Copy for the WF? What is a 'manageable' price for all involved?

26 replies
I hope everybody is well.

I'm going to try to not ramble with this, but no promises.

I've been having a friendly back-and-forth with another WF member who provides copy. The discussion quickly turned into the price of our services and, ultimately, how I'm 'underpricing' myself.

... that is, I offer a copywriting WSO where I produce copy for $197. Bargain bin, I know. But I still produce quality material and my clients thus far have been overjoyed beyond belief with their conversions.

I typically produce copy that is about ten pages long (single spaced with margins moved in slightly). So, in those terms, I'm charging my clients about $20 a page for solid sales copy that has proven to convert.

My discussion buddy's jaw hit the floor when he heard that.

He informed that some of the 'heavy hitters' here would not do copy for anything less than $X,XXX a page.

... my jaw dropped.

I knew that I was seriously underpricing myself, but I did not know I was that far off the mark.

But that brings me to the original question that I came to the floor with.

... I find it very unlikely that the majority of the 'typical' members here on the WF can afford copy at $4,000 a pop ... and probably not even $1,000 a pop.

And, as I told my discussion buddy, those that can afford those prices typically have their 'favorite' copy person on retainer. Or at least on speed dial.

So, what do you think is the best price point for selling copy on the WF is? Do you think $197 is enough to have me legally committed to the asylum? Or do you think that the current price accurately reflects what the majority of the members of WF can realistically afford?

If you are at all interested, you can visit my thread that is in my signature. May give you a bit of a 'reference point' to what I'm rambling on about.
#copy #involved #manageable #price
  • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
    Hi Tiff,

    Pricing is always (and will always be) an issue, since everyone has their own opinion on the matter. I've read your testimonials and I would say you're seriously underselling yourself. Period.

    I know I price my copy at $297 and have been told to increase the price. Here's the problem that I find.

    When I originally launched my thread, my prices were much cheaper than this, and I *still* got complaints. When I raised my prices, it never put people off ordering, but I was still getting grumbles from the odd person, whereas everyone else was like 'hike your prices up woman!'.

    So, theoretically, I'm still in the shameless whore stage, and seems you are too - underpricing to get more clients and to make your services more affordable to the average Joe Public.

    I have two offline clients who are paying me good prices (not premium yet, but hey, who knows?) and have me on retainer.

    The fact is, that regardless of which price point you have, you will ALWAYS get complaints from someone or the other. I've seen this with other copywriters on the forum. One of my copywriting friends had a problem where he was providing very cheap copy, and ended up attracting a bunch of time wasters who wanted everything for nothing and still complained.

    Copywriting is seen as investment. You have a proven portfolio, and as you quite rightly point out, your copy produces results. You might slog hours away to produce fantastic copy, but only you know how much effort went into it. And as for the buyer, he is getting something that will make him money for a lifetime.

    When you think of it like this, it's no surprise copywriters charge premium rates. With cheaper prices, you can end up attracting time wasters (not always), whereas with more expensive copy, you should hopefully get clients who value your services and understand the implications of paying good money for a copywriter which can deliver results.

    In short, I think you should raise your prices. Don't worry about what's a good fit for this forum - since you have marketers here who can and will pay good rates for copy. And in any case, those that will pay good money are usually the ones serious about seeing their product do well.

    best of luck!
    Arfa
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    • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
      First, thank you so much for such a detailed response.

      ... I was slightly intimidated to post here after reading through some older threads and how some others were treated.

      So, thank you for being so polite and considerate to the questions of somebody who is just getting 'into the game.'

      Even at my low price, I have yet to come across a 'time waster.' Maybe I've only been lucky and I should not jinx myself, but each client I've worked for as been absolutely stellar. I can only pray that it stays that way.

      After your response, I am thinking about hiking up my rates at the end of this week. Surely not into four figures -- but a mid-range triple digit number seems like a good starting point.

      Additionally, I think shuffling my services from the WSO forum to the 'Warriors for Hire' forum will produce better results. Most people in the WSO forum are looking for the 'quick fix' and not an investment in future prosperity that copywriting will bring. Also, moving it to the 'Warriors for Hire' section will only it to stay on the front page longer and the $20/bump price is much more managable than $40.

