Client wants better conversion for this ad

The first 6-seconds...above the fold

The headline, "Get Better Grades For Your Child Now. Results Guaranteed!" is good, but can get better. If you were to AB test this current headline with, "Improve Your Child's Grade Level By A Full Year--Or Your Money Back!"... which do you think will fare better?

The first headline offered a benefit to its target audience, but was vague. Better grades... by how much? Parents can spend more time tutoring their kids and this will lead to better grades, so what's the point of signing up?

Using "Guarantees" on your headline is powerful, but only if the promise of a solution hits the mark. I will do this--if not you get your money back.

Be specific

From the money back guarantee headline, the lead paragraph should follow through on that promise. Tell a success story, give a recent news article about the service, give statistics about the subject. From there, you need to connect with your reader. Do not lose them by making big claims and promises. What you should do next is to build up their trust about your brand. Why should they trust you and not tutor the kids themselves?

Do not pay attention to the other brand. Talk to your reader as if he/she were right in front of you and tell them why your brand is different and is the solution that they are looking for.

It's good to have a video to help deliver your message. The sales message used was good, but can still be better. How? Use more specifics. Give them an idea as to what methods are used... how are the kids going to learn better? How much time are the kids going to spend with the tutor?

Overcome inertia

I think the main concern that the ad has to overcome in the parent's mind is this--my kids are not doing well in school. Either I do it myself and spend more time with my kids, or I pay someone else to do it.

I'm a parent myself - I have four kids. Frankly, it is easier for me to choose option one (spend more time with the kids) than to respond to this ad.

One more thing

The ad mentioned a "results guaranteed" in the headline, but if you read through the ad, there are no details about the guarantee. Bummer. Guarantees are strong incentives to sign up. It's disappointing to be led into the ad but find nothing about the guarantee.

Don't use it if you are can't offer a strong no-risk guarantee. It has to be at least, a 100% money back guarantee--no questions asked. If there are terms and conditions attached to that guarantee and that it's in fine print, that guarantee is useless.


To improve conversion rates for this sales funnel, do three things:
  • Headline: be more specific
  • Establish credibility, build trust
  • No risk guarantee

what do you think?

This copywriter was asking r/advertising to critique. Here's what he said...

Spec ad for Banana Republic/J. Crew, etc. for a new line of better-fitting shirts targeted at men. Esp. men who can't find slim shirts with long enough sleeves, so they always end up rolling the sleeves up.

Two headlines:

"Free the sleeves."


"Free your sleeves."

Which is better? Why? For the sake of this exercise let's say these are the only two any opinions like "they both suck" won't really be helpful.


I'm leaning toward "free your sleeves" because it's directed at the consumer, obviously. But I like "free the sleeves" because it sounds like "free the slaves" and would garner attention for that reason...making people do a double take. It seems a tad more clever. I dunno. Maybe I'm just tired and neither is a good idea.

another effective landing page

Here's another example of what an effective landing page looks like.

Again, in the first ten seconds, you know what it is you are getting with this web app. It gets straight to the point. You are given a choice--click this or that, or leave the website.

Oh, I forgot... you need the URL for that website? Click here.

this is what an effective landing page looks like

3 reasons why I think this is an effective landing page:

  • In the first ten seconds upon seeing the landing page, you will know what it is you are getting
  • Spotify makes it easy to sign up using your facebook profile
  • They made it easy for you to see which of your friends are using this web app

weak landing page

  • "Smarter Web Hosting"... Why'd you think it's smarter? Translate that into benefits that I can understand.
  • Don't just say FAST, tell me how fast compared to a well-known benchmark.
  • Modern--who cares? Describe the equipment, how does your server work that's different from what I have now?
  • Flexible setup? What does that mean? Why should I (your target audience) care?

"Feel free to browse around and don't hesitate to email us or chat with us if you have any questions."
What makes you think I will want to browse around? The only reason I found your website is because I clicked on an ad from another website that I wanted to support.

Why should I spend more time looking around your website when the message on your landing page failed to hold my attention?

Your website is today's version of the sales letter.

First, your website has to grab your audience's attention. You can entertain them, shock them, or better yet, give them information that they are looking for.

Next, you have to offer them a solution to their problem. For every claim you make, follow them up with proof elements... statistics, studies, videos...

Like any sales letter, you do not know how your audience is reacting to your message. This is why you have to ANTICIPATE every issue, objection and problem that they might have. You can't afford to not do this. Most websites today try to look hip and "web 2.0-ish" that their audience doesn't get the message. This is why most websites fail to convert.

Now... this website failed to ask a closing question on their landing page. That's a big no-no for any sales person.

You might say that there was a sign up button in bold orange, plus another one for features and prices. That's not enough. Why? The message on the landing page did not get me excited about moving away from my current provider. Why should I click on those conversion buttons.

