Has COPY become a "COMMODITY"?

52 replies
First I read in -this article- about the Titans of Direct Response conference: "Titans Takeaway #10: Copywriting and direct marketing are becoming commodities..."

Now, I stumble across -this old article- from Bob Bly saying as much... Bly even doubles up on his point in responses to comments on the article... That was way back in 2009.

So what do you think? Has copywriting become a commodity service? Is it headed in that direction?

Why are these big names in copywriting thinking it's on its way to becoming a "commodity"?
#commodity #copy
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Only if you don't know about positioning...niching down...selling.

    Anyone with the least bit of experience with "copywriters" knows you get what you pay for.

    Also, being able to write well for one niche does not automatically translate to being effective in another.
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    • Profile picture of the author splitTest
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Only if you don't know about positioning...niching down...selling.

      Anyone with the least bit of experience with "copywriters" knows you get what you pay for.

      Also, being able to write well for one niche does not automatically translate to being effective in another.
      Good answer. Great argument for specialization. But again -- why are big names like the "titans" & bly saying copywriting is becoming a commodity?

      What are they thinking?
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

        Good answer. Great argument for specialization. But again -- why are big names like the "titans" & bly saying copywriting is becoming a commodity?

        What are they thinking?
        Because it is, at the lowest level.

        Anything is a commodity at the lowest level of delivery and especially (lack of) positioning.

        We all know someone who ought to be charging a lot more for what they do, because they do it really well...but they're lumped in with the rest of their crowd when it comes to the buyer's point of view. Their lack of positioning does it to them.

        Specialization doesn't have to be the answer, either.

        Apple puts out a lot of products. The Sharks are individually known for being in a wide range of business. They've developed their own personal brand, where you have an idea of what to expect from them.

        So you can remain a generalist if you wish.

        In the copywriting field, the fact is these freelance sites are awash with mediocre and worse writers who have run in with the kind of tide that made anyone with a hint of construction experience slap a magnetic sticker on the side of a truck and start calling themselves a "builder" in mid-2000s Vancouver.

        The great news is, it's easier than ever to stand above the crowd. Let them commoditize themselves! Makes our job much easier.
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          It certainly can become a commodity very fast.

          Example: Joe Polish's postcards for carpet cleaning
          weren't bringing a positive return for a client.

          As soon as it's read, it mentions carpet cleaning.

          Instant turn off.

          No matter if it's safe on kids, pets and environment.

          No matter if it removes more dirt than any other method.

          No matter if it dries faster than all other methods.

          No matter talking about bait and switch industry practices.

          She doesn't care.

          She thinks her carpets are clean and no matter what you say from there on,
          it falls on deaf ears.

          What's the solution?

          You don't mention carpet cleaning.

          You introduce a dirty harmful pest
          called a dust mite.

          Now you have her attention.

          Carpet cleaning?...nope.

          Seen before messaging is the commodity.

          Best,
          Doctor E. Vile
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      • ST,

        History teaches that every field of endeavor reaches it's pinnacle. Then a great falling away takes place or stripping the endeavor down to it's lowest common denominator where entry has no hurdles or learning curve.

        The copy writing movement has now reached it's zenith. The Titans & Bly know what's coming next as did the Greek Gods.

        Our mentors - teachers - coaches are seeing their works undone, their opinions challenged, their beliefs ignored.

        They have been reduced to merely peddlers of the thing than Titans of Direct Response.

        Their enlightening is seeing less interest. Their prized written words - once sold - can be downloaded for free.

        The scared cows of persuasion are copied and distributed freely.

        Copy writing, a once mysterious field made up of magical godlike wordsmiths, but alas the vision is gone...

        Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

        Good answer. Great argument for specialization. But again -- why are big names like the "titans" & bly saying copywriting is becoming a commodity?

        What are they thinking?
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  • Gotta be mutable,
    perpetually irrefutable.

    When L'oreal pusseueded me my rat tails were "worth it", I figured all my years of being a lowlife musta counted for something.

    *For moi?*

    *RU Serious?*

    Now, I wonder why I didn't just drink the stuff.

    Or mainline.

    Or mebbe cook up some fancy new squid scrotum casserole and garnish the accompanying side salad with a L'oreal jus.

    Turns out my teen hairdo is hot right now.

    Accident has become precedent.

    Point is, copywriting is insubstantialer than air, and what we inhale and exhale today because we GOTTA MUSTA GONNA (cos, yanno — life), is sure as hell gonna kill us tomorrow.

    Flux is the ultimate mindf*ck as our narratives seek permanence.

    So the deal is NEVER on the side of the people pushin' the L'oreal syringe at new transformed Moi 'cos they hooked me early and figure I owe the brand.

    Because what they gonna say?

    Who in hell could possibly throw some meaningful English around their desire to shift even more of this overpriced glitzsemen?*

    Same recipe now as it was when I emptied my first bottle over my head, neck, back, and frickin' bedroom?

    Sure as hell ain't THEM.

    Nah, they burned up all their expertise, their time, their lives, transformin' chemical slurry into young girls' dreams using Jennifer Aniston as a Trojan horse with hidden stirrups and a face like a lucky apology.

