The Copywriter's Crucible

A Review of Convert! – The Book that Launched My Tested Copywriting Future

Any fans of Drayton Bird, Caples or Hopkins will know about the importance of testing your copywriting. Direct marketers have been testing the impact of headlines, images and body copy on response rates for decades. So why does the digital world lag so far behind?

We now have the tools to test what effect every element on a web page has on response rates. But as yet, these tools are criminally underused.

Is it due to laziness? A desire to just get copy signed off and the job done? Or lack of awareness? Probably a combination of all three.

So next year I aim, in my own small way, to change that, with a new tested copywriting service.

Out go best guesses, assumptions and hope. In come stats, analysis and higher conversions.

My newfound enthusiasm for testing has been inspired by the fantastic book ‘Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion’ by Ben Hunt (yes, it’s an affiliate link. But as you know, I’d never promote to you, dear Crucible fans, anything I don’t use myself).

Drayton Bird’s endorsement was enough to get me interested, and as I started ploughing through its pages it was like switching on a light bulb. Ben explains, step by step, how to identify customers at different stages of conversion (or steps on the awareness ladder, as he calls it) and how your website needs to be organised to drive them through a trust building process until they’re ready to take action. Hitting them with sales messages from the get go isn’t going to cut it.

In particular, he explains how to use Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer to track, analyse and verify your website is performing as an optimised sales machine. This is where assumptions and best guesses translate into clear, transparent figures.

I’d like to say it’s a page turner but you’ll find yourself constantly putting it down to action one of his suggestions to your own website. Eventually I gave up and read it at my keyboard.

So why not treat yourself to another Christmas present and discover how you can implement a smarter, tested approach to your website’s copywriting and design, and watch your response rate grow:

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