You’re so clever and creative! You know it, and your clients know it. Guess what? It means nothing. All the brilliant verbiage in the world won’t help if you can’t convey the message to the target audience. It’s all about response rates – without responses, you won’t have sales, and without sales you’ve failed in your task.
So how does a marketing copywriter craft copy that is clear and compelling, that gets the client’s message across and ensures that the audience “hears” what you want them to - not something entirely different? We have some great tips to help you do that:
Getting it Read
To get your copy read in the first place, it’s important to understand how readers read. First, they scan the copy. According to research, you have 11 seconds to capture their attention while they check:
- who the information comes from
- whether it’s personalized for them
- the headline, subject line and subheads
- the first line of your introduction
Their gut reaction to these points determines whether they will read on or not. If they do, the first 50 words of the introduction come next, and after that they either read it most of the way through or they discard it.
Making it Listenable
For the reader to understand and absorb your copy well enough to be able to act, it has to resonate with him. That means it must be listenable. New word, huh! But many a marketing copywriter thinks writing good copy is about “talking to” the reader. Well, it isn’t. It’s about getting the reader to listen and hear what you’re saying. Big difference, no? You need to use the right words in the right contexts to reach your reader, which means you need a clear understanding of what he cares about and his hopes and dreams. You need him to listen.
Rocking his World
Once you’ve got the reader’s attention, you need to rock his world. This is what happens when you zero in on the one - not two, not three! - the one primary aspect that you know your reader won’t be able to ignore. And that aspect needs to speak to him – no, it needs to call to him so loudly he must respond. That just doesn’t happen with sentences such as: “We can offer business phone systems to meet your needs” but it could happen with “Experience the power of a business phone system that delivers seamlessly.”
Highlighting the Benefits
Highlight benefits, not features. Yup, you’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again - it’s right up there with rocking his world. Do you honestly believe anyone will buy a product such as a watch because you say it can show what time it is? “So what?” is the response that comes to mind! The secret sauce here is the benefit; it’s what knowing the time does for your reader, such as:
- It keeps him punctual
- Makes him successful in his job
- Helps him avoid the rush hour
- Enables him to catch his train
- Heck – maybe it even saves his marriage!
Pick one. Choose something that will resonate with the reader, get him to listen and rock his world. And knowing what time it is won’t do that
Using Everyday Language
There’s a new buzz word in marketing copywriter circles: readability. It works on the premise that if you write in a certain way, readers with a particular level of education will be able to read your copy. That’s useful if you’re writing for an academic target audience, but seriously – if you’re writing marketing copy for anyone else, just use everyday language. Write the way you speak – or rather, the way your reader speaks – because anything else won’t be listenable, it’ll just be hard work for him.
So, What’s the Formula?
The formula for crafting compelling copy that sells isn’t how clever you can be, or how creative. It isn’t the call to action, which is usually located at the end (how many people even read that far?) It's not the list of product features, regardless of how great they are. It’s using words your reader understands that mean something to him, that are easy to digest and that tell him what he wants to know as quickly and simply as possible. A marketing copywriter who can achieve that will have the Fortune 500s knocking at the door. Figuratively speaking, of course.