      Also, I slightly confused about proving samples of my work. Thus far, each and every client I've worked with has requested that I not share the copy I produced for them in my portfolio. In return, I ask for a stellar testimonial -- but the two are not equal in terms of proof of quality, unfortunately.

      Any advice on how to handle the 'rights' to using the finished copy as a future sample for potential clients?

      ... I'm sorry for asking so many questions, but it is simply refreshing to get an answer from somebody who is knowledge and seems to have been in the same boat as me at one point or another.
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  • Profile picture of the author MissLizzie
    Hey Tiff,

    I don't want to comment on specifics, but a general observation about the WF is that the pricing of most services here is rock-bottom (for better or worse.....). To be able to charge a premium here, you need to be able to show that you have a decent track record, over a number of months and a number of sales letters. Otherwise, as many warriors would think, why would I go to you rather than the $97 copywriting guy?

    As Arfa commented, you might find better-paying clients elsewhere, or you might be better writing up your own niche product and selling that.

    However, in the end, your pricing should properly compensate you for the time that you spent writing the sales letter. If it's a couple of hours, then maybe $197 is OK, but if it's a couple of weeks.... maybe you need to look at your pricing again.

    Hope that helps,

    Lizzie
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Sounds like you're doing good, congratulations.

    One idea that many work, since you're afraid raising your prices may lose customers, while having low prices may leave money on the table -

    - would be to use some creative pricing. In other words offer more than one price - give the customer some options.

    For example $197 could be for say 5 pages. $297 could be for 10 pages. $397 could be for a sales letter plus consultation, etc. These are just examples off the top of my head, you could be more creative.

    When you offer different prices, you could keep the same customers you have now, and hopefully add those who are willing to spend more.

    I hope you understand the point I'm trying to make - it might be worth a try.

    As for offering samples - you could write a sample sales letter - one for a made up product, and offer that as a sample.

    You could also maybe ask your past clients to write a testimonial, and offer that to those wanting samples, as well as maybe a contact number to reach those former clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Sounds like you're doing good, congratulations.

      One idea that many work, since you're afraid raising your prices may lose customers, while having low prices may leave money on the table -

      - would be to use some creative pricing. In other words offer more than one price - give the customer some options.

      For example $197 could be for say 5 pages. $297 could be for 10 pages. $397 could be for a sales letter plus consultation, etc. These are just examples off the top of my head, you could be more creative.

      When you offer different prices, you could keep the same customers you have now, and hopefully add those who are willing to spend more.

      I hope you understand the point I'm trying to make - it might be worth a try.
      Ohhh ... not a bad idea!

      I absolutely cannot believe I have yet to think of that myself.

      Having to only write five pages for $197 would be a breath of fresh air to me right now.

      ... of course, I'm not quite sure I'd be able to keep everything contained to five pages. I'm hyper and long-winded. That would be quite the task for me.

      But, nonetheless, I think I'm certainly going to implement this when I, hopefully, transition my thread over to the 'Warriors for Hire' part of the forum.

      I could also charge, say, $497 (or more) to include an autoresponder series or personally formatting the text and images on the WSO thread or on the website.

      Great, great idea. Thank you!
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by TiffLee View Post

        Ohhh ... not a bad idea!

        I absolutely cannot believe I have yet to think of that myself.

        Having to only write five pages for $197 would be a breath of fresh air to me right now.

        ... of course, I'm not quite sure I'd be able to keep everything contained to five pages. I'm hyper and long-winded. That would be quite the task for me.

        But, nonetheless, I think I'm certainly going to implement this when I, hopefully, transition my thread over to the 'Warriors for Hire' part of the forum.

        I could also charge, say, $497 (or more) to include an autoresponder series or personally formatting the text and images on the WSO thread or on the website.

        Great, great idea. Thank you!
        I like that, the autoresponder idea is great.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hans Klein
    >>> afford copy at $4,000 a pop ... and probably not even $1,000 a pop.

