Posted Saturday, January 1, 2005
Is your advertising copy getting the results you want? If not, look at your current marketing to see if you're making one of the major copywriting mistakes:
Selling features instead of benefits. Telling your customer that your "fabulous new ALF-400 comes complete with AeroScan and BandControl technologies!" doesn't actually tell them anything. Will your services save your customers money or help them sleep better at night? If so, tell them. People buy solutions to problems and means to ends. Sell the benefits and watch your profits climb.
Not educating the reader. Most people are reasonably intelligent and sincerely want to learn about the world around them. Does your copy contain solid information, or is it mostly emotional appeal and little substance? Ease back the fireworks and give the reader something real to chew on.
Being boring. Easing back the fireworks doesn't mean getting rid of them completely. Use just enough drama and emotional appeal to keep your reader interested. This is where a solid understanding of your customers fits in - what are their hopes and fears? Where do your services fit between them?
Exaggerating. Most people expect advertising to be overblown and inflated, so surprise your readers and be honest. Put your best foot forward and shamelessly emphasize your strengths, but don't do more than that. Keep it real and get real attention.
Saying too much. Excessive wordiness puts a burden on the reader that can be lethal for marketing. Read through your copy again: could you say the same thing with fewer words? Try rewriting with a 25% cut in word count to inject new life into your pitch.
Not getting the reader moving. The entire point of advertising is to motivate your customer to do something, so are you telling them what that is? End your pitch with a direct appeal. Tell your customers to call, visit or look at your website. If you're not giving them orders, you can't expect them to start marching.
About the Author
Robert Warren (www.rswarren.com) is a freelance copywriter in the Orlando, Florida area, specializing in providing for the marketing and communications needs of the independent professional private practice.