Don’t Go Cheap With Your Marketing

I just saw this project posted on a job board:

We are looking for some copy to be written for our website! To give a little background, we are a creative company that consults for businesses and how they’re structured. The flipside is, we aren’t the greatest at writing down how we describe our business and we need someone to help us focus that message.

This job will require us having an skype meetings so we may go in-depth about what it is we do and the message we are looking to get across.

Total amount of work? I’d say look here:

We need to fill out this entire website. Any of the blank spots you see, is what we need some copy for.

Total amount offered for this strategic marketing project:


As a professional copywriter and marketer with over 30 years experience, I can safely say this website will receive mediocre creative at best.

At worse, they’ll get copy filled with half-baked sentences that would make an English teacher cringe.

I have seen startups make this same mistake over… and over… and over again.

Please. Stop.

Even if you’ve been in business for a few years and decide you want to re-design your website, you need to understand something about marketing.

It’s requires thought. And work. And time. And commitment.

Think about it. This is your business.

You’ve invested a great deal of time and money into finding the right “Big Idea,” the right producers, the right location, the right software, the right… well, everything.

And after spending all that time creating your baby, you essentially are taking it a garbage dump, hoping to find some ragged clothes to fit your sweet baby.

That’s what you’re doing when you look for the cheapest provider for marketing your business.

It never fails to amaze me how many business owners want to pay pennies for their creative (marketing, website design, graphic design, copy) yet expect to charge premium dollar for their services or products.

It doesn’t work like that, Chief.

You see, whatever you invest in your business… and I mean anything you invest… will come back to you tenfold.

So if you want a small company that has small growth, sure. Go ahead. Go for the cheap. Your competitors will love you for it.

But if you want massive growth, then the bottom line is this: you will need to invest in your business. Plain and simple.

And marketing? Good night. That’s one of the areas you especially need to be careful about when choosing the right service provider.

You’re talking high-level concepting.

Only amateurs talk about themselves. Successful companies spend a ridiculous amount of time (and money)studying their market.

They learn inside and out what their prospective buyers are thinking and feeling. How they behave. What they’re watching on TV, the way they spend their time, the car they drive, the neighborhood they live in.

Is there a demand for your product or service? And if you can figure that out, what is ticking off your prospective buyer about the current state of your industry?

See what I just did there? I should charge you $200 just for those ideas but you got it here for free.

And… I just blew the budget of our naive startup above.

Understand the Role of Marketing

Re-read that project description above.

Did you catch the part about Skype meetings? As in plural.

They want more than one meeting.

And what is the purpose of those meetings?

“…so we may go in-depth about what it is we do and the message we are looking to get across.”

For the uninitiated, this is called concepting and brand development. And it’s not something copywriters usually do.

You see, as a business owner, you should already have an understanding of what your company does, its mission, its offer and its audience before you contact a copywriter.

It should be crystal clear.

If you don’t know the answers, you need a marketing consultant to help you figure it out first. Before you contact a copywriter.

Developing a brand isn’t something you hand off to a copywriter and assume he or she will get it right — even after a few Skype calls.

It requires a great deal of time to discover those answers. Not just a one hour call where you tell a copywriter what you do and then expect them to pull a rabbit out of the hat that will magically mesmerize your prospective buyer.

Let me give you a real-life example.

Years ago, I had an ad agency reach out to write web copy for one of their clients. I wrote one page of copy, went through several phone calls to discuss what this ad agency was doing for them, and submitted the appropriate revisions.

They had another copywriter working on another page. The client would choose which style of copy he preferred.

Except we never got to that point.

The second copywriter bowed out of the project and I revised her copy in addition to mine.

But after all was said and done, the agency’s client didn’t like what either one of us wrote and wouldn’t consider additional discussion on the matter.

Here’s the deal (and why I know better now…): The ad agency didn’t even have a handle on the brand, let alone a clear understanding of their client’s expectations.

It was a big mess.

It was a waste of my time, the agency’s time, and the client’s time.

I had wrongly assumed that an ad agency would already know what their client wanted. That they would already understand the brand or at least be working with the client on developing one.

I haven’t made that same mistake again.

Spend Time Developing Your Marketing Strategy

I understand the world is moving fast.

Technology is in constant flux. New software is developed constantly.

But that doesn’t mean you should rush through developing your marketing strategy just to get it to the market fast.

Think about anything of value.

Like hamburgers.

You can drive down the street and grab a $3.00 hamburger within minutes.

Do you value the experience of eating that burger?

Now compare that to driving to a nice restaurant that is known for its gourmet burgers. Using Wagyu beef. Starting at $29 for one of those glorious patties served with all the fixings on top of a toasted artisan multi-grain bun.

Will you be grabbing that hamburger, hustle back to your home and sit in front of the TV watching The Walking Dead while munching away?

I didn’t think so.

You treat that $29 hamburger differently than the one you got at a drive-thru, right?

You savor that bad boy. Linger over each bite. And close your eyes in ecstasy as you taste that perfectly grilled piece of meat with all of its delectable toppings.

Do you think that restaurant said, “Hey, it would be cool to have a gourmet hamburger. Let’s go shopping at the nearest Sam’s Club to snag a few boxes, then go to town!”


That restaurant planned it’s battle strategy.

They carefully put together what was needed to offer the gourmet hamburger and then planned just as carefully how to present it to the public.

And then they slapped a nice, fat $29 price tag on it.

Because it was at least worth that much.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t skimp when it comes to your business.

Don’t settle for cheap.

Treat your business as the precious entity it is by investing in marketing and creative that will make a difference.

Because if your perfect buyer does happen to visit your website, and sees copy that reminds them of what their 8-year-old daughter just scribbled down on a piece of paper, you’ve lost.

And it’s going to be as hard as hell to get them to come back.

First impressions count. Perhaps more than ever.

Get it right the first time. Invest wisely in your marketing.




Direct response copywriter & crack-shot email marketer. Voracious reader. Live, eat & sleep marketing.

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Mary Rose Maguire

Mary Rose Maguire

Direct response copywriter & crack-shot email marketer. Voracious reader. Live, eat & sleep marketing.

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