During those first few seconds when your prospects finds your website, give them your best "reason why". Remember, they are either doing business with someone else, or seriously considering signing up with your competition.

marketing oxymoron

ANNOUNCING... a marketing agency that outsources copywriting content for their own website.

Here is what they expect from you...
** Content Structure

Overview (300 words) - teaser text providing a brief explanation of each service listed
--Selling page (300-500 words)- incorporating our mission statement and voice within the content
----Supporting definition (150-300 words)- explanation of what the specific service actually is and it's connection with relevant services.

** Content outline
----Web Design
------Responsive web design
------UX web design
------Mobile web design
------Web redesign
------Landing page design
----Web Development
------CMS development
--------Drupal development
--------Wordpress development
------E--commerce development
------CRM integration
------Social integration
------Custom applications
----Web Optimization
------Site architecture
------Internal Linking
------Conversion Rate
------Content optimization
--Internet Marketing
------Content strategies
------Link building
------Social media
------Market Research
------Brand awareness
------Direct mail marketing
------Email Marketing
------Reputation Management

headline swipefile

I got these from Rodale.

website critique - top cat

I put numbers on some of the elements on this page as reference. You'll have to click on the image to see more details. Let's go over them one by one.

The image above, is what marketers typically call above the fold. This is your make-it-or-break-it moment. Everything that should be on this part of your website should motivate your prospect to stay and look around.

From experience, fancy graphics is "ok" but may not be that effective. I'd rather use a headline that will highlight your main message. If you have one, I'd use a video that summarizes the benefits that your prospect will get. Immediately below that message, you have testimonials from satisfied customers, more proof elements on how you can help them, plus links to more information.

( 1 ) The font is too small... gray font on black background looks slick, but quite unreadable. The text box script is too fast to read. I think the message used in this text box only tells them stuff they already know and expect from your industry in general.

( 2 ) This is still prime real estate. You need to use this space and tell your prospect what makes YOU different from everyone else.

( 3 ) The background image is good. It tells people what this page is about... what business you are in.

( 4 ) So much space... I'd rather move that brand down, place that in the footer. People do not care much about your brand until they know what's in it for them. Use this space to sell.

To summarize, everything you have above the fold should be about, "what I can do for you"...benefits that people will buy. Use text, video, images... anything that will best send that message. Make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.

shark questions answered

This is for my swipe file. I found this on the local news website. I think this will make a good headline.


Click on the image so you will be able to read the copy better.

After reading it, I hope you will agree that this is the kind of copy you get when you hire "employee-copywriters."

What do I mean by that?

According to Claude Hopkins, copywriting is salesmanship multiplied. Therefore, a copywriter is a salesman. When sales people are paid on salary, they don't have that "Eye Of The Tiger." 

Employee-copywriters, like sales people paid on fixed salary, work hard enough to keep their job, and work harder if they want to move up. Either way, they get paid even if the client's ad fails to make money.

Take a look at the bullets after "The Book Marketing Secrets You’ll Discover on This Page:" Notice something weird about the text? They are all in title caps!

On second thought, I think the writer is a freelancer. I bet that this writer was from odesk. If you read the copy, the grammar is flawed. The ideas doesn't flow. You have to stop now and then to think, "What did I just read? What did he/she mean by that?"

If the person who wrote this copy is a freelancer--I admire the effort. But still, copywriting like this will not sell. I don't think the client will make any money from this ad.

Imagine that this copywriter was an actual sales person sitting across your desk. The way the copy was written, it's as if this sales person is blabbering away while you are trying to be polite. You are probably thinking to yourself, "Soon as he pauses to catch his breath, I am going to get rid of him..."

I know. I'm gloating here...making unnecessary judgement on someone else's work.

Tell you what--I'm going to make changes to this copy, and then you can critique my work. Fair enough? Give me a few days and I'll post a blog update on this.

Here is the link to the image file on my mediafire account. You can zoom in to the image file inside the mediafire website. You will have to enable javascript on your browser if that doesn't work. Or download the image file if you want a copy on your computer.

Here is how I think this copy can be improved...

First, you need to find out--what is the prospect's biggest pain?

For now, let's assume that the prospect wants her work to get attention in the market.

How will I convince her that, by signing up for our service, her work will get the attention it deserves. We want her to sign up for the premium service.

I then explain to her how our service works. I will give examples, case studies, client testimonials, videos and all that. I will then enumerate the benefits she, the prospect will gain upon sign up.

For every benefit that I give her, I will support them with proof elements. "Your book will get reviews from such-and-such... Here's how. This is what happened to Mr. X, who signed up for the service 30 days ago. Here is a video testimonial from Mr. X..."

The copy is going to be lengthy. The more I tell, the more I sell.

