10 Important Lessons Copywriters Can Learn From A High-Ticket Funnel Designer

Ricky Leyva of Pixel Graffiti recently joined me for a chat about the partnership between sales copy and funnel design. Ricky is a designer who builds some of the most beautiful funnels I have ever seen. He’s built funnels for all kinds of people, including Russell Brunson and Grant Cardone. You can see his designs on ClickFunnels’ Funnel Friday events.


Ricky and I work together on client projects sometimes, and we make a good team. I handle the copy, and he handles the design. This article will break down the relationship between design and sales copy and reveal 10 lessons copywriters can learn from sales funnel designers. 

Lesson #1:  Niche Down and Choose a Specialty

Ricky Leyva has been a funnel designer for 21 years, with the last 14 years spent in the marketing space. He worked his way from the bottom up by putting up a thread advertising his services and built clientele from there. 

It wasn’t long before Leyva’s work caught the attention of people like ClickFunnels founder and CEO Russell Brunson and real estate mogul Grant Cardone. 

“I worked with Russell all through his Dotcom Secret days and before Clickfunnels even existed,” said Leyva. “I’ve actually been using Clickfunnels since it was in beta, and that’s kind of what led me down this path.”

With his deep background in design, Leyva could have offered a broad range of services from WordPress and HTML sites to graphic design projects. Instead, he decided to choose a specialty – designing and building sales funnels with the ClickFunnels software – so he could specialize and grow his expertise. Although he’s been courted by other funnel building software programs, ClickFunnels is his funnel-building home.

I also chose a specialty early on in digital marketing. After spending six months burning myself out providing a list of services as long as my arm, I realized I couldn’t keep up spreading myself so thin. I needed to niche down, and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made for my business. Once I began putting myself out there as a sales copywriter who offered copywriting and messaging services only, my business grew quickly and exponentially.

It’s easy to feel nervous about niching down, especially when you first start considering the idea. You start thinking in terms of the income you might be losing out on by turning down copywriter projects outside your specialty. Instead, it’s the complete opposite. As the saying goes, “The riches are in the niches” and Ricky is living proof. He only markets to Clickfunnels users, yet it has not restricted his income ceiling at all. 

“I have to turn down clients because I can’t keep up,” Leyva said. 

When you really dial on the specific person that you serve, you can serve them at a higher level. You can devote more of your time and energy to becoming really excellent in that one core thing that you do instead of trying to spread yourself so thin. An added benefit of becoming a specialist is that when you become an expert, you can raise your rates.

“So like how you would have a regular doctor and your specialist, the specialist charges four or five times a visit than a regular doctor visit,” said Leyva. “Specializing as a service provider is the same thing.”

Lesson #2:  Outsource to Experts

One of the pain points Ricky Levya dealt with in his business was the sales copy. It’s not a service he himself provides, so many times the client would submit the copy themselves – and that can come with some unique challenges. He needed to partner up with a copywriter.

“What I would get 95% of the time was a Word document with no formatting of the copy at all,” Leyva said. “There’s no flow. There are no bullet points. There’s no formatting, no bold, no italics. The copy might be great. The wording might be great. But now I have to take that copy and I almost essentially have to become a copywriter to kind of format it.”

It was time to outsource. Leyva knew if he had a copywriter he could refer his clients to, it could help him avoid all the time he was spending formatting and trying to make the copy fit the funnel. He needed someone who understood how to write with design in mind, so he went to the community he felt most at home in – the official ClickFunnels Facebook page. 

And that’s where Leyva found me.

“The copy you provide is closer to a wireframe than just a bunch of copy,” Leyva said. “Having that wireframe template for the copy really helps me because then I can visualize a lot easier what I’ll do for my end design just by looking at the Google document that you’re providing me. 

I love that. I love helping make things easier for the people I partner with on services, like Ricky. In the end, we’re both making things easier for our clients. 

I have a background in print layout and design and website design. When I first started writing funnels several years ago, I approached them with my design background in mind. I knew I couldn’t expect my clients, who aren’t copywriters, to know what to do with the copy if there wasn’t some kind of obvious framework or structure. 

That’s when I began building frameworks and processes behind everything I write. I teach these frameworks and processes to my students and coaching clients so they can learn how to write funnel copy that’s clear, effective, and compelling. 

Lesson #3:  Write With an Eye Towards Design

“Not everyone builds their own funnel,” Leyva said. But if you do, working at it with an eye on the flow and what the funnel is going to look like can really help you create a smooth sales message and a smooth journey.”

I completely agree. Copywriting isn’t Tetris. Writing with an eye towards the overall flow and design of a funnel helps ensure the right information will land in the right places in the funnel. After all, the alternative – writing out a bunch of information and then trying to find a place to put it – is going to end up giving the client’s target audience a choppy sales journey through the funnel. 

Our clients REALLY need a copywriter who understands how to write with an eye towards design. They’re so close to their own offers that it’s almost impossible for them to create the strategic sales copy their funnels need themselves. 

It’s not their fault. Once you’ve experienced the result of the offer and how it impacts your life, it’s hard to remember what the person who still needs it doesn’t know or understand yet. Using a framework that clearly walks the target audience through a compelling sales journey helps copywriters make sure no steps in the sales messaging are missed. 

And a clear, compelling sales journey is much easier to build a funnel design around.

Lesson #4:  Remember Copy is the First Step

When I asked Leyva what advice he’d give a new copywriter, his response surprised me.

“You’re the first step in a funnel build,” he said. “And you’re not only the first step, you’re the step that can actually cause a whole domino effect of stuff.”

He’s not kidding. For Leyva and other funnel designers whose funnels are highly customized with personalized graphics, eleventh-hour changes  are a nightmare. If a change is made in a section of copy at the last minute, it sends him back to his design software to completely recreate the graphics right before the funnel is supposed to launch. 

