FAQ

Welcome to my comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page. Just click on any question below to expand the section and display the answer.

As always, if you have any questions about this FAQ page or wish to discuss your next project, feel free to contact my office for a FREE, no-obligation consultation:

818-280-5600
9:30am – 6:30pm – Pacific Standard Time (PST)
( 01 818 280 5600 – Outside the United States )

If you prefer email, you can also send me a message.

I also recommend that you review my How I Work and Privacy Policy pages. If you’d like to see a list of my representative rates, you can visit that page here or click on the “My Rates” link below.

 

My Portfolio | My Rates | Request a Free Estimate

Why do I need to hire a copywriter or marketing specialist?

If you’re trying to sell your products or services to business, industry, professionals through your website or other methods, the odds are pretty good that you’ll need a copywriter or marketing specialist. More importantly, you need one who can create persuasive, high-impact copy and other promotions that SELL your products or services. You’ve invested a lot in your company…don’t sabotage your marketing efforts with weak and ineffective marketing!

How do I know you’re a great copywriter or experienced marketing specialist?

Many copywriters, marketing consultants, and advertising agencies either duck this question or provide little more than glib answers or links to generic articles on the subject. I’ll be more specific. First, look through my website. If you’re reading this, the odds are pretty good that you’ve already spent some time here and want to know more. If I’ve managed to get your attention, then it’s a safe bet I can also create powerful marketing materials that compel and persuade your specific target market.

Also, take a look at my sample Portfolio. It showcases just a small percentage of the many marketing projects I’ve created over the past 25 years and the various clients I’ve worked with. Then (and how many marketing folks will say this?), check out my competitors. Really! Don’t be swayed by flashy website graphics alone; look closely at their content. Really consider how effective their copy, graphic design, and overall marketing messages actually are. If you find that you’re disappointed—if you’re turned off by “all show and no go”, or see very little tangible content that backs up their claims—come back and let’s talk.

What types of clients do you work with?

Most of my clients fall into two categories. The first is companies that range from startups and small, family-run businesses to members of the Fortune 500.

The second is advertising and digital marketing agencies and freelance website designers who “farm out” (or “subcontract”) their copywriting and other marketing work to me on a confidential basis.

Hey, how do I copyright my fantastic idea (or song, or story, or…)?

You’re thinking of copyright, not copywriting. Copyright refers to the legal rights of an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor over the work they own. Usually such work is artistic in nature. You may also be thinking of trademarks or patents for products or services. Either way, that’s not what I do. I create powerful, persuasive ad copy and other marketing projects for companies both large and small. You can find more information on U.S. Copyright law by visiting the U.S. Copyright Office web site.

What is your experience as a copywriter and marketing specialist?

I’ve been a top generalist copywriter, marketing strategist, marketing consultant, and business owner for more than 25 years. During that time, I’ve worked on countless marketing and other creative projects for clients across the United States and around the world. You can read more about my extensive experience by visiting my bio page. You can also see a small selection of the projects I’ve worked on by visiting my Portfolio page.

How do I know you’ll understand my particular business?

In addition to being a recognized digital and direct response copywriter, I am also an experienced creative director, a business owner and investor, a published fiction and non-fiction author (and produced screenwriter!), and a proven art director. If that weren’t enough, I’ve also written highly-effective marketing solutions for a vast number of different industries. If I haven’t written copy or created a marketing project for your particular business or industry it’s a pretty good bet that I’ve written for one that’s similar. My varied experience as a writer, journalist, traveler, business owner, and consultant ensures that I can discuss your business on your terms and provide solutions that deliver…guaranteed!

Why should I hire a freelance marketing specialist rather than a digital marketing company or advertising agency?

I work with ad agencies, public relations firms, and digital strategy agencies on a fairly regular basis. If you’d feel better paying them for the same services you can get from me for much, much less, that’s no problem! Really! But if you want to save money and work directly with the same copywriter or marketing consultant that they’ll hire and charge you double for, get in touch with me today and let’s discuss your next project. The consultation with me is always free, and there’s never any obligation!

What do your Project Estimates (Rates) include?

When we work together on your project, I start by providing you with an estimate that tells you the minimum and maximum that your project will cost. You can learn more about my process by visiting my How I Work page.

Can we meet in person? Will you come to my office?

Generally speaking, no. On the vast majority of projects, a face-to-face meeting is neither required nor particularly prudent, from a cost and time-saving perspective. In this wonderful age of near-instantaneous communication over the Internet, we can usually manage your project by phone, through email, or over Skype® at “Success Creative”. Having said that, some clients have asked me come to their location. Most notably, I once flew around the world and spent 13 days in the Maldives working on an extensive portfolio of projects for Villa Hotels and Resorts. You can see a small portion of the work I performed for them in my selected Portfolio.

Will you keep information about my project and my personal data confidential?

Absolutely! I’m a firm believer in client privacy and strive to ensure your confidentiality by adhering to an industry-leading Privacy Policy. In addition, each client I work with receives a signed and dated Agreement Not To Disclose included with their Project Agreement. I never share, sell, or give away confidential client information with anyone, at any time. Period.

