Results of a copy critique

One of the services I offer is a Copy Critique.

This is where I’ll take a look at a piece of your copy – a web page, sales letter, advertisement or whatever – and then we spend 30 minutes on the phone discussing how it could be made even better.

Just a few weeks ago I was sent this advertisement to give my feedback on. Note, I’ve blanked out any identifying details to save the client’s blushes!

Original advertisement

What do you think?

My observations to this client were:

1. The headline includes jargon and talks “at” the reader. Who says I MUST know anything?

2. Far too many words, trying to convey far more information than is needed. The more you say, the more ammunition people have to deselect themselves.

3. The first sentence of the body has 27 words and uses self-publish twice. It’s clumsy to read.

4. Why list everything that’s covered in the report – they don’t need to know the detail at this point, they only need to know it’ll be useful to them so they download it and give the client their email address.

5. The whole advert doesn’t “attract”, it doesn’t arouse curiosity and it looks bland and boring.

6. There are two different calls to action, the first to download the report, the second to contact the client if you have questions. Giving readers a choice of actions will lead to confusion and confused people don’t act.

Here’s what he came up with after our conversation:

Improved advertisement

A huge improvement I hope you agree!

So what has he actually done?

1. He’s used questions in the headlines. These immediately allow his target market to self-identify. If they are people who are thinking of self-publishing and don’t know where to start they will immediately want to know more. The headline draws them in to read on which is the purpose of a good headline.

2. He’s made a clear offer and actually quoted the title of the guide which is a good title.

3. The layout has more white space, gets straight to the point and the black bar with the contact details stands out so the whole advert is more eye catching.

4. He’s only got one call to action – to download the report and get added to his database. Leaving in his name and phone number will reassure the readers that he’s a bona fide business without encouraging them to actually ring him.

What do you think? Would you make any further changes to the final advert? Do let me know in the comments below and if you would like to have a copy critique of your own work do get in touch.

4 comments on “Results of a copy critique

  1. Excellent post Penny. Love the example – you did exactly in your post what you encouraged your client to do – keep it simple, get straight to the point and engage your reader. One of the best posts I’ve read today. Yep read quite a few already.

  2. Hi Penny

    …and did he change his advert? I would be interested in the response it got?
    Do you follow up to see how successful your copy is?
    Thanks for the interesting article

    1. The second version was what went in the author’s magazine. And I do know he gained one new client from it.
      I don’t know what circulation the magazine has, whether it’s an ezine or a print magazine, or how often it’s published, so I don’t know whether that’s good or poor. However, one client pays for the ad so he has at least broken even.

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