A Bit About Pricing
Yeah, this page is long. But it’s important.
I want you to understand what goes into pricing your copywriting project so you can make the wisest possible business decision when it comes to selecting services.
First Thing's First
Before we get into pricing, I want to help you understand why quality copy is so important.
There’s a misconception out there that anybody can leverage the online market by just slapping together a website with Wix or Squarespace and filling in the blanks with whatever text sounds good to them.
Sure, you can create a website that way, but will it actually be an asset for your business? Maybe. But it could also become a liability.
Have you ever met someone who did nothing but talk about themselves? I certainly have. Quite frankly, I found them annoying and quickly decided I wanted nothing more to do with them. It’s not that they didn’t have anything to say. It’s that they were saying the wrong things.
That’s basically what can happen with a website that isn’t written by a professional. Remember, copywriting is unlike any other writing out there, especially the kind of writing you might learn in basic college courses.
Of course, just like with any service, professional copywriting costs money. And if you’re like most people out there, your primary question is…
In order to put the answer into perspective, let’s talk about the value of copywriting for a business.
What's the Actual Value of Copywriting?
This one’s easy…
If you’re in business for yourself, it makes you money. It’s that simple.
You pay a copywriter to craft the text for your website so that people who visit are significantly more likely to be interested in what you offer and more willing to give you money for your products and services.
Imagine what it would be like if you were walking down the street on a hot day and saw two lemonade stands across the street from one another. Lemonade sounds good. Looking at the signs you see the choices.
On one side of the street, the sign reads simply, “Lemonade $1.00”. Simple and straight to the point. You know what you get for how much. It’s what a buyer needs to know.
Now, the sign on the other side of the street reads, “Premium Lemonade $1.50. Fresh-squeezed to order (none of that fake powder stuff that other stands use). No additives or artificial preservatives (unless you decide to add sugar). The cup will have your name on it. Perfect for a parched throat on a hot day. Come get some while supplies last! You know you want to. (It’s so good, you’ll probably even want seconds.)”
Odds are good that most people are going to choose the second stand, even though it costs 50% more. The copy on the signage whets the appetite, shows the superiority of the brand while discrediting the competition, and creates a sense of urgency.
If the first stand sold 10 cups in an hour and the second sold only 20% more (12 cups), the revenue for each would be $10 and $18. Yes, those are hypothetical numbers for a hypothetical situation, but that should give you the idea of how copywriting works for a business.
So, the bottom line is this: Same product. Higher price. Higher sales volume.
Okay, next related and important question…
What's the Price of Not Hiring an Actual Copywriter?
This is also easy…
It costs you money. Again, simple.
Amateur copy might be able to get you some clients, but will it get you as many? If not, then you are leaving money on the table, which is the same as losing it.
Consider again the lemonade stand example above. The first stand’s sign just offers information about the business and product. That’s typical of amateur copy. As a result, the solopreneur only made a bit over half as much as the competitor.
And that’s the “good” outcome. There is also a potential “really bad” outcome.
Remember the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? It’s true. That can work for you or against you.
In a worst-case scenario, poorly-written copy can actually give visitors a bad first impression of both you and your business.
Consider the significance of this. Now, you have visitors who have been turned off by your website and want nothing to do with you either now or in the future. That drives them to your competitors. Even worse, it could lead to you having a bad reputation, which actually damages your business.
Of course, this outcome is far less likely than the first, but it is still a very real possibility and should be taken into consideration.
So, the bottom-line effect here is this: Same product. Fewer sales. Potential harm to the future of the business itself.
Why Hire a Professional Copywriter?
At this point, I hope the answer is clear. Whenever you work with a professional copywriter, you are making a business investment. In short, you are spending money in order to make more money.
Enough said about that.
Why Don't Copywriters Reveal Their Pricing?
Because sticker shock is real. That’s the main reason.
(Okay, I assume that’s the main reason. I probably shouldn’t speak for other copywriters.)
When people are looking for copywriting services, they often don’t realize how valuable the service actually is. But let’s put it in perspective with some arbitrary numbers.
Let’s say you come to my website and you see that I charge $2500 for a 5-page website. That may seem like a lot of money for a bunch of words.
But, remember, the goal of copywriting is to generate business for you 24/7. When done well, people are more interested in what you have to offer, like and trust you more, and want to do business with you.
Let’s say you sell your services for $500. If my copy can help you make a single additional sale per month, think of how fast you will make back your investment.
In 5 months it has paid for itself.
In 10 months you have made an additional $2500.
In a year and a half, that amount will be $6500
And in 2 years, you will have $9,500 (after paying off the initial fee) in your pocket that you would not have had if you had not hired me in the first place.
Again, professional copywriting is an investment. It’s meant to make you money.
What if You are a Church?
Well, churches get discounts. That’s a perk of working with a copywriter who is also a Presbyterian Pastor.
Let’s say I charge $2000 to write copy for a 7-page website. According to Nonprofits Source, the average church-attending individual gives $17 per week. (We’ll round to $20 to simplify math.) That comes out to about $1040 per year. This means that if the website were to encourage only one new giving unit to join, the website would pay for itself in a little less than two years.
Now, what if it were to bring in one additional giving unit per quarter (4 units per year)? Brace yourself, because this is what you are looking at…
- 6 months income: $780 (website more than one-third of the way paid off)
- 1 year: $2400 (website paid off with $400 to spare)
- 1.5 years: $4860 ($2860 more than the cost of the website)
- 2 years: $8360 (profit of $6360, which just keeps going up)
- And if you really want to know, 3 years will be 12 new giving individuals and $24,480 additional revenue to date (nearly 12.5 times the initial cost of the website).
Not a bad outcome if you ask me…especially if the congregation considers evangelism to be a priority.
Another Reason Not to Show Pricing
Businesses are not the same.
Some businesses will require more research than others. Some businesses will supply more information than others to start with. Some businesses are more in tune with who they are, who they are serving, and how they meet client needs than are others.
That means that the amount of time spent on a project can vary from client to client. That needs to be taken into account when creating a quote.
If a client sees a standard cost for a project (let’s go with $2500 again) but is going to require a lot more work than the standard project, the quote should be higher. So, if that potential client receives a quote for $3500, she or he may feel like they are experiencing a bait-and-switch, even though that’s not what is happening.
When a copywriter displays pricing, that copywriter runs the risk of locking in that price, regardless of the workload.
Sometimes, displaying prices publicly can lay the foundation for creating ill will. That’s not helpful for business. So it’s generally best to reserve it for the initial quote.
How Is Pricing Calculated?
A few factors come into play here: time, inherent value, and potential revenue effect.
Regarding time, this one is easy to relate to. More time involvement means a higher cost.
Inherent value is a bit more difficult. Basically, I look at the project and try to determine how much comparative impact my work will have on your business.
Let’s use a website for a service-based business as an example of how this works.
The most inherently-valuable page on your website is your Homepage. After all, that page is where visitors land, so it’s responsible for the first impression, getting attention quickly, and earning enough interest to keep a visitor going. That’s where my highest impact would be. So my services are worth more for that page.
The second most valuable page on your website is your About page. Once people are interested in what you have to offer, then they will tend to want to know more about you. So the About page helps them to connect with and trust you, which makes them more likely to be willing to do business with you.
Other pages on service-based websites typically fall into a lesser value than those two.
This means that the most expensive page will be the Homepage, followed by the About page, followed by other pages.
Moving on to potential revenue effect, this has to do with your business size and price of services and products. Very simply, if you are a mom-and-pop shop who simply wants their Homepage rewritten, it will cost far less than if you are an international, multi-billion dollar retailer who wants the same. After all, the impact that my work can have on your business will relate to the size and reputation of your business in the market.
Does all that make sense?
I'm Taking a Big Risk Now
Okay, I know I’ve basically said it’s not the best idea to reveal standard project costs. But I also hate it when I go to a website, look at a service, and then I see “contact me for pricing”. It just turns me off. I don’t feel like I can trust them.
I don’t want you to feel that way here.
So, if you are a small, service-based business and you are considering contracting with a copywriter to strengthen your online presence, allure new clients, and build up your bottom line, here are some sample prices of what it might cost if you decided to work with me. These prices may or may not be reflected in a quote that I offer you.
Understanding Your Brand Process (required): $200
Homepage (~450 words): $900
About Page (~450 words): $800
FAQ Page (~450 words): $600
Case Study (text only, ~400 words): $500
Services Page (Long, ~450 words): $200
Services Page (Short, or Segment, ~200 words): $100
Contact Page (~150 words): $200
Copywriting Coaching Bundle: $700
Additional Coaching and Guidance (1 hour): $75
So, if you need a Homepage, an About Page, three Short Services Page, an FAQ Page, and a Contact Page, you are looking at a sample quote of about $2800. It may seem like a lot, but remember, it’s a business investment.
Here's a Tip to Save You Money
As you know, sometimes you have to figure out how you can do the best you can with what finances you’ve got. Unfortunately, this means trying to figure out how to cut corners.
If you aren’t afraid of doing a chunk of the work yourself, you can simply outsource the most important work to me.
If you were to hire me (using the sample figures above) to do only the two most important pages of your site (as well as go through the required Understanding Your Brand Process), then the cost would be $1900. That would save you $900, and the most valuable parts of your website would be covered for you.
Note that this approach is definitely not for everybody. While that leads to a “minimum investment, maximum gain” scenario, it also requires that you have a decent idea of what you are doing and can write well enough to pull off at least mediocre supplemental pages. If you are not sure whether you can do that, then it might be best for you to make the full investment. Otherwise, it could be the most business-savvy way to go for you.
Normally, in the industry, payments are done in a way that is meant to protect both the copywriter and the client. Half is paid up front, so that the copywriter knows that at least some income is coming in for the efforts. The other half is at the completion of the contract. That way, if the client is not happy with the work, they don’t have to make the final payment.
That’s also the way that I generally work. However, if you aren’t sure whether you will be able to make a payment of half up front, I am willing to break the full amount into multiple scheduled payments.
If that’s something you need, let me know when we talk in our discovery call.
Want an Actual Quote for Your Actual Website?
Then get on my calendar so we can talk. We’ll spend about 45 minutes talking about your business and copywriting needs so that I can get you some solid numbers.