    But why can't they afford it? The reason is they're not doing things on a scale where they have any confidence that they'll make their investment back.

    However... there is an entirely different world of folks looking for skilled direct-response copywriters. Beyond the warrior forum. Even beyond Internet marketers.

    Moreover... $4,000 a salesletter begins to look a whole lot smaller... really way too small... when you're spending a month slaving over every last detail... and the client is making 6, 7 or more figures from your work.

    So... my point is simply that you're going to get a whole lot more price resistance when your target market isn't making more than they invest in you.
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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      Both Hans and Max5ty make good points here Tiff, you can certainly get around the problems of pricing like this.

      As for samples, my advice would be the same as Max5ty - mock up some samples of your copy - this is what I did. In fact, I got more interest from having samples I mocked up this way.

      And your suggestion to clump things together is a great one - this is exactly what I do - I offer a package and I've lost count on the number of people who have taken me on this offer.

      I will be hiking my own prices up considerably in the coming months, because I know that I can - and from the sounds of it - you can too!!

      And as Hans said, don't restrict yourself to the forum - many of my clients come through my website, from referrals, offline and believe it or not, from Elance!!

      But that's a highly debatable topic in itself!

      kind regards
      Arfa
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      • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
        Originally Posted by arfasaira View Post

        As for samples, my advice would be the same as Max5ty - mock up some samples of your copy - this is what I did. In fact, I got more interest from having samples I mocked up this way.
        ... I know this is probably going to be a palm-to-face moment for me, but what exactly do you mean by 'mocking' up some samples of my copy?

        Sorry for being 'that person.' :p
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        • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
          Originally Posted by TiffLee View Post

          ... I know this is probably going to be a palm-to-face moment for me, but what exactly do you mean by 'mocking' up some samples of my copy?

          Sorry for being 'that person.' :p
          Here's what I did - I took a fictitious product and wrote the sales copy for it. I did this for the sales letter and did a brochure based on a fictitious set of fridges. I even got a graphic designer to make it all beautiful and turn it into a proper brochure for free - in return for re-writing the copy on his site

          You can do the same. Take any information product or real product and write the sales copy for it. How about your vacuum cleaner, an ebook teaching you how to make money online etc...if you're stuck (because its harder to write sales copy for products that don't exist) why not get a plr book which you can download for free from Resell Rights Weekly :: Free Private Label Rights Products and write sales copy based on one of those? At least this way you have a physical product to go through!

          Get a few samples going and get them on your website as an online portfolio and away you go!

          I hope that helps!
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          • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
            Originally Posted by arfasaira View Post

            Here's what I did - I took a fictitious product and wrote the sales copy for it. I did this for the sales letter and did a brochure based on a fictitious set of fridges. I even got a graphic designer to make it all beautiful and turn it into a proper brochure for free - in return for re-writing the copy on his site

            You can do the same. Take any information product or real product and write the sales copy for it. How about your vacuum cleaner, an ebook teaching you how to make money online etc...if you're stuck (because its harder to write sales copy for products that don't exist) why not get a plr book which you can download for free from Resell Rights Weekly :: Free Private Label Rights Products and write sales copy based on one of those? At least this way you have a physical product to go through!

            Get a few samples going and get them on your website as an online portfolio and away you go!

            I hope that helps!
            You, my friend, are a God send.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
              Originally Posted by TiffLee View Post

              So, what do you think is the best price point for selling copy on the WF is? Do you think $197 is enough to have me legally committed to the asylum? Or do you think that the current price accurately reflects what the majority of the members of WF can realistically afford?
              Tiff,

              When I read your WSO thread yesterday, I was shocked at how low you're pricing your service.

              You did an excellent job of positioning yourself. Frankly, as I was reading through your sales letter, I found myself wondering how high your fee was going to be.

              There's plenty of marketers on the WF willing to pay 4 figures for copy. Getting them as clients is all about positioning and establishing value.

              Alex
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              • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
                Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

                Tiff,

                When I read your WSO thread yesterday, I was shocked at how low you're pricing your service.

                You did an excellent job of positioning yourself. Frankly, as I was reading through your sales letter, I found myself wondering how high your fee was going to be.

                There's plenty of marketers on the WF willing to pay 4 figures for copy. Getting them as clients is all about positioning and establishing value.

                Alex
                Thank you so much for the kind words.

                ... it truly does mean a lot to hear that from one of the more 'established' copy guys.

                Right after I knock my two current orders out of the park, I am fully intending on remodeling my pricing system (and moving it from the WSO forum to the 'Warriors for Hire' section).

                I may not be ready to flesh out a $X,XXX price yet -- but I'm certainly going to ask a more reasonable figure for all involved.
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                • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
                  If you're not getting the prices you deserve on the WF, perhaps you should get off it. There is much more money to be made by copywriters who can convert in the real world.

                  The majority of people here thing $197 is a lot of money. Where I do my work, people don't bat an eyelid at figures 10 or 20 times that much.

                  You've done your time. You've served your apprenticeship. Now is the time to get into the big bad world where the real money is.

                  I recommend you check out some of Bob Bly's short books for getting clients. They're a good way to start. Just get on his mailing list. Perhaps your next $197 payment could be invested in a few...
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                  • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
                    Originally Posted by Hugh Thyer View Post

                    I recommend you check out some of Bob Bly's short books for getting clients. They're a good way to start. Just get on his mailing list. Perhaps your next $197 payment could be invested in a few...
                    Thanks for that bit of advice.

                    ... I'm going to look into them right this moment.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Tiff... Listen to Alex!

    Writing a killer sales letter takes weeks, involves consulting, researching, rewriting, revising, redefining, testing, chopping down and building up. This takes times.

    When people are wanting you to produce converting copy without interviewing or collaborating with them, their expectations are severely unfounded.

    When you charge more money, you might get fewer jobs. Maybe.

    But at least you'll be committing your energy for a client who appreciates your work and backs it up with a fee that's worth your time!
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  • Profile picture of the author MissLauraCatella
    Hey Tiff,

    "Just charge more." -- Colin Theriot

    Seriously, when Colin told me that, it changed the whole game for me.

    But let me elaborate on a few other important things.

    You've got a couple of different "things" going on here that affect your situation.

    The Warrior Forum can easily distort the perception on how much one should invest in professional sales copy. With market busting prices like $97/letter, it's easy to feel like "how the heck can I compete... and eat..." while writing copy.

    And, I don't care who doesn't like me for saying this, there are a good number of "bottom feeders" here on the WF who solely look for the cheapest price possible. I read that you've had great clients so far and I am happy for you.

    When I was first starting out, I had a few stellar clients, who returned to work with me even when my rates skyrocketed (thank you, if you're reading, much love!). I also had a few low-commitment folks who never even put my letters live. And it's certainly fair to say that if I had charged them 5K for the letter... they'd have gotten that **** live...

    So, generally, low fee = low commitment, high fee = high commitment. You are a very good writer. You want high commitment clients.

    That said, some very big fish hang around here on the WF, and they would be more than willing to pay 4 figures (and 5, with a % of sales) for a sales letter, but your best bet is to find clients off of the WF.

    There are two big events coming up in NYC at the end of August, the Clickbank event and Affiliate Summit East... I highly, highly suggest that you attend. Your market will be there in droves and I got a hunch that you present well in the flesh. And, we can hang out!

    You always want to have a value-based approach to selling your copywriting services. Never quote a price until you get a sense of how much in sales your letter can generate. You figure this out by asking the proper questions, "What's your product?" "What's your price point?" "Do you have a list?" "How big is your list?" "How did your last product do in sales?" Etc. Etc. I have a whole system for that and how I upsell services based on their answers... If you'd like to know more about it, feel free to PM me.

    You'll get there sweetheart. Just remember, you NEVER charge based on the time and effort it takes you to write, but on the VALUE you deliver to the client.

    Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
      Originally Posted by MissLauraCatella View Post

      I also had a few low-commitment folks who never even put my letters live. And it's certainly fair to say that if I had charged them 5K for the letter... they'd have gotten that **** live...