    For the miracle to take place, they needed a writer.

    (I clean forgot Aniston and had to Google, but the idea of ME ME ME being worth it is now burned on the inside of my skull.)

    If you're runnin' on word count, "Because you're worth it" buys you a few molecules of airborne CO2 from some recoverin' drunk's can of Coke, and you write it out in less time than it takes to read it, which leaves you a bigger slice of eternity to hang around worryin' how to pay the rent on 0.00001 cents per syllable.

    But that's not where the value lies.

    All the best lines for alla tomorrow's stuff ain't been written yet.

    That's true even if alla tomorrow's stuff bursts into existence NOW c/o some A.I. miracle of quantum alchemy.

    So I figure alla this unwritten stuff is as much of a touch-kiss-feel commodity as the kids yet to spill outta my fanjo: intangible, tucked away behind the glimmer of a dream.

    Pinnin' down dreams is when the numbers and the $$$ centre on a

    .

    It's typographical, it's decimal, it's mutable.






    *"Not you, Balestra, you unintelligible paint-baller of schwango!"
    Signature

    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff together.

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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Copy is not becoming a commodity. Copywriters have positioned THEMSELVES as commodities.

    It's a subtle but significant difference. Hopefully, now that I've said it, the distinction will be apparent.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Honestly, garbage threads like this should never even get posted. No, it's not a commodity, and no, it never will be...

    And before another one asks, no we aren't getting replaced by magical Copywriting software programs either.

    Hopefully that's a /thread
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    • Profile picture of the author splitTest
      Originally Posted by Cam Connor View Post

      Honestly, garbage threads like this should never even get posted. No, it's not a commodity, and no, it never will be...

      And before another one asks, no we aren't getting replaced by magical Copywriting software programs either.

      Hopefully that's a /thread
      Take your medication, kid.

      Nothing wrong with a little discussion, especially about something interesting a big name says...
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I read an article in WRITER'S DIGEST in 2006 which said that
    writing (in general) was becoming a commodity and blamed the
    internet for this. The article said that the internet had made entering the
    writer's market so easy that any and everybody was doing it.

    Back then the copywriting market was not as popular as it is
    today, but I have seen the changes over the years where many
    freelance sites have given that appearance.

    -Ray Edwards
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    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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    • Profile picture of the author splitTest
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      I read an article in WRITER'S DIGEST in 2006 which said that
      writing (in general) was becoming a commodity and blamed the
      internet for this. The article said that the internet had made entering the
      writer's market so easy that any and everybody was doing it.

      Back then the copywriting market was not as popular as it is
      today, but I have seen the changes over the years where many
      freelance sites have given that appearance.

      -Ray Edwards
      That's interesting...

      My personal opinion is that writing (& copywriting) will never become complete commodities, because the obvious differences in quality, research, creativity, drive etc. will differentiate providers.

      SEO writing flirts with commodification, but even that's changing as search engine algorithms get smarter about weighing for quality and social sharing.

      Still -- though writing will never become a strict commodity, its drift in that direction (thanks to the internet) will impact fees, competition, etc. and thus the prospects for making a living as a freelancer.

      A prospect who's seen $100 fees on Elance will be hesitant to pay a stranger $5000 for the same service. He doesn't know good copy from bad... Neither writer can offer a guarantee... And the $100 writer might just be pretty good!
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

        My personal opinion is that writing (& copywriting) will never become complete commodities, because the obvious differences in quality, research, creativity, drive etc. will differentiate providers.
        Your personal opinion is correct but not for the reasons you stated. Think about the view from 30,000 feet stated in Rick's post, and perhaps you'll figure out the specifics.

        Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    About 3 to 4 years ago, when I started seeing colleagues whom I respected starting to specialize more, instead of being "generalist copywriters".... that kinda planted the bug in my mind.

    And it was the single most important thing I did, because these days, I get all of my clients from word of mouth and referrals, simply because of my change in positioning.

    I think copywriters, and marketers in general, would find the book The One Thing by Gary Keller useful, but it kinda reinforces what I've personally seen in my own business over the last few years.

    1. Find a very specific niche to write for

    2. Find a specific thing to write in that niche (email, marketing content, VSLs, etc)

    3. Build your platform and get your info out in front of as many people as possible,
    using amazing content to drive people to your specialty.

    I started in 2001 in fitness.

    When I started writing for others, I wrote for every market imaginable.

    But the last few years, when I made the singular focus on writing ONE kind
    of marketing piece for ONE specific niche, I was no longer a commodity.. but
    a specialist, and the change in income was dramatic.

    For me, the 2 most profitable changes I've seen are:

    1. Becoming a specialist in one niche, but only writing one thing and
    doing it so well, you soon become known as THE person for that.

    Maybe it's writing emails for fat loss, or whatever.

    2. Build a platform where you get your name and specialty out in
    front of as many people as possible, using blogs, social media, etc...

    But I've also seen copywriters become more successful by being
    business growers and cash flow makers, helping businesses increase their
    over all sales, and not just write copy.

