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My Client Hates My Copy. What Should I Do?

A Simple Approach and Fail-Proof System for Copywriters, Entrepreneurs and Business Owners



One of my biggest fears when I was at the beginning of my copywriting journey was whether or not my client would like my copy. Who am I kidding? I still worry about this 10 years into the game but now I’m better at setting up systems and processes in my copywriting business to reduce the chances of this happening. And this is what I’ll be sharing with you in today’s post.


From clarifying the core problems and crafting plausible options to solve them to setting up clear and transparent lines of communication and minimising the chances of client dissatisfaction… We’ll be looking at all of these factors because (for me) they work together to create a safe and creatively free space in which to write the best words I can for my clients. 


This post is for you if you are:


  • A new or aspiring copywriter wanting to minimise the chances of having a dissatisfied client.

  • An entrepreneur or business owner looking to work with a copywriter… minus the common pitfalls and mistakes many people make when hiring a copywriter.  

In this post, you'll learn: 


  • The 3 things you can do if your client hates your copy. This is a simple menu of options to choose from depending on the circumstances. 

  • How to reduce the chances of your client being unhappy with your copy. Here’s where you get to steal my system, if you wish, to safeguard yourself from this awkward predicament! 

  • If you are an entrepreneur or business owner looking to hire a copywriter then you’ll want to know how to spot the red flags before you begin the project.

  • How you can get your hands on some time-saving copywriting assets, such as templates, workout sheets, checklists and roadmaps to help you streamline your process for winning results consistently.

By the end of the post, you should:


  • Have 3 clear solutions to choose from if your client doesn’t like your copy.

  • A step-by-step guide to setting clear boundaries, managing client expectations and increasing the likelihood of delivering the best copy work you can.

  • Be able to identify the characteristics of the ideal copywriter for you; someone with the copywriting process and philosophy that is in alignment with you and your business. 


Your Client Hates Your Copy? Do This.


After 10 years of working as a copywriter for brands and businesses across different industries, sectors and niches, I’ve had my fair share of dissatisfied customers. Thankfully, this number has shrunk in recent years which I believe comes down to more experience, refining my work style and gaining a deeper understanding of my target audience; their needs, frustrations and desires. 


Quote by Jillian Micheals. It reads, A bad day for your ego is a good day for your soul

Over the years I’ve realised there are 3 effective solutions for when a customer is unhappy with the copy work I submit.


1. Offer to redo the copy for free. 

Express the fact you appreciate their honest feedback. Be sincere. Remember, we learn more from our failures than our triumphs. Honest feedback can be a humbling moment. A bad day for your ego is a good day for your soul. 


And the reassuring thing is, words can be changed. When I know the mistake lies with me, I always offer to redo the copy for free.


2. Offer to redo the copy at an additional charge.

I’ve lost track of the number of times when the parameters or objectives for a project change throughout the creative process. And, although I now set up opportunities to safeguard myself from going too far down the creative rabbit hole without checking in with my client - read on to see how I do this - this wasn’t the case when I was at the beginning of my copywriting journey.  


The big problem is, if there are no clear boundaries in place at the start of the project it’s easy for clients to change their mind on the brief and expect new changes to fall within the existing contract. It’s important that your contract clearly outlines the specific details of the project and any additional fees that may be incurred when rewrites are required that fall outside the project remit.


3. Don’t redo the copy and agree to part ways.

Sometimes you have to agree to disagree. I try, where possible to avoid conflict in business but there are times when you may not be able to come to a resolution that satisfies both parties. And, I’ve learnt over the past 10 years, that’s OK. There’s no need to be nasty or burn bridges in an unhealthy way but you can come to an agreement that the collaboration has run its course. 


These are the 3 solutions I’ve opted for when I’ve found myself in a tricky spot with an unsatisfied client. You might find them helpful or wish to find other solutions that work for you. 


