Want More Clients? Explain Yourself.


I recently wrote about how and why arTEESTes piss me off, and I used the example of an average guy I called Joe, who doesn’t really know why one copywriter or web designer should be worth more than another. He chooses the lower-priced freelancer out of sheer practicality.

It’s simple: Two guys do the same job. One of them does it for cheaper. If that were all the information I had, I’d go with the cheaper guy, too.

So what does it take to convince Joe that he should plunk down three times as much for your copywriting instead of hiring the guy off Elance who can’t punctuate properly?

You really need to explain yourself. That’s simple too.

I discuss this all the time with clients of mine who want me to write their website copy. I ask, “Can you tell me more about the benefits of people hiring you?”

“Well, we’re awesome!” they answer.

“No, no,” I say. “Of course you’re awesome. But you have to explain to site visitors how your awesomeness benefits them. That’s how they’ll become your customers.”

This usually gets me some blank stares, but here’s how it goes:

Joe has two freelancers trying to get his attention. One says, “I’m awesome, and I can write your website copy for $25 a page.” The other guy says, “I’m even more awesome than friggin’ awesome, and I can write your website copy for $250 a page.”

Joe looks at these two options and thinks, “You know what? I want awesome. Awesome is good for me. I don’t think I need even more friggin’ awesome. Just awesome is fine. I’m not Nike or Coca-Cole, after all.”

And Joe makes his decision. The high-priced freelancer loses.

Okay, now try this on for size:

Joe has two freelancers bidding for his attention. One says, “I’m awesome, and I can write your website copy for $25 a page.”

Now the other guy says, “I’m awesome. But what’s more important is that my awesomeness is going to make you lots of money. It’s going to convince your potential customers that your business is more professional and more credible and better than your competition. You see, most people only look at a website for about two seconds (literally) before they decide whether to stay. I make them stay, I keep them there, and I make sure they think you’re so awesome they want to give you their money. Does that sound like something you’d like?”

“Um . . . yes,” says Joe. “Yes, it does. This… sounds awesome.”

So the freelancer says, “You can have that, Joe. It can be yours, and for only $250 a page, you can have your customers staying on your site, deciding to do business with no one else but you and put their money right in your pocket.”

Joe looks at these two option. He can go with the first guy who promised him generic awesomeness, or he can choose the second guy who clearly knows the impact of great copy on a customer and presumably also knows how to execute that project to get the best reaction out of Joe’s customer. That second guy seems very confident.

On the one hand, the first guy is cheaper.

On the other hand, if the second guy brings in even ONE of the new customers he claims he can, Joe has recouped the price of the website copy.

Joe may still decide to go with the cheaper freelancer, but he’s going to think about it a lot longer and a lot harder.

If – and only if – the second guy, the one with the higher rates, explains himself.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.