3 Reasons to Not Hire a Copywriter and Save Yourself Some Money

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If you run your own business, you likely write your own copy to help your bottom line. I used to do my own bookkeeping, spent hours sifting through free but legal stock photography, and even contemplated designing the covers of my novels just to save money. Eventually, though, we have to delegate or we dry up. I contracted a bookkeeper, stopped using free stock photography, and hired out book cover design. The end of the year is coming, so you may already be looking ahead to next year. Is it time to hire out your copywriting? It could be. However, calling a copywriter at the wrong time in your marketing process will only frustrate you and waste your money. Keep reading to learn three reasons to not hire a copywriter.

1. Your Marketing Goal is to “Increase Sales”

A hand drawing a line on a graph, the words "increase sales" above the line

When I ask potential clients about their goals and how they want me to help, I often get the above blanket statement. Don’t hire a copywriter at this point. Everyone wants to increase sales, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business.

Instead, answer this: What specific steps are you taking to increase sales, and where does a copywriter fit in?

For example: “I want to increase my email list click rate by one percentage point. Our sales funnel is well defined, but our email list shows some weakness. We believe our copy isn’t engaging enough and need help to find out why.” A copywriter can work with that goal.

2. You Haven’t Defined Your Target Markets

A person's head and shoulders in silhouette, with many different icons and paths drawn from those icons to the person's head. A question mark is in the middle of the person's face.

This is another reason to not hire a copywriter and relates to #1. I can’t work well with a goal that reads like this: “To increase sales in the 18+ male demographic.” That target market includes billions of people. That’s far too large.

To create an effective marketing strategy, have detailed descriptions of your target market(s). If you’re struggling with this, consider hiring a marketing consultant to help you with it. But basically, if you haven’t carefully defined your target market, don’t hire a copywriter.

3. You Want to Increase Sales on a Certain Platform

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard, with several social media icons floating on top

This goal can sound like this: “I want stronger copy to increase my sales via social media.” This may look like the domain of a copywriter―social media requires writing, right? However, you still shouldn’t hire a copywriter. Instead, answer these questions first:

  • How did current followers find you?
  • Why do they stay?
  • What content gets the most engagement?
  • What content gets ignored the most?
  • When and where do these followers buy from you?

Words are powerful―I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t believe that. However, they never act alone. Words require context to create meaning and those questions will help you discover that context.

Your followers may enjoy the content you’re creating but aren’t in the frame of mind to buy. Or they’re following you because they know you and want to support your business. Admirable, of course! (You’ve got great friends and family if that’s the case.) But they likely won’t buy more from you simply because the words have changed. Don’t hire a copywriter at this point: You have to attract the right kind of potential future customers to your social media profile first.

However, if your followers are your target market and you are still not seeing any engagement, then yes, call a copywriter.

Don’t Hire a Copywriter Until You Know Your Marketing Strategy

Before you hire a copywriter, know every aspect of your marketing strategy and have it written down. A copywriter is a member of your marketing team (even if your marketing team is just you right now). A copywriter is not the entire marketing team. I like to break it down like this: a marketing strategist creates the instructions and a copywriter follows them. Know your marketing strategy before you call a copywriter and you’ll likely save yourself a good deal of money in the long run.

About the author

Lori Straus

Lori Straus is a freelance writer. She has written for tech companies, non-profit associations, and small businesses. She also writes novels under Lori Wolf-Heffner.

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