Don't Kill the Messenger, Just the Messaging
You’re the owner of a business with a great product or an innovative, must-have service, but for some reason, it’s not the roaring success you hoped for.
What went wrong?
Where are all those leads that were supposed to convert magically from that sparkling new website or clever email campaign you boosted?
Where’s the MONEY???
Here is where a wise marketer tells you that, well, your messaging - sucks rocks. (We do yield words like a sword.) I hate to say this, but your copy may be dry and flavorless.
What is the definition of copy? Copy refers to any published text, either digital or printed. Informally, copy is the words written to let people know who you are and what your business stands for. Your “vibe,” if you will.
The copy you write is how you express the heart of your business, your brand. More importantly, it’s the words you use to help people make the split decision to either trust that what you’re selling is authentic and worth their time and investment or flicked away in a heartbeat – (like an annoying gnat). Whether you like it or not, you will be judged instantly and harshly by your copywriting quality.
You never have a problem having a conversation, do you? We don’t usually get Speaker’s block, but (copy)writing block is a thing. From this moment forward, think about it as Copy Conversations. All you need to do is write the way you talk.
First, let’s go over how to breathe new life into your messaging. Learn how to SPEAK to your customers so they’ll want to HEAR what you’re saying. You want them to pick up what you’re putting down. Ready?
Clarity. Personal. Relatable.
These are the critical components for gaining a fan base:
Simple, crystal-clear communication. Nobody has to ask questions to understand WHAT you’re talking about. Clarity means writing copy that is easy to read and easy to understand.
Anyone who’s sat through a boring presentation knows how vital adding personal stories are. It goes a long way in sparking interest and keeping things fascinating and exciting. How do we do this? Loosen up rigid writing by making it more conversational. And throw out some of the things you learned in English class, such as never finishing a sentence with a preposition (or never starting a sentence with “and”). Rules-bound grammarians didn’t allow one to say, “Where did the pickle come from?” Instead, it had to be, “From where did the pickle come?” Huh? Go ahead and break that rule.
Here are some other rules to break:
• Go all out. Use sentence fragments. We all speak in sentence fragments because they sound natural and conversational – which is how you want your copy to sound. Do you think “Got Milk?” would have caught on if it was “Do you have any Milk?” I think not.
• Is slang okay? Yes and no. The danger of slang is how quickly it can become outdated and uncool. (I’m looking at you “on fleek”). Keep it current and know your audience and platform. As for swear words, you can be a total pottymouth, depending on your audience, or as conservative as you flippity-dippity want to be. The key is to be relatable and have some fun with it.
• Contractions (oh how I wish I had a Schoolhouse Rock song to reference here) You’ll sound less robotic if you use contractions — they’ll miraculously loosen up your writing, so it’s less “stick in the mud” boring and more “let your freak flag fly” soaring.
• Don’t Be Superfluous Wordy. Think back to the Pythagorean theorem. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Don’t muck up the path with unnecessary words to get to point B.
Your copy should aim for the heart of your customers’ pains. You’ll know it works when your ideal customers say, “That’s exactly how I feel.” Or, “It’s as if you’re reading my mind.” Or, best of all, “This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. Sign me up.”
Here are some tips:
• Keep the spotlight on your customer.
Instead of writing, “XYZ Inc. is the Go-To Microsoft Dynamics Partner in the US,”
try, “Need your software fixed now? Your dedicated XYZ Inc. account manager knows what’s up with your ERP. And, there’s no need to get them up-to-speed.”
See the difference? You’ve just put your customer in the spotlight.
• No bragging – humble or otherwise. Customers don’t necessarily care if your company won the #1 Software Reseller’s award for 2021, which is featured loudly and proudly on your home page. They want to know that you are capable of solving their problem. Identify what problem you’re solving and how your product/service accomplishes that.
By applying these principles to your writing, you’ll persuade your ideal customers to stick around long enough to love your message AND to become a valued customer.
And now, just for fun:
As the great Ted Lasso tweeted: “What does a British owl say?”
(I think that owl needs to read this blog).
About the author: Saeger Marketing LLC is a full-service marketing agency that can help you reach your ideal prospects and convert them to customers-for-life. www.saegermarketing.com