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Thread: The power of good copy

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    Default The power of good copy

    This has been an odd year. I was pretty slow in Jan-March. Then things started to pick up, then drop, then pick up, then drop. I noticed my web conversions were way down, though. My "old" message simply wasn't resonating in the recession. I just wasn't getting the contacts that I am used to, even though my site visitors (and adwords bill) remained consistent.

    So around May, I changed my message. Now, I'm a really good copywriter, but even I make mistakes. My new copy had the opposite effect that I wanted - it took my struggling conversion rate and choked out what little life was left (In all fairness, I went radical with the message as a test, and also put prices on my site). I went two weeks without a contact, which has never happened before. And all the while, I'm frantically trying to change things...

    Anyway, I hole up one Saturday last month, got focused, and really hit the keyboard. And I killed. I just knew it. I put it up, and *pow*, everything changes. Instantly. I get three quote requests in the next few hours, and it hasn't stopped.

    The next week's stats told the story. I doubled page views, I doubled time spent on my site, and I increased contacts immensely. Using the same ads, and the same quality/number of visitors. The only thing that changed was the copy.
    Dan Furman - Copywriter, Business Author, Entrepreneurial/Business Consultant
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    That's a great story Dan.

    What type of improvement was it when compared to the pre-May version? I'm curious if you got to a level even higher than before your radical changes.
    Steve B

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    It's amazing how important copy is when it comes to converting visitor to lead and buyer. Even more amazing how many people fail to see the value in copywriting. Keeping everything else constant and changing only the copy makes it clear how much of an impact your copy has on your bottom line.

    Interesting how a few changes stopped leads completely. Shows the importance of testing and realizing that your copy like the rest of your site is never really done. You can't simply leave it alone and assume it's as effective as can be.
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    I think that's fantastic and really sends a message. I am curious of one thing, though. You, being a good copywriter (and I believe you are, Dan) changed your copy once and results got worse, then you changed it again and your results got better.

    What does that tell me, as a potential client? That copy, important though it obviously is, is a hit-and-miss affair? That choosing the right words is a matter of chance? I mean, your post doesn't suggest that you purposely put up "bad" copy to see if it would adversely affect your results (although you did say you went "radical" - whatever that amounts to.)

    I don't suppose even the world's greatest copywriter gets it right every time, but how does a potential client judge between copywriters in deciding who to hire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    I think that's fantastic and really sends a message. I am curious of one thing, though. You, being a good copywriter (and I believe you are, Dan) changed your copy once and results got worse, then you changed it again and your results got better.

    What does that tell me, as a potential client? That copy, important though it obviously is, is a hit-and-miss affair? That choosing the right words is a matter of chance? I mean, your post doesn't suggest that you purposely put up "bad" copy to see if it would adversely affect your results (although you did say you went "radical" - whatever that amounts to.)

    I don't suppose even the world's greatest copywriter gets it right every time, but how does a potential client judge between copywriters in deciding who to hire?
    In copywriting, I don't choose the overall business message - the client does (and usually already has that part down - they know who they are, what they do, and why they do it.) Then I write copy based on that (while adding my input as to what I feel my client's customer wants/needs to hear.)

    With MY business, though, I can choose the overall overall business message, and change it if I want. Which I did in May (I typically market myself by name, and as unique in writing style, but I took it too far in May...

    In short, I put too much emphasis on me, and not enough on what I can do for you - I took my business from "copy by Dan" to "Dan writes copy" - but I realized quick that people weren't coming for "Dan" - they were coming for copy first (kind of a "duh" thing, but that's surprisingly easy to do when you are in the driver's seat.)

    In other words, the "bad thing" I did to myself is not something I would do for a client. I don't get involved in their business on that level - before hiring me, someone has to have at least a vague idea on how to market themselves. I can help fill in the blanks (what info to put where, etc), but I don't build brands.

    edit: Another thing I did with the above was put prices on my site. Which was a bad move.
    Last edited by Dan Furman; 07-03-2009 at 08:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B View Post
    That's a great story Dan.

    What type of improvement was it when compared to the pre-May version? I'm curious if you got to a level even higher than before your radical changes.
    Yes, it's better pre-May, too. Which was the whole idea to start.

    My old message was good, and it worked for awhile (all of 04-08), but I really felt it needed to be a little more ROI focused.

    One thing I have learned is copy has a lifecycle. Depending on your business, you might have to re-do it often. And sometimes you can get away for years with the same message. Interesting thing - the recession had zero effect on my number of visits / adword clicks. But in "hard times" the message that worked 04-08 wasn't working as well as it had. Hence my wanting to change it.
    Last edited by Dan Furman; 07-04-2009 at 12:41 AM.
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    Thanks, Dan - good reply. I appreciate your candor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spider View Post
    Thanks, Dan - good reply. I appreciate your candor.
    You're welcome. It was a really good question, to be honest.
    Dan Furman - Copywriter, Business Author, Entrepreneurial/Business Consultant
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    I think it would be interesting at some point to do a couple of posts that illustrate some common copywriting mistakes and how to fix them or avoid them. I know I've made a few doozies in my time, especially when learning to write for a new audience. Copy is almost never one size fits all. You have to tailor it to those who will be reading and those you want to motivate.

    I'll give some thought to what sorts of mistakes I could write a post about, and I hope others who do this sort of work will consider doing so as well. I think that sort of thing could be a lot of help.

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    Kristine I think that would make for an interesting thread. I'll look forward to what you come up with. Hopefully Dan will be able to add some things as well.

    What does that tell me, as a potential client? That copy, important though it obviously is, is a hit-and-miss affair? That choosing the right words is a matter of chance?
    Frederick, those are good questions. I can see how some would come to the conclusion that's just chance, but it's really more about trying things and testing what works. No one in any industry is perfect. We all make mistakes and so sometimes we'll try something that fails and even fails miserable. I still wouldn't call it chance though.

    What I think Dan did was recognize a problem (he wasn't getting enough contacts through his site) and then try to solve that problem by rewriting his copy. He took an approach he thought would work, but didn't. So he went back looked at his rewrites and the original and made another decision about how to go about writing the copy on his site. The second time seems to have worked and is bringing in more leads.

    I think someone who just threw words at the page wouldn't have been able to fix the site's copy in 2 iterations. In fact they might never have been able to fix the copy since they might never have understood why they chose the copy they did or why it might not be working. While Dan had to rewrite the copy a couple times to get it to work more to his liking, every step he took along the way had a purpose. There wasn't anything random about it.
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