As a sales person myself, I am at a disadvantage. The prospect is not in front of me . I don't know how she is going to respond to what I'm saying. The best that I can do is to anticipate how she will respond.

This is why the copy has to be long. If I limit my work to 500 words or less, I am not going to get her to sign up for the service. I can shorten the copy, but I am going to have to use more video with the copy.

I'm going to take a break now. I think I have enough material for my mind to digest.


Ad critique - Forex signal provider

Trading foreign exchange is one of the business that I'm interested in.

This morning, after I fired up my web browser, this banner ad, caught my attention...

The word "Verified" had a nice ring to it. I decided to click on the ad to see what it's all about. This is what the landing page looks like...

The header (that top part of the web page), it was a turn off. That part unconsciously set an alert in my head. My eyes then went towards the headline, "Catch 300+ pips per day with *company name, the world's #1 rated signals engine"

That's where I stopped reading. 

Whatever the advertiser got going for them, they've lost it. Why?

The benefit they were offering was good, making 300 pips per day. It's plausible. What failed them was the next statement, "the world's #1..."

It's an unsupported claim. Even if it were true, I wouldn't use that in my headlines. I'd rather give the facts, then let the reader decide if we were the best or not.

I never bothered looking around to look for proof that they were number one. Their company name was new to me. How can they be #1 when they are noobs in the market?

Imagine this ad were a real person and was selling door to door. They knock on your door, and the hook they use on you is, "catch 300 pips, we are the best in the market." How did that feel?

It tastes flat, doesn't it?

Here's how I might do the ad.

First, I'd get rid of the header. The reader doesn't care about recommending this product with their social network. They will do that AFTER they have long been a happy customer, not before they sign up for anything.

I'd change the headline and get rid of that "world's #1" claim. I would probably use a headline that will appeal to the reader's interest. Or maybe highlight something that is news worthy about the product/service.

I will then go on explain how it is easily possible to make 300 pips from the forex market--how the thing works. 

Etc, etc, etc.

Incidentally, I did scroll down. I wanted to find out what the sales process is about the ad. Sure enough, there were some good points in the copy they could have used as headline. Here's one...

"Each Signal comes with an FX Chart to back the signal! You will see charts showing why the system has predicted a particular move, explain why prices are what they are..."

It's not exactly the headline word for word, but the idea is there.


A few minutes after I posted this blog update, I went to my facebook page to find out what's happening in the world. Etoro is one of the facebook pages about forex trading that I follow. This was on my news feed today...

It's not exactly a signal provider, like the one above. It's more like, "this is how one of our customer-traders are trading, and how those that follow their trades are making money."

So I click on the link to satisfy my curiosity... and got this...

The copy is made to look like a blog update--it is a blog after all. This "blog update" offers facts and information I might be interested in. Claims are made here and there, but it's more toned down. The message comes across as, "this is what's happening... in case you want to know more about it, there's links on the sidebar."

Which of these two do you think is more effective?

Enjoy your weekend!

this is getting old

... and it's frustrating.

I was doing research on "facebook mareting" on youtube. I found an interesting video. There was a link to a website. I click on it wanting to get more information...

This email signup form pops up and wouldn't go away unless I give them my email address.

Why should I give them my email address?

Almost every internet marketing website offers $xxx worth of something for free if you give them your email. There's nothing unique about this offer that will get me to give them an email address.

I'm not sure I want to have their spam on my inbox. Why insist on getting my email address when they haven't convinced me that there's a benefit for me down the line?

Frustrated, I decided to not see what's in their website.

I wonder.... how many people are turned off by such greed?

real estate online ad

This is the ad as I found it in facebook.

The headline is good. It flags potential buyers looking for an investment property that is within their budget. The ad then gives information about the product.

There's still room for improvement on this facebook ad. I think the headline can be made more specific. I don't think real estate investors do not care much about affordability. They want an investment that will make money for them. That's where I'd start tweaking the headline.

If I were an investor, I'd click on the ad to find out more. This one opens up to their website...

The layout is good. I can select an image of the product and it comes up large and center. What I found wanting is that the description of the property. I think the copy could have been better.

How much better?

I would write about the neighborhood, details about the traffic around the property, and all that stuff. Investors might also be curious about the structural integrity of the building--in case improvements are needed.

A google map might come in handy. This way, interested buyers can zoom in or out to check out what is in the vicinity... how accessible it is to traffic, etc.

Everything has a story. People like stories. Find the story about this property, write about it and you have an ad that will sell.

As for closers, I'd mention how much interest there is in the property... how many inquiries were made, how many have actually seen the property and have submitted a proposal to buy (or something like that).

I'd also mention some sort of deadline. This will get those fence-sitters off their butt and initiate contact.

