There is this trend where "successful" eCommerce stores copy landing pages of other successful eCom websites to increase their sales. They even do A/B testing to see if their ripped-off version works better than what they have now.

Why it won't work... in most cases

1. You steal problems and mistakes you don't even know are there.

Whatever you steal or copy from your competition, you must understand that you will also steal their problems. So, to solve your problem, you have to spend resources to first solve problems that aren't even your own, and then you still stick to your own.

Deep work and understanding of your audience, product/market fit, which words are well received by your customers,... you cannot copy and deeply understand this.

2. They do not know WHY their copywriting formula works

Even if you have the same product, you may have a different traffic/audience, so the copy may not work. If you have the same audience, your product position may not fit. If you both have the same product, you probably have a different traffic source.

So now you also have to copy your marketing and traffic strategy, ads and everything...

It is important to know the "why".

3. Even if it works, what about next time?

You must understand that quick wins by copying are not common - this week they may work, but what about next week?

You would be constantly looking for new things to copy, try, try out, and fail many times to find the shiny new "hack" that could work for you.

This is a big waste of time, even if you make short-term profits, you are striving for long-term, sustainable growth.

4. How can you be confident it worked for them?

Did the CEO or their marketer brag about sales, numbers,...? How certain can you be that it's true? Do you want to gamble money and maybe even the future of your company on the ego trip of one person? You can't trust other people's words, but you can trust your data and your experience, and that's the path you have to take.

5. They are found out and could be called out

If you do this as a marketer, people will find out. Especially if you're stupid and even copy their code. Good and fair companies work with other good and fair companies, so you will end up working with exactly the kind of company that is your own. There are also some legal problems caused by the theft of other IPs, so another problem to think about.

When copying landing pages for conversions it may work

1. Luck

Just plain luck. 1/10 or even 1/100 landing pages that you copy and convert into your own pages can work. This is just statistics that it will work... eventually. The problem is that it's probably not worth it, because you'll spend 10 times more time and resources stealing something you don't understand. Will you be able to recreate it for another product? Do you think you will be that lucky? Probably not.

2. Study and learn

Copying something can be used with a different approach to learn something from it and then apply it in a unique way to your own business.

Study intensively each section, title, headlines, what kind of pictures and get ideas and solutions why they did what they did. That way things will click and you will be ready to use that knowledge to make your landing pages work for you. Now you will be the one they steal from, and if it's your competition, all the better because you can see that they fail.

3. Instead of stealing it, work together and improve

Why not approach the company and try to do something together? They help to solve their problem, they help you with yours. It's something you probably never thought of, but what if you try it and it works?

Is it worth it or is it a waste of your time?

You calculate, but every action has a reaction, and you should predict whether it will have positive or negative consequences.

They're always on the hunt for new tricks, tips, gimmicks. but after each one of these tricks loses its effect, you'll be back to zero.

Instead, concentrate on building things up step by step, think deeply about it, make sense of it all, and it will be a solid staircase on which you can stand until you build a new one.

There are no easy shortcuts to the growth of e-commerce.

Stop, think, do, repeat.

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  • Article by:

    Darjan Hren

    Darjan is a conversion optimization consultant @ Hren.io.

    A branding, design, marketing & development polymath that helps eCommerce and online businesses increase sales profitably.

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