The Holy Grail of Copywriting

There’s lately been some discussion on the value of NLP in copywriting.

I haven’t seen too much hype about NLP Copywriting being the holy grail of copywriting. Jon McCulloch posted today about how it’s just another tool for copywriters. I don’t know that anyone is arguing that point.

Copywriters worth their salt will tell you these are the most important elements of a promotion:

  1. The list
  2. The offer
  3. The copywriting

These aren’t percentage contributions either as I saw one marketer teaching. This is a situation where if you miss on #1, it doesn’t matter how good the other two are. You can nail #1 but if you miss #2 you still don’t have a very successful promotion.

Conversely, you can do a terrible job of #3 but still have a moderate success if you got the first two down. Obviously you’d want to do well on all three to optimize your chances for success.

That said, NLP Copywriting is about optimizing the effectiveness of #3. It can’t rescue a promotion that missed on the first two elements.

The other point I wanted to add to the discussion is on testing.

James Brausch does as much testing as anyone else out there. Through using his multivariate testing software, he turned the visitor value of one of his sites from $5 to now $31.35 . And that’s without deliberately testing any NLP. [FYI: Visitor Value means for every unique visitor to that site, the average payoff is over $30]

James also posted a good and brief explanation of the different types of testing (including Taguchi). Split testing is better than nothing but why would you do it when you can get results so much faster these days?

As an aside, I’ve participated as a subject in several double blind studies and they’re not usually as blind as people would like to think. There are ALWAYS incentives at work that people tend not to take into account.

It would be ridiculous for an entrepreneur to spend time trying to set up a double blind study. In a medical setting, double blind means neither the doctor nor the subject knows which medication is being dosed and tested. But believe me, sometimes you KNOW which one is the placebo.

Why would an entrepreneur want to set up a situation where the winning variables were in a black box (double blind) that they had to sort through after the fact? James’ software, MuVar, automatically sorts it out for you and selects the best ones to display.

The point of all of this is the overall approach I’ve intended to take with this blog:

NLP Copywriting is simply another variable to multivariate test while you’re improving your copywriting.

There’s no perfect sales letter. There’s no magic pill persuasion technique. There’s only a point of diminishing returns where it becomes more profitable to either focus more energy on increasing traffic or create a new offer.

If there is a holy grail of copywriting, it’s multivariate testing.

2 Responses

  1. A double blind with a bias will ultimately be ferreted out. That’s the whole point of the self-correcting nature of the scientific method. More broadly, every hypothesis should be tested with a real control; if it’s not, then really it is “caveat emptor”.

  2. I wonder how effective the scientific method is in a country like the US that no longer has the rule of law.

    We have issues if the majority of the budget for the FDA comes from the drug companies that it’s supposed to be overseeing. Only huge mistakes get ferreted out like when Vioxx was recalled after killing 60,000+ people. That seems like something a double blind test should have caught earlier.

    In another sense, starting with a hypothesis is a bias. Scientists do experiments to see if the expected outcome holds true under certain conditions. Even statistical analysis has some bias depending on sample selection and variables compared.

    Other issues aside, the main point was that testing is the gold standard for copywriting.

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