3.22.2011

Great Marketing Copy - Really Not As Difficult To Write As You Think?

Recently, I received an e-newsletter with the headline, "Write Great Marketing Copy" which included some great "how to" advice but the problem is, copywriting tips without examples or experience can actually be misleading to the novice marketing writer.

The article said, "Writing good content for your website, marketing materials, blog or newsletter is not as difficult as high-priced consultants would lead you to believe."

Hmmm, if it were "not as difficult" then every website ought to have a least good or somewhat good content and they all should be pulling in a good number of sales everyday, right? Then why isn't that so? (Just ask the marketer whose website gets traffic but can't convert visits to leads or sales.)

The truth is, a professional copywriter knows "tricks of the trade" that marketers don't know. The professional copywriter has experience and from that experience has a well of knowledge to draw upon when faced with any marketing challenge. Copywriters and designers are creative professionals who can turn raw marketing strategy and data into the words and pictures that resonate with a target audience and motivate prospects to become buyers.

One of the first pieces of advice in the e-newsletter said, "Know your audience. Gear your writing to the needs and tastes of your customers. Think of your top 10 customers and write as though you're talking to them."

This is great advice. But let's go a little further with it and get a little deeper into the process of writing great marketing copy. Just because you're thinking about your top 10 customers' wants and needs doesn't mean you can think like them. And are they really the ones you should be talking to anyway?

Sometimes, you need to talk to the bottom 10, the ones who aren't buying your product or service due to perceived obstacles - things they THINK are reasons to not buy. Surveys and market research can help you find out what the obstacles may be and why those customers are not buying. Is the obstacle price? Is it that they don't think they "need" your product or service? A professional copywriter can address negative perceptions and knows how to turn them into positives with  words that can appeal to the bottom 10 and turn them into buyers - without alienating the top 10. Without alienating the top 10 - that's key. You still want people who are like your top 10 buyers to buy.

If you ARE writing to your top 10 customers, best thing would be to try to cross-sell them additional products or services - after all, they know and trust your brand. You'll be writing to your best customers, the ones you already have, who are most likely to buy more. But it's that fraction of your audience that isn't buying now that you also need to address and try to convert into customers.

Sound complicated? It is. It's more difficult than the advice in an e-newsletter may lead you to believe. You almost need a degree in psychology. A professional copywriter knows how to motivate with the right words, is a veritable "salesperson on paper" who knows how to talk to the top 10 (easiest to convert buyers) AND knows what to say to the bottom 10 (hardest to convince buyers).

Another "tip" from the e-newsletter ...

"Arouse interest. From your headline to your close, be interesting and colorful. Be crisp. Be friendly. Do everything possible to keep your reader reading."

Again, this is great advice. However, do you know if you're writing a letter what the tricks are that can keep the eye moving through your letter? Do you know how to use long and short sentences, subheads and bold copy, when it's more appropriate to write in the first person ("I"), and why you need to use the word "you" a lot in your letter? These are things professional copywriters know and can make a difference between a letter that gets tossed in the trash can or one that persuades readers to "act now" and buy your product or service.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. I think writing really great copy for marketing materials or web sites takes practice - and you can't just read a list of tips or a how-to book and "just do it." You need to learn from doing the work and seeing your work tested in the marketplace.

- Holly

Cynthia Maniglia said...

Thanks, Holly! You are so right about practice and testing.

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