From emails to social media, blogs to news pieces, online marketing is a huge part of any business. There is well researched and complex science behind who to target and when to message them, with endless businesses offering management and strategies to help you make the most of your marketing efforts. But unless you get your message right in the first place, it doesn’t matter who you send it to or when you send it. The best SEO and social media strategy in the world won’t help you if you are saying the wrong things, or even the right things in the wrong way. So, before you spend your precious budget on the experts, let’s take a look at the top ten tips for writing effective marketing copy.
1. Remember, it’s not about you
The hardest thing to accept about your beloved business is that people simply don’t care. If you only talk about yourself, starting every sentence with ‘we’ or ‘our’, then your readers will simply switch off. Check your copy and replace ‘we’ with ‘you’ wherever possible. For example, swapping ‘we offer’ for ‘you can get is much more engaging’. Never tell your audience how proud you are of your reputation, or how excited you are about your new product or sale price – it is meaningless to them.
2.Talk about the benefits
People are really only interested in what’s in it for them, so make sure you talk in terms of benefits, not just features. For example, if you are promoting a free slots app, people want to know what they can win, rather than what fancy features you have to get those wins. Similarly, if you offer next day delivery you should talk about the fact that your customers can have their item tomorrow, rather than waffling on about the logistics of how it will get to them.
3. Know who you are talking to
No product is truly for everyone, so find out as much as you can about your core audience – what makes them tick and what they want from a product or service like yours. The better you know them, the more you can talk about your business in ways that they can relate to and are meaningful to them.
4. Talk to them
It sounds obvious, but you need to talk to your customers, not talk at them. Don’t try to sound sophisticated or business-like, and always avoid jargon if you can. Talk to your audience as if you have just been introduced and they are interested in what you do. Be polite, friendly and interesting. Remember, even in B2B communications, you are talking to people just like you.
5. Be clear about what you want them to do
You can’t expect your readers to take the right action in response to your message unless you are very clear about what that action is. Don’t assume that they will know how to respond, tell them.
6. Make sure they know how to do it
Having made your call to action clear, make sure you give them all the information they need to follow that instruction, such as including your phone number and opening hours, or providing a contact form to make email responses easier. The clearer and simpler the call to action, the more likely people are to act.
7. Don’t be afraid to be different
Think about companies like Virgin, or Innocent Smoothies. They stand out because they dare to be different and put some personality into their copy. This can be a little harder and it can take time to get it right, but if you can crack your tone of voice, you will never be lost in the noise again.
8. Tell them what they don’t know
Far too much marketing copy wastes time telling people what they already know, or what they would assume about a company based on their products and services. Tell your readers something they don’t know. Don’t tell them what you do that all your competitors do, tell them something you do that is different. Give them a reason to choose you.
- Look through their eyes
Before you send it to print or out on the internet, always make sure you read back your copy through the eyes of the people it is aimed at. This can be hard to do if you are very close to your business, so get a friend or colleague to do this for you if you can’t do it yourself. Tell them who you are talking to and ask them if the copy works for them on that level. And always ask them to be honest; a lot of marketing money has been wasted based on false compliments.
- Keep it short
Finally, remember that people are busy and you’re lucky to have their attention for even a moment, so don’t push your luck. Keep it short and to the point.