    If you can show proof that you can help a business increase revenue by 10 times,
    you're no longer a commodity.

    so, like Rick said, sure, copy could be a commodity, if you let it.

    But think about anything else in life. If you blend in with everyone else,
    you get lumped in with everyone else.

    If all you do is copy and all you talk about with your client is copy...
    you've lumped yourself in as a commodity.

    But, if you can show your client how you started with a squeeze page
    for another client, then wrote their VSL, and upsells, etc.... and grew
    their entire business by 40%... you're no longer just a copywriter, but
    a business grower, sales consultant, marketing consultant, etc....

    It's odd... because the 2 things I've had the most luck with, and most
    profitability, at times have been polar opposites.

    Like I said, specializing deep in one niche, writing one thing (like emails)
    and becoming known as THE person for that specific thing.

    Or, you can take a step back and show the client how you can help in the
    bigger picture.

    A sales letter you charge $5,000 for may help the client make $100,000.

    Or, redoing their entire funnel and being more of a business grower may
    be a $10,000 investment for your client... but returns them $500,000.

    So, like most of the folks mentioned, it really comes down to positioning yourself
    to be unique and different, in a way where you become known as THE person for
    that.... and soon people find you.
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  • Profile picture of the author splitTest
    Lots of good stuff in this thread. Aspiring copywriters should take it to heart.

    Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post

    Copy writing, a once mysterious field made up of magical godlike wordsmiths, but alas the vision is gone...
    Good point. -- the field is not as "cushy" as it once was for the old-school... Requires more hustle.

    I have a feeling that copy (and writing in general) is taking the same trajectory that coding (programming) did a few years back.

    At one point, programmers were scared -- predicting that salaries would plummet because programming is so easily "offshored" and there's a pretty low bar to entry in the field. Much like copywriting, there was even a proliferation of "bidding" sites, driving fees down.

    However, clients with real stakes in their software soon realized that "offshoring" programming wasn't worth the hassle for the most part... in fact, it's more convenient to import the talent or hire locally. ...So the "race to the bottom" came to a halt or at least stabilized a bit (for now).

    Programmers lost the low-hanging fruit at the low end of fees, and find they have to hustle (& have real chops) to get the jobs that pay well...

    As professional pursuits, copywriting and programming have a lot in common in fact... But that's another thread...
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Having been both (a programmer and a copywriter), I can tell you with certainty that copywriting WILL NOT follow the same path as programming.

      Programming requires knowledge of a computer language that mimics predictable human behavior.

      Copywriting requires a basic ability to write, knowledge of persuasion, and innate creativity.

      The skills sets are far different. The former are in plentiful supply. The latter, not so much.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author splitTest
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        Having been both (a programmer and a copywriter), I can tell you with certainty that copywriting WILL NOT follow the same path as programming.
        Okay -- how so? I just explained my take on it -- let's hear yours.

        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post


        Programming requires knowledge of a computer language that mimics predictable human behavior.

        Copywriting requires a basic ability to write, knowledge of persuasion, and innate creativity.

        The skills sets are far different. The former are in plentiful supply. The latter, not so much.
        Just for the sake of shooting down your argument -- the former aren't in "plentiful supply"... In fact, it's common knowledge that there's a shortage of good programming talent. Even people who deny that there's a shortage of programming talent will concede that there's a shortage of "good" programming talent. U.S. companies are having a hard time filling programming positions, which is why they import a lot of talent via H-1B visas etc.

        See:

        And the latter? "A basic ability to write, knowledge of persuasion, and innate creativity"? Not in short supply? That's laughable. Basic ability to write -- all over the place. The web in front of your eyes makes that clear.

        Knowledge of persuasion? Easily acquirable. Some people are born with with it.

        Innate creativity? Dime a dozen. Ever heard of "starving artist"?

        Coding skill is obviously in shorter supply. This is why starting salaries for programmers are significantly higher than those for junior copywriters. It's also why (these days) there are many more jobs for good programmers than there are for good copywriters. Let's also not forget that most common folk are downright scared of coding, yet damn near everyone thinks they can write decent copy (and they're almost right!).

        Anyways, I wrote that the pursuits have a lot in common not because of the skillset, but because of stuff like the fact that both are easily offshored, both are on bidding sites, both have low barriers to entry, both have a lot of freelancers... In other words, many of the same headaches.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          The idea that there's a shortage of good programmers (A.K.A software developers) is a canard.

          Follow the money.

          Ever see how much the H-1B visa folks get paid? Sometimes as low as 1/3 what the US-born programmers get. Corporations spew the shortage line so they can get the government to approve more H-1B visas... and save big MONEY.

          Another thing to keep in mind... copywriters know how to persuade... programmers don't. In fact, the COMBINATION I stated... basic ability to write + knowledge of persuasion + creative is very RARE.

          Bottom line... copywriters who position themselves properly and use their persuasion skills when closing clients will never commoditize themselves.

          Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author splitTest
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            The idea that there's a shortage of good programmers (A.K.A software developers) is a canard.

            Follow the money.

            Ever see how much the H-1B visa folks get paid? Sometimes as low as 1/3 what the US-born programmers get. Corporations spew the shortage line so they can get the government to approve more H-1B visas... and save big MONEY.

