Copywriting / Design Studio

Why Copy-First Design Must Be Embraced

James Bracken

29 Oct 2020

Website and Product Design gets everyone excited and rightly so. To create an excellent digital experience the user flow, page or screen layouts, interaction and visual design are critical factors. However, what often gets forgotten about and left behind in the process is copy. Nailing what you want to say, the questions your copy needs to answer and how to do this effectively should be the starting point in the creation or redesign of your marketing strategy, landing page, website or application.

Sorry to all my design friends and colleagues (a particularly precious group as we all know and love) but there are studies that prove copy to be more influential than design when it comes to conversions as highlighted by Unbounce Co-Founder Oli Gardner in the Tweet below.



This! >> @unbounce data science findings (40k landing pages) show copy (28%) was 2x as
influential as design (13%) in why visitors converted.
— Oli Gardner (@oligardner) May 27, 2020

And if you think about it of course that is going to be the case. The majority of humans visit websites to get information; generally they’re reading up on a product, service, person or place that has sparked an interest. They will be coming armed with questions they want answered or preconceptions that you need to address. Copy that doesn’t answer these questions in a succinct and relatable manner is going to fail whereas copy that does address the needs of your audience in a way that leaves an impression is going to succeed.

“Give me some tips on writing successful copy!” I hear you cry (in the sense of shouting, not the sad tears kind of crying). Writing great content is not easy which is probably why it isn’t first on peoples list of to do’s.

It is well known to my team that I am a massive Peep Laja fan boy. He is well worth following on LinkedIn as his posts are full of insights, tips and proven conversion tactics. One recent post outlined a list of considerations one should follow when creating copy.

His six qualities of high-converting copy cover the following essential ingredients:

  1. Provide Absolute Clarity
    “Clarity trumps persuasion.” Your sentences need to make sense, not create confusion. Don’t use big words. Write as if you are in conversation with another human.

  2. Ooze Credibility
    If people don’t believe what you write, it’s going to be a difficult sell. Use specifics (“we deliver pizza in 10 minutes”), avoid superlatives (“best pizza in town”). Offer proof.

  3. Communicate Value
    “There is no boring way to tell someone they won the lottery.” Your copy should make people feel that they’re paying $20 to get $50 back – plain obvious value. Make people want your promised land.

  4. Interesting To Read
    “People have infinite attention spans as long as they are entertained.” Boring copy turns people off, they stop reading. You want people to read. The more they read, the higher their motivation.

  5. Address Concerns
    You need to know what the top five doubts and hesitations of your audience are and then preemptively address each objection in your copy.

  6. Answer All The Questions
    20% to 50% of all purchases are abandoned due to insufficient product information. Every question a prospective customer might have should be answered.


Where is your current copy falling short? Here are a few questions to ask yourself once you’ve read your copy.

Is it boring?
What objections need to be addressed?
After reading everything, what’s still unclear?

If you need any further evidence of the power of words check out Song Exploder on Netflix which is the awesome TV version of the popular podcast (which is also worth your attention). What it illustrated to me is that without lyrics a song has no meaning or connection with the listener – view your copy like that and consider Peep’s six pointers to make your content king, zing and sing.

“I don’t have time!” I hear you cry (lots of crying going on but it is 2020 so whatevs). If you need any help with your content strategy, copywriting or content optimisation, get in touch / contact us / hit me up / drop me a line / give me a call / holler at me / say hello / say goodbye / don’t miss out / act before it’s too late. (When you do, please let me know which of these call to actions resonated the most!)

For the dedicated ones out there that read this far I have something for you. The conversion guru that is Peep Laja has recently launched a fantastic copy optimisation tool, check it out and note its reason for being https://www.copytesting.com/.

Don’t forget – COPY FIRST!

By James Bracken, Head of Digital Experience at GrowthOps

GrowthOps is a full-service digital agency that offers end to end digital marketing services such as Google Ads, Social Media, Partnership Marketing, and more. Speak to us about your growth needs today.