‘When I started my journey with copywriting I was confused for a long time… 

After reading a few books, I had the impression that the best copywriters out there are almost like wizards.

Little did I know that there are two other factors that trump copy by a long shot if we’re talking about building a profitable business. 

A rule of thumb when it comes to direct marketing is the 40/40/20, sometimes even called 41/39/20-formula. The first time I read about it was in Brian Kurtz’s book titled Overdeliver.

Brian Kurtz is Executive Vice President at Boardroom Inc which is at its height was a 150-million dollar company. Brian has overseen the mailings of approximately 1.3 billion pieces of direct mail over the past 30+ years

So the 41/39/20 rule means that 41% (or 40% in other version) of the success of your campaign(s) is based on the targeting, segmentation and quality of your list. By quality, I mean well-qualified leads that aren’t curiosity/freebie seekers. 

Another 39% of the success recipe is having a relevant and irresistible offer. For example  products or services.

Finally, the remaining 20% is the quality of your creatives and messaging. 

Now, that puts things into perspective and is so liberating, right? 

Because if you’re a business owner or a content/copy writer who’s supposed to write copy for a given campaign, you suddenly realize that copywriting isn’t magic and even the best copy in the world wouldn’t save a campaign with a poor targeting and product. 

You know what I mean? 

I am bringing this up because every now and then, business owners have expectations for copywriters to do their “tricks” so they can see the money magically show up in their bank accounts. The same goes for rookie copywriters who don’t understand that it isn’t their job to set up a running business for the store’s owner. 

Another mistake some new businesses are guilty of is providing a solution without having a tested, proven-to-work audience. This is an approach that says “We have a solution, now it’s time to find a problem”. Although it could sometimes work, this is by no means the way to go about your strategy. 

Finally, we live in the times of immediate feedback and what used to be much harder in the past, is super simple now.

So many entrepreneurs/stores out there were able to hit it big because they simply built and nurtured a relationship with their audience and asked them directly what they needed most. Then they listened and delivered a product that gave them exactly that. Later, they asked for feedback again and improved whatever was missing so their business could scale even further. 

Once you enter that “upwards spiral” things start to fall into place. But even if you fail for some reason, you can still ask your audience what went wrong and benefit from a continuous feedback loop.