“You’re number one on the list of getting everything done, but you also have a lot of power to kind of mess things up as well,” he cautioned. “And I’ve run into that a lot where a copywriter who didn’t understand that has made me have to stay up late at night.”

Leyva recommends building a relationship with the funnel designer so you can work together to make sure the entire funnel creation process goes smoothly with clear expectations and no last-minute surprises. 

Lesson #5:  Plan Copy Above the Fold Carefully

One of Ricky Leyva’s best tips for design and copy is to not fill the top section (also referred to as the hero section) with copy alone. Funnel pages that have such long headlines and subheadlines that there’s no room to have a video or image above the fold don’t convert as well.

“Sometimes a copywriter will submit a four-line headline and a two-line subheadline with a subheadline above the main headline,” he explained. “That makes the entire above-the-fold section  just a headline. Keep in mind that I need to stick a video or an image and an opt-in form there.”  

Leyva recommends writing a headline/subheadline combo that takes up just one-third of the hero section area so there’s enough room for a video or graphic and opt-in or order form. “The above-the-fold area is really, really important to make sure everything important is seen.”

Lesson #6:  Write for the Skimmer

It’s tempting to keep writing and writing to conquer every objection and raise and answer every frequently asked question. But how much copy is too much copy? Just a few weeks earlier, we’d had a conversation about a funnel project he’d worked on where the copy the client submitted was more than 10,000 words long. Too long? According to Leyva, yes.

“I love 2500 words,” he said. “That’s my sweet spot for copy. I feel like with 2500 words, you have more than enough time to talk about whatever that offer is on the front end. I don’t feel like you need 10,000 words.

I don’t follow a hard and fast rule for word count per se, but I do agree that there is such a thing as too much copy for sure. Say what needs to be said, and if you can say it with fewer words, do that. Very few people will read a sales funnel word for word due to the scrollable nature of devices. 

I don’t remember who it was, but recently someone said, “Write for the skimmer.” I love that. Give people the obvious information they need to know in the headlines and subheadlines, then fill in the details with body text. And don’t forget one of the most effective ways to keep people reading – pattern interrupts.

Lesson #7:  Remember Pattern Interrupts

The term pattern interrupts refers to elements in a funnel that are placed strategically to catch skimmers’ attention and stop the scroll, and Ricky Leyva highly recommends using them. Some text pattern interrupts include:

  • Bulleted lists
  • Pull quotes
  • Formatting changes like bold and italics
  • Colored text
  • Different font sizes for headlines, subheadings and body text

Funnel designers also visual pattern interrupts to accomplish the same goal. Examples of visual pattern interrupts include:

  • Infographics
  • Charts and graphs
  • Colored sections
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Testimonials

A good image or infographic in the right place can keep people in the funnel longer than if the funnel contained only plain copy alone. Including pattern interrupts also serves people with different types of learning styles. 

“It’s important to provide content in a funnel for different types of learning,” Leyva stated. “If I skim to a section that has a headline and an infographic, and I’m a visual learner, I’m going to look at the infographic and it’s gonna attract me to read the headline. Then other way around, if I’m someone looking to read the copy, I’m going to read the headline, and it’s gonna attract me to look at the infographic. So by them complementing each other, you’re just strengthening the message you’re trying to get across to the reader.”

This is a concept I’ve learned not only as a writer and as a coach of writers, but as a homeschool mom. I couldn’t agree more. Some people like to watch to learn. Other people who like to read to learn. Then there are people who like to do to learn. 

Lesson #8:  Personalize Where You Can

The most recent project Ricky Leyva and I worked on together was for a service as a software offer. The software is a personalized video editor that allows users to create personalized videos with automatic voice overs that can integrate the viewer’s photo, name, address, and home area. 

Honestly, it’s really cool and gives the viewer a personalized experience, and that’s a lesson we can learn and apply to sales funnel copy. The more personalized your sales copy is, the more it will resonate and attract the attention of your ideal dream customers and clients.

Lesson #9:  Ask for Testimonials

One of my favorite parts of sales copywriting is the ability to help my clients impact the world around them by selling more products and services. What they offer is important, and I love being able to play a role in that, but sometimes it’s not really MY words they need.

It’s the testimonials of their customers and clients. 

Some of the most impactful words in a sales funnel are the testimonials and reviews from happy buyers. Although these words are not coming directly from the mind of the copywriter or the funnel designer, collecting them is vital, and both copy and design need to leave space for them.

Lesson #10:  Branding (and Brand Voice) Matters

Well-designed sales funnels give clients the ability to be branded and instantly recognizable wherever they show up online, and sales copy that matches the client’s brand voice is the icing on the cake. Putting the extra time and effort to research the client’s unique style of communicating with their target audience is worth it.

“The ability to have funnels that are so personalized to your brand that anyone could hit this page by accident and it’s immediately recognizable – it’s hard to find designers that can really capture that,” Ricky Leyva said. “Think of big companies. Nike. McDonald’s. It’s always the same. It doesn’t matter what they’re putting out, their branding is there and it’s on point.

Leyva emphasizes that copywriters play a big role in keeping the branding tight and making sure the value ladder progresses smoothly from one offer to the next. 

“Write in a way where it’s wrapped around their branding, not just personalized to that offer,” he said. “Because that offer is always going to tie into another offer and then to another offer and another offer. You just want to keep warming the buyers up more and more and more to the point where you can kind of just show them a picture and they know it’s the client’s offer. That’s the ultimate goal.”

More from Christa Nichols

Want to learn more about how to capture your clients’ unique brand voices? CLICK HERE for the Personality Booster PackTM, a 3-in-1 resource that gives you a step-by-step framework for uncovering client brand voice so you can effectively write FOR them AS them.

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