I think it is so important to have a guarantee on my copywriting services that I post it on my website.
But note that it does not guarantee results: “I guarantee your complete satisfaction with the copy I write for you before you run the ad, mail the sales letter, distribute the e-mail, or put up the landing page or website.
“Most clients are pleased and enthusiastic about my copy when they receive it. But if you are not 100 percent satisfied, I will revise the copy according to your specific guidelines…and at my expense.
“Just tell me what you want improved and what the specific changes are, and I’ll make them—fast. There is no charge for rewriting. Revisions are included in the flat fee we’ve agreed to for the assignment.
“What I don’t guarantee is a particular result or response rate. Why?
“There are many factors in your marketing—product, market, price, list, demand, consumer preferences, the economy, the stock market, major events—I cannot control.
“Therefore, while I can and do guarantee your satisfaction with my copy before you test it, I do not promise and cannot guarantee specific results.”
For instance, an information product might be a winner at $97 but a loser at $47 or $197.
If the client does not price test and instead goes out with one price, $197, then it is not necessarily the copy that doesn’t work…it’s the price. And if the client ignores the advice of his advisors to test the prices, then the client is to blame, yes?
But there is another reason why it is impractical for copywriters to guarantee or be responsible for results: it is that clients almost always make changes to your copy.
Many of these changes are admittedly minor; others major. But the sad fact is that even a tiny change can destroy an ad and render it ineffective.
I tell clients the only way I can be responsible for the result is if they run the copy as I wrote it. Not as they rewrote it.
I understand they may not. They may be right in making changes they think improve the copy—in fact, they probably are in many cases.
Nonetheless, if the client—and not the copywriter—wrote the text or part of it, how can the copywriter assume responsibility for the results, given that even a teeny change can do big damage?
The answer many copywriters have to the issue of clients changing copy is to suggest the client do an A/B split test of the original copy vs. the copy that has gone through the review process.
Well this sounds nice, but forget it. I don’t think in my 35 years of freelance copywriting I have heard of any client taking any copywriter up on this offer.
So it is a theoretical solution, but not a practical one. Suggest it if it makes you feel good. But don’t hold your breath.
Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.