            Another thing to keep in mind... copywriters know how to persuade... programmers don't. In fact, the COMBINATION I stated... basic ability to write + knowledge of persuasion + creative is very RARE.

            Bottom line... copywriters who position themselves properly and use their persuasion skills when closing clients will never commoditize themselves.
            The "bottom line" is something we all agree on... The rest of it -- nonsense...

            Obviously, software engineering skills are more rare and more in demand than "a basic ability to write", "knowledge of persuasion" and creativity...

            Forgive me for giving more cred to reports in major media, salary stats, & employment stats than the pensioner whose major hustle is convincing naive wannabees to pay him thousands for "mentoring"...

            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            Another thing to keep in mind... copywriters know how to persuade... programmers don't.
            Missing the point by a mile.

            No more time for you, little Alex. Got work to do. /thread
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            • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
              Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

              The "bottom line" is something we all agree on... The rest of it -- nonsense...

              Obviously, software engineering skills are more rare and more in demand than "a basic ability to write", "knowledge of persuasion" and creativity...
              You just changed the debate mid-stream. A software engineer is way different (and rarer) than the profession you mentioned originally (programmer).

              Forgive me for giving more cred to reports in major media, salary stats, & employment stats than the pensioner whose major hustle is convincing naive wannabees to pay him thousands for "mentoring"...
              No forgiveness required. Millions upon millions of people accept the major media line, so you're in good company.

              Missing the point by a mile.

              No more time for you, little Alex. Got work to do. /thread
              You can start a thread, but you can't end one. Only the mods can do that.

              Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author jessegilbert
    Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

    First I read in -this article- about the Titans of Direct Response conference: "Titans Takeaway #10: Copywriting and direct marketing are becoming commodities..."

    Now, I stumble across -this old article- from Bob Bly saying as much... Bly even doubles up on his point in responses to comments on the article... That was way back in 2009.

    So what do you think? Has copywriting become a commodity service? Is it headed in that direction?

    Why are these big names in copywriting thinking it's on its way to becoming a "commodity"?
    In an economy and scenario where there is no real direction, copy will probably start becoming a commodity, much like hamburgers or simple straight paid services, like airline tickets or even

    In an unsure economy like we have now, copywriters want cash up front and there is less JV'ing and teaming up on broader strategical objectives with the bigger picture in mind...which is where the real opportunity is for smaller companies to take on companies 100 or 1000 times the size.

    That is my opinion anyways.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmilligan
    Banned
    Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

    First I read in -this article- about the Titans of Direct Response conference: "Titans Takeaway #10: Copywriting and direct marketing are becoming commodities..."

    Now, I stumble across -this old article- from Bob Bly saying as much... Bly even doubles up on his point in responses to comments on the article... That was way back in 2009.

    So what do you think? Has copywriting become a commodity service? Is it headed in that direction?

    Why are these big names in copywriting thinking it's on its way to becoming a "commodity"?
    I think that the most valuable part of any marketing campaign is the ad/sales copy and that can be said for both online and offline campaigns.

    You can have the greatest product in the world but if you dont have the right people pushing for sales then in isn't going anywhere. In the online world we have copywriters and in the offline said of things its usually field sales agents.

    The way you actually close a deal is very different when it comes to the whole online/offline thing but the principles are the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    I think copy is less of a commodity than ever. As competition on the internet increases, marginal changes in conversion rates become more important. As the volume of sales on the internet increases, the need for higher profit per sale decreases and net revenue per sale drops.

    This means that we do more volume but make less per sale, so good copywriters are more essential than ever. A difference of 1% can add an extra million dollars per month on high volume websites. Marginal improvements have a bigger impact than ever.

    Just look at copywriting coaching, they used to go for a thousand bucks a month and everyone was doing it. Now you need to schedule an appointment, pay a year in advance and prices have shot up. Good copywriting is worth more than ever as economics of scale ripples throughout the internets economic cost/profit equilibrium.

    Copywriters who now produce marginal increases have a larger impact on the bottom line of large volume businesses. Change Amazon.com's conversion rate for Kindle by 1 percentage point, the impact on immediate ROI and ancillary sales through Kindle books is in the millions. Improve Adobe.com's subscription rate by 1 percentage point and you probably added an additional $60 million to their bottom line, per year.

    Increase the opt-in rate for double your dating and each additional percentage point probably correlates to $10,000's-$100,000's more per month.

    Essentially the small and weak will die, the large and powerful will grow more powerful and the value of top copywriters will increase as the impact of changing a conversion rate will enter into the millions. Decrease the cost of customer acquisition by 25% for a client spending a million dollars a month on advertising and you made him an additional $250,000 a month in free money. This is why Jay Abraham stopped charging fee's and works on percentage instead, he simply isnt stupid enough to make someone an extra $3,000,000 for a $100,000 consulting fee.
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Not to bring up an old post... but I really think a lot of copywriters here would get a lot of
    use/value from this book... as it relates to making sure you don't end up in the commodity
    bin.

    For me, it was really eye opening how much it went hand in hand with positioning.

