copywriting effectiveness

Copywriting effectiveness can be tricky to identify…

For instance, how can you tell if that sales letter you just wrote is going to get you the results you want or not…

And if not, what it would need to be effective?

It’s a good question.

Before spending the money on a direct mail campaign, you’d want to know it’s likely to hit the mark or not.

And of course, this applies as well to any money to spend on Facebook, YouTube, etc.

So, how can you know in advance?

Copywriting Effectiveness Test #1

One mistake people often make about copywriting is thinking it needs to be packed with psychological “tricks”.

Yes, there’s a lot that goes into a well written piece of copy.

However, over-the-top, hype-filled copy packed with claims that can’t be backed up simply isn’t good copy.

And while there’s no way to know for sure without testing…

There are telltale signs.

So, let’s look at a couple of these.

For one thing, it’s like that old saying about ducks…

“If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… It probably IS a duck.”

But with copywriting, it’s the exact opposite.

If it looks like copywriting and it feels like copywriting…

It probably ISN’T very good copywriting.

Let me explain…

The best sales messages you’ll ever see don’t look like sales messages at all.

As if to a family member

A great example of this is Gary Halbert’s Coat of Arms letter.

It was one of the highest selling sales letters ever.

During its heyday, Halbert’s company was receiving tens of thousands of checks in the mail every day.

(This was before credit cards and the internet.)

They had so many checks coming in, they had to rent out the entire second floor of their local bank for people to process and deposit them.

His simple one-page letter had a very personal feel to it.

It appeared to be a simple letter from Gary’s wife to another member of the family.

The offer was made just like you would over the fence to a neighbor.

“Hey, I ran into something you might be interested in. If you’d like to have it, just send me a small payment to cover the cost, and I’ll send it to you.”

According to Halbert, it took him 18 months to get it to sound authentic enough.

18 months!

Here’s the point: It mailed to over 600,000,000 people.

Yes, you read that right. Eight zeroes.

And did it seem like it was written by a copywriter?


So that’s the first “sniff test” you can do to know whether a piece of copy is any good or not:

Does it feel like copywriting?

If it looks and feels like it was written by a really clever copywriter, you should be a little suspicious.

Great copy sounds and feels conversational.

Like a friend talking to you at a bar, to use John Carlton’s analogy.

Copywriting Effectiveness Test #2

Why does great copy often seem so effortless?

Actually, it’s not the copy.

It’s the offer that the copy rests on.

In other words, if you want strong copy, you need a strong offer.

The offer is your foundation.

The copy is really just the house that’s built on it.

If you don’t have a good offer, then no matter how clever your copy is, it’s just not going to be effective.

Yes, of course, a clever copywriter can dress up your offer.

But to quote another old saying:

You can put lipstick on a pig… But it’s still a pig.

The key element for any piece of copy is the offer it’s based on.

With a strong offer, the copy simply needs to provide a clear, transparent honest-to-goodness message, describing what that offer is, in the best terms possible.

In other words, it’s almost invisible.

That’s the second way you can tell if you have good copy or not.

The Third (And Ultimate) Test

The final test of how effective your copy is, is to put it to the test.

Run it to a test slice of your market.

Let the market decide.

And if you’re not happy with the results, test an alternate.

Rinse and repeat until you find a winner.

And even then, you’ll never know how much better you can get until you test.

So, test, test and then test again.

That’s how the dominant players in any market dominate.

And that can be you too, once you have the right offer and copy, tested ad infinitum.





Bonus Tip: The “CUB” Test

So simple, even a copywriter can do it… 😊

Go through your copy and tweak any portions that are Confusing… Unbelievable… or Boring.


If you’d like help creating copy that converts, we’d love to help. Just drop a few details in our Discovery Form and we’ll invite you to a chat about your project.

Mike Connolly
Mike Connolly

Dan Kennedy Certified Copywriter for Info-Marketers and Infusionsoft Certified Partner, Mike Connolly lives in Boulder, Colorado, builds marketing funnels that rock, and loves cycling (almost) all year round.