Beyond Just Writing: Why 80% Of The Time Many Sales Copy Suck.



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Don’t even think about it.

You’re never in the business of writing. You are in the business of making sales. Sadly, many copywriters don’t know this. They try to style their writing with good phrases and adjectives that don’t hold the heart of a prospect.

Don’t do that. Don’t be like them.

A few years ago, I wanted to improve my writing skills. I get wowed by the syntax and creativity used in novels… how they use adjectives and figures of speech.

Truth is, sometimes when I read it I discovered that probably writing isn’t for me. I just stare at the words and then travel with my mind-eyes.

Gosh! These guys are damn creative. I wanted to be like them. Soon, I started learning how to write poetry. I wanted to be good with words. I learnt it until I was pretty good (at least in my head). But whenever I write something I realized it probably attracted eyeballs and got thumbs up and pats in the back, but hardly cash. It only excited them. It never stimulated them to take actions.

Then, I realized a simple truth:

Writing is not enough. It must persuade. It must be with a purpose, aside from entertaining.

Fine, writing may assist in creating word-pictures. But what kind of picture do you want to create?

Today, a lot of people create disconnected pictures that don’t lead to sales.

The pictures could show the character but it doesn’t link to the offer. And that’s why their copy suck even when they used a story lead.

Recently, I wrote a copy that brought in close to #2.7million under 2days. You see, all I did in the copy was simple…

I will tell you in a minute, but first let me tell you about a story to buttress this.

A copywriter was sent to the the “Arab world” to create marketing campaign for a particular brand of soft drink. It was a new market (since they haven’t got something like that before), so they needed something simple and easy to understand strategy to hook the Arabians.

He was so excited about this like every copywriter. He got on the game… Started looking for the best way to communicate to these folks. While contemplating, an idea hit his head.

“Wo-hoo! This should work!”

He got to his table and started creating the simple plan. The idea? To use 3 pictures arranged side by side to communicate the benefits of the drink without even using words.

On the right side, he had a picture of a man in a desert who was so tired and needed something to drink. The next picture showed the man grabbing a drink. Then the last picture aligned to the side pictured the man running with energy.

He was glad that his brainwave idea will pull in crazy sales. He had these pictures on every on traffic site and location… He even ran the pictures as ad on billboards and on TV…

With this, sales should pull in, right?

But turned out… He got none. Not a single one. In fact, under 3 days, he got several news articles criticizing his drink. Soon he was called by those agency whose billboards he used, that they would be pulling down his ads…

People started tearing his posters around and started stamping on it. He was shocked.

Why is this so? He asked one of his friend, an Arabian who also speaks English.

“What is going on? Why is my ad flagged down and torn in several places?

He started counting his loss. He couldn’t believe his eyes…

Much damage has been done already…. Not only to the sales, but to the brand entirely. Turned out the people viewed the ad from right to left.

From the guy running with energy, to his grabbing a drink and then becoming weak and was scrawling to death in the desert.

They instantly saw the drink as a poison… They saw the white dude advertising a poison with the intention to wipe out their race….

And that was why they were all angry at the ads.

You see, it is no news that a sales man’s mistake may cost a little while a copywriter’s mistake would cost so much.

The copywriter has got a brain-wave idea that should work. But because he failed in RESEARCHING his prospects long enough, he didn’t realized they read from RIGHT to LEFT.

Listen: like I said as my introduction, you’re not in the business of writing. Truth is, if you are not a fan of research, you shouldn’t be in the copywriting space because over 60% of copywriting successes dwell on research.

Without research, you wouldn’t know what appeals the your prospects, you wouldn’t know their language and how to hook them…

Claude Hopkins was once hired to create a sales copy for a beer brand. The beer brand wasn’t exactly different from the competitions, so the he started researching deeply into the product to get an appeal. He went to the factory and then he got the spark!

The healthy way the beer bottle was washed, cleaned and sterilized  before adding the bear was something that caught his attention when he went to the factory.

Suddenly, he knew that would work.

“Do your customers or prospects know about this refinery process?” He asked.

“No. That’s exactly how most beers are produced. So it may not make a difference”

“No, it would. We’d tell them and position your brand as the only one who does it.”

Soon, the campaign was run. Whoosh! Money started dripping in fast. Several customers started ordering. Who doesn’t like something healthy?

That’s the power of research. In fact, don’t pen a word in your book or PC without researching these 3 things:

* The Prospects: 

Relocate to where your prospects possibly spend time in… online communities, forums, social media groups, YouTube…. Observe their questions and feelings. Ask them questions. Run a survey to filter for their…

– Their fears (what keep them awake at night).

-Their objections.

-Their desires.

-Their level of awareness on their problems, their products, and brand..

-Emotional appeals.

Your ability to gauge the awareness level of your prospects will make you write a better sales copy.

According to Eugene Schwartz, there are 5 different levels of prospects awareness. Note the most aware they are, the more direct your approach to selling your offer and vice versa.

Now, let’s get to the levels of awareness:

Most aware prospects: These are folks who know you, and your products, They have already associated with your brand before now. They are your hot lists. Your lead could shoot them straight the benefits without hiding anything.

Product aware prospects

Solution aware prospects

Problem aware prospects

Unaware prospects



* The Products:

Yup, now is time to dig into the products. Use it. Test it yourself to have a stronger feeling. Note…

-The features/benefits

-The testimonials/reviews/endorsements

-The unique selling points.


* The Competitors: 

Don’t work in isolation. See what others are doing. Check for control copies in your niche and even those not exactly related to it to get ideas. Check:

-The hook they are using.

-Their marketing message

-Their sales funnel

-Their line of sales copy.

-Their Big idea

-Their offer.


While doing this,  you’d be flooded with hundreds of ideas. Get your notepad handy to swipe in ideas. Take screenshot, capture reviews, emotions and… document them in that box of files on your PC or note. You’d need them when writing.

Got that?

Now, take research seriously. I spend over 60% of my work on research until I am convinced I have got the right appeal.

In the next issue, I’d be telling more about research and how to find the One Big Idea in a sales copy.


See you later,


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