I’m terrified of anything that has to do with numbers. My biggest fear is making an accounting mistake that results in a reporting error, or even worse, a loss of money. Words, though, are a completely different story for me. I love to write and am not nearly as worried about making mistakes when I write articles or blog posts as I am when faced with a spreadsheet.
However, mistakes can happen when you are writing marketing copy for your business – and it can come at a cost. Susan Gunelius, author of “Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps” shared in Entrepreneur magazine (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/202598) five myths that can damage your messaging, your brand and your return on investment (ROI) if you buy into them. Before you sit down to write the latest advertisement, flyer or article promoting your business, be sure to read about the following myths debunked by Gunelius:
1. Consumers care about my business and me. Although you may think your audience is excited to hear about how you just won ‘Best Local Business’ for the fifth year in a row, or wants to see an image of the cutting edge laptop you just purchased to do your work – they most likely do not care. What customers want to know is how you are going to help them meet their needs and wants. You need to tell them what they are going to get back from their investment in you. So, emphasize what products, services, etc. you have available and most importantly, why anyone should work with you instead of a competitor.
2. I can use the same copy everywhere. The other day, I was on the highway and passed a billboard I could barely read. There was a ton of text, the print was small and the logo of the company was an afterthought. This was a good example of how the same copy should not be used everywhere. What is good to put on a billboard isn’t always good to put in a newspaper advertisement, or vice versa. If printing something to mail to potential customers, include more details (without going overboard) as to what your company provides. But if you only have a 4×6 ad in a local magazine, think carefully about what message you want to send and word it both clearly and concisely.
3. I can use the same copy for everyone. Just like you shouldn’t use the same copy everywhere, you shouldn’t use the same copy for every audience you are trying to reach. Current clients already know who you are and what you provide. With them, you need to focus on why they should keep coming back for more or for new programs or services that are available. If you’re trying to attract new customers, focus your messaging more on introducing who you are, what you provide and why you are a step above the rest.
4. I need to sound smart in my copy. While it’s important to appear knowledgeable about your business and to eliminate any grammar errors or typos, you don’t always have to be prim and proper. If you are appealing to a younger audience, relax a little bit and get the message across as fast as possible – attention spans are short. If you’re trying to reach a more professional crowd, make it more polished and detailed. Marketing copy doesn’t always have to be flashy and scholarly, but it does need to be memorable.
5. It’s easy to write copy. This is probably the biggest myth out there about marketing copy. Writing is hard, plain and simple. Coming up with good, strategic marketing copy doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and concentration. On top of that, every person – every writer – is different. What sounds good to you may not sound right to the person sitting next to you, or your business partner. Bounce ideas off one another, dig deep and really think about the message you are trying to get across and the best way to phrase it.
Don’t hurt your marketing copy – help it. Avoid falling for these myths, and you’ll be on your way to writing copy that is creative, informative and pulls consumers in to learn more about you and your business.