Are You Asking Too Much of Your Prospect? Your Direct Response Copywriter on Preparation (Part 2).

What are you asking your reader (prospect) to do?

In my blog, I’ve written often about my local hardware store and I’m going there again. In the hardware store, you can buy anything from a bolt for five cents to a $4,500 Weber stainless steel grill.

A customer will happily buy a bolt during a single visit but getting them to buy the grill—when they’re only there for a bolt—is a big ask. Over time, it’s possible to convert the ‘bolt buyer’ into a grill buyer but it’s going to take a number of visits and some sales oomph on the part of the sales people.

Part of the preparation for writing copy is being realistic about the leap the copy will ask the prospect to make. It’s safest to err on the side of making the gap fairly narrow…UNLESS the copy can be long.

For example. If you’re in the business seminar business and you’re asking business owners to spend $3,500 to attend a seminar then you have two options on the sales page.


  1. Ask the business owner to ‘opt in’ to receive some free information—then nurture the leads. Short copy on a squeeze page should do the trick.
  2. Ask the business owner to book immediately and plop down $3,500.


If it’s the latter, then the copy needs to be long and the sales page/landing page must perform A LOT of selling and include every bell and every whistle…everything from a lot of offers and values to a TON of testimonials.

Short copy would likely NOT persuade a business owner to attend a conference for $3,500. In fact, it would be a waste of time and effort.

A big part of the preparation for the direct response copywriter is presenting realistic options to the reader. I don’t expect someone to hand me vast amounts of copy after a single visit to my website—although this happily happens periodically. I think it’s realistic to ask a reader to:

  1. Contact me for a quote
  2. Download some free information
  3. Opt in to receive a free series about copywriting
  4. Go to all the social media sites
  5. Watch a short video.

I’ve been working recently on a sales page for a client that asks a highly defined niche to spend $129 for a ‘system’ and it’s a steep price. If the page isn’t converting, I’ve got two options.

  1. Improve the page.
  2. Provide an opt in option to build a database and nurture the leads.

For the quality of the information and the benefits—it’s a good price. But am I expecting the reader to buy the $4,500 grill in just a single visit?

We’ll see...and adjust accordingly.


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. I increasingly specialize in sales pages and landing pages. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.