      Lol. Easily the best thing i've read on the forums thus far.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      [QUOTE=MissLauraCatella;4336468]I also had a few low-commitment folks who never even put my letters live. And it's certainly fair to say that if I had charged them 5K for the letter... they'd have gotten that **** live...

      So, generally, low fee = low commitment, high fee = high commitment. You are a very good writer. You want high commitment clients.QUOTE]

      Brian Keith Voiles, the old school direct mail copywriter who has written for Gary Halbert and Ted Nicholas, had a client not mail his letter.

      He said the client would brag that he got him to write for him.

      Price range back in the 90's was in the vicinity of $15,000, $20,000 and $25,000.

      Once again, people have different reasons for doing things which can be completly different to what we think.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Brian Keith Voiles, the old school direct mail copywriter who has written for Gary Halbert and Ted Nicholas, had a client not mail his letter.

        He said the client would brag that he got him to write for him.

        Price range back in the 90's was in the vicinity of $15,000, $20,000 and $25,000.

        Once again, people have different reasons for doing things which can be completly different to what we think.

        Best,
        Ewen
        That is, simply put, mind boggling.

        ... why drop that amount of money just to brag that you got him to write for you?

        At least use the copy and attempt to recoup the money.

        Sheesh.
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Originally Posted by TiffLee View Post

          That is, simply put, mind boggling.
          It just confirms what Hugh said about the different price points
          that business owners of multi million $$$ companies routinely pay.

          Totally different proposition from the guy still working a full time job
          dreaming to someday strike it rich on the internet.

          Thought I'd throw that in the mix for you and others
          to look over the box you're in.

          Best,
          Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
      Incredible nuggets of knowledge.

      ... thank you so much!

      Seeing as I work in NYC and reside in the LES, me making an appearance at those gatherings may not be out of the question.

      Not sure I'm quite comfortable with it on first thought -- but I'm the kind of person that throws caution to the wind.

      I just may be there.

      Originally Posted by MissLauraCatella View Post

      Hey Tiff,

      "Just charge more." -- Colin Theriot

      Seriously, when Colin told me that, it changed the whole game for me.

      But let me elaborate on a few other important things.

      You've got a couple of different "things" going on here that affect your situation.

      The Warrior Forum can easily distort the perception on how much one should invest in professional sales copy. With market busting prices like $97/letter, it's easy to feel like "how the heck can I compete... and eat..." while writing copy.

      And, I don't care who doesn't like me for saying this, there are a good number of "bottom feeders" here on the WF who solely look for the cheapest price possible. I read that you've had great clients so far and I am happy for you.

      When I was first starting out, I had a few stellar clients, who returned to work with me even when my rates skyrocketed (thank you, if you're reading, much love!). I also had a few low-commitment folks who never even put my letters live. And it's certainly fair to say that if I had charged them 5K for the letter... they'd have gotten that **** live...

      So, generally, low fee = low commitment, high fee = high commitment. You are a very good writer. You want high commitment clients.

      That said, some very big fish hang around here on the WF, and they would be more than willing to pay 4 figures (and 5, with a % of sales) for a sales letter, but your best bet is to find clients off of the WF.

      There are two big events coming up in NYC at the end of August, the Clickbank event and Affiliate Summit East... I highly, highly suggest that you attend. Your market will be there in droves and I got a hunch that you present well in the flesh. And, we can hang out!

      You always want to have a value-based approach to selling your copywriting services. Never quote a price until you get a sense of how much in sales your letter can generate. You figure this out by asking the proper questions, "What's your product?" "What's your price point?" "Do you have a list?" "How big is your list?" "How did your last product do in sales?" Etc. Etc. I have a whole system for that and how I upsell services based on their answers... If you'd like to know more about it, feel free to PM me.

      You'll get there sweetheart. Just remember, you NEVER charge based on the time and effort it takes you to write, but on the VALUE you deliver to the client.

      Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author TimCastleman
      Originally Posted by MissLauraCatella View Post

      Hey Tiff,

      "Just charge more." -- Colin Theriot

      Seriously, when Colin told me that, it changed the whole game for me.

      But let me elaborate on a few other important things.

      You've got a couple of different "things" going on here that affect your situation.

      The Warrior Forum can easily distort the perception on how much one should invest in professional sales copy. With market busting prices like $97/letter, it's easy to feel like "how the heck can I compete... and eat..." while writing copy.

      And, I don't care who doesn't like me for saying this, there are a good number of "bottom feeders" here on the WF who solely look for the cheapest price possible. I read that you've had great clients so far and I am happy for you.

      When I was first starting out, I had a few stellar clients, who returned to work with me even when my rates skyrocketed (thank you, if you're reading, much love!). I also had a few low-commitment folks who never even put my letters live. And it's certainly fair to say that if I had charged them 5K for the letter... they'd have gotten that **** live...

      So, generally, low fee = low commitment, high fee = high commitment. You are a very good writer. You want high commitment clients.

      That said, some very big fish hang around here on the WF, and they would be more than willing to pay 4 figures (and 5, with a % of sales) for a sales letter, but your best bet is to find clients off of the WF.

      There are two big events coming up in NYC at the end of August, the Clickbank event and Affiliate Summit East... I highly, highly suggest that you attend. Your market will be there in droves and I got a hunch that you present well in the flesh. And, we can hang out!

      You always want to have a value-based approach to selling your copywriting services. Never quote a price until you get a sense of how much in sales your letter can generate. You figure this out by asking the proper questions, "What's your product?" "What's your price point?" "Do you have a list?" "How big is your list?" "How did your last product do in sales?" Etc. Etc. I have a whole system for that and how I upsell services based on their answers... If you'd like to know more about it, feel free to PM me.

      You'll get there sweetheart. Just remember, you NEVER charge based on the time and effort it takes you to write, but on the VALUE you deliver to the client.

      Good luck.
      Funny ... I remember a rather good looking gentleman having something to do with this as well ;-)

      Tim

      PS: Get some results, jack up your rates, and don't look back. I know one copywriter who went from $300 letters to $1250 letters in a single month based on results and connections.

      I forget who that person was at the moment ;-)

      Good luck
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      • Profile picture of the author TiffLee
        Originally Posted by TimCastleman View Post

        PS: Get some results, jack up your rates, and don't look back. I know one copywriter who went from $300 letters to $1250 letters in a single month based on results and connections.
        Good luck
        Now that is some inspiration.

        ... thanks for your input, Tim.
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      • Profile picture of the author MissLauraCatella
        Originally Posted by TimCastleman View Post

        Funny ... I remember a rather good looking gentleman having something to do with this as well ;-)

        Tim

        PS: Get some results, jack up your rates, and don't look back. I know one copywriter who went from $300 letters to $1250 letters in a single month based on results and connections.

        I forget who that person was at the moment ;-)

        Good luck
        Totally. When Tim heard that I was charging $300, he scoffed as if it was ridiculously cheap. Now, that's what I do, too. I have a whole new reality now thanks to him.

        His encouragement changed the game for me. And he is also an AMAZING client who actually provides FEEDBACK AND RESULTS.

        Which reminds me, Tiff, you have to make an agreement with your clients that they will share your results with you (and preferably give you a screen shot). You need to know your #s because that's what all the "big players" are interested in.

        You don't need to share what the product was, but you need to share your #s, so make sure they agree to that before you start a project.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by MissLauraCatella View Post

      You always want to have a value-based approach to selling your copywriting services. Never quote a price until you get a sense of how much in sales your letter can generate. You figure this out by asking the proper questions, "What's your product?" "What's your price point?" "Do you have a list?" "How big is your list?" "How did your last product do in sales?" Etc. Etc. I have a whole system for that and how I upsell services based on their answers... If you'd like to know more about it, feel free to PM me.

      You'll get there sweetheart. Just remember, you NEVER charge based on the time and effort it takes you to write, but on the VALUE you deliver to the client.
      Pure gold!

      Alex
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