I just drove the kids to school. One of my daughters is sick, but wanted to go to school for the class picture taking. She said she's going to ask for leave to go home immediately after the picture taking. This means I wouldn't be able to go out for a bike ride this morning.

I enjoy riding my bike. It's my daily break from all that creates stress.

I think I'll do yoga instead... probably take a walk in the park later in the afternoon when all kids are back from school.

Enjoy your day!


For me, this is what the path is about--being good at what you do, yet always looking for ways to get better.

Jiro, Dreams of Sushi. This documentary is available on

update odesk profile

I decided to update my profile overview on odesk. What do you think?

You are probably thinking, "there are hundreds of copywriters out there, why choose this one?"

Spare me a minute of your time while I tell you a short story about my work background....

I have been working in sales since my college days. I took door to door jobs selling things like encyclopedias, insurance, magazine subscriptions. Over the years, I moved up, from selling cars, then being a rep for pharmaceuticals, and eventually, sold investments as a stockbroker.

My sales work evolved from knocking door to door into telemarketing and networking with qualified prospects. I had to work every day. On my free time, I was on “network” mode spending time with clients hoping to get more business from them. I was in "sell mode", selling one-to-one.

And then I met Dan.

Dan was a copywriter specializing in Direct Response Advertising. If you've come across one of those investment newsletters, or sales letters that you get in your mailbox--that's the kind of copywriting that my friend Dan was doing. He was so good at it that, Dan would work on a sales letter for a couple of months, then kick back the rest of the year enjoying the fruits of his labor.

One time, Dan introduced me to one of his business partners, Bob. With Dan writing for Bob's investment newsletter, they were able to grow the business into a multi-million dollar venture. The last time I heard from Dan, he was retired and travelling all over the world with his loved ones.

Who wouldn't want that?

Although I was making money as a stockbroker, I too, wanted whatever Dan was having. I quit my job and apprenticed with Dan. That was back in 1998.

Today, I own several businesses that I started on the internet. I have a few websites that are generating a good amount of passive income for me. These different websites sell e-books on diverse subjects such as:

- how to win playing cash games in online poker
- weight loss for middle aged adults
- trading foreign currencies online on your free time
- how to migrate to New Zealand with your whole family
- how to market your product/service on the internet
- a few more that are still in its infancy stage.

Here's a sales funnel page that I have from two of these money-making websites--

You might be wondering, “if you are making money with your business, why are you looking for clients in odesk?”


I do this to improve my skills as a copywriter. I want to develop my skills by taking on copywriting assignments that are a bit outside of my comfort zone. Like professional athletes, copywriters too, seek to elevate their game not by reading books but by practice and playing the game.

Don't worry. I am not going to steal your idea from you. I am here to help. It doesn't matter to me if I make less money helping you grow your business. The insights that I gain from any copywriting assignment is more than enough compensation for me in the long run.

If you are looking for someone to help you grow your business who knows how to market and build a business on the internet
...someone who knows how to influence people and win them over
...a writer who understands the sales process and knows how to close potential customers for you--I could be the kind of help you are looking for.

Why not give me a try? Simply click on that link/button to schedule me for an interview today.

Here's the link, in case you want to see how it looks like.

I made a few more tweaks to this profile overview. To find the latest edit, kindly visit the site.

affiliate marketing, the right way

If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

1. Don't listen to people who don't make money.

2. Don't read marketing forums - everyones an idiot. EVERYONE. I know most of these clowns as I'm in with many inner circles. This includes people on,, etc.

3. Do Affiliate Marketing FIRST AND FOREMOST. Once you know how to be an affilaite online, you develop skillsets immediately like how to generate responsive converting traffic, and how to make conversions, you learn about ad copy, and quite frankly, you develop long term skillsets that will serve you in the long run when you want to create your own info product or market a software.

4. Most online marketing gurus are absolute jokes. I know most of them personally and have met them in real life, and shared the stage at conferences with some of them.

5. I'd take it a step at a time. Focus at ONE thing, and don't get easily distracted by all the other gimmicks and bullshit online. When you focus at one strategy to make money, and make your first $1 - it's really just a matter of repeating and scaling.


change in direction

I am making changes to this blog.

Instead of writing about my opinion on copywriting and internet marketing, I am going to write about my experience in this business from here on.

There are a lot of "drama" happening in my line of work.

Like recently, there was this client who was always getting the wrong kind of help from odesk. She claims that she's always getting odesk contractors who were not competent enough to do the job, or that the contractor doesn't do the job at all.

There was also this app developer who claimed he was doing email marketing. Looking deeper into his marketing program, I found that he was simply spamming his target market--not a good way to grow a business.

Every copywriting assignment is unique. The client, the project, the target audience... these are just some of the factors that come into play. There's plenty of surprises in here that I can share with you in the coming weeks.