    Highly, highly recommend it, even for a copy forum. Because if you follow what it says, you don't
    have to worry about becoming a commodity.

    If you've read and liked Mastery, this will seem like a breezy, easy read... but it's WELL worth it.

    The1Thing.com
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  • Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

    First I read in -this article- about the Titans of Direct Response conference: "Titans Takeaway #10: Copywriting and direct marketing are becoming commodities..."

    Now, I stumble across -this old article- from Bob Bly saying as much... Bly even doubles up on his point in responses to comments on the article... That was way back in 2009.

    So what do you think? Has copywriting become a commodity service? Is it headed in that direction?

    Why are these big names in copywriting thinking it's on its way to becoming a "commodity"?
    On a closer look that article seems to be saying that MOST copywriting has become a commodity, NOT that "commodity copy" is GOOD.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
    A bit late to the party, but I didn't want to miss this goody...

    Copywriting isn't becoming a commodity. It's just the hype balloon has been popped.

    For a long time copywriters have walked around with their chests puffed out acting as if they had a monopoly on sales. That may have been true in the direct mail days...

    But in digital marketing, you really need to bring more to the table than a few well strung words. Truth is - copy is becoming a smaller and smaller aspect of your average online sales funnel.

    Ex.) How much copy do you see on most ecommerce stores? Very little. And it's more descriptive than an elaborate pitch.

    You can put your head in the sand and ignore this, but that's the reality. They're not going to bother reading sales letters when they can get a dozen reviews on google in mere seconds.

    Getting websites to convert nowadays boils down to getting quality traffic, and having an aesthetic, user-friendly design.

    It's kind of hard to command 5-figure fees as a copywriter with that being the case. This is why you're seeing so many copywriter bigwigs...peddling copywriting products. They're selling the "dream" of the golden age.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      But in digital marketing, you really need to bring more to the table than a few well strung words. Truth is - copy is becoming a smaller and smaller aspect of your average online sales funnel.
      Which part of an "average online sales funnel" doesn't use persuasive copy? Online sales funnels have gotten more sophisticated... and use more copy than ever.

      Ex.) How much copy do you see on most ecommerce stores? Very little. And it's more descriptive than an elaborate pitch.
      The presence of e-commerce stores doesn't prove your point. There's always been a significant percentage of products sold that do not use direct marketing copy.

      Getting websites to convert nowadays boils down to getting quality traffic, and having an aesthetic, user-friendly design.
      Please tell me you're joking. That's absurd.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        The presence of e-commerce stores doesn't prove your point. There's always been a significant percentage of products sold that do not use direct marketing copy.

        Alex
        Yea, it does.

        Ecommerce is where the big money is online.

        That percentage is growing, and will continue to grow.

        You're going to see less and less direct-response copy....because people aren't making buying decisions off somebody's spiel anymore. They do their own research.

        Edit: Case in point, I HIGHLY doubt that Y2K-era VSL in your sig is converting well (even if the copy is good - which it's not.) Web design and user experience is huge these days. The prettier pages usually win despite what the direct response guys say...
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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post


          You're going to see less and less direct-response copy....because people aren't making buying decisions off somebody's spiel anymore. They do their own research.
          More direct response copy is being used, not less. The move away from traditionally "written" sales letters has been accompanied by an exponential use of video (VSLs, webinars), autoresponder email sequences, and social media funnels.

          Oh, and direct mail is experiencing a tremendous resurgence.

          The outlook for direct response copywriters has never been brighter.

          Alex
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        • John,

          Direct response isn't a spiel. It's a mechanism used to get you to respond.

          It's not a sales letter, a website, a video or any type of medium. Those are only tools used by the direct response copy writer (Yeah Seth...I had to do it).

          Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

          You're going to see less and less direct-response copy....because people aren't making buying decisions off somebody's spiel anymore. They do their own research.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post


      Getting websites to convert nowadays boils down to getting quality traffic, and having an aesthetic, user-friendly design.
      Yep, just like the #1 car leasing website in the uk...

      CAR LEASING CHEAP LEASE CARS SALES CAR LEASING CHEAP BUSINESS HIRE DEALS

      $35 million pounds worth of cars leased, as seen here...

      https://youtu.be/fOv7w5xEhP4

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

      A bit late to the party, but I didn't want to miss this goody...

      Copywriting isn't becoming a commodity. It's just the hype balloon has been popped.

      For a long time copywriters have walked around with their chests puffed out acting as if they had a monopoly on sales. That may have been true in the direct mail days...

      But in digital marketing, you really need to bring more to the table than a few well strung words. Truth is - copy is becoming a smaller and smaller aspect of your average online sales funnel.

      Ex.) How much copy do you see on most ecommerce stores? Very little. And it's more descriptive than an elaborate pitch.

      I remember having an epic debate on this with Mal "Stalker" Lambe...which caused all sorts of fuss. But people just aren't reading much these days.

      You can put your head in the sand and ignore this, but that's the reality. They're not going to bother reading sales letters when they can get a dozen reviews on google in mere seconds.

      Getting websites to convert nowadays boils down to getting quality traffic, and having an aesthetic, user-friendly design.

