I recently shared some tips on how to put together the figures for a copywriting quote. But what if I told you the price of your copywriting service plays just a small part in whether or not a potential customer says yes?
A teeny tiny part in fact.
Surprised? I mean, surely the price is all that matters? Right?
When I started out as a freelance copywriter, my eagerness to help prospective clients shone brightly right from our initial meeting. This eagerness and excitement spread to them and they would ask me for a quote. So I would send through a written copywriting quote. And then … nothing.
This would happen again and again, and I just didn’t get it. Finally, I realised that it wasn’t my price killing my conversion rate. It was how I presented that price.
You see, I kept it really simple: one page with a table. In that table, I included a few one-liners about the scope of the work and the total price in red.
I cringe to think about it now.
I turned all the value I offered into a number and then highlighted it in red, as if to say: WARNING WARNING WARNING!
Then everything changed
The sales process is far (far far) from over when you send through a copywriting quote, even when it seems like a sure thing. In fact, this moment is probably one of the most critical in the sales conversion process because when you put something on paper it sticks around as a reminder, long after your charming phone manner is forgotten.
So I changed my one-page quote into a six-page proposal for investment that sells me right from the opening paragraph. It went something like this:
PAGE 1: Greetings, objectives and requirements
The first page is the equivalent of an introduction. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already spoken to a prospective client, or met them even, this first page of your copywriting proposal is your chance to create a significant impression.
Be polite from your opening sentence. You will probably have some fluff in the email that goes with the sales proposal, but it pays to welcome the reader to the document as well.
Describe your understanding of the project objectives. This reminds the prospective client that you have been listening and that you understand what they want to achieve.
Provide an overview of the project’s scope. If that means asking a few more questions and repeating yourself a little, don’t worry. It will save you the awkward conversation later on when they tell you they didn’t need a direct mail series—just one letter.
All of this demonstrates that you listened when they talked and you understand what they need.
PAGE 2: Introductions and reminders
Introduce yourself and your business with a reasonably brief summary that helps to demonstrate your experience and credibility.
This could be adapted from your website’s About page, but your goal is to remind your reader why they thought to contact you in the first place. And consider that your quote might be passed around to other people who don’t know you, so this section could help sell your skills to them as well.
PAGE 3: The specifics
Your clients are itching to know the price. They’ve been bugging you about it since you started talking. And at last, you can give it to them.
This is when you spell out exactly what your service entails in glorious technicolour. Even if you think it’s all standard stuff (“Oh but everyone does that”, you think), remind them! And customise it for the project and client.
I start this section with an overview of my process. Just like your bio, you want to remind your readers (especially the ones you didn’t actually talk to) that you have a rock-solid process that will deliver results.
Explain your service and your deliverables. I include a summary introduction about each particular service I offer, outlining why it is important and the value it offers a business. Then I detail each inclusion, like the copywriting brief, additional research, writing, two rounds of revisions and professional proofreading. For each inclusion, I explain the payoff/benefit.
- A detailed copywriting brief that helps me fall in love with your business, just like I’ll get your customers to
- Expert research to supplement the copywriting brief
- Engaging and compelling copywriting that gets your customers excited about saying yes
- Two rounds of revisions to make sure your copy is juuuuust right
- Professional proofreading, cos no one likes typos
The point is that by the time your reader gets to your price, the value you offer is neon-sign clear.
After you have done all that, list the project investment.
Choose your words carefully here. You are asking them to invest in their business… not take on an expense. It’s a very different proposition.
Sure, some clients will flick to the price first, but your aim is to take them on a journey so that by the time they get to the price they actually see your service as an investment—a valuable investment.
PAGE 4: Proof of success
This could be in the form of testimonials from other clients (highly recommended) and/or samples that show off your work.
Another great way to boost credibility is to include screenshots of client exclamations about how amazing their copy is.
Don’t have those? Start collecting them!
Won an award? Include that too!
What you’re trying to do is control the moment after they see your price. They might be mildly surprised. They might be utterly shocked.
You need to fill that moment with PROOF that you’ve delivered for others.
PAGE 5: Call to action
Every piece of marketing needs a call to action and your proposal is no different [FIRST NAME].
Yes, you discussed sending them a proposal. The implication is that they will book you if they are interested. But don’t ever leave that to chance.
Ask them to take that next step!
Tell them what the next step is so there is no confusion. Do they pay a deposit or do they give you written approval for the project then pay? Do they email you or fill out a form?
PAGE 6: Terms and conditions
As a wrap-up to your proposal, it’s really important to spell out your terms and conditions. Terms and conditions not only make you look professional, but also help clarify your relationship from the get-go. Don’t make them too long though, eh?
Too long? No way.
Now, I’ve got six pages here but the document usually ends up closer to ten pages.
Possibly, more if my copywriting client needed a website and a brochure, or they were also thinking about an email marketing series.
And you know what? That’s okay.
I always assume my prospective client would make their decision without talking to me again. That means I made sure they had all the information I thought they needed to make a decision in my favour.
Is it a lot of work to create this kind of copywriting proposal? It can be.
Is it worth it? Definitely.
But here’s a pro tip… once you create a template of your proposal document and templates of your services blurbs, it’s actually very easy (and quick) to put together.
Want a checklist that makes it easy?
The sales process doesn’t finish here, either. Make sure you follow up!
So, over to you. Will you change your quote into a proposal for investment? An offer that can’t be refused?