Feeling like you wasted money on a copywriter comes from one of two places:
- You felt like you should’ve written it yourself because it didn’t represent you or your brand well.
- You felt like you should’ve written it yourself because it didn’t convert anyway.
Either way, you feel like you wasted time & money on a flop. And either way, we’ve got you. Here’s a list of questions you didn’t know you could ask your copywriters to protect your ROI before hiring them.
Question #1: “How Do You Do Market Research?”
WARNING: THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS PROBABLY NOT WHAT YOU THINK IT IS. READ THIS IN FULL.
Go deep on this with a follow-up question or two if they’re light-footed in their answer here, because this is crit-i-cal.
Look, if reading blog posts and Amazon reviews was enough for direct response market research, every copywriter would make you rich. Regretfully, most copywriters won’t make you a 10 sales, let alone enough to burn it all down and escape to Barcelona rich AF.
And it usually fails from the beginning: your writer needs to have a thorough system for pulling buying triggers out of YOUR audience. And this requires a VERY specific type of market research that is not general research.
Buying triggers are kind of like keywords, but for persuasion. The words that “trigger” your audience to say “HELL YES I NEED TO BUY THAT RIGHT NOW” and hold a grudge against their spouse if they give them a hard time about it. (Okay okay, we support healthy happy relationships here. Just saying, a buying trigger is some powerful shi*).
But the kicker is that every audience is slightly different due to different demographics & the nuances of the personality types the brands tend to atttract.
For instance, two different fitness brands offering similar products can still attract people who THINK and COMMUNICATE differently, even though they’re looking for the same type of thing (we’re saying this from experience after working with dozens).
One fitness brand, due to the brand’s own voice & personality, will attract a Type A person – for example, who wants to count calories & track macros. They like data & systems. These help them feel in control. They want a plan, they want to measure & track, etc.
But the next fitness brand, due to the laid-back style of the brand-facing character, will attract a Type B personality. “I just want to naturally live a healthier lifestyle without stressing about calorie counting & macros and all that stuff. Is that possible?”
This creates VASTLY different buying triggers, which require different content, copy, and possibly even offer adjustments. These two audiences speak a different language, and are looking to live different lifestyles through the product, even though the two brands are technically “competitors”.
It is deeply, deeply important that your copywriter recognizes this & knows that the real gold is directly in your audience’s mouth.
Your writer should be equipped to “get it from the horse’s mouth” when it comes to what your audience wants to buy. Google, Amazon, and prowling around random Facebook Groups don’t cut it unless you literally don’t have your own audience to inquire with yet, in which case you gotta start somewhere.
Question #2: “Do you use frameworks & swipe files?”
Why this question is important: a copywriter who pulls words out of their butt with zero reference point for structure or persuasive integrity is more concerned with protecting their ego than they are with protecting your ROI. Period.
Example: Our writers are firrree creatives and we push originality, have systems to capture client voice, etc. But we start with a foundational framework that we already know converts, BEFORE adding in the sex appeal that is your brand voice, personality, etc.
What this does is protects the structure of the piece (makes sure it’s persuasively sound), keeps us from getting carried away with our egos (hey, we’re human & not afraid to admit it), and keeps quality consistent so our clients can know proven frameworks will support their conversions.
Creative & ego-driven copywriters CAN hit big. I’m not denying that. But it’s NOT consistent if it depends on sparks of genius instead of proven formulas. Be warned.
Question #3: “Do you have a process for capturing our voice?”
The keyword here (and for almost all of these questions, even if it isn’t mentioned) is “process”.
For instance, we have a process called “Mic Check” where we do a quick & easy…well, we can’t put all of our secrets out there. But the point is, we have a specific, systematic, proven process for capturing our clients’ brand voices so we can make sure we’re representing them well in the copy.
Experienced copywriters will consider this ahead of time because they know all too well the struggle of a client who changes the copy after submitting it. This hurts the persuasive integrity of good copy. So if I’m being frank, we help you not touch our shit & keep our success rates up, not just by making sure it converts, but making you proud of how it’s written so you don’t want to touchie when we’re done with it.
Question #4: “I’m afraid of having that ‘I should’ve written it myself’ experience. Do you have something in place to protect us both from going through that?”
Ask them flat out & see what else comes to surface. Remember, you’re looking for answers that sound like processes & systems. Like they’ve done this before and have tricks up their sleeve for it. And like they’re consistent.
An experienced copywriter will start describing specific steps they take consistently to protect clients from an overwhelming rough draft delivery experience.
Question #5: “I know marketing is never a guarantee, but we have to do our best to reduce risks. Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve to protect the ROI viability of the project?”
Again, ask it flat out. Also this is a good one to ask because even if they BS the other questionos, no novice copywriter will be able to answer this question if you just ask it flat out. But the pros will answer, and it’ll be good.
You’re welcome 🙂
Question #6: “What are your average numbers for X?”
Novice copywriters won’t know their conversion rates, KPI’s, or have any data to back up their claims of adding to your top line revenue.
Keep an eye out for bullshit or guessing, but definitely beware of finding a great creative copywriter who doesn’t check their stats. Just because their samples are fun to read doesn’t mean they inspire action. And if they haven’t checked, they can’t know for sure to even be able to tell you their stuff converts.
Bonus Question (For Sales Letters): “Once the page is finished, will you have any specific input on how we can promote the page to get the best results? Specific topics we should use? Warm vs. cold audience, etc.?”
Even some experienced copywriters are going to be pissed at this one, but the truth is, you aren’t hiring us to write words. You’re hiring us to help you get a measurable result, and (most) sales letters don’t work alone to achieve that result.
This is especially true for mid to high-ticket products. You’ll do best pre-framing your audience so they can be excited about the offer before they hit the page, knowing about how many touch-points to go for, understanding congruency in language throughout the funnel (customer journey), etc.
And a copywriter who CARES about the success of the project will be ready to pull some other tools out of the tool bag to support here. Yes, they’ll be more expensive than a cheap copywriter. But if the goal is “ROI”, this right here is one of the BEST things you can look for in a copywriter to protect your chances at getting it.
You Knew This Was Coming, Didn’t You?
If you’re thinking, “wow! I really DO want a copywriter who can do ALL of these things! That would make me feel so much better!”
We’ve already got all of this down in our process and our clients love it.
Hop on a call with us to get a transparent demo and any other questions answered about whether we can help you or not.
Thanks so much for your time. I hope you enjoyed the read 🙂