      It's kind of hard to command 5-figure fees as a copywriter with that being the case. This is why you're seeing so many copywriter bigwigs...peddling copywriting products. They're selling the "dream" of the golden age.
      Interesting perspective. In my opinion, what we've got here is a classic case of a false-positive.

      If you tend to operate in the world as a spectator, superficially looking at what's happening, it looks like direct response sales letters are going away, doesn't it? It looks like "everybody" hates them, right?

      I mean, let's focus on one major macrocosm:

      Facebook.

      Direct response marketers have been eviscerated on Facebook, haven't they? Dislikes, negative comments, high CPCs, outright banning, strict ToS, it doesn't get any more obvious, that people hate direct response on Facebook. They've become very adversarial.

      You could easily come to the conclusion that direct response doesn't work anymore on Facebook.

      But you'd be incorrect.

      The reason Facebook hates the direct response model is the exact opposite of what you'd expect: It's because IT DOES WORK. In fact, it does its job TOO WELL.

      Granted some, maybe a lot of users, complain. And they're vocal. Very vocal. Facebook listens to its users and reigns in the marketers. But that does not mean the direct response model doesn't work.

      It's because IT DOES. So much so, users resent having their wall become a billboard for someone else's financial gain.

      So what does the savvy Facebook marketer do? He puts up pretty websites and lots of quality content. He BURIES the money site behind articles and surveys and quizzes and videos--and even then...

      The marketer's money site STILL MAKES ENOUGH MONEY THAT IT MORE THAN PAYS FOR THE EXPENSIVE TRAFFIC.

      That's why your comment "Getting websites to convert nowadays boils down to getting quality traffic, and having an aesthetic, user-friendly design." is a false-positive. It's what the marketers want you to think.

      And because you're not clicking all the way through like a real user, a real prospect would, you're falling for it.

      You wouldn't know this unless you were knee deep working on Facebook funnels, like I am. On the surface, you'd have the opposite opinion that it doesn't work anymore and that direct response is going away on Facebook.

      But in fact, the opposite is true.

      It's one reason why funnels have become so popular to talk about. Because you can't just slap up a ClickBank pitch page. You gotta bury it behind something.

      There are multiple direct response models that are working on Facebook when you scratch the surface and actually study what's under the hood. But admittedly, that takes time, money and effort.

      But I'll tell you what, you'd be amazed at direct response marketers’ ingenuity.

      The direct response marketers you see promoting and getting those negative comments and dislikes today? They don't know what they're doing. They're rookies. They're gonna get banned. And when they do, they gonna conclude mean old Facebook doesn't work.

      In closing, let me remind you of something.

      Facebook aside, there are many places on the Internet where direct response is appreciated. eBay's one. Warrior Forum comes to mind. Places like these, marketers are given wide latitude to sell their stuff.

      So what's the difference between them and Facebook?

      THE TRAFFIC. Who visits, why are they there and what are they looking for. Each platform is a universe unto itself.

      Every week, marketers come to me and ask "I'm getting good conversions on JV traffic but my offer doesn't convert on cold traffic. What's it going to take?"

      What it's going to take is a true strategy that optimizes that specific cold traffic channel.

      - Rick Duris

      PS: Can't speak for others, but copywriters who know how to convert on cold traffic have no problem landing 5-figure deals.
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      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

        Interesting perspective. In my opinion, what we've got here is a classic case of a false-positive.

        If you tend to operate in the world as a spectator, superficially looking at what's happening, it looks like direct response sales letters are going away, doesn't it? It looks like "everybody" hates them, right?
        So how exactly does one GET to the e-commerce site, John?

        Does it come to you in a dream and you wake up and run to your computer because you're so excited?

        - A former e-commerce copywriter in Silicon Valley
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
          Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

          So how exactly does one GET to the e-commerce site, John?

          Does it come to you in a dream and you wake up and run to your computer because you're so excited?

          - A former e-commerce copywriter in Silicon Valley
          That's why I mentioned the importance of paid traffic.

          It's 3/4 of the game in digital marketing.

          But again - you don't need a master copywriter to put together some high converting FB ads and a squeeze page.

          As far as the factors contributing to the conversion, the copy is probably #3 or 4 on the list.
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        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          An analogy, sort of, to make a point already made but missed by some:

          Most real estate appraisals work for Appraisal Management Companies, which care about speed and low price.

          They appraise mostly single family houses and condos, with a 2-4 unit building thrown in, to break the monotony.

          They make peanuts per appraisal... They make today what they made in 2008.

          Some of them are residential certified, some are commercial certified. The commercial certified also do commercial and industrial building appraisals.

          Most of them do 5 - 6 unit buildings... not too exciting.
          They make a bit more money, but nothing to write home about.

          A handful of them can do the Sear Tower, O'Hare Airport or an oil rig platform.
          They're so rare, I've never met one. But I'm betting they charge $50,000 just to fax you back that they've received your request to hire them to look into the possibility of them thinking about appraising your airport sometime two years from now.