If you’ve recently become a freelance copywriter then be patient with yourself. It might take time to figure out your working style, process, brand voice, values and professional boundaries. It’s your business and the way you approach challenging situations; the systems you set up, the protocols you put in place and the procedures you implement must be in alignment with your core values. 


Reduce the Chance of Having an Unsatisfied Customer


I’ve found it comforting over the years to remember that I can’t please everyone. No matter how much I try, some clients won’t like me or the work I create. Luckily enough, I’ve set up systems to establish the “right fit” as early as possible in the customer journey and this has saved me sleepless nights and tears of worry and frustration. 


If you’re a new or aspiring copywriter hoping to reduce the chance of having an unsatisfied customer then you might find this list of safety measures helpful:


  • Ask pre-qualifying questions BEFORE the clarity/discovery or breakthrough call. This should provide a clear understanding, for both parties, of what the pain points are, objectives, potential obstacles and their expectations.

  • Have an intentional goal-orientated call to ascertain the “right fit”. This call is more than presenting the various solutions to their copywriting problems. It’s an opportunity to talk about the business's general philosophy, mindset and approach to work. It’s important to understand how they like to communicate, (Phone, Email, WhatsApp, Voxer, etc.) so they know you will welcome them sharing their concerns. This is also the perfect time to express how you like to work so you both can see if there’s a positive chemistry between you. 

  • Airtight documents. All paperwork for the project, from the proposal and contracts to Terms of Work and Privacy Policies should be up to date, transparent and clearly outline the protocols and legalities. Both parties should agree and sign the terms before starting the project.

  • Communication at key milestones. Create an environment where your client feels safe to express themselves. Copywriting projects can be an emotionally charged activity. It’s important we allow our clients to feel seen, heard and understood. I’ve found it helpful to set up progress calls throughout the project and I like to take screenshots and leave voice notes and messages to keep clients updated throughout the project. This builds additional bridges of connection, fosters trust, creates excitement and invites the client to be involved in the creative process. 


This isn’t an exhaustive list but I’ve found these criteria help in reducing the chance of having an unsatisfied customer. The more information you have before and during the project the deeper the data pool of experiences, stories, facts, knowledge, insights and ideas you’ll have at your disposal to work with when it’s time to craft the copy. 


Simplify to Amplify: Have a Do-It-With-Your-Eyes Closed Process


At the beginning of my copywriting journey, I re-invented the wheel with every client, starting from scratch every time, which wasted valuable time. But now, I subscribe to the belief that every client is unique but my process is not.  


I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from countless client calls and different projects over the last 10 years and found the patterns and similarities. Then I created rinse and repeatable assets in my business to make the tasks I do on every project simple and much faster. 


I use checklists, roadmaps, templates, workout sheets and progress call questions, which ensures every client receives and experiences the same level of care and attention throughout their projects. 


Every student inside The Copy Rebel receives copies and examples of: 


  • Templates; for website pages, sales and landing pages, blogging, email marketing, social media captions and more.

  • Project worksheets to help clients share their brand story, copywriting style and exercises to help clarify their offers and objectives.

  • Examples of questions for the different stages of the customer journey. From the prequalifying and clarity call stage to the progress call questions and end-of-project summary and testimonial request. And more!


Infographic showing some of the features of The Copy Rebel Programme

Everything is fully customisable so you can make them your own. But having them readily available takes the guesswork out of what to do and how to do it! It’s the fully stocked toolbox of copywriting assets to help new and aspiring freelance copywriters streamline their process and deliver the best possible results for their clients every time. 


If you’re interested in becoming a sought-after passion-driven copywriter with the freedom to work when you want and hit your income goals at the same time then The Copy Rebel might be the perfect path for

you.


Client Testimonial with the words: This whole journey has been incredible


Let me know if you’d like me to do an upcoming post where I walk you through my process when I work on a client project. Write the words “Process Breakdown” in the comments. If enough of you request it, I’ll do it! 




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