Every day we are exposed to thousands of brands and marketing messages. Texts, emails, social media, television, radio, billboards, cars and buses all tell us what we need to be, do, have and buy. As a result, our customers have never been more savvy, or more immune to marketing messages as they are today.
For those of us who play in overcrowded market places or are busy creating new ones, the need to be different and memorable in our marketing has never been more important. Here are three copywriting tricks to help.
Never underestimate the power of a good metaphor. Metaphors compare two items that are seemingly unrelated, yet are similar in a way. Think Coco Pops’ ‘Just like a chocolate milkshake only crunchy’, or Butter Menthol’s ‘Like a comforting hug from Mum’.
Metaphors give you the opportunity to simplify complicated concepts or introduce new ideas and products in a simple, relatable way, allowing your potential customers and investors to understand the value in what you do.
Metaphors can also help you evoke emotion, quite quickly in fact. Get the right comparison and you can often transport your customers back to a time or situation that creates the right emotional response for them to see the need to buy your product or service.
I know rhyming has a bad rap in some circles (forgive the pun), but there is still benefit in using it. Not only does it make messages easier to remember, but research has also suggested that rhyming phrases are perceived to be more accurate and truthful.
I’m certainly not saying you need to go and make lyrical magic with every piece of marketing material you put out, but don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Give rhyming a go on one of your calls to actions and test your results.
3. Play the role
As you develop your brand personality, it is important to identify the role you want to play with your customers. Your role or relationship to them can dramatically change the tone of voice and content you use in everything from a social media update to an ad campaign.
Do you want to be the older authoritative figure they listen to and admire? The quirky aunt they love? The best friend they can’t live without? The older brother or sister who is looking out for them?
Find the role your customer needs that best matches your mission and why. Not only will it make you more relatable and your tone and purpose clearer, but it can also help you build rapid rapport and loyalty simply by reminding them of someone who is important to them.
There can be something quite intimidating about a blank page. The pressure to fill it with words can be overwhelming. Even the most experienced writers can, at some point, feel as though their ideas have dried up, and they don’t know where to start. But it can be overcome.
Whether you need to write a presentation or proposal, a book or a blog, an advertisement or an anecdote, a newsletter or news release, here are five ways to help you overcome blank page paralysis.
1. Work backwards
When you are stuck, it can help to look at the end goal. What do you want to happen as a result of this? What is the next action step? What do you want customers, readers, journalists, staff members or other stakeholders to take away from it or do as a result of it?
Once you know the end goal, it is easier to determine what you need to write to achieve it, giving you a place to start.
2. Be inspired by the work of others
Need to give a presentation? Watch some TED Talks and other great speeches in history. Have a blog to write? Read other blogs and publishing websites. Need to develop an advertisement? Look over the most successful advertisements developed over the years.
Sometimes we need a touch of inspiration to get us on our way. To see an example of how it is done right or to see it achieving results for us to know it is possible and make a start.
Inspiration should not be confused with plagiarism though. You don’t want to copy what you have read, listened to or watched. Instead, look at the subtle details that appealed to you like their tone of voice, presentation of facts, how they formulated their argument, captured attention or used imagery.
3. Reconnect with your creativity
Sometimes sitting behind a computer can stifle our creativity. We can get too caught in the humdrum of routine and are too easily distracted by the noises of new emails and social media updates coming through.
Think back over the times when you have been the most creative. Chances are it wasn’t in front of your computer screen; it was with a pen and paper, over a whiteboard, away from your desk or talking with others. Also, take into consideration the time of day it was. Identify any patterns and do what you can to recreate these moments of creativity.
4. Write your way
You don’t need to write from start to finish. If you are more inspired to start at the end or halfway through then follow your inspiration. Pressure will only fuel procrastination and overwhelm.
Make notes under different sections or headings and come back to them when you feel you have more clarity. There is no right or wrong way to fill a page. You need to find the process that most suits you.
