What To Do If Your Client Doesn't Like Your Copy

If you haven’t yet experienced what it feels like to have a client who tells you they don’t like your copy, at some point…you will.

And how you handle it is going to make a huge impact not only on that client, but on the rest of your career.

There are a few different aspects of this topic, so let’s start with one of the most important.

Clients Have Different Perspectives

Just because a client doesn’t like your copy doesn’t mean that the copy is bad.

You see, some clients are incredibly specific on the exact thing they want. They might want you to take a certain angle, hit on a certain theme, or talk in a specific voice.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it a little harder for you because you start focusing more on making it exactly how they want it instead of focusing on whether or not it’s going to convert highly and make them sales.

Ahhh the joys of being a copywriter 🙂

So when a client says your copy sucks, try not to take it personally. If all clients were perfect, everybody in the world would be a copywriter.

What To Do When They Say It Sucks

When the client doesn’t like it, you’re going to react in a certain way.

And how you react is going to make a big difference in your career.

For example, one person might dust it off their shoulder and continue working. Another person might get pissed off and resent the client, making any future work nearly impossible to complete. The next person (and this describes most beginning copywriters) might quit because they aren’t thick-skinned enough to handle someone telling them their work isn’t perfect.

Which leads me to another point…

Make Sure You’re Clear On WHY They Didn’t Like It

As I mentioned earlier, different clients will look at your copy differently. Maybe they think the copy simply isn’t persuasive. Maybe they wanted a different voice or just want you to edit the voice so it sounds exactly how they want it. Maybe they wanted something they didn’t even tell you they wanted.

In all honesty, it doesn’t matter. Your job is to give them what they want, no matter what. Maybe you’ll “fire” them in the future, but for this job you’ll just have to suck it up and finish it. You don’t want the reputation of a person who gives up in the first sign of difficulty.

What To Do AFTER They Give You Bad News

Ok so now they’ve just told you they don’t like the copy. What do you do next?

Well, it depends on you.

If it really bothers you, take the day off. Go do something that will clear your head. Maybe go for a walk and keep repeating to yourself that your copy was good, it’s just that the client didn’t like it. After all, nobody is perfect and not everybody is going to like everything you do.

Trust me, it’s nearly impossible to continue writing copy when you’re so down on yourself that you start thinking of yourself as a failure, no good, the worst copywriter ever, etc.

Another thing that might help while taking the rest of the day off is to get encouragement in other places.

  • Tell a loved one what happened and listen to their words of encouragement (hopefully they’d know enough to encourage you).
  • Take out some of your past successes and repeat to yourself that you really ARE a good copywriter.
  • Close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes to relax yourself.

These are all things that might help. Just find out what works for you, and do it.

So the next time your client says your copy sucks…now you have a few tools in your bag to use so you don’t get discouraged, don’t ruin the relationship with the client forever, and don’t ruin or end your career.

Now it’s your turn. Have any stories of clients that nearly caused you to quit? Maybe they hated your copy even though you and everyone else thought it was riveting? Ever need to fire a client for being so incredibly picky?

Let us know your story in the comments below!

2 Responses to What To Do If Your Client Doesn't Like Your Copy

  1. Kevin Dawson May 7, 2009 at 4:43 am #

    Hey Jeremy, this happened to me a couple of months back with a client who stiffed me on the second half of the bill. He was working with another copywriter at the same time as me. When he showed it to the other copywriter, they said they didn’t like it (no surprise – who’s going to promote their competition?). So he refused to pay the rest of the bill.And he proclaimed himself a “Christian man”.

    My lesson learned – unless it is a regular, ALWAYS get paid up front.

    • Jeremy Reeves May 7, 2009 at 7:06 am #

      Wow! Yea that’s horrible.

      That’s pretty much someone who’s trying to find ways to not pay you. He should have at least tested the promotion first instead of not even paying you regardless of how it did!

      That’s like someone not paying their car payment for Ford because an employee from Toyota said their cars are better.

      At least you learned a lesson though. That’s half the battle in this business!

      Jeremy

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