When does sales copy become a priority?

By  •  Updated: 09/09/21 •  3 min read

Plenty of copywriters will tell you that writing sales copy is a high value skill that you need to learn, either for your own business or to sell as a service.

But is that true?

OG direct response guys will tell you there’s 3 things that matter in the success of a promotion.

1) The List

At least 40% of the success of your promotion is down to the list.

“List” used to mean the list of addresses you were mailing your offer to, but it really means your audience.

The absolute best list is people who bought from you in the past. Your “house” list.

I’ll come back to this….

2) The Offer

The offer is the promise you’re making to your audience, but also all the stuff in the package you’re going to sell them to achieve that promise.

Great Offers have people leaping out of their seats to grab their credit cards, confident that they’ve found the solution to a serious problem, and that this once in a lifetime opportunity shouldn’t be slept on.

The offer contributes about another 40% to the performance of the ad.

3) The Creative (Sales copy & design)

“Creative” is the words & pictures that you use to communicate your offer.

Creative contributes about 20% to the performance of the promotion. So that’s typically the ad, plus the sales letter and any other parts of your funnel like webinars or follow-up emails.

(Different people will give different percentages, but these are a decent guide.)

So, why all the fuss about copy if it’s the thing that has the least impact?

Copy is low on the list when you’re selling to an army of existing fans who buy anything you put out.

(These are the people who watched every film in the Fast & Furious franchise, even after #8)

You could pretty much write “buy my stuff” and make bank with these people.

But what about when your list is, well, a bit rubbish, or you don’t have a list at all?

What about when you’re selling from ads to a fresh audience who doesn’t know you?

What if you’re selling via affiliates to someone else’s audience?

Copy becomes much more important as the list gets weaker.

It’s also the variable you can control and test most easily.

Testing a new offer can be a big deal. You can tinker with things like bonuses and guarantees, the big promise is what really counts.

Going to a new audience can get expensive as well. But testing copy, particularly headlines is relatively quick and easy.

So, once you’ve squeezed some sales out of your own list and followers, if you want to take your offer to the big wide world, your copy is the first thing you should be looking to improve.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.