so clients understand how important your work is.
- Your terms of service, clear and comprehensive.
- Testimonials of happy clients. As many as you can fit.
- A call to action telling clients how to take the next step.
Each part of your document works to boost your credibility and show off the potential of your collaboration. Your project total will be the least interesting part of the document.
Simple fixes lead to freelance copywriter success
When you make these changes, clients will be excited to be on your project books and get started. Your next problem will be telling them that you’re booked solid for the next month. But that’s a nice problem to have.
Belinda Weaver is an experienced freelance copywriter, marketing expert, and writing mentor who runs the site Copywrite Matters.