Copywriting can be a highly lucrative job. If you’re already a writer or thinking of becoming one, you might be wondering if you can make better money here than in other fields. While everyone has a different perception of how much they want to make, this guide will help you understand your prospects as a copywriter in the e-commerce industry.

Regardless of the channel you use, strong and effective copy can make all the difference in e-commerce marketing. It captures readers’ attention, keeps them interested in your brand, and encourages sales by helping readers understand what value you deliver. Given this, it’s no surprise that copywriters are currently in huge demand, whether for email marketing, social media ads, product landing pages, or other types of copy.

Get to know more about how you can make money through copywriting in the e-commerce industry below.

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How much do copywriters make on average?

Copywriter salaries differ based on many factors, one of these being your working arrangement. You’ll earn a regular monthly salary if you work as an employee in an agency or a company’s marketing team. Conversely, if you work as a freelance writer, your income may vary depending on how much you charge and how many projects you get.

To give you a better idea, here are some estimates for the annual copywriter salary in the US:

  • Average of $53,559 (Indeed)
  • $48,701 to $60,701, with an average of $53,901 (Salary.com)
  • $33,000 to $82,000, with an average of $51,810 (Glassdoor)

On the other hand, the average income for freelance copywriters in the US is:

  • Average of $28.58 (Indeed)
  • $49,065 to $61,149, with an average of $54,316 per year (Salary.com)
  • $34,000 to $86,000, with an average of $53,826 per year (Glassdoor)

How to make better money in copywriting

As you’ll notice in the salary ranges listed above, the amount you earn as a copywriter can range significantly. In many ways, this depends on what career path you choose to pursue. Deciding between full-time work or freelance is just one aspect to consider, but many other factors can affect your income.

Fortunately, it’s possible to make better money in copywriting without switching paths or getting a second job. The key is to be smart and strategic with how you build your career. Below are a few ways to help you get started.

Market yourself as a freelancer

If you want to make more money as a copywriter, freelancing is generally the best route. For one, it grants you flexibility in terms of the clients you work with or the jobs you take, which helps you develop your skills, gain more experience, and find topics that interest you. Aside from this, you have more control over your schedule and workflow.

When it comes to financial perks, the main benefit of going freelance is it gives you more opportunities to increase your income. Contrary to most assumptions, you might be surprised to know that good freelance copywriters can earn six figures per year. However, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t happen overnight. Before reaching this stage, you’ll need to build your portfolio, grow your network, and improve your skills to create high-quality copy.

If you’re currently employed in a company, consider picking up some freelance jobs from time to time. Leaving your full-time job to pursue freelancing can be difficult due to the competition, especially if you have no experience finding clients or don’t know how to charge rates. Thus, starting with side gigs, you can test your technical and interpersonal skills first and see how you do with freelancing.

That said, take note that some employment contracts have clauses that restrict you from working with a competitor. If this is the case for your company, you’ll need to tread carefully when looking for freelance gigs since taking a job from a competitor can get you fired.

Specialize in a niche

To specialize in a niche or not is a common dilemma that many copywriters go through, especially when starting. Unfortunately, deciding between the two isn’t always so straightforward, given that everyone has different interests, skills, and experience levels.

As a new writer, one of the first pieces of advice you’ll often get from others is to find your niche—a topic that’s broad enough to provide room for many content ideas but also focused on a specific field. The reason is that specializing offers many benefits. It helps you stand out from others, create better quality work, and write more efficiently as you learn from past projects.

Aside from this, specializing also makes you more valuable in the freelance world. As an expert, you have in-depth knowledge that allows you to create more accurate and unique copy that appeals to the audience. This is attractive for business owners, specifically for more technical niches like energy, healthcare, finance, real estate, cryptocurrency, and others. Thus, by focusing on a niche and developing your skills there, you’ll be able to charge higher rates.

However, with all these benefits also come some disadvantages. For some, having a specialization can feel restrictive and monotonous, especially if you choose the wrong niche. In this case, it’ll be worth exploring other options to see if you fare better in a different niche.

