My PROVEN Copywriting Critique Checklist: How To Write Copy That Sells 

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Want to know how to write sales copy that creates trust, builds authority and converts like crazy? Today I’m sharing 10 conversion triggers that I look for when critiquing or writing sales copy. Keep reading to get my proven Hot Offer Checklist…

Hey guys, it’s Alex!

As promised, here is the tutorial that many of you have been waiting for.

Today, I’m sharing my own top-secret checklist for critiquing and optimizing a sales page! I created this Hot Offer Checklist to use as a proven reference and guide for whenever I’m critiquing copy for my private clients, partners or Flight Club Mastermind members.

In this tutorial, you’re getting a super quick sneak peek into the full 10-Point Offer Training I teach inside the Copy Posse Launch Pad. 

This quick checklist includes 10 conversion triggers that I ALWAYS look for when reviewing copy to build trust, boost authority and ignite sales.

You can grab a copy of it here. Print it off, keep it on your desk and use it as you’re doing research or critiquing copy for your favorite brands! It’s great for practice or you can use it as a last step checklist to finalize a sales page you’re writing for a client.

Copy critiques are an amazing service to offer as a copywriter – especially as a starting place for NEW clients. They can also be a great, free and highly valuable resource you can offer brands and businesses that you’re hoping to work with.

And if you want more tutorials and guides on how to write engaging and compelling copy that gets you paid, you know what to do — join the global posse by getting my newsletter. You’ll get access to a library full of techniques, tips, and tools that are working today.

Now… let’s get down to business.

Here are 10 conversion triggers that I specifically look for to critique, optimize, and improve sales copy, starting with the most important…

#1. Headline 

The headline may be the shortest section of a sales page, but for a copywriter, it definitely takes the longest to nail in. In fact, I usually write my headlines LAST.

But, because it’s the first thing a prospect sees on the page, it’s the first conversion trigger that I review. 

What I’m looking for here is pretty clear — I want to see if the headline (which is often a series of headlines) is strategically written to hook my attention, introduce the core pain point, benefit or USP of the offer and open a loop that entices me to read further and scroll below the fold. 

The headline copy needs to speak directly to the target audience. So, during a copy critique, I need to be able to immediately grasp who that person generally is and what their level of awareness is. If you’re unsure of the concept of Customer Awareness, read to the end of this article where I’ll link to the post you must read next.

Moving on to number two…

#2. Indoctrination

The next thing I look at when doing a copy critique is the indoctrination. Essentially this is what comes immediately after the headline. It’s the lead-in to your sales page. 

This section of your copy should provoke an emotion and help the reader identify with you. This is when they self-select and decide whether or not you’re actually talking to THEM!

That’s what makes this the single most important component of any sales page. It’s the hardest part to write, but when done well it can make a massive impact on your conversion rate.

I often call this the S-Hook because it can be done in one of these 3 ways – Story, Science or Supposition. 

Whichever type of lead-in you use, the most important thing is that you speak to your prospects’ needs, pains and fears, which takes us to…

#3. Problem & Solution

As human beings, we’re (unfortunately) wired to avoid pain above gaining pleasure. This means that in our most natural state, we respond to problems more urgently than we do solutions. 

Because of this, the sales page needs to address the prospect’s pain early on and validate whatever concerns they have. Instead of making them feel alienated, misunderstood or attacked, the copy instead needs to make them feel supported, understood and heard. 

This is also called Emotional Marketing (and I have a whole blog on that too!)

So when reviewing sales pages, I always look to see if there is ONE core problem effectively and accurately communicated. The copy should address this pain with empathy and lead into a promising solution. Now, the solution is not the product yet, but a specialized method, approach, discovery or tool that can solve this pain.

Once a believable solution is presented, I look for the pivot to…

#4. The Offer

This is where you introduce the product as an easy, simple, fast, quick or better way to attain the solution.

In this section I look for a clear and concise USP, a value breakdown and all the left brain deets that make up your product: what it is, how it works, where to get it, when to expect it, and of course — how much it costs. 

The most important thing to remember in this section is that the value of your offer should always be greater than the price. The greater the gap between value and price, the more irresistible your offer becomes.

This is why you often see campaigns that use bonuses, price juxtaposition, or discounts to increase the offer appeal and, therefore, conversion rate. 

Next up…

#5. Juicy Benefits

Ultimately, what I’m looking for here on a sales page are reasons why the prospect should buy your product. 

It’s not enough to simply show them what they’re getting. It changes the game altogether when a prospect believes they have to have it. 

There’s a reason why as toddlers, we go through a phase of questioning everything around us. It’s not that we wanted to annoy our parents, it’s just that we’re genuinely curious creatures who are always wondering — WHY?

What’s in it for me? 

You answer this question in sales copy by presenting the specific and relatable benefits that the product can provide. And remember, features are NOT benefits. Features are something a product HAS or IS, whereas benefits illustrate desired results that solve REAL pain points.

(Check out my Feature to Benefit Converter here to practice!)

