I came across this question in a forum the other day:

“do you think it is a good idea to apply the 80/20 rule (pareto principle) to copywriting or should one strive for the 100%?”

Well, if you have ever tried to get a piece of copy to 100%, then you already know the answer to this question!


In business, the pareto principle simply means that you will get 80% of the results, from 20% of the effort. 

Getting copy to 100% is impossible. You may get to 99%, but not before you have carried out years of extensive testing. And by then, the situation will have changed anyway…

The simple fact is with copywriting; you can ALWAYS improve.

So although 80/20 may not be the exact formula; it is clear you can spend a VERY long time getting your copy to 90/95%… In which time you could have created another 5 or 6 ‘80% solutions’; resulting in a much greater ROI.

Take e-mail for example – the more you send, the more likely your prospect is to buy from you. Period.

And here’s another reason for you to 80/20 your copywriting:

Copywriting is about results. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. And you cannot measure what you haven’t tested!

The real danger with copywriting, for beginners and professionals alike; is to get stuck in what you might call ‘analysis paralysis’. Quite simply the biggest mistake is just taking too long to get something out there – or even failing to get anything out at all.

Right now I am actually in the process of putting together content and web copy for our new .co.uk website.

If I don’t hurry up and get something out, it will never happen!
(I’ve already taken the time out to write this post…)

You can only improve by testing your results, adapting, and re-adapting each time you find a more effective method.

 So get something out.

Do the 80/20, and turn around. That’s what it’s all about!


EDIT: So I finally got the website live 10 days later. I did realise that this question does have the hidden virtues of a better one; “how far should we go before biting the bullet, and just getting the damn thing out there?” or “How do you know when you are at 80%?” I’ve covered this in the next post ‘5 steps to apply the 80/20 rule in copywriting.’ Only thing is, I haven’t finished it yet. So sign up to my marketing tips and I’ll let you know when it’s published.


WARNING: Do not apply the 80/20 rule to proof reading!!! – When your spelling is poor, or typos litter your work; the reader will take home a clear message: – That you don’t care. Just think, why would anyone entrust their business to you, if you pay such little attention to detail? (If you spot any deliberate mistakes around the site, do let me know to claim your reward…)