Whether you're selling a product or service, 10 tips below are your keys to writing great copy that communicates and persuades ... to get results! These guidelines can apply to most any form of consumer marketing communications: sales letters, brochures, web copy, or direct mail. As long as your goal is to elicit a reaction from your reader, you've come to right place. Give it a whirl!
1. Be reader-centered, not writer-centered.
Many ads, brochures, and Web sites we see talk endlessly on and on about how great their products and companies are. Hello? Customer, anyone? Think of your reader thinking, "What's in it for me?" If you can, talk with some of your current customers and ask them 1) why they chose you, and 2) what they get out of your product or service. TIP: To instantly make your copy more reader-focused, insert word "you" often.
2. Focus on benefits - not just features.
The fact that your product or service offers a lot of neat features is great, but what do they DO for your customer? Do they save her time or money? Give her peace of mind? Raise her image to a certain status? Here's an example: If you go buy a pair of Gucci sunglasses, you're not just looking for good UV protection, are you? You're buying sleek, stylish Gucci look. So that's what Gucci sells - image. You don't see their ads talk about how well made their sunglasses are. Think end results. Now, what does an insurance broker sell? Policies? No - peace of mind. (See? You've got it!)
3. Draw them in with a killer headline.
The first thing your reader sees can mean difference between success and failure. Today's ads are chock full of clever headlines that play on words. They're cute, but most of them aren't effective. There are many ways to get attention in a headline, but it's safest to appeal to your reader's interests and concerns. And again, remember to make it reader centered - no one gives a hoot about your company. Bad: "SuccessCorp Creates Amazing New Financial Program." Better: "Turn Your Finances Around in 30 Days!"
4. Use engaging subheads.
Like mini-headlines, subheads help readers quickly understand your main points by making copy "skimmable." Because subheads catch readers' eyes, you should use them to your benefit! Read through your copy for your main promotional points, then summarize ideas as subheads. To make your subheads engaging, it's important to include action or selling elements. Bad: "Our Department's Successes." Better: "Meet Five Clients Who Saved $10K With Us."
5. Be conversational.
Write to your customers like you'd talk to them. Don't be afraid of using conversational phrases such as "So what's next?" or "Here's how do we do this." Avoid formality and use short, easy words. Why? Even if you think it can't possibly be misunderstood, a few people still won't get it.