I’ll keep it shorter today — as this coffee shop will close soon and I have to vacate.
Someone asked me on WhatsApp what makes good copy? How do you know a copy is good?
The answer is quite simple — it sells or at least it outperforms bad copy. The only way to measure the performance of a Facebook ad or sales letter or funnel is to simply test it, see if it works, see how well it works and draw educated conclusions from that.
That at least in theory…
… because in practice it is a bit harder.
The traffic must match the offer. The offer must match the avatar. The avatar must match the message. There are a lot of different elements that can make good copy go bad. I remember this case when someone ran a promo and was surprised why the copy hasn’t made a single sale.
The problem was that he was running traffic to non-english speaking countries with an offer that wasn’t making sense for them. Or one guy was running promos on an email list burned before by poor offers.
So yes, I wish it was black and white but it isn’t.
There is a large degree of responsibility on the funnel design side too… and if you work as a freelancer and end up with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing, well, sorry, there’s not really much you can do. It’s not that your copy is good or not, it is that it isn’t congruent with the rest of the funnel. Tweaking the copy won’t really change anything.
Fortunately most entrepreneurs get that part right — especially those that are pulling in money consistently from their campaigns.
It’s okay to ask for advice on how to improve a sales letter, as there are proper ways to write copy and less than proper ones. There are good headlines and bad headlines. So getting a copywriting mentor or paying for a critique or asking a friend makes sense in 99 out of 100 cases.
But at the end of the day, you test.
And if it doesn’t work, that’s fine. It is never a one shot thing. You can tweak and try again. Copy almost never works by default. It takes a lot of split testing and optimizing to get a real winner.
The important thing is to put something out there and to measure the results. Then to make improvements based on common sense or data driven decisions, if your metrics tell you something useful.
Slowly, you’ll get closer to what really resonates with your marketplace, you’ll narrow that circle around what you should say and what you shouldn’t. And your tenth sales copy for the same product will always be better than the first one. The first one is usually a shot in the dark built around assumptions.
The more copywriting education one has, the more know-how he has and the more understanding of human nature, the more accurate those assumptions are. But until these are tested, you shouldn’t be too attached to them.
It’s fun really — it’s a process of discovery and optimization. Copywriting is a place where you are encouraged to make mistakes and learn from them. So don’t worry so much about what makes good copy. Just write, improve it based on the proven principles of salesmanship and test.
Even if I read one hour a day, for the rest of my life on how to write good copy, I can’t guarantee a winner — but reading and studying and getting feedback helps narrow those assumptions dramatically.
It’s like throwing darts you know?
A complete beginner will throw all over the place, even on the wall. A pro knowing how to write good copy will throw closer to the center. It’s rare to hit a bullseye each time, which means to get the copy perfectly converting from the first try, but it will be a lot, lot closer to the final thing.
Really, it’s fun.