          Back to residential certified... low level... Some of them don't work for appraisal management companies but for attorneys or other groups... Where it's not speed and low price that matter most but accuracy and ability to research and present data in such a manner that nobody can demolish it with logic. They don't make peanuts, more like 2 to 3 times more than most of their fellow appraisers with the same licensing.

          Appraiser talk: there are neighborhoods with more than 1 market.

          You have the commodity appraiser market, and it's the biggest and you can choose to be part of it or not; and if you choose to be part of it, you can choose to be at the bottom, middle or top... I was in it, found myself an advantage, and charged and got 40% more than most... was, the highest paid...

          (My advantage: I had an assistant who answered the phone from 9-5 and coordinated communication between clients and appraisers... while my competitors had voice mail messages that said: Please leave a message, someone will return your call within 24-48 hours... Yes, it was that busy.)

          Then you have the specialists by type of building, the specialists by size of building, specialists by client... and, within each, you had positioning.

          Now, back to copy... To me, it seems that the definition is becoming less defined... and people who write filler stuff for the Google-loves-fresh-content crowd are called copy writers, if they're really good.

          But even leaving those peeps aside, you still have various levels of copy and copy WRITERS... Some accept to produce commodity or near, some do not.

          Like with appraisers, the decision as to which copywriting market you want to compete in is yours.

          I can't make you a commodity producer unless you let me. The internet seems to mean that, if you're at the low end, you have to hustle a bit more... if you're at the high end, you are more aware of more of your competitors... and of more companies needing your fare.

          Yes, the world seemed simpler when there were 10 copywriters and 1000 possible clients.

          The good news, you can shrink it back, if you so choose.
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  • Profile picture of the author maximus242
    I think you're only highlighting your own ignorance of marketing.

    It has always been the case that copywriting is 3rd or 4th on the list for impact on bottom line profit. This is true in direct response and all other forms of marketing. Yet, direct response marketers still pay top dollar for copywriters, why?

    Because in a world where anyone can build a sales funnel, anyone can increase CLV, anyone can build a list and provide content - copywriting becomes a competitive advantage. While it is true that the net effect on ROI is substantially less than other forms of conversion optimization such as improving repeat sales, etc. Copywriting is both a means to this end, and does one other important thing, it gives you a quantitative edge in a world where small numbers make a huge difference.

    If you look at a simple scenario, it becomes obvious why copywriters have always been paid a lot of money.

    Company A builds a list, improves CLV, and all the other marketing optimization strategies in the book

    Company B see's that company A is making more money, and then copy's company A's strategy

    Now both company A and B can afford to pay a price premium for advertising, the net sum of this interaction is that all companies end up having optimized marketing. This results in moving down the list from big optimization principles like customer relationships down to smaller ones like copywriting.

    If company A and B both have a CLV of $120 after optimization, then whichever company gains a higher sales rate through copywriting gains a higher return on capital - allowing them to price out the competition from the market and then become the largest company in the market.

    So in other words, by making stupid statements like the ones you are making, you are only showing the rest of us how ignorant you are about marketing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
      Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

      It has always been the case that copywriting is 3rd or 4th on the list for impact on bottom line profit.
      I've noticed more and more people are coming into copywriting through CRO rather than traditional direct response. So they tend to not realise that what they think is new and trendy has actually been established for decades.
      Signature

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    • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
      Originally Posted by maximus242 View Post

      Because in a world where anyone can build a sales funnel, anyone can increase CLV, anyone can build a list and provide content - copywriting becomes a competitive advantage. While it is true that the net effect on ROI is substantially less than other forms of conversion optimization such as improving repeat sales, etc. Copywriting is both a means to this end, and does one other important thing, it gives you a quantitative edge in a world where small numbers make a huge difference.
      That's just not true.

      Very...very...few people have the brains and resources to put together a successful ecommerce operation.

      Be it market research, product sourcing, website design graphics, paid traffic,etc...there's a lot that has to fall into place before a word of copy is written.

      This results in moving down the list from big optimization principles like customer relationships down to smaller ones like copywriting.
      Thanks for admitting that copy is way down on the list. It's a bold move on this forum.

      Sure, it should be common knowledge. But that was my point...it's not.
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        You're going to see less and less direct-response copy....because people aren't making buying decisions off somebody's spiel anymore. They do their own research.
        I don't understand this. Many of us get hired to promote programs and products where there is noplace else besides the very copy we write to do research. No social media, no Yelp reviews, no Consumer Reports commentary, etc.- because it's something new .

        If you're selling cars or shampoo or hotel rooms, yes, the above makes sense, but for a one-time seminar or telesummit, a new coaching program or a financial planner's website, the comment above makes no sense.

        Marcia Yudkin
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
          Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

          I don't understand this. Many of us get hired to promote programs and products where there is noplace else besides the very copy we write to do research. No social media, no Yelp reviews, no Consumer Reports commentary, etc.- because it's something new .

          If you're selling cars or shampoo or hotel rooms, yes, the above makes sense, but for a one-time seminar or telesummit, a new coaching program or a financial planner's website, the comment above makes no sense.

          Marcia Yudkin
          Right, you're talking about the whole IM infopreneur scene...

