Hiring a Great Copywriter is Not For Everyone

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Before you even think of hiring a copywriter, please make sure you’re doing what only you can do for your business.

Which is:

  • Make sure your product or service can genuinely make people’s lives better in some way.

How do you make sure? If your product or service does that, you should be able to get some traction doing your own marketing.

Even if it’s the bare minimum.

Now, there’s another crucial principle, almost as important as the previous one:

  • People buy from people they trust and like.

All a copywriter can do is create copy that will make people trust and like your business more than they trust and like the competition.

There a myriad tools and techniques to achieve that. And most good copywriters know how to use them.

But nothing can beat the copywriter’s experience in getting people to trust and like them (or others).

I mean, their experience doing that when they are not sitting at a keyboard.

Because that’s what infuses their copy with the energy to make it work for you.

It’s quite hard to write persuasively if you’re not a persuasive person.

Always ask a copywriter what they do or have done in the past besides writing.

For instance, if you asked me…

 

Here’s how I would answer

For the last 18 years, making people trust and like me has not only been a matter of success or failure.

It would probably be more accurate to say it’s been a matter of survival.

In 1998, I quit a cushy marketing job at oil supermajor BP in my native Venezuela.

The country’s political situation was going down a path that ultimately led it to a borderline communist dictatorship.

So I took off to Barcelona, Spain.

I started a new life from scratch in a foreign country, where I hardly knew anyone.

Actually, I hardly spoke the language.

(Which is Catalan, not Spanish.)

I can fairly say that kind of thing builds your persuasion and congeniality muscles in a way that nothing else can.

 

Getting started was tough

But I ended up getting a job that allowed me to travel the world for almost 10 years.

I was producing advertorials that promoted trade, foreign investment, and tourism in emerging markets.

Published with world renowned magazines and newspapers. Such as Time, Fortune, Miami Herald, Handelsblatt, and Moscow Times.

I wrote the copy of the advertorials. I interviewed hundreds of CEO’s and key government officials in a dozen countries, across four continents.

But I also sold several million dollars of advertising space in the advertorials.

Most advertising contracts were signed on the spot. By the same people I interviewed.

So my interviews were carefully-crafted exercises in question-pitching.

And closing so many deals under so much pressure taught me a a thing or two about what to say, and how to say it, for people to trust and like me very quickly.

 

But I also learned a couple of things the hard way

The most important one has to do with the fundamental rule I started this post with.

Never persuade anyone of buying anything they don’t really need.

You see, the advertising agencies I was freelancing for charged extremely inflated prices for the advertorials.

So most of the advertisers never got a decent return on their investment.

Some of them advertised for branding reasons.

But most of them did it for political reasons: “Minister X thought this initiative would be great to promote the country, and would be grateful if your company contributed to make it happen…

Or simply for ego reasons. Some people are willing to give an arm and a leg to see their head shot in Fortune magazine. Even if it is in an advertorial published in Fortune magazine.

But sooner or later, they regretted it.

Unsurprisingly, repeat business was extremely low.

 

And my morale was going down fast as well

Knowing that I wasn’t delivering genuine value to others was rapidly eating up my motivation. So I partnered up with a colleague to set up our own agency.

We did the best we could. And we had a couple of successes.

But I remember once chasing the Minister of Tourism of Egypt during a big trade show in Sharm el-Sheikh. We just wanted to show him an advertorial we had produced about the country.

The Ministry had advertised with us, but the man was afraid we were trying to up-sell him or something.

When we finally got hold of him, he simply couldn’t believe we had produced about 5x the amount of content they usually obtained for the money they spent.

That’s how damaged the reputation of that sort of advertorials was.

After going through similar experiences in a couple other countries, we eventually stopped trying and shut down our agency.

But struggling to earn back the trust of prospects in such a burned out market also contributed enormously to building my persuasion muscle.

 

Bottom line

My ability to produce copy to boost your company’s sales goes way beyond technical savvy.

Working with me, you rely on someone hardwired by experience to help you sell more. And more profitably.

Someone who uses copy as part of a holistic approach to solving your most pressing sales and marketing problems.

Any questions? Get in touch at alan(at)alanfurth(dot)com or 1.818.453.09.39

I offer a free consultation over the phone, or over coffee. Let’s find out if we are a good match!

Niches

Due to my experience and natural inclination, I specialize in the following niches:

  • Financial products and services
  • Personal development/productivity
  • Health and fitness
  • Lifestyle design
  • Travel

However, if you read my bio above, you’ll probably agree it is fair to say versatility is one of my strengths.

Besides traveling the world producing country advertorials, I’ve had customers and/or worked for companies in a wide variety of sectors, such as:

  • High tech
  • Real estate development
  • Food and beverage
  • Interpreting/translation

So call me up for a free consultation, whatever your niche.  It’s the only way to determine if we’re a good fit.
You can reach me at alan(at)alanfurth(dot)com or 1.818.453.0939.

Fees

Online copywriting

Service/Package Fee
Website $200-350/page
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) copy $280-500/page
Integrating keywords into existing copy $70-300/page
E-mail, short copy (equivalent of a 1 to 2-page sales letter) $175-1,400
E-mail, long copy (equivalent of a 3 to 4-page sales letter) $500-2,400
Autoresponder series $100-250/e-mail
E-books Depends on length/scope/subject matter
Blogging $200-450/post
E-newsletters $400-1,000/issue + $2,000 for set up

Pay-per-click (PPC)

Service/Campaign Fee
PPC Campaign (keyword research, 12 ads, landing page, welcome page, e-mails) $650-1800
PPC ad (Client provides keyword research) $15-200
PPC ad (Includes keyword research) $50-250

Direct mail and print

Service/Package Fee
Sales letter $1,000-7,000
Fundraising letter $1,000-7,000
Complete direct mail package $1,600-5,500
Complete fundraising package $1,150-2,250
Lead generation letter $850-3,000
Brochure $300-550
Space ad/advertorial $350-1000
Newsletter $300-550/page

Other promotional materials

Service/Package Fee
Press release $300
Press release distribution $100
White paper $2,500 – 10,000
Case study $1,000-1,500
Article (typically 750-1,500 words) $1/word
Slide deck $70-100/slide (basic template)

$140-200/slide (with speaker’s notes)

$280-400 (full design)

Speech $80-300/minute
Video script $500 + $80-120/minute

Portfolio