Is Your Sales Page Copywriter “A Rockstar?”
Is your sales page copywriter “a rockstar?”
If not, you’re doing your business a serious disservice.
My name is Matt O’Connor and for the past 15 years I’ve been a direct response copywriter.
My clients are all pretty recognizable in the spaces in which I do my best work: health, wealth, and relationships.
What I’m sharing with you today are hard earned lessons from my clients as well as myself.
You’ve already acknowledged you need a copywriter, that’s a given.
The question is how do you get the best out of him or her? How do you turn them into a copywriting rockstar?
Today, I want to give you a bit of coaching.
So you don’t waste precious cash flow on copywriters that talk a good game, but basically suck.
Either their copy doesn’t convert, they’re not worth their fees or they’re a PIA to deal with.
I wish most clients would know this stuff.
But the truth is… when you’re an entrepreneur trying to offload as much as possible, having to babysit a copywriter is one of the last things on your to do list.
So before we talk about how to get the best out of someone, let’s first talk about how to hire them.
How to Hire a Rockstar Copywriter
Hiring a copywriter can be a risky business.
For a number of reasons, past performance does not guarantee future success.
I don’t care if they are A-list material.
- They could be in a market that’s new to them...
- They could be going through personal drama that’s throwing them off their game...
- They could be preoccupied with another client...
You just never know. Even checking references can be misleading.
So I encourage you, when you find a copywriter you think has possibility, to test them on a small, real, compensated project.
A project that matters but is small.
A project that may be a $1000 email campaign or quick opt-in lander or a native ad.
Now you should make it clear to the copywriter you’ve got much bigger plans because no copywriter worth their salt is going to get excited over a $1000 project, agreed?
So let’s say they pass that test with flying colors and you want to onboard them.
What’s the onboarding process?
First of all, a good/great copywriter is a business mercenary.
Like it or not, they’re in it for the money.
There may be other points, such as future endorsements and referrals, but it’s not the prime motivator.
It’s always about the money.
So in order for you to get the best out of a copywriter, you’ve got to talk turkey.
Your goal is for them to get super excited writing for you, willing to potentially put their other projects aside for the opportunity to focus on yours because it’s got the best payout compared to their other clients, assuming they deliver.
That’s a pretty tall order especially for a sales page copywriter whose mettle still hasn’t been tested quite yet.
So here’s one way to do it:
Establish an agreeable retainer.
A retainer locks them in and limits your risk.
Because you’re only on the hook for the current month.
If they turn out to be a dud, you can terminate the agreement.
During this first 30 days, if the copywriter is good, they’ll prove themselves to you in multiple ways.
They’ll submit work that’s worthy of being tested.
They don’t blow deadlines.
They don’t waste your time with inane questions.
And maybe most importantly, they keep their ego in check.
But let’s be clear…
An ambitious copywriter is not going to settle for what basically amounts to a cushy copywriting job working for a single client.
They’re going to start hunting for the next project.
And your job is to figure out how to stop them in their tracks and get them to focus on your business.
That’s where pay-for-performance comes in.
Give them a piece of the action.
Do the math and see what’s possible.
I would encourage some sort of tiered system.
For instance, X amount for the first million. Y amount for sales beyond the first million.
And always base performance upon sales, not profit. Why?
Because profit, as you may be already aware, is awfully difficult to calculate.
There’s too much of a “fudge factor” built in.
You also want to give copywriters access to the detailed sales information.
Not necessarily name and address stuff, just order #, date and amounts will do.
If they have access on a real-time basis, all the better.
The implicit thing you want to do is give your copywriter inspiration.
Also give them proof you’re serious about compensating them fairly.
I have clients that I’ve worked with for years and there’s no retainer, because the pay-for-performance compensation more than covers my fees.
But I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t trust the client. No way. No copywriter wants to think they’re being cheated or skimmed.
Just be fair.
You don’t have to dig deep and be overly generous, just give them the opportunity to make big money with you.
If they hit it out of the park, you both win.
If they give you a string of consistent singles or doubles, it’s not a bad day at the office for either of you, is it?
The key, and only you will know this, is what’s fair and is it sustainable?
For instance, I worked with a client years ago and together we had several winners.
Then out of the blue one day, I get a spreadsheet with an email from him saying we need to renegotiate.
All of a sudden, my whole outlook changed and not for good.
Even though we cut a new deal, I had lost my inspiration.
It’s difficult to put your heart into something and then for someone to change the rules.
Inspiration is the breakfast of copywriter champions.
Without it, we’re just going through the motions.
Without it, our copy lacks the zing that makes your bank account happy.
Both of us suffered and ultimately parted ways.
So cut a good deal, one that’s fair. One that’s enduring. One that compensates based upon performance.
Or at least give the copywriter a heads up and say something like:
“This is the best I can do for you right now, we may have to re-pencil this plan in the future.”
It may take a bit to hammer out, but if you’re working with a quality copywriter, it’ll be worth the wait.
In the meantime, pay the retainer on time. Don’t make the copywriter wait. Or even worse, have to ask for it.
The Power of Patience
The last thing I want to do is encourage you to have a bit of patience.
Trust me, your rockstar knows the pressure is on.
They know they’ve got to deliver the goods.
As long as you can see their work, and their focus on your projects, you’re in good hands.
Unless drastic changes to your business are imminent, sit tight and let them do the job they were paid to do.
Now if any of that has got you salivating to work with a rockstar copywriter, allow me to point you in this direction…