          That IS a copy heavy area.

          But it's really small time compared to ecommerce.

          I dunno about everybody else, but I like being where the money is. And that's by-in-large selling physical products...
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

        Thanks for admitting that copy is way down on the list. It's a bold move on this forum.
        Copy is not "way down on the list". It's equal...

        33.3% - traffic
        33.3% - offer
        33.3% - copy

        Think of a winning promotion as a perfectly timed, well-lubricated machine. Remove or reduce the effectiveness of any part, and the winning promotion will cough, sputter, and die.

        Alex
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
          Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

          Copy is not "way down on the list". It's equal...

          33.3% - traffic
          33.3% - offer
          33.3% - copy

          Think of a winning promotion as a perfectly timed, well-lubricated machine. Remove or reduce the effectiveness of any part, and the winning promotion will cough, sputter, and die.

          Alex
          Just no.

          Take a hypothetical Facebook lead-generating campaign for example.

          The most importance factors would be (in order):

          1. Audience targeting

          2. Ad creatives (overwhelmingly the ad image, not the copy)

          3. A sufficient budget

          4. Squeeze page offer

          5. Squeeze Page Copy (In many cases, the only copy on the page will be the offer. But you're not going to hire a copywriter to write an offer you.)


          Now, I know some einstein is going to mention that funnel is going to include a lot of email followup. Sure, ok. But that's mainly just content which any decent writer can throw together.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

            Just no.

            Take a hypothetical Facebook lead-generating campaign for example.

            The most importance factors would be (in order):

            1. Audience targeting

            2. Ad creatives (overwhelmingly the ad image, not the copy)

            3. A sufficient budget

            4. Squeeze page offer

            5. Squeeze Page Copy (In many cases, the only copy on the page will be the offer. But you're not going to hire a copywriter to write an offer you.)


            Now, I know some einstein is going to mention that funnel is going to include a lot of email followup. Sure, ok. But that's mainly just content which any decent writer can throw together.
            Once again your comments show an amazing lack of knowledge.

            Yes, a squeeze page can be the offer only (the headline). FACT: the difference between a well written headline and a poor one can make a dramatic difference in optins. Easily the difference between a winning and losing promotion.

            And as far as emails being content only... Email series' that produce good results are crafted very carefully to persuade. Hence the need for a copywriter.

            FACT: content emails have lost their luster and don't work nearly as well as they used to.

            Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
              Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

              Once again your comments show an amazing lack of knowledge.

              Yes, a squeeze page can be the offer only (the headline). FACT: the difference between a well written headline and a poor one can make a dramatic difference in optins. Easily the difference between a winning and losing promotion.

              Alex
              Yes, it does. But you didn't refute my point, not many people are going to hire a copywriter to just write a squeeze page headline.

              I'm going to bow out of this discussion though...

              It's the same tight-knit WF crowd that I remember (affirming each other with post likes). How cute.
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      • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
        Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

        Thanks for admitting that copy is way down on the list. It's a bold move on this forum.

        Sure, it should be common knowledge. But that was my point...it's not.
        It's not a bold move. There have been plenty of threads before on this.

        And it is common knowledge, has been for years. You're not going to find many direct response copywriters who aren't aware of 40-40-20.

        That you're trying to present this as some of rebellious opinion is laughable.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
          Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

          It's not a bold move. There have been plenty of threads before on this.

          And it is common knowledge, has been for years. You're not going to find many direct response copywriters who aren't aware of 40-40-20.

          That you're trying to present this as some of rebellious opinion is laughable.
          You and Mr. Cohen seem to have a different view on this.
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          • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
            Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

            You and Mr. Cohen seem to have a different view on this.
            Indeed. And he won't be the only person with a differing view (and I'm sure that Alex is fully aware of the 40-40-20 rule).

            But it doesn't change my point.
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            • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
              Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

              Indeed. And he won't be the only person with a differing view (and I'm sure that Alex is fully aware of the 40-40-20 rule).
              Absolutely.

              The whole idea of assigning percentages to the various factors seems a little silly to me. Good marketers want all three to be top notch.

              40-40-20, 33-33-34, 90-5-5... they're opinions. None have been scientifically proven.

              Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author ChadHaynes
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
      Originally Posted by ChadHaynes View Post

      God you're a douche.
      And you're bald.

      Probably best if we refrain from stating the obvious, don't ya think?
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      • Profile picture of the author ChadHaynes
        Originally Posted by John Lloyd View Post

        And you're bald.

        Probably best if we refrain from stating the obvious, don't ya think?
        Calling you a douche = stating the obvious?

        At least you're self-aware.
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  • Profile picture of the author ElizabethArling
    I don't know why people are so surprised about the fact! Haven't you noticed that all the information in internet is the same? So many articles on the same topic! and I know most of them are copies! I only trust news. Texts nowadays are just tools to increase traffic.
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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by ElizabethArling View Post

      I don't know why people are so surprised about the fact! Haven't you noticed that all the information in internet is the same? So many articles on the same topic! and I know most of them are copies! I only trust news. Texts nowadays are just tools to increase traffic.
      Careful, dear. Your ignorance is showing.
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