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I’m the first one to admit that I get caught up in those home improvement shows on TV. I’ve actually learned quite a bit. I’m also frustrated by some of those shows because they make people think they’re faster than a nail gun, more powerful than a jackhammer and able to tackle any project in a single bound. But when things go wrong, there isn’t a team of home improvement experts with tight shirts and perfect hair to make things right. Superman, meet kryptonite.
Many business owners make the same mistake with their marketing copy. They think it’s a DIY project because they know more than anyone else about their business and they can type. There are dozens of reasons why this is a bad idea, but I’ll focus on six reasons why business owners should avoid donning the big red cape.
1. The value of a fresh perspective.
It can be difficult for business owners to detach themselves from their business and analyze it objectively. A copywriter isn’t emotionally attached to that slogan your spouse came up with that may seem catchy but doesn’t really say anything. It’s much easier for a copywriter to look at things through the eyes of your target audience and determine what’s most important. Remember, consumers don’t care about your business. They only care about what your business can do for them. This fresh perspective will often lead to a more powerful message that can take your business to a whole new level.
2. Your head can’t support another hat.
Business owners, especially small business owners, wear many hats. If the development of a marketing message and content are someone’s 4th hat, or 9th hat, or 13th hat, how effective can it really be? When you spend 15 minutes here and a half hour there on marketing copy, you’re likely to end up with a disjointed, unfocused and unclear message. What you say to clients and prospects to build relationships and earn their business is far too important to be anything but the top priority for someone, ideally a professional copywriter.
3. “Self, this won’t cut it.” Yeah, right.
Business owners can’t sit across the table from themselves and tactfully say, “I understand why you did it this way, but I would strongly recommend a different approach. What about this?” A good copywriter is not a yes man or woman. Personally, I would rather risk hurting someone’s feelings and having them mad at me for a day instead of rubber stamping something I really don’t support. A smart businessperson will eventually understand my point, respect my honesty and see the value in my expertise.
4. Knowledge and passion do not a writer make.
A business owner may be an expert in their field and speak passionately about their product or service, but that doesn’t make them an expert in marketing or a talented writer. In fact, many authorities in their fields get caught up in “industry speak” or advertising clichés and have trouble speaking the language of their target audience. Also, I’m constantly amazed by high income professionals with advanced degrees who can’t write a coherent, grammatically correct paragraph, let alone effective marketing content. Making a connection with clear, concise copy is a talent that not everyone has.
5. “I’ll write it and you clean it up” just creates a bigger mess.
Many business owners will write a marketing piece and then ask a professional to offer feedback and make revisions. Unfortunately, copyediting takes just as long if not longer than copywriting from scratch and usually results in completely rewritten copy anyway. Why not work with a professional from the beginning and nail it the first time?
6. Do-overs can be costly.
Ill-conceived, poorly executed marketing copy that needs to be redone will cost you valuable time, money and clients. You’ll also fall behind competitors who got it right the first time. The short term and long term costs of doing it over are far greater than investing in a professional copywriter.
Remember, marketing is an investment, not an expense, so you should expect a return. Hiring a professional is the best way to maximize the return with the least amount of risk. I’m no financial wiz (which is why I hired one), but that sounds like the best kind of investment to me.
When a pipe leaks, I call a plumber. Sure, I could dig up the DIY book and figure out how to fix it myself but I don’t have that kind of time. I’d rather invest in a trusted, well-recommended expert and not wonder whether or not the problem was diagnosed and fixed properly. Just like a leaky pipe can cause thousands of dollars of water damage, a marketing message with holes in it can cripple your business. Like Mike Holmes from “Holmes On Homes” says with his overalls and Canadian accent, do it right. Please don’t make me send him to your office.
What’s preventing you from investing in a professional copywriter?