What if it isn’t quite right the first time? Do you charge for revisions?

My revision policy is easy: I’ll make any necessary revisions up to the maximum allowed in the customized Project Agreement I create for you, provided the changes are submitted to me before the final copy has been accepted. Any changes after the final copy has been will be charged a nominal fee based on a percentage of my standard hourly rate of $125 per hour.

If we’re working on a project together, and I add material, is that considered a revision?

No. Changing the existing copy to reflect minor changes before the final copy is approved (that’s the operative phrase) is considered a normal revision. Adding new material (or notes for new material) is considered additional copy, and my standard rates will apply, as specified in your customized Project Agreement.

So how long does this whole copywriting/marketing thing take, anyway?

Optimally, I prefer to have two to four weeks to complete your project and go through the revision cycle with you. However, I realize that a project must sometimes be completed quickly. That’s no problem! While I do charge a reasonable “Rush” fee, I make that determination on a case-by-case basis. If I do accept your project, I work hard to make sure the project is on your desk (or in your inbox) on or before the promised delivery date.

What exactly IS a copywriter?

A copywriter is both artist and scientist, salesman and consumer. Simply put, a copywriter creates persuasive, highly-effective marketing copy for websites, brochures, ads, radios spots, sales letters and much, much more. But there’s more to being a good copywriter than just writing. The very best in the business combine the skills of an artist (writing), with the abilities of a scientist (logic and analysis) to create marketing materials that appeal to a targeted audience. Great copy should work as a great sales tool and compel your target market to BUY.

What is SEO copy, and how is it different from “regular” copywriting?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. This type of copywriting appeals to the algorithms employed by search engines, including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and helps rank your website higher in search results.

Non-digital copywriting are things like ads and print collateral—a category that includes brochures, flyers, and a whole lot more.

How much are your fees?

Generally speaking, my fees are charged on a per-project basis. I do not charge by the hour for most copywriting or marketing projects. You can review a representative schedule of fees here. Please note that all projects over $1,000 are 50% in advance, with the balance paid out over pre-determined milestones. This is explained in greater detail on my How I Work page.

What if I can’t afford your fees? Can you just edit my existing copy or consult on the marketing work I’ve created myself?

Absolutely! It is not uncommon for my clients to work on their own projects to save money while they’re starting their business or launching a new product or service. They bring me in when they need expert guidance or a fresh perspective.

How can I pay you for your services?

The most common method my clients use to pay me is credit or debit card through PayPal® or Square®. In extremely rare instances I do accept business checks. However, payments made in this manner can only be accepted via next-day (or in some cases, 2nd day) service and must be made out to “Richard Dean Starr” and not Success Copywriting / Success Creative.

The reason for this is simple: my schedule is carefully balanced to allow me to accommodate my clients while still providing the highest level of quality and service in the industry. When I accept a project, I’m turning down another one. If a check is misplaced or lost on the way to my office, and the client decides replacing it is too much trouble and declines to complete the project, I’ve suddenly lost a significant chunk of the weekly revenue I use to support my family and keep my agency open. As I also employ graphic artists and others, this is a significant point of concern! So, to recap: yes, I’ll accept a business check–but only if it’s approved in advance and sent via next or second-day service.

If you write a web page for me, exactly how long is one page?

Typically, a single web page is 150 to 250 words. However, this doesn’t mean that if your page is a Landing Page, or if it is an interior page that calls for 350 words, that I won’t write the appropriate amount of copy up to the maximum specified in our Project Agreement. All it means is that I charge a higher, two-page rate for that particular, longer web page. Quite often, the client actually does better in these situations, since the total word count frequently exceeds my typical two-page word count. I consider myself a value-added copywriter and this is a good—albeit undramatic—example of me providing “more than you paid for” service.

How am I going to get my business off the ground when you cost so much?

First things first: My copywriting and marketing services rates are extremely competitive and very reasonable, and have remained in the same range for over ten years. But I’ll be blunt: if you can’t afford to spend a reasonable amount of money on your marketing, no matter whom you choose to hire, then you probably shouldn’t start a business.

Under-capitalization (along with poor planning) are two of the main reasons why more than 75% of new businesses fail in their first year. Keep your day job; save your money. Or, get a small business loan, borrow from relatives, whatever it takes. But first and foremost, write a business plan. Your plan could very well be the difference between success and failure for your company. Ditto for the marketing plan. But again, that should come after the business plan either way. This is all free advice, and you may not want to hear it. But take it from me: as a business owner I’ve made my share of mistakes; my only goal is to help you avoid making similar ones.

Couldn’t you do something really cheap for me just to try out your services?

Probably not. If your business is extremely unique, if I’m in the mood, if I just like you, or the sun is shining particularly bright on the day I hear from you, I might consider it. That’s actually more of a serious statement than it sounds. Again, please allow me to emphasize: I might consider it. I’ve learned one thing in life, and that is that you never know about anything…until you ask! So try me, you never know what I’ll say. People have been good to me, and I like to return the favor when it can be done in a manner which is financially and chronologically prudent for everyone involved.