Four Things To Consider Before Hiring An Email Copywriter

Your startup or growing company has big aspirations and goals.

But to reach those milestones and keep moving forward, you need to nurture leads, cross sell/upsell to existing customers, and increase brand awareness through referral marketing.

You’re bursting with ideas for email campaigns that can help you do all that. You just need someone to write the copy!

If you’re looking to jumpstart your sales funnel and keep it flowing, you need a dedicated, experienced email copywriter who has:

  • A head for business – someone who’s results and ROI-focused.
  • A heart for people – someone who can identify with your audience and knows how to appeal to their emotions.
  • A way with words – someone who writes with brevity, clarity, and an engaging style.

Notice wordsmithing is third on the list. That’s because copywriting isn’t about clever wordplay. It’s about advancing business goals using the power of persuasion.

If you want your next email campaign to deliver big returns, here are four things you need to weigh carefully.

1. “Should We Outsource or Expand Our Team?”

This is a big decision, especially for young companies.

The best option for you really depends on the current state of your business and what you’re looking for, but let’s run through each of the 3 main routes available to you, so you have a better idea of what’s out there!

If you outsource to an independent email copywriter, you’ll pay only for the freelancer’s time or work product. But if you need a high volume of email copy, hourly or flat project rates could add up fast. And, unless you have a retainer agreement in place, your freelancer might not always be available to you.

A marketing agency copywriter is tested, vetted, and part of an experienced team of professionals. High-quality copy is virtually guaranteed. But contracting with an agency could be cost prohibitive.

An in-house copywriter is always available, no matter how urgent the job, and a particularly busy month won’t threaten to explode your marketing budget. You won’t have to worry about divided attention and loyalties. But the cost of paying an employee, especially if your business revenue tends to fluctuate, could outweigh the benefits.

No matter which way you go, the costs and benefits could be huge, so make sure you weigh all the options before diving in!

2. “Where Can We Find Qualified Copywriters?”

This question is painfully common.

Too many business owners have been burned in the past by copywriters who can’t write well or aren’t easy to work with.

Fortunately, with the right tools and methods, you could strike gold in no time!

Here are a few of the best places to find qualified email copywriters:

Freelance marketplaces

These sites (Upwork, for example) are transactional in nature. Post a job or an ongoing need, and writers will flock to you—including inexperienced ones willing to work on the cheap.

You’ll probably have to wade through a lot of responses, on top of the time it will take to get the copywriter up to speed on your business and audience. If you do decide to go this route, search for qualified writers on the site and invite them to apply.

LinkedIn

Perform a search for copywriters who include “email” in their title or profile, or “email marketing” in their skill list.

Join LinkedIn copywriter groups and look for writers who post thoughtful, well-written responses that showcase their experience and insight. Or use LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Online search

Google “email copywriter,” “B2B email copy,” etc. You might want to include your industry if it’s pretty obscure or highly technical.

Look for professional certifications as well (“Copyblogger certified,” “AWAI verified,” etc.)

A word of caution: writers who rank high in the search results may have limited availability and be pricier than most. 

Referrals

If you see an example of great copy online, ask the company for the name of their copywriter.

If you ask in a tweet, it might get the attention of the writer in question.

If you find an exceptional copywriter who isn’t available, don’t be afraid to ask if they know a colleague who is. Put those networking skills to good use!

3. “What Should We Look for in an Email Copywriter?”

If you want to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff, and find an email copywriter who will bring enormous value to your business, you need to use the right criteria when evaluating candidates.

Experience

An experienced copywriter might be an agency or corporate veteran. Or a solopreneur who’s self-driven and self-made. There’s plenty of talent in both camps.

You’ll want to focus on three types of experience:

  • The first is academic and professional – Does the writer have the bona fides and the desire to keep learning and growing?
  • The second is industry specific – Does the writer know how to converse with your audience?
  • The third is conversion/email copy – Does their writing entice people to take action?

That last category is far and away the most important. A top-of-funnel content writer might be great at telling stories and increasing brand awareness, but persuasion copy requires an entirely different mindset.

It’s the rare writer who’s comfortable doing it all!

Quality Work

A copywriter’s portfolio is a clear indicator of versatility and skill.

Has the candidate produced a variety of email campaigns for diverse audience segments? What other types of short-form conversion copy (landing pages, etc.) are included?

You may have other copy needs down the road; it helps to have a writer who can handle all sorts of writing tasks.

Track Record

How has the copywriter performed as both a team member and a lead generator/nurturer? Testimonials from clients and/or employers can speak to the writer’s professionalism.

Ratings and results of past email campaigns (if available) will speak for themselves.

Competencies

Your copywriter should be well versed in the English language, obviously—grammar, sentence structure, the whole nine yards. But tech platforms and tools are important, too.

If the writer is meets all your qualifications but isn’t familiar with project management apps, desktop publishing software, etc., the extra onboarding time may be worth it.

Solutions like Upwork allow you to filter your search results, so you can narrow down candidates based on their expertise (and their track record) which makes the hunt that much easier:

Personal and Professional Style

Copywriting is NOT an individual pursuit. It’s a collaborative process. You need someone who likes people, welcomes criticism, and has the confidence to defend creative choices. 

Does the candidate show serious interest in your business and audience(s) and bring new ideas to the table? Great copywriters don’t just take marching orders; they’re always looking to add value.

4. “How Can We Help Our Copywriter Succeed?”

To get the biggest return on your copywriting investment, you’ll need to treat your copywriter like an integral member of the team. That means providing plenty of data, resources, and support. Specifically:

  • Context for the work – purpose, goals, target market(s), and lessons learned from past campaigns
  • Access to internal SMEs – marketing, sales, and other leaders who can offer timely insights on the business, its client base, its competitors, and target personas
  • Equal footing – the freedom to raise concerns and explain how YOU can help THEM work more efficiently and effectively on the brand’s behalf
  • Incentives – bonuses or other rewards tied to results; a real stake in the campaign’s success as well as the motivation to excel

Your copywriter could potentially play a huge role in the growth and success of your company. You just need to unleash their creative talent and give it the right kind of fuel.

Take Your Brand to the Next Level With the Right Email Copywriter

Once you find the right copywriter for your brand, email could quickly become your most profitable marketing channel. The right writer can not only drive response rates through the roof, but also brainstorm new ways to engage your audiences.

How many ways can you put your email copywriter’s talents to good use? If you’re looking to shake things up in 2019, take a look at these inspiring case studies:

And while you’re at it, check out Sendlane’s best-in-class marketing automation platform!

Designed to help your business maximize results hands-free, it’s a great way to deliver your fancy new email copy to the world 😉

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!
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