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If all of the stars were in alignment, and the wind blowing in the right direction and the tides out, it could be done in 30 minutes, if the stars aren't in alignment etc, it could take a weeks work to get the right text.
If I had a gun to my head I would tell them to pull the trigger and write it themselves.
A lot to be said for 'fast or good' and 'cheap or good'. Very fair questions. For what most people want to pay they will get fast and cheap. Shocking how low effective is on the scale.
I still do work for other people, but am so happy that I can mostly do my own thing. Writers' are underpaid, which works nicely for me, because I have several that I use on a regular basis and happily pay more than any competitor would ever pay them.
Generous I am, but am already afraid of how much product she might start turning out. I don't dare let her catch my eye. It's bad enough that those eyelashes are already in my mind:))
I've also worked on e-commerce sites with really good, original products. They could trounce these gurus conversion rates with nothing but a product description and a table of specs.
I guess what I'm saying is...never mind, Yoshimi said it better.
(I was being sarcastic :o) Awful of me, sorry)
I think that you caught an awful lot of truth in the first of those quotes. A first-rate copywriter will, as part of the job, demand to be supplied with the technical information, use, purpose, company background and reputation.....given the building blocks or the ammunition. A first rate copywriter can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. The buyers might not be happy with the product, but the writer can sell it. That's the job.
I only involve myself in companies and products that I believe in (or at least have no reason to distrust), but I can afford to do so.
Useless products are constantly being introduced, skimming the quick buck, then the company folds up their tent and moves to another market. What percentage of infomercials alone meets this description?
However a gun to my head might clear up any writer's block I had :)
A sales letter estimate is probably 1 day if you are familiar with the product, audience, purpose of the piece. However 2-4 days is more the norm, or at least what I quote a client. Keep in mind that a sales letter, especially one converting cold traffic, with a 1% response rate may take a few rounds of split A/B tests and some re-writes before it is pulling well. Therefore, while the initial write up may be relatively quick the follow up that makes it a good sales letter vs. a dung heap might be much longer.
Also don't forget the importance of the list. Many direct marketers, myself included, will say that upwards of 40% of your success (response) will come from the list you choose, so choose carefully.
My point, sarcasm aside, is it's not the product you really need to learn and study - it's the best-fit customer.
I'll typically spend one to two weeks just studying the market, what people are searching for, their hot buttons, what they like, dislike and REAL motives and emotions for buying said product.
THEN I work on writing copy to fit the product to the prospect.
Put it this way, everyone out there with their own product knows the product inside out. Knowing the product is not really the issue, knowing how to sell the thing is the issue.
Once you have all the research in place the actual writing is easy - though I'll still spend a week on it, for tweaking and checking etc.
You can write everthing I need to know about the product on the back of an envelope. My research notes on the customer though, they can go for 30 pages or more, just for a little 5 page sales letter. When you sit down to write a sales letter you need to know who you're writing to. Screw that up and everything else is a waste of time.
Tobacco is a rough road in the USA, but not nearly so much worldwide where tobacco consumption remains quite strong and is likely to continue to remain so for the foreseeable future. This product, more than most, is not about knowing the product, but how to sell it.
Maybe the reverse for fossil fuels, as many countries have quite high prices/taxes..... In the USA, most people aren't that interested in environmental issues, or even long-term national security so long as gas is cheap. With prices down again interest is dropping again and will continue to plunge. As ever, we only care if it hurts. So long as gas is cheap again most in the USA don't care how or why. If prices take off again, we will, at least briefly, all be in favor of 'going green' and being 'a self sufficient people'. Our ways won't change except by world forces and conditions that work inexorably and unstoppably against us.