Direct Response Copywriter on My 2nd Biggest Challenge

As a direct response copywriter, my biggest day-to-day challenge is writing copy that generates cash for my clients. My copy – or at least one version of the copy – has to perform. I’m a sales person and when sales people fail, they get fired … and that’s totally understandable.

But here’s another challenge: speaking with a potential client who has endured a bad experience with another direct response copywriter.

Typically, the potential client has hired a copywriter, paid a sometimes significant fee, and watched the copy fail miserably. There may have been other issues like missed deadlines, a haughty attitude, or something else. But the biggest problem is usually the poor return on the investment made in the copy.

I rarely get into the gory details with the potential client. But I often ask a simple question: “How aggressively were you testing?”

The answer is usually the same: “there was only one version of the copy … and it stank.”

And there’s the real problem. The potential client isn’t letting the copywriter fail. The first attempt at the copy fails – as it often does – and the client thinks the copywriter is a dunce – an expensive one at that.

The clients I have worked with who have enjoyed the most success are the ones who EXPECT me to fail. That’s because they test like crazy … constantly. After a lot of copy that fails to beat the control, one attempt will hammer the control and everyone will be happy.

I’m upfront with potential clients about copy. I say what I just wrote: you have to test. If the potential client isn’t with that plan, then the whole situation is probably going to end in tears.

If you've had a bad experience with a copywriter, that's understandable. But ask yourself this question: "am I testing enough?"


I'm a direct response copywriter. I write direct response copy for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.

Direct Response Copywriter Admits He Knows Nothing

I’ve been writing copy professionally since 1989. I’ve specialized in direct response copy for 10 years. I’ve read all the ‘must read’ books and I’ve attended seminars; I recently watched the Gary Bencivenga DVDs.

Like most direct response copywriters, I’m always trying to get a little bit better every week.

I use the ‘proven techniques’ and follow the rules of direct response copywriting. I have enough creativity to make a direct response promotion stand out from the crowd. Many of my promotions have established solid controls or beat established controls.

Yet I’m the first to admit I really know nothing…until the copy is tested.

If you’re a direct response copywriter, get ready for blood. Copy can sometimes fail miserably. I’ve had plenty of successes but I’ve written copy I thought would rock only to see it miss the mark by a vast distance.

Direct response copywriters are, ultimately, salespeople. People who sell can come across as brash and arrogant, and, as such, I’ve met copywriters who are…well…confident.

There must be a lot of arrogant copywriters. In fact, one copywriter gives 14 reasons to hire him.

"Reason #6: I’m not a jerk."

No copywriter knows anything until the copy goes live and the real experts weigh in. Arrogance in copywriting is believing you're an expert.

The real experts?

Potential customers who read the copy. Are they providing valuable information? Are they pulling out their credit cards and buying? Are they making a telephone call?

When the real experts have spoken, then I know something.


I'm a direct response copywriter. I specialize in providing content and copy for the direct marketing environment for clients around the planet. I specialize in sales page copy, landing page copy and copy that persuades readers to pull out their credit card and buy. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here if you have a project you'd like me to quote.