There are certain times of year (Black Friday, in particular!) where it can feel like every business is running discounts. But does that mean you should be discounting your copywriting services? Let’s dig into exactly what discounting copywriting services means for building your business.
It’s true that many (if not most) businesses run some kind of sale on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and throughout the weekend. And, depending on the business you may see sales for holidays like July 4 in the United States or broader “summer sales,” among other promotions.
But that doesn’t mean they make sense for your copywriting business.
Why Holiday Discounts Make Sense for Some Businesses
You see sales with a lot of businesses that sell products (Macy’s, for example), or with large businesses that offer services provided by multiple people (like H&R Block tax preparation).
Businesses are hoping that the volume of increased sales will help offset the discounts they offer. It’s pretty well understood that there’s a margin of markup on all physical products, and they’re playing with that margin.
And that works for them because they have a markup on everything they offer. Product-selling companies sell those products for more than it takes them to make or purchase. Large service companies sell those services for more than what they pay the service providers.
(And that’s how they make a profit, right? Good for them.)
Why Discounting Copywriting Services Doesn’t Make Sense
When it comes to most services, there really isn’t a margin of markup. The rate you charge is the rate you charge. So, when you offer a discount, you’re actually cutting into your own earnings.
From time to time, you may decide to negotiate that rate with a particular client for some reason, but by and large, your rate doesn’t exactly have a lot of wiggle room.
The problem with offering a Black Friday or Cyber Monday discount (or any other discount, for that matter), is that it implies that there isn’t a solid value behind your regular rates.
Offering a discount devalues the services you offer.
After all, if you can discount it one day, you can discount it any day, right? And if you can offer a discount, then why should clients ever pay your full rate?
Put another way, if you’ll do a project for them for $25 an hour instead of $50 an hour once, why would they ever pay $50 an hour?
When it comes to discounts on services, clients don’t think of the discounted rate as a discount—they think of it as a low and reasonable rate. If you’re willing to work for $25, why would they ever pay you more?
A Note on Friends and Family Discounts
Occasionally you may decide you want to make your rates more affordable for the people closest to you: friends and family. But … you also are well within your rights to charge your full rates to friends and family. Or you may decide not to mix family with work. Read more on handling friends and family discounts >>
Getting Creative With Copywriting Promotions
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t get creative with promotions. If you’re just starting out, you may want to jumpstart your freelance copywriting business with a promotion. But that doesn’t mean it has to include a sale or a discount.
Maybe you could offer a free 15-minute consultation or a free email audit to let them know what should be improved in their email program. You’re not writing copy for them, but you’re pointing out areas they could improve and explaining how improving them would provide value to the business. (And, of course, you’re available to make those updates!)
Both of these are one-time services that are needed once only, and they also open the door for more work. They allow you to demonstrate your value to potential clients without giving away lots of time or energy for free.
Other opportunities? Partner with a designer to offer a clients a design-and-copy package (tailored to that client’s needs, of course!). Run a sweepstakes. Host a webinar.
These offers demonstrate to your client that you are a professional who understands the value of your service. Clients will value your services only if you value your services first.
You can find other ways to offer “specials,” but I’d very strongly advise you never to offer sales on your rates. Your rates—and the work they represent—are important and deserve respect.
Your turn! Has a client ever asked for a special discount? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on November 20, 2023