He Told A Public Forum My Headline Was Worthless

Should I be ashamed to call myself a copywriter?  Here’s the story…

I left a link to one of my squeeze pages in my signature at a popular web forum. Since I was giving advice on copywriting, someone who checked out the page and didn’t like what he saw decided to post a review of the page.

And it wasn’t very positive.

In fact, this is what he had to say about my headline…

“Your headline is a little silly, awkward to read, entirely off point and meaningless… not to mention, not in keeping with the purpose of your ad.”

OUCH! He hated it! Here’s the headline…

“Stephen Dean Swears Under Oath He Did Not Bring Back From The Dead Legendary Ad Men Claude Hopkins, John Caples, Or Robert Collier To Write His Sales Copy For Him!

(And He Didn’t… He’s Just That Good.)”

If you’ve studied copy, you may recognize that headline. Because it’s a blatant rip off of a famous Gary Halbert headline, “Tova Borgnine Swears Under Oath That Her New Perfume Does Not Contain An Illegal Sexual Stimulant!”

(There’s a reason why they call us “copy” writers. It’s acceptable to style your headline after another.)

It’s not a “Benefit” or “News” headline, so it must be a “Curiosity” headline. Which just happens to be the most risky headline to use, because they have a tendency to bomb. Still, I thought my rendition of the famous headline was good and worth a shot.

At the time that he made this critique of my copy, I happened to be testing the squeeze page. I consider 25%-30% to be a pretty good conversion ratio for a squeeze page. And 50% to be outstanding. So how is the squeeze page with that “meaningless” headline converting?

Hovering consistently around 50%. (And just at 56% not too long ago.)

Plus, this was my first test of the page. I’m split-testing it to find ways to improve the conversion (and I’m nearly positive the next element will). But I’m still working on the first test! I haven’t tweaked the sales page once since I created it! 50% right off the bat!

Now most of my squeeze pages don’t hit 50% on the first attempt. But out of the three I’m tracking right now, they’re all above 25% on the first try. (Well, I’ll just say it. 33% and 40% so far. More data is needed though.)

So what’s with this guy ripping on my headline! Actually, I have respect for the man who gave the critique. I’ve seen him give advice in the past and it’s way better than most comments you’ll see on a web forum.

He took a look at my site and thought my strategy was all wrong. Obviously I disagreed. And I happened to be right. It won’t happen every time, but it is my job.

Right now I’m finding out a lot of good things about squeeze pages, my Split Test software is helping me a good deal. I’ll be sharing more on how to achieve awesome conversion rates with them soon…

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