You hear the phrase all the time: The customer is always right.
Want to know a secret? That’s a lie.
Clients hire freelance writers when they don’t know how to do the work.
Clients typically hire freelance writers because they don’t have the expertise to do the work themselves. While input is appreciated, client demands can often reach a point where the project turns into something it shouldn’t.
As a copywriter, for instance, your client may request a revision on your call to action (CTA) because “We saw Company A do this, and it sounded cool. Can we do the same?”
Only, your client’s target audience is different from Company A’s, and you know that particular CTA isn’t going to work for them.
So what do you do now? Do you go ahead and revise the copy, or do you stand your ground? Here’s how it should go down:
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In your reply to your client, the first thing to remember is to remain kind and professional.
Don’t tell them how stupid their idea is. Don’t insist that you’re the professional and know what you’re doing so they should listen to you.
Treat them like you would a friend—in a kind and gentle manner.
If your client is one who gets on your nerves, take a break for a couple minutes to cool down before replying. You don’t want your emotions to get the better of you and offend your client.
Attempt to Educate Your Client
Educating your client without appearing condescending is the best way to approach a situation like this.
In the case of the copywriter above, you’ll want to tell the client why you chose to write the call to action the way you did. Kindly explain to them that while Company A’s CTA works for their audience, it may not be effective for your client’s.
If necessary, reference research that backs up your points. For example, “I wrote a benefit-based CTA over an action-centric one based on this study that showed that benefit-based CTAs perform 23% better.”
Be Open to Revisions
As much as you may try to convince clients that you’re right, they won’t always bite.
After you offer your professional opinion, be clear that you’re still open to revisions if this new information didn’t change their mind.
It shows that you still respect them and are willing to take their ideas into account.
Don’t Push It
If the client doesn’t change their mind (they still want to use a CTA similar to Company A’s), don’t try to push your ideas on them. This will only frustrate your client, and it’s unlikely that they’ll change their ideas at this point.
This is where you can go ahead and make the revisions they requested, even if it doesn’t make sense to you as a professional writer.
Let’s take an example of how to reply to a silly client demand.
This is an interesting call to action from Company A, and it works well for their audience. However, it may not be the best for your customers.
I wrote a benefit-based CTA over an action-centric one based on this study that showed that benefit-based CTAs perform 23% better: http://www.example.com/study
This study included participants from your target audience. It’s my professional opinion that the benefit-based CTA will perform better with your customers.
However, if you still want to go forward with an action-centric CTA, we can do that. Let me know what you decide.
By being friendly and educating your clients, you’ll typically end up with a friendly email along the lines of, “I never thought of it that way. Let’s keep it as-is.”
Otherwise, if you get the dreaded email saying, “No, I’d rather change it,” at least you know you tried.
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Have you ever worked with clients who were blatantly wrong? How did you handle it?