Subscriber JA writes, “I am finding clients who say they want a
copywriter, and then ask for additional services such as design
and web development, including programming. How do you sell them
on just the writing aspect that they need first and foremost?”
I do three simple things that solve the problem easily and
First, I send them a link to my FAQ page where it states the
“Q: What if I need graphics, not just the copy? Do you work with
“A: I work with the best direct-mail artists and web designers in
the world, but it’s not a package deal. After you hire me, I’ll
give you some recommendations on the right artist for your job
and you can come to terms with him or her on your own. I can also
work with your artist or web developer, if you prefer. Either way
is fine with me.”
I stole this language from Richard Armstrong. We are in essence
saying, “We can get you the other parts of the project you need,
but we don’t act as an ad agency or manage the project for you.”
Second, I make it easy for the client to find vendors who can
provide whatever they need that I don’t do — by posting a vendor
directory page on my site:
When a client asks “What will a mailing list or design for my web
site cost?” I don’t go out and get a quote from the vendor. I
point the client to the vendor’s page link above — and tell them
they have to contact the vendor directly to get the pricing.
Third, after all this, there will still be a few clients who will
only hire you to write their copy if you also act as a full-service
agency and deliver the entire package.
In such situations, you can say one of two things: Yes. Or no.
If you are in such demand as a copywriter that you have many more
potential clients than you can handle, then sticking by your
guns, saying you write copy only, and refusing to provide full
agency services is easy.
That’s the option I have chosen: fill my lead pipeline to
overflowing so I only have to take the jobs I want. And projects
where the client wants me to “do the whole thing” are jobs I do
not want. So I turn them down.
On the other hand, if you are hungry and need the work, turning
away good assignments from clients who demand a turnkey service
is more difficult, and you may choose to give them what they
want. It’s up to you.