The Hardest Part about Copywriting

The hardest part about copywriting is not the writing part. That’s actually fairly easy once you get started. What’s hard is getting your copy to convert prospects into customers.

To say I’ve written a lot of copy during the last eight years is an understatement. And I’m continually surprised by how well some pieces do compared to others.

Here are four things that always surprise me:

1. When a sales piece converts far above expectations.

2. When a sales piece doesn’t convert as well as I’d like, and none of our efforts to improve the conversion rate seem to have much effect. (Rare, but it happens.)

3. When I split-test a letter and the version I expect to win, loses. (Or when the version I expect to lose, wins.)

4. When I split-test two completely different sales letters — and there’s almost zero difference in the conversion rate!

It will always be a mystery to me why one specific combination of words works better than another. But it doesn’t stop me from learning whatever I can and pressing forward.

I always appreciate what Claude Hopkins says in Scientific Advertising. He says the market is the court of last resort. Only the market can tell you what copy works and what copy doesn’t.

So the hardest part about copywriting is not the writing, but rather the rewriting, the testing, the tweaking, the struggle to improve conversions. This process never ends and requires constant attention.

Which means writing the sales letter is often just the beginning.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. Want to get an inside look at split-tests I’ve conducted and their outcomes? Then sign up for Copywriting Code today.

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Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter, list manager, and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and