What Separates Amateurs from the Pros


That’s what makes the grizzled veterans standout and is the key to higher conversions.

Within a few years (or months, in some cases) of hand copying sales letters and working from templates, you should be writing out decent sales letters that keep most clients happy.

But to reach the creme de la creme of clients (and fees), you need to be offering big ideas, hooks and triggers on an epic scale that few can match.

The only way to uncover these ideas is through deep, unrelenting and obsessive research. The top copy dogs typically spend 1-2 weeks (or even a month) on research before they even write the headline.

So what are they doing during this time?

Here’s my 12 step checklist for completing the research stage:

1. Send the client a questionnaire
2. Send their email list a ‘Deep Dive Survey’
3. Review the results with the client (optional)
4. Review all of the client’s current marketing and best-performing pages and emails
5. Research competitor websites and sales pages to identify their key hooks and benefits
6. Research the market for challenges, problems and language (Amazon reviews can be a goldmine)
7. List all of the problems the product solves and how it does it
8. Research the market again to assess how aware they are of the solution to their problem and my client’s product
9. Writing out pages of benefit bullets and headlines
10. Identify what ‘big idea’ will help the product stand out
11. Write down all the objections a customer would have before buying
12. Plot out the sales letter in Scrivener

Boom! Once you’ve done all that the writing part is easy.

As you can imagine, working through all these steps eats up a lot of time.

In fact, you should be spending two-thirds of your time on research and only a third on the actual writing.

Try working through all these steps on your next big project and let me know how it improves your conversion rate (and praise from the client).


Skip to content