The copy for your various marketing campaigns can make the difference between an influx of new customers and a loss of the customers you already have.

Excellent copywriting is as important to your business as a computer or an internet connection, so it’s vital that you hire the best candidate the first time. When you’re on the hunt for someone to create marketing copy, make sure your choice candidate does these four things:

Works as a copywriter for a living. It may seem like a little thing, but a copywriter who is available to you is a valuable team member. Not only do they have more hours in the trenches than a part-timer, they have a lot larger vested interest in your product or website succeeding. If your sales increase, their resume improves and they have the potential to build a long-term client. A part-timer who captains a failed campaign can simply go back to their 9 to 5, but a full time copywriter loses in more ways than one.

Values their clientele. There are lots of little ways to tell what your copywriter really thinks of their clientele. If they’re just as proud to show off the work they did for Joe’s Local Pest Control company as the work they did for Kraft Foods and their customers are more than happy to provide testimonials or referrals, chances are good that your copywriter genuinely cares about your success. Bear in mind that sometimes copywriters are asked to sign Non-Disclosure Statements, so they may not be able to talk about certain pieces of work they’ve done.

Provides you with samples. You’d think it would go without saying that you should have some idea of the writing abilities of a potential copywriter, but sometimes people need a gentle reminder. This is not to say that you should expect them to craft samples specifically for you for free, that’s like asking your doctor to give you a free physical before you decide to make them your Primary Care — but if they won’t provide a paid sample or examples of their work from other companies, keep looking.

Asks a lot of questions about your business. Once you’ve got your core group of copywriters narrowed down to a few choice candidates, you need some idea about how active of a team member they’ll be. Are they asking a lot of questions about your business, your goals and your overall vision for the project, or are the only questions you get from them about when they’ll get paid? They should be asking both, but the focus must be on you. You’re the customer and your business is the most important aspect of the conversation.

If you hire a copywriter who does these four things, you can be confident that they’ll help you design marketing campaigns that strike a chord with your potential customer base. You can expect to pay a little more for an experienced copywriter, but the return on your investment will be well worth it.