I would never have picked it.
The project started so well. Janet* called me after she found me on Google. We had a great chat about her website copywriting project. It seemed like a fun job. I prepared a proposal. I reckoned I had a good chance of winning the job. Because we just clicked on the phone, and had a jolly chat.
Janet never replied to my proposal. That’s common. I followed up. Crickets.
Then, out of the blue she emailed to say I’d won the project. My emails had gone to her junk folder and she hadn’t received them. All good.
We met, around Christmas time. I don’t usually meet clients in person. But in this case, we did catch up, at a cute local café. We had a ripper conversation. Janet liked my suggestions for her website copy. We went off brief and talked about life, travel and daughters.
Janet had a website, but it was out of date. The copy was tired, waffly and not selling her service like it should. I was confident I could produce copy that would be more persuasive and more convert-able.
Because I don’t believe in making clients write their own briefs, I wrote it. (Read about that policy here). Janet approved it.
I was super keen on this project because Janet had asked me to be funny. And I think of myself as downright hilarious. No modesty here: I’m a crackup. Alright, maybe I am not giving Amy Schumer a run for her money anytime soon. But I can write a few gags. It’s rare that I get a client asking for copy with jokes.
The sample tone of voice page
As per the brief, I wrote a sample page of text. This is my ‘taste test’. It’s easy to get a few paragraphs fixed. But I don’t want to write the entire website in the wrong tone and spend hours fixing it up. So I always write a little sample. It’s so much easier to get that clear first. Then I can write the rest of the website pages knowing I have got the tone right and approved by the client.
Again, as per the brief, I tossed in jokes. With the sample, I like to push it a bit. To see if the client really wants it the way they say they do. So I included plenty of humour. Clever gags, that would appeal to the target audience, if I do say so myself. Off the sample page went to the client.
Janet loved the jokes! She thought they were truly funny.
Her husband was unsure. He thought the jokes would frighten off conservative customers. Some of the clientele are lawyers and accounting firms. I tried to persuade her that lawyers and accountants are still people and like a friendly joke. My husband is an accountant and he’s a funny bugger. But my attempts were declined. I had to ditch the jokes.
So I did.
I wrote the copy again (we are still at sample page here) without the jokes. It was still really good copy. It sold the product, was engaging, well written, concise, and included keywords for SEO benefits.
The client went AWOL
It was Christmas time. I emailed to say that I would be on holiday. In mid January on my return, I contacted her.
Since then, I have called and emailed. Nothing. Not a word.
I’m mystified. Did she win the lottery and move to Aruba? Did she just hate my copy and decide to ditch me? Is she busy and too important to respond?
I’d like to know.
Perhaps she didn’t like my work. That’s fine. It has happened before in my years of copywriting and PR writing. But on other occasions, they always told me their concerns. I appreciated that.
This time, I am left wondering. What truly happened? I have her deposit, so I am covered financially for the time I have spent on the project.
But I am disappointed that it won’t be continuing. I would have done an awesome job. Oh well.
I keep getting reminded of how I got the flick. Facebook keeps suggesting that Janet and I should be friends. Not cool, Facebook.
What do you think? Is the client perfectly entitled to ignore my request for feedback? Do I need to get my big girl pants on and get over it?
*Janet is my go-to name when I don’t want to reveal a client’s identity. I used it for another story, about the client who wanted a huge refund because I didn’t get her to page one of Google.