5. Delegate it
If you are experiencing severe writers block and can’t find a way around it personally, then delegate it. Give yourself something to work with by asking a staff member, ghostwriter or copywriter to do the first draft for you.
It might just take someone else’s interpretation of your business, product, service or topic to help you gain more clarity around your positioning and what you do and don’t want to say.
There is no questioning the benefit of content marketing. But while attracting and converting customers with valuable, relevant and consistent content can yield a significant return on investment, not everyone gets it right.
To ensure you do, here are four of the biggest content marketing mistakes businesses frequently make so you can make sure you avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Thinking like a marketer not a publisher
When it comes to content marketing you need to think like a publisher not a marketer. A marketer’s focus is on selling, where a publisher’s focus is on producing interesting content that engages readers and keeps them coming back.
Your content should build your credibility and expertise and showcase your value in such a way that readers see the benefit in working with you without you having to push for the sale. Sales naturally come when you add value.
Mistake #2 – Being inauthentic
When customers and potential customers sense inauthenticity they lose faith and you lose followers. To build credibility in your content marketing you need to be authentic.
To ensure you are being true to yourself and your brand you need to know what you stand for, why you do what you do, who you are targeting, what they want and why you are using social media. When you know this you can then establish your tone of voice, personality and the content that aligns with both you and your target market.
Mistake #3 – Unoriginal content
There is nothing worse than reading blog posts, books and resources that are a regurgitation or blatant copy of someone else’s content.
While it is only natural that some content will be similar when you have a similar viewpoint or process to someone else, you can always find a way to make it your own. It could be through using a personal anecdote, a case study of a client, your professional experience or approaching the topic from a different angle.
Mistake #4 – Publishing for the sake of publishing
We’re all told about the importance of regular content. In fact it’s drummed into us so much that often regularity gets prioritised over quality.
The result? We publish content we know isn’t our best, prescribing to the theory that something is better than nothing. But it’s not.
You can lose credibility and followers if your content isn’t valuable to your readers. Missing a blog because you can’t think of anything to write is far better than publishing something that is irrelevant or of a lower standard.
Sales letters can be an extremely effective way to generate new business. Whether it is sent via email, social media or good old-fashioned snail mail, when you get the right message, to the right people with the right call to action you can generate a great marketing response. When it’s wrong however, it can be uncomfortably quiet.
The good news is that the common mistakes people when writing sales letters are easily avoided – when you know what they are. So here are the three most common sales writing mistakes to avoid so you stop losing business and start winning sales.
Mistake #1 – Appealing to the wrong ego
Ego is an important part of sales writing, but not your ego. Too many people make the mistake of thinking sales writing is all about them, they build their ego through the text, when really they should be appealing to their reader’s ego.
How you appeal will obviously depend on who you are targeting and what you are selling, but comments like “as you would know” or “from your experience” can be a great start. You don’t want to be blatant with your ego stroking as people will become highly suspicious of what you’re doing or selling, being subtle is crucial.
Mistake #2 – Selling first instead of relating
The fastest way to turn people off is to go straight into a sales pitch. Think about it in terms of a networking event, you’ve just walked in the door and someone comes straight up to you, shoves a business card in your face and starts selling to you. What are you thinking? Chances are you want to get away from them as quickly as possible. It’s no different in writing.
You still need to build rapport and find common ground as you are writing. Get people nodding in agreement. Be relatable and friendly. Then once you have done that while telling the story, go in with the pitch in a way that adds value.
Mistake #3 – Calling your reader to act without incentive
While you need to call your reader to act, there is a difference between a passive “call us today on [number]” and a more active incentive like “call us today on [number] and receive/save [x]”.
An incentive doesn’t always need to be a discount, special offer or free checklist, e-book or report. It could be an emotional pull, creating urgency through a time sensitive promotion or appealing to our sense of competition by “not missing out”.
Just keep in mind that the less you know the person you are targeting, the stronger your incentive needs to be.
Do you use sales letters as part of your marketing strategy? What has or hasn’t worked for you?