Copy is the most critical element in marketing and advertising. Our aim as marketers is to get our target audience to act after reading, whether it is clicking on a banner, opening an email, or clicking the BUY NOW button on a website. To evoke people to feel, think, respond, or ideally, remember my slogan when they are searching on Google.
A blog post like this one has the luxury of unlimited words, while 120 characters for a mobile meta tag or 50 characters for a title tag challenges one’s ability to express, engage, and capture.
Here are a few strategies I use to help clients get better results and hopefully it may help you with your next subject line or banner call to action.
1) Tilt Your Audience’s Perspective
To cut through, sometimes all a message needs is a slight shift in the angle. It is estimated that in 2020 the average person sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every single day, which means we’ve become masters at blocking marketing messages. One of the most powerful things you can do is to break down a reader’s guard with an unexpected approach. Every story has a myriad of angles – your job is to find the one that will resonate with your audience. The next time you sit down to write, try out this approach. Don’t take the topic head-on. Instead, ask yourself why it matters and find the story angle that’s behind your message.
Creativity is about connecting things. Next time you write an ad for a new product or service, draw the connection between the product and the experience it evokes. Nike did this well… their copy recognizes that for many, running isn’t about running at all – it’s about solitude, peace, and restoring sanity to life.
This ad is about the complexity of one’s life fading away and being replaced by simplicity and clarity. As the copy progresses, the sentences simplify and the copy’s complexity is slowly replaced by the simple and rhythmic pounding of words: run, run, run, run. The same rhythm one hears when all but their footsteps have faded away. That’s connection.
3) Just One More
The purpose of a headline is to hook you to read the first line of the story. The purpose of a subject line to get you to open the email, the purpose of a title tag to click on a search result. The purpose of the first line is to get you to read the second line, and so on. In short, every bit of text produced is to draw you a little closer to a brand, if your first line doesn’t captivate your readers, all is lost.
Serve your audience, listen to their needs, desires, and the language they use. By carefully listening, your audience will share with you what is important to them and how to get their attention.
5) Avoid Jargon
Ground-breaking. Revolutionary. Business Solutions. Targetable Scale. Ideation. Evidence-based approaches. Industry-wide best practices.
Have I lost you yet?
Using wording like evidence-based approaches or industry wide best practices don’t mean anything to your audience. Don’t try and dress up the copy just speak to your reader in a way that are authentic and easy to understand. My rule of thumb is, can my audience tell someone else what I told them without losing the meaning.
6) Cut Out Excess
Reduce your words down to the bare minimum but keep the meaning. Challenge yourself to strip down your word count. Turn a 50-word homepage copy into 25, then push yourself again to make that 25-word sentence into 15 words. It’s about making every word count and making it memorable. The more memorable the text the easier it is for your audience to share what they read and remember what to search for.
Words matter. Every time you sit down to write an ad, web page, video script, or other content for your company, it is your opportunity to connect and engage with someone. Identify those opportunities in your marketing and make sure that you’ve made the most of them.