I’ll admit it — there IS a time when being obsessive about perfection does work and great copywriters know the importance of it.

The importance of constant and never-ending improvement. More specifically, the constant and never-ending improvement of the results that they generate from a single marketing piece.


In fact, it becomes like a game. A game of beating the control. A game of working out what small changes can they make over time to produce better and better results.

For some, it’s even an addiction. But it’s an addiction that pays off:

  • Targeting a different list – 500% or more.
  • Changing the offer – 200% or more.
  • Mailing on a different day of the week – 100%.
  • Adding YOU to a headline – pulled 20% more.
  • Pluralising a verb in a headline.
  • Using a “flagging word” in the headline.

… the list goes on.

Here’s what you do …

Run an ad, web copy or dm piece. See what responses you get. Call that the “control”.

Then — make a small change to an important element in the ad –- say the headline -– make sure it’s just one.

Run the ad again. See what responses you get. If it beats the control, the new piece becomes the new control. And the process continues.

Of course, some copywriting projects don’t offer you scope to test and measure your results but when there’s an opportunity, grab that opportunity with both hands. It’s priceless for maximising your return on your marketing dollar and priceless for helping you perfect your craft.

I’ve gone from 32 responses to a small ad to over 800 – by continually tweaking, testing, tweaking, testing, tweaking, testing. Here’s another example of the power of testing:

  • “Good news for men who want attractive, well-groomed hair”; or
  • “Will your scalp stand the ‘Fingernail Test’?”

These headlines were split-run tested in the New York Daily News. One ad generated 56% more enquiries than the other. Which one was it?
“Will Your Scalp Stand the ‘Fingernail Test’?” was the winner. Why? Because it had shock value.

So go to it –- monitor, tweak, test. Watch the results and enjoy.