Next up, when doing a copy critique I look for…

#6. Social Proof & Authority

A common objection in the minds of consumers is whether a brand is the RIGHT company or person to go to for a solution. 

Trust is a huge factor that determines a customer’s decision to buy from you.

So it’s important that a sales page communities social proof and authority through testimonials, social media stats, press coverage, credentials, experience and any other credibility factors.

However, authority is not just something you slap into a single section on the sales page — I like to see it communicated throughout the copy as much as possible.

Alright, lucky #7…

#7. Scarcity

In marketing, scarcity refers to the idea of making products or services limited in some way, making people more likely to act because the offer is scarce or exclusive. 

The four most common types of scarcity are:

  1. Price – A limited-time discount.
  2. Quantity – A limited amount left.
  3. Premium – Exclusive bonuses and gifts added.
  4. Offer – The cart is closing.

The most effective sales copy communicates scarcity that compels the prospect to act while the offer is still available. More importantly — the copy also needs to clearly and effectively communicate a big reason why the offer is limited. without it being hypey, pushy, or misleading. 

Is it because of a special event like an anniversary? A passionate mission to touch 1000 lives by the end of the year? A global cause such as World Mental Health day? The copy needs to convince the prospect that the offer is authentic and not opportunistic. 

And, this goes without saying guys, but always use REAL scarcity. Be cool to your customers.

One thing to add is that not ALL pages need scarcity all the time. If you want your sales page to be 100% evergreen for anyone to purchase anytime, scarcity can be left off the table.

Instead, use urgency and provide benefits as to why someone would want to act right away. 

Ok moving right along to #8 on the list…

#8. Risk Reversal

I always like to look for Risk Reversal language when reviewing copy. In other words, how does the copy make the purchase process seem easy, safe and risk-free.

People like to be told exactly what to do and what is going to happen next, so the copy needs to assure them that they will be taken care of every step of the way… from the moment they add the product to cart, to when it will be delivered, to how it can be returned if it doesn’t work out. 

This is where I look out for security language and verifications, return or exchange policies, next steps and delivery details. In other words, is there any part of the sales copy that doesn’t debunk the fear that I’m going to be screwed over by this company.

Now onto #9…

#9. Call-to-Action

Whether it’s a single button or a multi-tiered order section — the call-to-action or CTA needs to pack a serious punch. It must only take a second for the prospect to understand exactly where to click and how to buy the product. 

Your CTA should be clear and straight to the point, not imply or beat around the bush. For instance — “Complete your details below to book your free seat” or “Click to get instant access” or “Click Here To Enroll Now”.

The most important rule of copywriting is, after all, to have one clear and concise call to action. It can appear multiple times though.

If I’m reviewing a longer sales page, I like to see the call-to-action two to three times throughout the copy, after the offer is introduced…

And always always always make the CTA the very last thing someone would see if they scroll to the very bottom of your page. 

And finally, number 10… 

#10. Overall Feel & Flow

This isn’t included in your Hot Offer Checklist so consider it a bonus tip!

After I’ve reviewed the first 9 conversion and optimization triggers, it’s time to sit back, look at the entire picture, and ask:

  • Is the sales page messaging consistent and coherent throughout?
  • Is the page easy to skim with clear section titles that guide me down the page?
  • Was everything easy to read or did I stop to read any sentences twice? 
  • Were there any glaring gaps or illogical links?

Make sure that the copy is simple and effective overall. I’ve said this a few times before and I’ll say it again — studies have shown that the average reader reads at a seventh or eighth grade level. There’s no need for wordiness, fancy explanations, or long lists of adjectives in a single sentence.  

I personally find that reading the entire sales page out loud helps me answer these questions. 

Now here’s one more bonus tip: read the page on your cell phone

With far more than half of online readers consuming sales pages on mobile devices, you want the copy to be easy to read and navigate on small screens.

And there you have it — my Hot Offer Checklist of 10 conversion triggers that I ALWAYS look for when reviewing copy to build trust, boost authority and ignite sales. Don’t forget to get your copy of this checklist and refer to it anytime you’re reviewing or writing a sales page!

Trust me, I know it can be so easy to get so lost in your own wordsmithin’ brain sometimes that you wish you had a formula you could use to step back, edit effectively and remain objective. Well, here it is! I hope this article has been helpful for you guys.

Leave me a comment below if so! As always thank you for reading! Keep your suggestions and comments coming, I love to hear from you.

That’s all from me for today. Next up, check out my article on How To Write Insanely Better Headlines based on a customer’s level of awareness. You can read it next!

And if you want help crafting the perfect sales page – from start to finish – you can learn more about my 5-Day Write & Ignite ChallengeIn this challenge, you’ll get…

  • My 5-question copywriter checklist to help create a bomb-ass sales brief. 
  • My Wheel of Persuasion – which includes 6 proven writing prompts to help you build trust, create believability and inspire action.
  • My simple 4-point Offer Matrix to help you craft an irresistible offer. 
  • My 16-step formula for putting it all together.
  • Plus my H.O.T. headline formula and 3 proven hook templates to help you capture and keep your prospects attention. 

Till next week, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!

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