The Copywriter’s Guide To Ever Increasing Success

by Brad Isaac on January 25, 2007

What if you had a formula that allowed you to pinpoint success?

Not only that. What if this same formula not only pinpointed success, it also enabled you to capitalize on that success day after day?

When you think of success, you might not think of a successful copywriter as being an example. After all, largely what they do is behind closed doors. They aren’t out in the public eye like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

However, a good copywriter can quietly make millions of dollars each year – using only a pen or keyboard, and a little expertise.

In a second, you’re going to see how they do it and how you can apply their strategies to your own life to get what you want.   This may seem complex or alien to some of you.   But stick with me.   This valuable lesson can be worth a fortune to the people who “get it.”

First, a little background. A copywriter’s job is to create a sales letter or sales piece that does the job of a hired salesperson.   But not only that, if he is successful, his/her sales can equal that of 100, 1000 or even 10,000 salespeople.   Let me explain.   One salesman can sell one thing to one person at a time.   A sales letter can sell that same thing to 100,000 people at the same time.

A winning copywriter can multiply the efforts of a team of salespeople.
It sounds simple, but there’s a catch.

The sales piece usually evolves through several changes, which can turn a possible failure into a smashing success.   One word in a headline has the potential to dramatically change the outcome of the entire piece.   All good copywriters have stories of how they made a seemingly minor change to a word or two and it changed a $10,000 sales piece to a $15,000 closer.

You may wonder how the copywriter discovers the magic word that can produce the extra $5,000. The concept is simple.   Copywriters test, optimize and only do the absolute most profitable outcome.

How does a copywriter find the most profitable combinations of words?

First an example:

Lets say a copywriter is selling an eBook on natural vision improvement.   The eBook is a collection of eye exercises that can change a person’s nearsightedness into 20/20 vision in 6 months with no painful surgery.   This would be of great benefit to a lot of people.   But only if it’s marketed properly will it be a success.

The copywriter creates a sales letter that describes all the features of the ebook and attempts to convince readers that it would be helpful to them.   But then it’s time to produce the winning headline that grabs readers’ attention.   The headline may start out looking like this:

Buy the eBook That Shows You How to Correct Your Vision Naturally…

The copywriter then runs a test and finds that out of 1000 people who view this ad, 50 people buy the book.   Basically, this ad is a failure.   It would cost more to market the eBook with this ad than they’d ever make in sales.   But copywriters are stubborn, so he tests.   He creates another headline and tests it alongside the original to find out which is better.

Throw Away Your Glasses Forever for $39.95 – The Natural Vision eBook Shows You How!

This test proves to be a better one.   He finds this new headline produces 100 sales per 1000 views.   That’s 1% and is pretty good by most marketing standards.

What does he do with the first headline?

The copywriter throws that headline directly into the trash and never puts it into circulation again.   In other words, he learns what works and what doesn’t.   He only does what is proven to work and  does not do  what doesn’t work.   No muss, no fuss – he uses statistical results to decide for him.   He deliberately avoids what doesn’t produce well.

But he doesn’t stop there.   The copywriter continues in this line of testing to continue improving on the success.   Why stop at 1% if a new headline or edit produces 2%?   Why stop at 2% return on investment if it could be 3% and so on.

A Success That Is Never Satisfied

One of the most successful sales letters in history is one that The Wall Street Journal used for decades to sell subscriptions.   Copywriters have tried to beat it for many years.   It was their front running sales letter, and like clockwork, it returned a huge profit each and every time it was used.   The WSJ knew when they mailed out x sales letters they could count on x subscriptions.   And though The Wall Street Journal was thrilled with those results, their copywriters were not content to rest.   They continually tested new headlines and descriptions trying to beat their winning ad.

So how can you apply this to your own life?   First I recommend you ask yourself two questions.

  1. What do I work on every day that is the most profitable use of my time and energy?
  2. What do I work on every day that is the least profitable use of my time and energy?

Let’s start with the first question.   What is absolutely your  most profitable skill?   What have you done in the past that has produced the maximum profit for you?  

Write it down – now.