Another drawback is the potential risk of choosing a niche that’s already populated with many writers, which means stronger competition. If you find yourself in this dilemma, you’ll need to think of how to stand out from other writers with the same niche. Alternatively, you can consider trying a different niche, especially if you aren’t too passionate about your current one.

Charge projects, not hourly

As a freelance writer, there are many ways to charge for your copywriting services. Hourly rates are one of the most common pricing structures, as they’re straightforward to calculate. Newer freelance writers often charge this way, especially if coming from a full-time job or different industry, since most salaries are computed based on an hourly rate.

While hourly rates also ensure that your time is properly compensated, the downside is that most clients have a fixed budget in mind when hiring freelancers. Estimating how long you’d spend on a project is also challenging. Sometimes, you may underestimate the time and effort needed to finish your work and end up undercutting yourself.

As such, it’s generally recommended to charge by project instead of by the hour. Doing this allows you to shift to value-based pricing, where you set rates based on the value you can deliver to clients rather than the time spent on a project. The idea is that over time, you get better and spend less time writing. Thus, continuing to charge hourly would be counterintuitive since you’d earn less despite producing better copy.

Project-based rates help eliminate this concern since clients are paying for your skill and expertise, so you can make more money even if you finish tasks more quickly. With this pricing structure, you’re assured that you’ll be paid a flat fee regardless of how many words you write or how long you take to finish the project. Of course, you’ll probably agree on a deadline with your client, but you won’t need to track your hours to ensure you get paid fairly.

The main drawback of this approach is that it can be tricky to figure out the right fee for each project based on the client’s goals. If you charge too low, you’ll exhaust yourself for just a small amount. Conversely, if you charge too high, you might be pressured to deliver top-tier work to ensure your client gets their money’s worth.

Fortunately, as you gain more experience and complete more projects, you’ll gradually have a better grasp of how to price your services. Because of this, experienced writers usually opt for project-based pricing.

Get referrals

Referrals are another great way to land more freelance writing jobs and generate more income. Once you’ve built up your client base and created a solid portfolio, you can ask satisfied clients to refer you to their network. The referral system is effective because it allows you to secure prospects more quickly and skip the hassle of applying to multiple job sites.

When potential clients hear about your services from someone they know, they’ll likely consider you more than other copywriters, so there’s a higher chance of getting the job. In other words, referrals are “warmer leads” since they’re usually faster to close and have a shorter sales cycle. Thus, by capitalizing on these referrals, you’ll ultimately spend more time writing rather than finding jobs, which translates to more earnings in the long run.

If you’ve never asked for a referral before, it’s understandably daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re unsure of how to go about it, here are some tips to help you get referrals:

  • Send a “thank you” to clients when asking for referrals
  • Be strategic with your timing (after successfully finishing a project or receiving good feedback)
  • Make it easy for clients to refer you by sending them your “pitch” (with a list of services, rates, and contact information) that they can easily forward to others
  • Incentivize referrals through discount codes or other perks

Ask clients for a review

As a copywriter, one way to justify charging higher rates is to collect client reviews. This can be on freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr or your personal website and social media profiles.

Think of it like a business—reviews help users decide if they should purchase from a particular brand. In the same way, having many good reviews as a freelance writer reassures people of your work ethic and quality, which helps you attract more clients and earn more.

Generally, it’s good to establish a formal feedback process at the end of every project. In any case, feedback allows you to gauge how you’re doing, identify points of improvement, and boost credibility for future projects. That said, it may also be worth considering which clients to ask to post reviews, depending on where they’re posting the reviews and what it was like working with them.

If the reviews are on your website or social media account, you have complete control over what’s displayed. This makes it easy to filter the reviews and focus on positive ones, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have room for other types of feedback. Some clients may be more critical but still honest with their reviews, so it’ll be up to you to decide what to include.

However, if your reviews are posted on freelancing sites, you won’t have as much control over them. While some platforms like Upwork allow you to remove reviews, this is subject to certain restrictions. For example, your profile should be Top Rated or Top Rated Plus, and you can only request one removal every three months and after completing ten contracts.

