Writing effective marketing copy is essential to the success of your marketing campaign because, let’s face it, poor copy yields poor results or a poor return rate. The reason for this is, if your reader does not understand what you are trying to say, then chances are, they will stop reading your copy. If you are not a strong writer, there is good news, though. Like any other skill that you have learned in life, writing, with practice, can be improved.
Below is a list of tips and advice for writing effective marketing copy. Read through the list and become familiar with the concepts and tips. Then, practice your writing.
Start with a Good Concept
Before you can begin writing, you need to start with a good writing concept or idea. You need to know what you are writing for or about because good marketing copy has a purpose and is focused. For example, you may be writing an advertisement for a new product your company is selling. You want to ask yourself, “What is the ‘big idea’ behind the product?”, then write the copy with that goal in mind.
Grab Readers’ Attention with the Headline
In today’s market environment, consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages daily. These messages are fighting for their attention, so you have just a few seconds to “hook” your reader and lead them to your body copy. A good headline will generate enough interest to get the reader to read the rest of your marketing copy. If you fail to “hook” the reader with your headline, chances are, the rest of your message will be ignored.
Place Key Points at the Beginning of Your Copy
Copy writers refer to this method of placing your key points at the beginning of your copy as the inverted pyramid. While your reader may read the headline, and skim the beginning of your copy, they may not read all the way through your body copy. The idea here is to put your best foot forward and write a strong lead into your copy. To do this, place the key, relevant points of your copy in the beginning of your collateral.
Your first few sentences should answer the following questions:
- What is the product or service?
- What does it do?
- Who is this product or service for?
- Why should the reader care, what’s in it for them?
Keep Copy Short and Simple
Your readers have a very short attention span, so keep your writing short and simple. Use easy to read, conversational style words, and leave the jargon and fluff out of your copy. When possible, use bullet points or pull quotes to break the copy up into easy to read chunks.
Keep Your Writing Positive
Avoid using negative forms of words in your body copy. Words like “not”, “don’t”, and “can’t” typically turn readers away from your copy.
Negative sentence: “We don’t accept credit cards.”
Positive sentence: “We only accept cash and checks.”
Use the Active Voice
You should also write sentences in the active voice, where the subject is performing the action or the verb. Active voice sentences are easier to read than passive voice sentences.
Passive Voice: “Many color choices are available for our product.”
Active Voice: “Our product is available in many colors.”
Show Confidence in your Copy
Make very clear and affirmative statements in your copy. Avoid qualifying words such as almost, mostly, and nearly.
Unsure statement: “Our product almost always satisfies your needs.”
Confident statement: “Our product satisfies your needs.”
Proofread and Edit
After writing your copy, set it aside. You want to read and proofread it with a set of fresh eyes; a few hours or a day is good. If you are crunched for time, have a co-worker read your copy for grammatical and spelling errors as well as to test to see if the copy makes sense to them. Writing is a process and should be carefully executed like any other important marketing task.