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The problem with “direct response” copywriters

One of the more annoying parts about being a freelance email copywriter is that your clients have final say over your copy. It’s their business, their brand, their face, and their voice on the copy at the end of the day. But they also haven’t studied direct response copywriting, save a few cases that I can count on one hand.

Yet, this is something you must “sacrifice” as a copywriter working with other clients.

On the other hand…

One of the more annoying parts about working with a freelance email copywriter as a brand owner is that freelancers would rather sacrifice a long term relationship with your customers for a short term sale. They usually do this by stuffing their copy with tons of direct response tactics they’ve read about, but never used. And many of said tactics cheapen your brand’s image in your customer’s eyes.

Yet, this is something many brand owners think they must “sacrifice” to work with a direct response trained copywriter who can make you more money with their copy.

Now, the longer you work with a particular client (or particular freelancer), and learn their nuances, brand voice, values, etc., the easier it is to pump out copy for them which requires little to no edits. But it’s still annoying not having the final say on the published copy, especially when you spent years studying and leveraging direct response principles.

As a brand owner, it’s still annoying seeing freelancers call themselves direct response copywriters and try to pump in as many brand-destroying tactics as possible.

Here’s why I bring it up:

Last week, I submitted a new email for my client to review before we sent it out. When I asked him if he’d gotten a chance to look at the email yet, here’s what he told me:

“Now I did. I really enjoy editing your work. It feels like my younger self wrote it.”

And that, my friend, is the value of working with a professional email copywriter like yours truly.

Or on the flip side:

The value of working with a freelancer for a lengthy period of time.

In this particular example, my client has a ton of knowledge about health, supplements, and his customer avatar. He has some knowledge about direct response, but he’s far from one of the main direct response companies in his industry.

My job is to blend his expertise and knowledge with mine. The end result becomes a piece of direct response copy that’s educational, entertaining, and valuable in and of itself. And, of course, one that leads to many sales after hitting send.

Most clients despise editing their copywriter’s work because they don’t understand direct response, and see the silly DR tactics with their bare naked eye. Sure, having a typo in your subject line will boost open rates, but at what cost? Many brand owners are correct that it’s not worth sabotaging their brand and expertise for a couple more opens. (There’s a reason why many of the classic direct response sales letters you studied promoted an offer for a business that went belly up shortly after…)

But that ain’t gonna stop a direct response copywriter from trying to prove to their client (and their ego) that they’re worth their monthly retainer and then some.

Moral of the story?

The best copywriter-client relationship is the one like I described above. The copywriter should be able to use the direct response principles they’ve learned (without relying on cheap tactics). The copywriter should also know their client (and their client’s audience) so well, that the client himself feels like a younger version of himself wrote the copy.

The downside is that this takes time to cultivate.


The best way to start cultivating this is by doing it as soon as possible. So if you need a copywriter to help you make more from your emails, without cheapening your brand or impact with shady direct response tactics, book a call with me here.

And if we’re a good fit, this email might be about you in due time.


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