Http Www.Payscale.Com Salary-Negotiation-Guide Im-Negotiating-New-Job-Offer Marketing Strategy For Beginning Copywriters – 3 Reasons to Stay Out of the Bargain Bin

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Marketing Strategy For Beginning Copywriters – 3 Reasons to Stay Out of the Bargain Bin

Go to almost any retail shop today, and you’ll find the bargain bin. It’s that large box or basket (the bin part) near the front of the store that’s full of stuff that’s ridiculously low priced (the bargain part). And while some people pick at it, looking for something they might someday, possibly, perhaps, maybe use, the products in the bin aren’t exactly flying out of the store, despite the low price. Why not? Because people assume that it’s low quality. It’s not even worth that lowly price. Why? Because it’s in the bargain bin.

As with any career, starting out as a freelance copywriter can be tough, and there seems to be as many opinions about how to “break in” to writing as there are writers. Recently, I read an article by a business writer touting that the best way to get in to the industry is through rock-bottom prices. I had to go back and re-read this sentence a second and even a third time. Surely, he had meant, “Don’t charge rock-bottom prices.” But there it was: Get work by charging low fees. Basically, he was saying: Put yourself in the bargain bin.

Certainly, if you check any number of writing websites, you’ll see that this is a popular strategy. I recently read on Craigslist where someone was willing to pay up to $8/hour for a business letter. But just because it’s a popular strategy, doesn’t mean it’s a good one. By setting your fees at rock-bottom prices, you are establishing yourself as a bargain bin writer, a mold which can leave a bad impression and be difficult to break out of. Plus, there will always be someone cheaper than you.

First, by setting your prices too low, you can leave a bad impression with serious clients. Imagine you need to have a tooth pulled. One dentist offers to pull your tooth for $25. Another says that he charges $400. While I don’t exactly know the market price for tooth-pulling, I know that $25 sounds ridiculously low, and I’m immediately going to start wondering why that dentist’s price is so low. In my mind, I’ve already started to think that the $25 dentist must not be very proficient. I’m going to trust my pearly whites somewhere else.

When you price yourself at below average rates, you are doing the same thing. Professional clients expect to pay professional fees. If your fees are too low, clients will automatically assume that your skills are below average. If you are charging professional fees, even it’s your first job, the client will start to think, “That sounds about right. He must provide quality if he’s able to get work at that price.” You are establishing yourself as a professional in the client’s mind.

Secondly, once you have established yourself as a bargain bin writer, it can be hard to break out of that image in the client’s mind. Even if you tell the client that this is a special, one time only deal. And even if he agrees profusely, he now knows that you can be had at the lower rate. In all future negotiations, he can use this as leverage to get products from you priced at the lower end of the pay scale. You’ve now “broken-in” and established a client, but, in the long run, what good is a client who doesn’t want to pay you what you’re worth? Plus, I’ve found that many clients shopping for bargain writers aren’t serious, or, that they may come with other factors that might end up costing you even more. For example, they might be feeling the pressure from working within a tiny budget and feel that this is their make-or-break piece. This could manifest itself in never-ending revisions or a constant feeling of disappointment in your work, no matter how great it is. Clients looking for writers on the cheap are often hoping to get much more than what they’re paying for.

Finally, if the bulk of your marketing strategy is based on being cheaper than the other guy/girl, then you should know that there are others who are using the same strategy, and many who will be willing to go lower than you. Sites like ELance or Craigslist make this painfully obvious. That’s not to condemn those sites, but some of the fiercest competition comes from writers at the bottom of the pay scale.

Getting started in any new profession is tough, and it can be tempting to price yourself lower than the competition to get work. But don’t do it. It creates a bad image, can be tough to change the client’s picture of you, and you can always be undersold. Sure, you’re probably not going to be able to start out at $200/hour, but price yourself at what you’re worth. You don’t want to be stuck in a writer bargain bin.

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