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Got boring marketing copy that is putting your readers to sleep before they even get to your call-to-action?
By William Ballard
I actually nodded off once while reading a company’s marketing copy (and nearly hurt myself in the process). Granted, I was tired at the time, having written four long-length articles for four different clients. Still, if the writer had attempted to make the copy just a tad more interesting — rather than the same ol’ boring fluff — I would have stayed engaged.
The fastest way to lose a sale is to fill your copy with boring nonsense, and company jargon. Look, your customers are too busy these days to pay attention to emails, websites, landing pages and other content that work more as an aid to insomnia than a solution to a problem (unless the problem you’re trying to solve is someone’s sleeping disorder. If that is the case, then you might be on the right track, but the ridiculous thing is you are providing this solution for free).
Now, with that said, the good news is it doesn’t take much of an extra effort to make your marketing copy more engaging and fun. You see, your reader should feel happy to have completed reading your marketing piece, and even more happy to respond to your call-to-action.
Here are four simple ways to accomplish that objective.
1. Use Stories, Illustrations, Or Scenarios
Look, it’s human nature, we’re all attracted to stories. It’s what keeps you binge watching episodes of your favorite show on Netflix. Or it’s what keeps you turning the page in the latest J.K Rowling, John Grisham, or Jodi Picoult novel that Amazon just delivered on your front doorstep.
In fact, it’s always like Christmas when you come home and find Amazon just delivered another package of books that you just can’t wait to get into. That’s the same kind of feeling your customer should feel when receiving your sells letter in the mail – intrigued and anxious to dive in.
It’s been said that people rarely ever remember what you told them, but will never forget how you made them feel. You see, you are more likely to be interested in, and remember, an emotionally riveting story than even the most compelling presentation of boring facts.
That’s why I began this article with a story.
In marketing copy, it’s the story that brings out your personality and makes you appear more human. We are living in the day where customers and prospects are more interested in doing business with people rather than with brands or companies, and it is stories that allow that to happen.
So if you find yourself falling asleep while writing your marketing copy, then that should immediately start sounding off warning alarms in your head, “that your copy is going in the wrong direction.” If you see this happening… stop what you’re doing immediately! And start writing a story.
2. Live and Experience Life So That You May Be Able to Explain it in Complete Detail
One of the difficult things an aspiring copywriter experiences is the art of descriptive imagery — such as product features. I hate to come off so bluntly, but the truth is: the essence of writing is all about being able to paint pictures with words.
You see, life (in general) is about turning words into actions, but writing (or the writing life) is about taking those actions and turning them into words so that they impact another person’s life.
The problem is most aspiring copywriters are mainly interested in making money and not really passionate about writing as an activity, or as a lifestyle. This is what makes copywriters different from fiction writers (or non-fiction writers, for that matter).
The challenge in copywriting is to come up with fresh ways to explain things. This kind of thing comes easy to other kinds of writing professionals, but it is not as hard as most aspiring copywriters think. Sometimes adding a new twist or variation is all you need to do.
For example, consider what this data communications expert did to describe the problem her product solves:
"Healthcare data, information and evidence are coming at your organization faster than text messages to a 14-year old’s smartphone."
Adding that one metaphor makes her entire marketing piece not only effective, but unforgettable.
3. Write to The Point, and Don't Take Too Long to Get There
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who just went on and on, never really ending up anywhere? They took you on this long journey of endless random thought only to lead you to a dead end. I bet you had an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and frustration afterwards, didn’t you? I know, I’ve been there, trust me.
The same thing can happen in your marketing copy. It can go on and on, too. Prospects have no time to dig through a haystack of unnecessary words only to find at the end that you took them on some wild goose chase that lead nowhere.
Saying that may bring up the question, “How long should your marketing piece or sells letter be?” Well, truth be told: the answer is however long it takes to get your point across and persuade your reader to respond to your call-to-action. The length of your sells piece is not the important issue here, the issue is being able to effectively guide your reader to the action you want them to take.
4. Write Your Marketing Copy For Your Prospect (Reader), Not For Yourself
What are prospects more interested in? Your product? You? Or their own problems, needs and desires?
The answer is obvious. So if you want to make your copy “un-boring” the simplest way to do that is to keep it focused on the prospect.
Yes, you do need to talk about your product, service or offer, but position that as a conversation about how it benefits the prospect.
You will know you’re writing prospect-focused copy when you find yourself using the words “you” and “your” a lot. In fact, they are arguably the most motivating words in marketing.
So there you have it. Four simple tips for waking up sleepy or boring marketing copy. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “You can’t bore people into buying your product.” I would add, “Don’t even try!”
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William Ballard is the author of "The True Writer's Life," which is the book that essentially started it all for William. In conjunction with the coaching he provides for free through his blogs and articles all across the web, he also offer Personal Writing and Business Coaching where he teaches freelance writers and aspiring authors how to start, build and maintain full-time, high-earning writing careers.