When people hire me for copy critiques, here are four of the most important first steps we take:
- Zero-in on who your prospect is, and who your prospect isn’t. Once you have your prospect clearly identified, determine what “conversations” are going on in your prospect’s mind. That means, how does the prospect talk to himself or herself about problems and desires that your offer can help with? What are the words running through your prospect’s mind? What feelings does the prospect have, connected to those problems or desires?
- Size up your offer from the prospect’s point of view. You want your offer to be as much of a “perfect match” as possible. Get clear on what advantages you offer, compared to all other solutions and opportunities the prospect is probably considering. Decide which advantage or advantages you want to highlight. The end goal is to help the right prospect decide that what you offer is the best available option for him or her—and to decide quickly, and with great conviction.
- Check to see that you have enough genuine and convincing proof to remove all doubt from your prospect’s mind. Believable (and real) testimonials are always the best, first level of proof. Also important is track record: of the offer itself, and of the person, team, or company that put together the offer. Put yourself mentally in your prospect’s shoes. Ask yourself: Is everything here to convince the prospect that your offer is, and does, what you say it is and does?
- Read through your copy carefully. It helps if you read it out loud. Does everything flow smoothly? Does it stay interesting and intriguing all the way through? Does it build the prospect’s desire to a high point when you ask for action? Is it conversational? If you can get a “yes” to all four questions, you’re well on your way to a winner.
Do it yourself–or get some professional help?
I’ve just given you a solid roadmap to begin critiquing your own copy.
So now, you might be wondering: If people can do it themselves, then why do they hire me to critique their copy for them?
Three things that get in the way
People hire me mostly because they know they just can’t do as good a job as they would like in critiquing their own copy. Usually, the reasons are:
- Not enough relevant experience. Even the most seasoned marketer in one field has to resort to guessing about a lot of factors in a new one. A marketer who has never promoted a new kind of offer may be unsure of how to promote it most effectively. Same thing for a copywriter who has hit home run after home run in one niche. That copywriter doesn’t feel nearly as confident about his or her first sales letter in a brand-new niche.
- Not enough distance. You can be very experienced, and still be too close to your copy it to see clearly. Because when you’re too involved mentally and emotionally with a new offer, it’s a double-edged sword.On one hand, having a deep connection with what you’re selling is good. This level of passion and engagement fuels the action marketers and copywriters need to make huge sales.But on the other hand, you may be too close—mentally and emotionally—to see clearly. You can’t “step back” mentally to find the holes and the weak points. Which is what you need to do the critique the copy. The bottom line is: You need to see the copy through the eyes (and hear it through the ears) of your prospect—and you can do that only after you temporarily set aside your own thoughts and feelings about your offer.
- Too many other things going on. You can have all the experience and distance you need. But if you’re like most people—including a lot of the people who hire me for critiques—the more successful you get, the more things you have to worry about at the same time. As a result, you have fewer things you can devote time to.
Michael Mendlowitz was such a client. He knew his market inside and out, and knew how to communicate to them to close the sale. But he was so busy growing his business he found it smarter to hire me than to try to critique his own copy himself.
Listen to what he has to say:
“Thanks to you, David, my business has reached unprecedented growth. Although I am in the payment processing business, an extremely competitive market, my sales letters currently have over an 8% conversion rate, well 4 times the industry average, increasing my ROI to over 300%!”
-Michael Mendlowitz, Owner, Commerce Payment Systems
I do critiques for pro copywriters as well. Doberman Dan Gallapoo, one of the world’s top copywriters, has written promotions that have brought in millions upon millions of dollars in sales. Dan has hired me to get some perspective on his generally excellent copy.
Here’s what he says:
“David Garfinkel always helps me find clarity amidst chaos when it comes to all the copy ideas swirling around inside my head. After WEEKS of struggling to find the perfect lead for a promotion I was working on, David nailed it in only 37 seconds flat. If you have the opportunity to brainstorm or mentor with David, you should jump on it immediately.”
-Doberman Dan Gallapoo, Copywriter, Arango Direct, Ocala, FL
Apply for a critique
By now you can see it can make a lot of sense (and extra money) to get “a second set of eyes” looking at your copy before you send it out to the world.
You get the benefit of my experience:
- I’ve been active in group critiques of over 100 sales pieces, as a copy consultant for Agora Financial in the last couple years. And going back even further, I’ve helped marketers in more than 100 niches. Plus, of course, I’ve done dozens of critiques of sales letters, video sales letter scripts, and print ads, for small, entrepreneurial companies, and individuals.
- I’ve spoken about copywriting at many major entrepreneurial events including The Big Seminar, Aesop Publishing Marketing Conference, Jon Benson’s Malibu Mastermind, Kevin Hogan’s Influence Boot Camp, Brian Kurtz’s Titans Mastermind, and The Wharton School Club of Washington DC.
- Top publications featuring me include: The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur Magazine.
I’m telling you this so you can rest assured: Many others rely on me for my expertise with copy.
Each copy critique is custom tailored to the market, goals, and particular concerns of my client. Here are a few of the factors we look at together in almost all critiques:
- The “grab-ability” of your copy—how well does it stop your readers/viewers in their tracks and hold on all the way through?
- Your claims: Are they strong enough? Are they believable enough? Are they instantly clear to your prospects?
- Testimonials: How authentic do they sound? How well can your prospects relate to them?
- Flow factor: How well do you develop and refresh curiosity? How effective are your subheads? How smooth are your transitions?
- Your close: How strong and appealing is it?
Of course, there’s a lot more I look at, but that should give you a pretty good idea of how we would go about a one-hour copy critique session together.
I’ll make specific suggestions. Some will be on-the-spot improvements in parts of your copy. Others will be for additional research you’ll need to do, to make your copy the best it can be. And sometimes I’ll suggest things like graphics, quizzes, contests, or other devices to improve your conversion.
To apply for a copy critique, please click on the button below, and then fill out and submit the application: