4 Simple Cures for Boring Marketing Copy

SONY DSCI actually nodded off once while reading a company’s marketing copy. Granted, I was tired at the time, having already reviewed about a gazillion copywriting examples that day. Still, if the writer had attempted to make the copy just a tad more interesting — rather than same ol’ same ol’ — I would have stayed engaged.

Boring copy loses sales. Everyone is too busy these days to pay attention to dull, yawn-inducing emails, websites, landing pages and other content. The good news is, it doesn’t take much of an extra effort to make your marketing copy more interesting. Even absorbing.

Here are four simple ways to do that.

1. Use stories, examples, scenarios.

Stories captivate us. It’s human nature. You’re more likely to be interested in, and remember, a story than even the most compelling presentation of the facts.

That’s why I began this article with a story.

In marketing copy, a story (or an example or a scenario) is handy when you want to switch on the prospect’s mental movie projector so she can visualize how a product will benefit her. Think about it. Don’t you imagine what it’s going to be like driving a new car before you buy it?

So when you’re writing marketing copy and it’s beginning to sound dull, start the next sentence with “For example…” or “Imagine this…” or “Here’s how this would look in your business…” Your copy will immediately liven.

2. Dream up fresh ways to describe things.

One of the traps people fall into when writing copy is describing things — like product features — in much the same way they always have. Or, worse, in much the same way their competitors do.

It’s easy to describe a project management software, for example, with the sentence, “Keeps your To-Dos in front of you so nothing falls through the cracks.” But prospects have heard that line, or something similar, many times before. It’s monotonous.

The challenge in copywriting is to come up with fresh ways to explain things. And that doesn’t take a Herculean effort. Sometimes adding a new twist or variation is all you need to do.

Recently, I came across the website of a data communications expert (Kathy Rowell). On her homepage she describes the problem she solves for clients in this way:

Healthcare data, information and evidence are coming at your organization faster than text messages to a 14-year old’s smartphone.

Adding that one metaphor makes her entire home page not only effective, but unforgettable.

3. Keep it crisp.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who droned on and on? Not fun. You probably looked for the first opportunity to excuse yourself. “Ah, where’s the washroom?”

The same thing can happen in your marketing copy. It can “drone on”, too. Prospects have no time to dig through a haystack of unnecessary words to get your message. So you need to be a tough editor (aka trimmer.) Cutting even just one unnecessary word can give your copy more momentum.

At a writing workshop I attended years ago, the instructor advised us to, “Know the point you want to make. Make it well. Move on.” Good advice for writing tight, focused copy.

4. Make it about them.

What are prospects more interested in? Your product? Or their own problems, needs and goals?

The answer is obvious. So if you want to make your copy “un-boring” the simplest way to do that is to keep it focused on the prospect.

Yes, you do need to talk about your product, service or offer, but position that as a conversation about how it benefits the prospect.

You will know you’re crafting prospect-focused copy when you find yourself using the words “you” and “your” a lot. In fact, they are arguably the most motivating words in marketing.

So there you have it. Four simple tips for cranking up the interest level in your marketing copy. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “You can’t bore people into buying your product.” I would add, “Don’t even try.”

2 Comments

  1. Right on! Four great tips for writing copy!

    Reply
  2. I am always impressed by the effectiveness of weaving a good story in the sales copy. When in doubt, look for a story! This is one of the reasons case studies are very interesting for me.

    Reply

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