What are the things that produce little or no profit or value?   What do you work at every day that does nothing for your personal bottom line?

Write them down.

Now the key is to get rid of they things answered in the second question.   Throw them into the trash and vow to never do them again.   They produce nothing – so they are worth no effort.   There is no sense in even considering doing them anymore.

Once you’ve done that, now it’s time to consider what is most profitable.   You need to solemnly vow to focus like a laser beam on working only those things that produce the most profit and value.

This makes your life much easier and more successful.   You don’t have to think about it anymore.   Just do what’s listed in the first question and don’t do what’s listed in the second question.

But it doesn’t stop there…

You must continually try to extract the most value from the answer in #1.   What education do you need to double the profit you make from your most profitable skill?   Is there a simple change you can do to optimize that skill so that it produces 20% more profit for you in the next month?

To follow the copywriter’s creed, you never stop this testing and experimenting.   You can continually improve on your most profitable activity, and throw out the least profitable.   When find a breakthrough that proves itself more profitable, then you throw out what you were doing before and start doing the new skill.

And finally…follow through.   Practicing this method over a lifetime will lead to success beyond what you ever thought possible.

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January 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm


I am really enjoying your writing and I appreciate the effort you put into it.

With this post, I ask that you provide an example answer for questions 1 and 2 above. If you don’t feel comfortable providing your answers, I understand. Perhaps you could provide a fictitious yet concrete example of what someone going through this exercise might write down.

Thanks again,

- jason

Brad Isaac January 26, 2007 at 3:15 pm


Here’s an example from my own life. In my early days in the computer business I heard that getting technical certifications increased income. So I went out and got my MCP. Sure enough, within 6 months, my pay went up $10,000/yr. So I followed through with this line of reasoning and got my MCSE. Again, my income went up within that year by $10,000/yr. I didn’t do much else for certs and my income remained about the same, then I decided to get some Cisco certs and again, my income went up this time by about $20,000. So I knew, that if I wanted to make the absolute most in the computer industry doing server/support work, that focusing all my energies on study and getting certified was the most valuable use of my time.

By the same token, At work I found the least valuable things I could do would be to: gossip around the water cooler, surf the Internet, download mp3s or playing quake with the other guys. So I did not do those things (except an occasional web surf..)

This made my days much simpler and more productive and eventually highly more profitable than the others who hadn’t made this type of distinction.

I am sure some of the other readers have some stories tell ‘em! :)

Rod2020 January 27, 2007 at 10:19 am


This is an incredibly powerful tool that I learned from a Brian Tracy course. It is a great mind-set to get into – asking yourself as you stand gossiping, “Is this the most valuable use of my time?” If it is not, excuse yourself and get back to work.

Focusing on the number one priority will give you ‘free’ time to do the other things you want to do in life – whether it be that home-based business, spending more time with your family, or moving up the corporate ladder.

Finally, congratulations on the successful application of your certificates to raise your income. How much of the increase was not due to the certificate itself, but the plan that you developed, and the belief you had, to get the higher paid job?


Brad Isaac January 28, 2007 at 3:18 pm


If I understand, you want to know if there is a 1 to 1 correlation between certifications and success? Let me just write it out and you decide.

Before I went after certifications I was wandering. I felt lost in my life, like I had no real direction.

When I first delved into getting certs, I put in 110%. I had flashcards everywhere. It was all I thought about, I ate, drank, slept and woke to certification study. Since I was wandering before…putting all my effort into study was refreshing.

Pursuing the study with that intensity meant that I could solve problems fast…very fast. In fact, I was able to solve problems without having to fly out on site someplace – which saved my company money. This made me faster than many (not all) of my coworkers with more seniority and experience.

Getting promoted and salary increases were a natural by products of the certification process…when I tapered off after my MCSE, the killer increases stopped. Until I went for the Cisco certs and they resumed again.

So I found for me at the time, certs were the most valuable use of my time.

But let me be clear, this isn’t for everyone.

Everyone has to pinpoint their most profitable use of their time. For some it could be selling stuff on eBay. For others it could be critiquing reports for Grad students. It’s up for you to decide, then build on it. :)

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