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CX Master Peep Laja

What brands get wrong about copywriting

April 14, 2022
Reading time: 
10 mins

In testing, everyone is focused on conversion rates. Conversion rates are great, but they have the downside of being a lagging metric.

Peep is the founder and CEO of Wynter, as well as the founder of both CXL, a marketing education platform, and experimentation agency Speero. He points out that lead metrics have the advantage of measuring what is happening higher up in your funnel and proposes focusing on those, e.g. determining what drives buyers first to sign up.

So if you’re able to optimize your performance there, you’ll have a much greater downstream effect, which will lead to more conversions. He thinks the best way for CX teams to generate valuable lead metrics is by testing and optimizing the first thing their customer sees, their copy.

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You need to prioritize copy

In Peep’s experience, messaging gets a sliver of the attention of the rest of CX. He’s seen teams where it rarely gets optimized, if ever. Team leads will often delegate copy to the most junior member and say “sprinkle some words on top” of the design.

Often, copy is delegated to the most junior person on the team. Really, we should always start with the copy first, because the role of design is to help communicate the message—you always start with the message. And we have compelling evidence that copy is twice as important as design when it comes to converting visitors.
peep laja
Peep Laja
Founder, Wynter

This approach doesn’t lead to positive results. In Peep’s experience, it usually leads to poor copy that’s either too wordy or too focused on the product and not on solving the customer’s problems. So instead of treating copy as the lowest CX priority, he argues it should be the highest.

Don’t make copy an afterthought, make it your foundation

Let’s start by asking a key question: what’s the point of copy? The answer is the same as the rest of your CX, to get potential buyers to take a specific action: signing up for your mailing list, requesting a demo, requesting more information. So if your copy has the same goal as your design, it should get at least the same amount of testing and optimization.

And yet, often, copy gets none. Or a team’s idea of testing copy is to put it out there and wait to see what gets clicks. It is one of the last areas of CX where opinions still hold more influence than data.

Peep argues that this needs to change. One of the primary reasons is that there is compelling evidence that messaging is twice as important as design when it comes to converting visitors.

Why test copy?

You need outside insight to get good qualitative data on your copy’s performance. Why? Peep identifies “the curse of knowledge” as the main reason. The hard truth is that you are too close to your product and its development history. CX teams can’t accurately judge what it is like to be exposed to your final product for the very first time.

3-step process to start optimizing your messaging

If you want to start optimizing your copy, you need an actionable plan. Peep suggests following a 3-step process.

1. Assemble a panel of your target audience members

It’s no good testing messaging on a general audience. If you’re going to do copy testing, your data has to be informed by members of your buying audience. So, for example, if you’re selling marketing software to SaaS companies with 100 or more employees, you need to seek input from the marketing directors of SaaS companies with 100 or more employees.

Based on Peep’s experience, 12 audience representatives is a good minimum number, with 15 to 20 being ideal. That is the sample size you need to reach what Peep terms “insight saturation.”

2. Find out what they think

Once you have people assembled, you need to give them the right prompts to get actionable insights. Put your messaging in front of its intended audience and then ask those audience members questions, like:

  • What’s clear? What’s unclear?
  • What was boring or turned you off?
  • What piqued your curiosity? What do you want to learn more about?

3. Get actionable insights and create feedback loops

You need to assume your competitors are as smart and motivated as you are. If you have the same target audience, you must assume they’re working on the same kinds of optimizations.

That means you need to use speed. The best way to generate quality insights is to build feedback loops into your testing process. Test your copy, make changes, iterate, and test again. Build on your past success, and you’ll be able to pull away from your competition.

Optimize your copy as often as possible. That could be quarterly or monthly if you can. In Peep’s opinion, yearly copy optimizations are the bare minimum a competitive business should aim for. Think of them as an annual physical for your messaging. You want to keep it healthy.

Prioritize your messaging

Don’t overlook the first and most important thing your buyers see: your copy. Test your messaging, optimize it, generate those lead metrics, and more conversions will follow.

Want ideas to help you get started with testing your copy?

Discover the best A/B tests for different kinds of businesses, including the best copy experiments for software, e-commerce, financial and healthcare companies.

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