Build your own brand

The best way to stand out in the crowded freelance world is to build your personal brand as a copywriter. A personal brand isn’t just about creating a logo, website, or tagline. It’s about showing your unique personality, expertise, style, and values to distinguish yourself from other copywriters and build a trusted name.

Personal branding is highly similar to company branding, where you create a distinct identity based on your strengths to appeal to a target audience. How do you want others to view you? What niche do you write about? What is your unique proposition? What is your copywriting voice and tone? These are just some questions to ask yourself when building your brand.

Having a distinctive brand allows you to earn more in copywriting since it helps you establish credibility, grow your network, build a community, and secure higher-paying jobs. There are many different platforms you can use for branding, with Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter being some of the most common. To give you an idea of how to use them, check out some tips to create a successful brand on each platform below.

Instagram

Instagram allows you to be more creative with your branding strategy. Start by optimizing your bio to include a memorable username, branded photo, contact information, and a brief description of who you are and what you do. Next, identify key topics for your content—essentially, your copywriting niche or niches.

In any case, remember to maintain a consistent theme across posts for cohesion. Given the visual nature of Instagram, it’s important to use the same design elements to help users remember your brand. These may include your colors, editing filters, or even emojis on captions.

TikTok

As the fastest-growing social network, TikTok is another great platform to grow your following. Today, many experts have successfully built their personal brands there, including entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, financial advisers, and many others.

With TikTok, it’s generally best to stick to your chosen niche, so your audience understands what content to expect from you. Remember to also use the same design theme, including colors, fonts, and filters, for all posts to help viewers recognize your style. If you want to grow your brand quickly, it’ll be best to post regularly to reach as many people as possible and maximize engagement.

LinkedIn

Consider using LinkedIn to build your brand if you’re a business-to-business (B2B) freelance copywriter. Again, start by optimizing your profile to include a professional picture and headline, then highlight your past experience. Being a networking platform, LinkedIn is the perfect place to connect with friends, family, former colleagues, classmates, and other professionals to expand your network.

Twitter

If you’re looking to attract e-commerce businesses, you can build your brand and grow your presence as a copywriter on Twitter. As with other platforms, you should also sharpen your profile and follow experts or influencers in your niche. However, the tricky part about Twitter is working around the 280-character limit. You’ll need to be creative, making sure to provide readers with value while keeping the post punchy and concise.

Build a social media presence

Connected to the previous point of branding is building a social media presence. Nowadays, many clients discover and engage with brands through social media, so the same goes for your personal brand. Having active profiles and a solid following helps you position yourself as a trusted expert and showcase your skill, ultimately allowing you to charge higher for your services.

If you’re not sure how to use social media to build your brand, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Update your profile with relevant information
  • Stay consistent across platforms, using the same tone, voice, and theme in your content
  • Understand the algorithms for each platform to determine the best way to reach your target audience
  • Post regularly and interact with users to boost engagement
  • Showcase your work

It’s more than making money from copywriting

As discussed in the tips above, copywriting isn’t just a side hustle—with the right strategy and priorities in place, it can be a full-time career that brings in substantial profits. However, as you grow your presence in this space and make more money, your expenses will also add up.

Taxes will be the most obvious expense that grows with your income, but aside from this, there are many others to consider. Examples include grammar or proofreading software, website costs, and health insurance. Whether you work in a home office or rent a workspace, you can also expect to spend on either setup—utilities, furniture, and equipment for the former, then rental fees for the latter.

Given this, keeping track of your expenses is essential to ensure your rates are high enough to cover costs while still generating profits. It may be challenging, but keeping your finances in check is necessary. Additionally, once you start earning more, you can consider exploring new revenue streams with your extra income. One example will be to create and sell a copywriting course, which can bring in passive income and solidify your personal brand further.

Overall, copywriting is a great career choice today, given the massive demand from business owners and other clients. However, you’re also competing against tons of other writers, making it crucial to create a distinct identity that sets you apart. By taking the freelance route, you’ll have more control over your career path, which allows you to take active steps like specializing in your desired niche and building a personal brand to make more money in this space.

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Zack Miller