Endangered Species



Don’t worry – this fearsome creature won’t bite you!

As you may have guessed – if you’re the observant type – this reptile is safely behind glass. Look closer and you’ll notice the reflection of a black-and-white-stirped handbag and people in the background…

So why am I talking croc?

(Some of my friends may say I talk that most of the time but we’ll ignore them for now)…

Well, this is no ordinary crocodile.

It’s rare in the world – an endangered species – and numbers are declining. A bit like copywriters who deliver at a premium, exceptionally high quality level.

I’ll explain why in a moment.

First my impression of Sir David Attenborough.

The crocodile you see is more accurately called a Sunda Gharial. This magnificent killing machine can be found in Chester Zoo, Chester – in the North West of England. But it’s native home rests in the rain forests of South East Asia.

In appearance it’s very much like a standard crocodile. Except you’ll observe it has a thin, long snout and in its jaws are 80 needle-like teeth – perfect for catching fish, frogs, monkeys and even something as large as deer.

Like many other parts of the world, the forests are declining. This puts the future of this endangered species at great risk. Without action the logical consequence will be extinction. Another creature wiped out by man.

Even watching this gharial underwater through a glass window, suitably toughened, for a few minutes shows you why they are such natural predators.

They can lie very flat and still on land, of course. But you might just spot one in time to avoid trouble. Near the water’s edge it’s a difference matter. These guys are smart. They’re designed to kill. They’re more secretive than an agent from MI6 or the CIA.

The gharial can hide flat just under the surface near the bank of a creek or river. Only a fraction of its body might be out of the water. But you probably won’t see it. To you it will more likely look like a bit of rock, a branch, a piece of foliage or part of a fallen tree.

As you can see in the picture, the gharial floats in a fixed position. One it can hold for minute upon minute upon minute. So still. So patient. So calm. Its eyes focus on the surface above. If there was prey in sight it would launch like a missile, propelled by its powerful tail and legs.

On this occasion, the creature simply glides up near the glass and takes in air. So serene. So placid. So majestic.

Yet under threat.

An endangered species.

Just like the premium copywriter. The copywriter who genuinely views their trade as a craft. Who seeks precision. Who has a focus on the client and results. Who goes way beyond.

Why is this species of marketing expert under threat?

Because far too many businesses do not understand copywriting. Its importance. Its value. Its power to deliver money into the hands of the client.

The possible reasons for this are plentiful.

Maybe the business is a start-up with little knowledge of marketing.

Perhaps the entrepreneur or company owner did a bit of “marketing” at business school and believes that is all they need to know.

Possibly people confuse the word copywriter (someone who writes words to sell products and services) with the word copyright (a form of intellectual property designed to protect an individual’s creative work).

Conceivably, the business owner has been educated to believe that all you need to be successful is have a “good-looking” website. So they happily part with a few thousand pounds or dollars for web designer and graphics. And give little thought to the copy – the words on the page.

As a consequence, they then choose not to employ a professional copywriter. Either because they fail to understand the value of copy or have little or no budget left to pay for it.

Another reason might be the obsession with Social Media (which blinkers business owners to the dozens and dozens of other ways to market their products and services). The internet and online world is a place where everyone wants stuff fast – and preferably FREE.

Did you realise you can still make money today without using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like?

Or is there something in the fact there are a number of sites where individuals say they will write copy for five or twenty dollars and have it back to you in 48 hours?

Do business owners – serious business owners – think copy is the same as ‘designing’ an ebook cover or reading a script in a different accent?

Can there be people out there who believe that ‘fast food’ approach will create a breakthrough when the market in so many industries, trades and professions is already at saturation point?

David Ogilvy, known as the ‘Father of Advertising’, once said “Pay people peanuts and you get monkeys”.

And when it comes to advertising, to proper copywriting, home-run marketing campaigns – he’s right.

There may be times when a cheap bit of freelance design work for a logo, image or other relatively simple matter is a sensible course.

Not when it comes to sales copy. That would be like throwing money down the drain.

Feasibly, there may still be business owners who do not understand the terms Return on Investment or Value Exchange.

What do I mean by value exchange?

Let’s say you work with a copywriter and their marketing expertise helps you generate £50,000 in revenue … £100,000 from a campaign … or £250,000 in a year.

How much would you be happy to pay someone for that kind of result? If someone delivered £100,000 in cash to your business would you not think giving that person 10, 15 or 20K a fair exchange?

Yet some people, even ones calling themselves entrepreneurs, cannot see it. They only see the amount they pay, NOT the huge returns on investment. If you invest £10,000 and it generates £100,000 for you that is a 10-fold increase. A 1,000 per cent ROI. TEN times your money back.

But let’s not lay blame at the business person’s door.

The profession itself has people willing to work for peanuts.

The more copywriters who work for peanuts, the fewer the buyers who see copywriting as something of value. Something associated with quality.

The same effect, in reverse, caused by rich tourists who refuse to haggle in street markets overseas and simply pay the first price asked. Not only are the visitors displaying ignorant rudeness at not ‘playing the game’ – the convention is to haggle before settling on a price – they erode the market and the culture.

Eventually the market traders wise up, cotton on to what’s happening and begin to be less unhappy when offered HUGE sums for cheap souvenirs. They start to take the tourist dollar and treat the tourist as a fool – easily parted from his or her money.

There’s a time for cheap. There’s a time for middle-of-the-road.

But if those are the only options in the copywriting market there will be only one loser, ultimately… the poor business owner.

Entrepreneurs who once had bold dreams, consigned to settle for average. For dull. For the ineffective. For the ordinary. For failure. For below-par results. For wasted dollars or pounds. For a merry-go-round of repeated mediocrity.

With results from the marketing to match.

Meanwhile, the premium writer becomes an endangered species.

Eradicated by a single myth: “If I spend more it must cost me more.”

What that misguided view fails to understand is this…

Premium does NOT equal expensive.

Spend £250 and see zero sales. That’s expensive. Invest £2,500 wisely and be rewarded with £25,000 in sales… that’s called Return on Investment. Zero cost, actually. A nice tidy profit, in fact.

So, let me ask you.

What do you consider expensive?

Premium, on balance, will be a safer bet. Better odds of getting it right. Getting it right first time. Getting results. Getting more leads, more orders, more sales… and, yes, more profit.

The premium copywriter is like the gharial. He knows his prey (the market). He knows where to find them (online and offline). He knows how to go in for the kill (write copy for sales).

He’s a rare creature. She’s a rare creature.

Ready to do everything in its power to help your business survive and succeed. Ready to go above and beyond for you. An endangered species, indeed.

If you see one, don’t stand, stare and take a photo.

Hire them on the spot!

You won’t be disappointed.

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