One of the great mysteries of effective marketing, to most people, is how to write copy that works.
It’s true there is a great deal of skill and experience that goes into copywriting. There’s a famous story in the marketing world, about one of the greatest ad writers of all time. A client, admiring an ad, asked him how long it took to write it? “Twenty years,” he said. “Twenty years.”
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple things you can learn to make your own marketing more effective. If you are going to write your own copy, or to assess the copy an agency or marketing copy creates for you, follow these rules:
1. Write your ads the same way you would speak them.
You are talking to real live people. In daily conversations, you keep things simple.
Do the same in your ads. Make them conversational. Hard-hitting, to the point, but conversational. Pretend you’re talking to someone right across from you and read your ad out loud. Would you actually talk that way? If not, you probably need to rewrite it.
2. Use active phrases and sentences in your ads and promotional materials, not passive ones.
Lightning struck the boy as he was crossing the bridge. NOT: The boy was struck by lightning while crossing the bridge.
Buy 3 get one free! NOT: You’ll receive one free if you purchase three!
3. Get to the point. Use simple sentences and phrases. Make your marketing punchy, not subtle. Take out the trite phrases that really don’t help sell your product or service.
4. Use these key words in your ads and promo materials.
you, free, yours, easy, how, now, how to, people, money, save, new, who, why, announcing, gift, hurry, handy, useful, big, large, secret(s), want
Use them in your headlines and in the text of your ads. They are time-tested, proven hot words. And they don’t wear out with usage.
5. Finally, test your ad by having someone read it out loud to you. Imagine yourself as a typical prospect, the kind of person you are trying to reach with your ad or other marketing piece.
When you hear it coming back at you, you’ll often hear things that obviously need to be changed.
Also, watch to see if the person who’s reading it tunes out at a certain spot or doesn’t get something. Chances are, others won’t get it either. Fix every spot where the reader could tune out.