Are your freelance copywriting services perceived as an expense, or as an investment?

cash registerMaybe you don’t think about your services in this way.

But your clients and prospects do.

As a prospective client looks at your estimate, she will perceive it in one of two ways.

“This is going to take a chunk out of my budget for this quarter. I wonder if this is really the best use of my dollars.”

Or…

“This is going to cost me a few bucks, but it’s going to generate a truck load of extra sales.”

In the first example, your involvement is seen as an expense. Even if the expense is necessary, your prospect is going to want to get the best deal for her money. She’ll probably be very price-sensitive. She has to spend the money, even if she doesn’t really want to. So she’ll probably shop around a bit and pressure a few freelancers to give her a really good price.

In the second example, she has her eye on the prize. If she can get some good work done, then the outcome could be a huge jump in revenues. Good for the company, and good for her within the company. Her primary interest is in driving those sales. So she’s going to be looking for a freelancer who can really deliver the goods. She’s going to be a lot less price-sensitive. She’ll be happy to pay more if it means she can achieve that jump in revenues.

As a freelancer, you have to be aware of the difference between a project that is seen as an expense, and a project that is seen as an investment.

For example, the writing of 50 new information pages for a website will generally be viewed as an expense. Yes, over time, these pages should more than pay for themselves. But there is no promise of an immediate jump in sales.

But writing a series of sales pages, landing pages or sales emails could all result in new cash coming in the door…within minutes of publication.

In other words, if you want to maximize your income as an online freelance writer or copywriter, you should be targeting projects which are as close as possible to the point of sale.

Here is an example scenario:

1. You charge $5,000 for the project.

2. Your client sees sales coming in within minutes or hours of your work being deployed.

3. Your client nets an extra $50,000 in revenues as a result of your work.

Now you have a happy client. Does she mind about the $5,000 she paid you? Of course not. It earned her ten times that amount.

Would she come back to you for future projects? Of course she would.

Would she be prepared to pay you more in the future? She might not want to, but she would, if you play your cards right.

The point being, clients will always pay more if they can see an almost immediate return on their investment.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for writing great web content. There is. But you’ll have to write a lot more words to make the same amount of money.

Does this mean every online writer or copywriter has to focus on sales copy?

Not necessarily. Yes, I think copywriters who can deliver sales will always be paid more. But if you are writing for the web in areas that are not close to the sale, you can still try to position the project as an investment.

For example, let’s say I’m writing a buyer’s guide for a group of products being sold on a website.

During discussions with the client I would talk about how the buyer’s guide page is all about driving readers to the individual product sales pages. I would talk about how I would be structuring and writing the page in such as way as to optimize clickthroughs to those sales pages.

In other words, I am framing this page within the context of the sales process. I don’t talk about it simply as an information page. I talk about it as being an integral part of the sales funnel.

By doing so, I am shifting the client’s perception of the project away from “expense” and closer to “investment”.

If I do this well, I can charge a decent fee for writing the buyer’s guide.

Summing it up…

Whatever type of online writing or copywriting you do, you need to be aware of how the client feels about paying you.

And the further you can move her perception of the job away from simply being an expense, the higher the fee you can charge, and the more likely you are to get repeat work.

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