Bit of a controversial title but relevant none the less.

I’ve been speaking to a lot of web design agencies lately, basically introducing 1Four Media and letting them know I’m here if they need me. Most have seemed happy to hear from me and offer to keep my details on record in case any projects come up. But nearly every one of them has added that they only need copywriters every now and then. And a couple have come out with what must be one of the most frustrating phrases a copywriter can hear: our clients think they can do the writing themselves.

So with this in mind, I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to clearing up some of the common misconceptions about writing effective copy.

‘I can do it myself’

Most people could probably come up with copy of some description. And while it might suffice, that’s missing the point. Cleverly crafted copy has the potential to have a significant impact on your sales but it takes some work. As I mention elsewhere on this site, research takes up at least 50% of the time it takes to complete a copywriting project. It requires a thorough understanding of your company, your customers and your competitors. And then this information needs to be fused together so that an immediate impact on your customer when they read it.

‘It’s too time consuming’

In short, not really. Most copywriters will sit down with a client for an hour or two so they can get a flavour for the company. But once that is out of the way, you may not hear from the copywriter again until the first draft of your copy is submitted. You see, it’s up to us to research further based on the information you give us so we know your business inside and out. We hang out with your customers and mystery shop your competitors so you don’t have to.

‘It’s not worth the money’

At the end of the day, the success of any marketing activity depends on its return on investment so let’s put the cost of copywriting into perspective. If you invest in professionally written copy and your sales increase tenfold, I think it’s fair to say that investing in a copywriter is worthwhile.  I’d also argue that copywriting is one of the more cost effective forms of marketing. You can invest a couple of thousand pounds on an eye-catching new website to attract new customers but effective copy only costs a fraction of that.

‘It won’t make any difference’

As with any marketing activity, measurement is key. And the great thing about the web is that it has made tracking results of online marketing so easy. Hopefully you’re already keeping track of the conversion rate on your website (the number of visitors that make a purchase. If not, I highly recommend installing Google Analytics). So once the new copy has been added, it should be fairly straightforward to measure its impact. E-mail marketing campaigns are equally easy to measure as most e-mail marketing tools not only give you an open rate but also a list of who opened it which is really useful for compiling a list of warm leads.

I hope this post will help reinforce the impact that professionally written copy can make. But I believe that it’s up to copywriters everywhere to help themselves by educating existing and potential clients about the difference they can make. At the end of the day, we’ve seen it work so believe in it. Now it’s just a matter of convincing others.