When a client "tweeks" your copy ...

by Drez
6 replies
How you deal with clients who want to "improve" your copy?

Do you:
  • Take the position, "they paid for it, let 'em do whatever they want with it"?
  • Push back, defend your copy and 'insist" they run it as is?
  • Include some obvious "give-backs" for clients who always want to tweak things?

Just curious ...
#client #copy #tweeks
  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    on their reputation and whether or not I knew their operation.

    On some of bigger deals, I worked for people who ran huge companies, but, they built these businesses on their OWN copy...so, my position was less rigid...as long as the royalty remained in place my attitude was...whatever works and helps sell more.

    With newer referrals, I tried to do a Q and A before accepting assignments, laying the groundwork for less interference..and then,

    sometimes, it was simply prudent to take their money and watch what happened.

    So, in my experience, I probably did all three at one time or another. Just depended on circumstances.

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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      It's just one of those unfortunate circumstances which happens from time to time.

      I've had a few similarly, who absolutely butchered the sales copy supplied to them, ignored my contract stating no changes to be made to the sales copy for the first 30 days. If they ignore this and make drastic changes themselves - they forfeit my guarantee.

      And if they come back at a later date, and yes this has happened once or twice, if they come back complaining about the conversion rate, get angry even that the copy has bombed rather than helping them as part of my usual customer care service plan, if they want me to help them again, I'm sorry, but they've got to pay me for my time at my full blown rate.

      Copywriting clients, some of them, not all of them, are in a league all of their own for stupidity at times. You can do your best for them, offer them incredible advice and what do they do? Still think they know best. Which is why once you've got some experience behind you, why it's very important to pre-qualify who you take on as clients in the first place.

      Sooner or later you'll see the warning signs in the first few exchanges via email. As soon as my gut feeling, intuition say's leave well alone, that's it, I'm out.

      Whenever I haven't listened to this intuition, it's landed me in hot water. You learn from experience.


      Pete Walker
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      • Profile picture of the author sandrasims
        I can see this from both sides of the fence.

        As a business owner I know my target audience very well. There have been times where I made a few changes where I knew that the audience wouldn't use certain language. So a few words needed to be changed.

        However, in some respects I'm too close to the project to write effective copy. I've often hired copywriters who are much better at writing sales copy than I am. In this case I do my best to respect their work and leave it as is.

        As a writer it is very frustrating when I've used my expertise, research and writing to create something truly unique. Then someone comes along and makes changes for the worse. I'm open to constructive feedback and suggestions. However, re-writing the piece is not likely to make me real happy, or want to work with the client again.
        Sandra Sims

        Established marketing services website - view my Flippa website auction here!
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    I always work very closely with my clients. Let's face it... they're in the business. They (hopefully) know things I don't.

    By the same token... sometimes they're too close to see things clearly.

    Generally I talk to them in the "planning" stage, pitch them by ideas, and we work something out we both think is awesome.

    On the rare occasion a client and I butt heads on something, my standard response is, "Hey, it's your business... ultimately it's your decision. But I gotta go on record to say I think this is the wrong choice."

    If it's a minor change (like a headline or something) I'll usually encourage them to split test it so they know for sure what works and what doesn't. This also has the byproduct of proving I'm interested only in their results...

    And when my version wins it proves they can trust my abilities.

    Not to say I haven't "lost the bet" a few times before... but usually I'm pretty much on the money. Which gives me a lot of confidence when I need to change a client's mind on something in the future.

    Ultimately it depends though. Some clients just suck - anyone who's been freelancing for more than a few months can tell you that. There'll always be someone who just wants to pay you to do what they say then blame you when things bomb.

    With experience and some of what Carlton calls "**** you money", you're usually able to avoid these people. But sometimes - particularly in the early stages of your career - you're going to get caught by them.

    In such a case, tell them you think it's a bad idea, then if they insist, do what they say. At least you'll have gone on record sharing your side of the story.

    I hope some of this helps a little, Drez.


    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Some clients like to carry out their own test and will change some aspect
    of the copy to see if they can improve the conversion. If they do then
    you are in hot water if the conversion goes down then you get some

    It all depends on the client and how well thery know their markter
    better than you. It's not all clients who really want YOUR copy.

    I know a few well-known internet marketers who will hire a cheap
    copywriter (some are my students) just to get a first draft
    and then they'll go and make their own changes.

    Most times the copywriter is glad just to get a testimonial from
    the 'big name' and will overlook any changes after.

    -Ray Edwards
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author nick1980
    I had that problem with a recent client. He altered what I believed to be a very effective headline (for the worse in my opinion), and added sentences which were poorly written and littered with spelling errors. I then had to go back through the copy correcting the mistakes. This happened quite a few times. In the end I decided to let it go. But there's nothing worse than seeing your work completely ruined by a spelling mistake in the headline!! It means you can't use it in your portfolio because it makes you look.... well, rubbish!
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