By necessity, marketing needs to be one of the most carefully planned components of a small business budget. Strategic, cost-effective approaches allow you to optimize your marketing ROI while freeing up your budget to improve your business. You can focus more on financial efforts on developing products, sourcing higher quality materials, hiring better employees and improving training. Copywriting is a key component of marketing efforts, especially as more business is funneled through online platforms. Professional copywriting can increase your page rankings in search engines and communicate value to customers. It is an essential element of how you build a relationship with the consumer. Like any marketing component, understanding how copywriting can benefit your business is essential to getting the most value from it. Here are 12 ways that you can increase the ROI of your small business’s copywriting budget.
Understand What You Need
Copywriters are not comprehensive marketers — they are specialists. Hiring a copywriter still entails work on the business end in determining how to execute copywriting effectively. You do not want to waste money on anything that does not lead to interest or conversion. It also can be confusing if you constantly change how you use copywriting in print or web content. Consistency is crucial to a brand’s identity.
Research your industry and competition to see the most commonly used methods of copywriting. Do they have case studies, blogs or white papers? Develop a list of regular deliverables that you find will add value to your target customer.
Lay the Groundwork
Copywriters are expert writers. To get the most out of your copywriting budget, do what you can on your end to facilitate their writing. Provide research materials, collect testimonials and offer ideas for content. Copywriters can perform some of these tasks themselves but expect to pay more for the extra work.
Make sure they also have marketing collateral like brochures and sales letters available. This helps create a consistent voice in the work they produce.
Decide on Freelance vs. Agency
Copywriters make their work available in two ways — through an agency or as a contracted freelancer. Firstly agencies manage relationships with clients and assign work to their writers. Second agencies will often charge higher rates than freelancers but they take care of the quality control for you. Third agencies enforce strict deadlines and professionally proof work before it is submitted, holding their writing staff accountable.
Freelancers are sometimes less expensive. The middle man is cut out but you need extra effort to manage the quality and timeliness of work.
Search Industry-Specific Copywriters
Many freelance copywriters and marketing agencies that offer copywriting tailor their services to a specific niche. They immerse themselves in the industry to accrue knowledge and understanding, developing insights that benefit the reader.
With copywriters that specialize in your industry, writing will be uniquely crafted, elevating your content above your industry peers. They also tend to produce copy and content more quickly, saving you money and increasing your copywriting ROI.
Provide Deadlines as Far Out as Possible
A lot of the content that businesses are using to bolster their websites and drive conversion are recurring. Blogs need to be updated and email funnels are followed up on regularly. If you create a schedule for when you implement your copy, you can create deadlines further out. It helps keep costs low, as copywriters tend to charge more when the turnaround time shortens. Setting pushed out deadlines also allows copywriters more time to develop the highest quality content.
Detail Expectations in Writing
Most agencies you go through will handle contracts and make guarantees a standard part of your collaboration. Freelance writers handle things individually and there are several different trains of thought when it comes to contracts. Some writers feel that going contract-free provides more freedom to their clients.
In most instances, you will want to have an official contract with any external copywriter. If writers offer more short-term or project-based contracts, it provides you flexibility if your circumstances change. It also means the writer is willing to continually earn your business, indicating confidence in the quality of their work.
Include the agreed-upon charges and as many details to avoid confusion. Misunderstandings can lead to avoidable revisions and disagreements in the middle of projects.
Check the Work
Editing and proofreading are extremely important when trying to establish authority in a field. Small errors or formatting issues can look unprofessional on a business website and negatively affect the user’s perception. Agencies will normally have editors above writers to proofread and enhance the copy. Freelancers do most, if not all, of the editing themselves.
In either case, the work is passed on to you before it is submitted. Take some time to review. Check spelling and grammar but also make sure links work properly and images load. You may also locate factual errors that can be buttoned up to make sure you make the right impression.
Even if copywriters are experts in the industry, they are still new to your business. Reviewing work not only checks for quality but also points out areas that need clarity for the writer. Spelling and grammatical errors are easy to spot for skilled copywriters but factual inconsistencies or insensitivities may go unnoticed. Provide polite, respectful feedback to educate the writer and reduce future errors.
Consider Word Count
Copywriters generally charge in one of two ways — by the hour or by the word. Regardless, the higher the word count you request, the higher the cost because they take longer to write.
The idea that higher word counts lead to higher page rankings has been all but completely debunked by industry insiders. Avoid padding the word count and instead focus on relevance to your audience. It takes fine-tuning to find the perfect word count so that you are not overspending but also making your content as valuable as possible. Review the first few articles and see if they need to be lengthened or shortened. Make a note of changes you would make so that you can more accurately request word counts for future orders.
Avoid Extra Services
You need to have a distinct understanding of what can be accomplished in-house. Freelancers and agencies often bundle services together to work within your copywriting budget. Along, they may develop content strategies, promote content, manage SEO or perform a host of other marketing duties. These can sometimes be done by you or another in-house department. A clear understanding of what you can accomplish eliminates excess services. Most copywriters and agencies offer customizable service packages so you do not have to lock into anything unnecessary.
Copywriters seek collaboration and the most detailed understanding of your needs and goals. Provide access to anything that might be helpful in their ability to craft meaningful copy that aligns with your brand. If you have market insight, competitor research, brand identity information or any existing marketing materials, make it all available.
Communicate on your expectations and what you want to achieve with each project. Are you looking to increase conversion or drive traffic to your website? The more detailed you can be in your objectives, the more effective the copy and content. It also saves time when it comes to revising as you do not have to request as many rewrites.
Seek Out Experience
Whether you go with an agency or with a freelance copywriter, hire experience. A good rule of thumb for freelancers is that they have at least five years of experience. Do your due diligence in vetting potential candidates. Do they have a professional website? Are the samples they provide relevant to your industry? Where are they published?
For many businesses, it often comes down to who can get you the best price within your copywriting budget. However, copywriting is very much a “you get what you pay for” service. Better copy that drives conversion, increases rankings and generates interest is well worth the investment.
If you are considering how copywriting can help your business, small or large, start with understanding your goals and strengths. If you want to facilitate growth and prosperity and do not have experience in copywriting, hire a professional. Find the best value copywriting service in your business’s niche and strive to establish an enduring relationship.
Business is built on relationships with customers, employees and stakeholders. Long-lasting relationships are almost always more beneficial and take less effort to maintain. A copywriter who is more immersed in your business will gain more knowledge and insight to pass onto the reader.
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