Is there someone in your group of acquaintances who makes your heart sink whenever he gets you in his tractor beam?
I bet there is.
We all know someone like that. Someone who may well be lovely, but they’re just so bloody dull, all you can think about is that big pile of laundry you’ve got waiting at home. Then they ask you a question and you realise you’ve no ideawhat they’ve been talking about because you were doing chores in your head so at that point you have no choice to but to create a diversion, and that leads to scuffed shoes and a cut on your forehead (don’t ask).
Anyway, I digress (in an exemplary fashion).
My point is that you don’t want your marketing to be like the pub bore.
Seems obvious, right?
It is, but being interesting is sometimes easier said than done. A strange thing happens to people when they write about their businesses. They forget that they are human people talking to other human people.
They get infected by some kind of zombie-marketing plague and start talking in pompous jargon and business-speak.
I see this all the time and I’m sure you do too: dry, dusty, BORING marketing copy. The sort of stuff that means you’d rather poke yourself in the eye with a spoon than sit down and read it.
And that’s really weird, because I’ve spoken to those same people who wrote that boring copy and they’re exactly the opposite! They’re dead excited about their business, their product, and how they can help people – which is understandable, natural, right and proper.
I bet you’re the same – really enthusiastic about what you do. Right?
The thing is, you have to get that enthusiasm across in a way that makes people want to jump on your bandwagon right now.
I do a brilliant exercise in my seminars that really gets people in the right frame of mind. Sadly, I can’t do it via email, but I can show you some simple techniques to help you keep your reader’s interest.
So, first and foremost: don’t be boring. Don’t drone on about you and your company and when it was founded and what you make and how big your widgets are and zzzzzzzzz…
Start with your ideal customer and their problems. Look at their desired future (remember yesterday’s email?) and show them how you can help them get there.
Remember: the headline has one purpose – to make you want to read on. Then the first line has to follow on from that, and that has one purpose too – to make you read the second line. The second line needs to make you read the third line. And – well, you get the idea.
So start with a compelling headline. Then follow that headline with your first paragraph. Make sure it’s relevant to the headline. If you’ve promised a benefit in your headline, deliver it in your first paragraph.
Don’t make people wait to find out if the rest of your copy is relevant – because they won’t wait, they’ll just chase another butterfly.
Come out with your big guns first. Think about the last piece of marketing copy you read that made you take action. Did it put the biggest benefit up there first? The biggest reason you should buy? I bet it did. Think about what holds your interest, and apply that reasoning to your own marketing.
Then put your next benefit in, and your next one.
In this way, you’re doing something a little tricksy – but not in an unethical way. You’re training your reader to keep reading what you’ve written. The idea is to keep them reading right down to the bottom where you tell them what to do and how to do it.
And the only way you’re going to get them to do that is by keeping them interested.
So today bring out your big guns. Grab the text from your homepage (or a landing page) and take a good, hard look at it. Has it got a great headline? Does the first paragraph follow on from that headline, then hit the reader between the eyes with your biggest benefit?
If it does: brilliant. You get the day off. If it doesn’t, have a bash at rewriting it.
Put your biggest benefit right at the top. Highlight the pain your reader will feel if they don’t buy from you, then show him how you can ease that pain.
You’ll be amazed at the difference a big gun makes…
PS If you’re thinking all that sounds like psychology, you’d be right. Copywriting and marketing is psychology. It is behaviour modification and persuasion, and marketers and business owners would do well do study a bit of psychology.
Robert Cialdini is a world-famous psychologist who wrote Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I thoroughly recommend that you buy and read this book. Besides the fact that every marketer should have this on their shelf, it’s a bloody good read and an eye-opener, too.
While you’re onto buying books, you should grab a copy of my own Business For Superheroes, here.
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.