Tag Archive for: Copywriting

I recently opened my local town flyer / paper and saw THIS:

This has to be the ultimate in self-centered marketing.

I mean, OK . . . every business wants ‘new customers’ . . . but Geez . . . couldn’t you give me, as a prospective client, a more personally compelling reason to work with you?  Like maybe something that would appeal to me?

Marketing 101:  WIIFM?
Obviously, this company is NOT a marketing company.  So maybe they should get a little latitude when it comes to crafting a compelling message that will attract the attention — and response — of prospects for the services and benefits it offers.  But then again . . . this is a glaring gaffe.

What They Might Have Done
Unfortunately, these local papers are often not known for having marketing talent on staff.  So I don’t think there was anyone involved from the business or the publication who knew much better.  But what would have been ‘better’?  Couple of thoughts:

This is a ‘formula’ for successfully creating a compelling marketing message.

A = Attention . . . you have to ‘grab’ it or you’ll lose it before you have it — this is what the headline does (or, should do for you!)

I = Interest . . . you must keep your reader involved.  How?  Talk about what matters to them (and that’s rarely about you / your company!!)

D = Desire . . . you want to engage the emotions of your reader.  How?  Talk about what isn’t ‘right’ and what ‘much better’ looks like — as they define it.

A = Action . . . you want to invite a response from your reader.  How?  Make them an offer (they can’t refuse!) to take some ‘next step’ with you

OK . . . that’s rudimentary.  But what would that mean in the same space in this paper?  Let’s see . . . how about this:

Granted, it’s not bad for about 2 minutes of ‘creative’ time . . . but here’s why it’s different than the other ad and how it’s better:

A . . . Attention    This headline WILL make you stop and investigate –– “Will you make you neighbors CRY?”  is an attention grabber, for sure!

I . . . Interest    By talking about the reader’s lawn . . . and whether it’s going to make people cry with envy or laugh with disjoin. . . is reader-centric (for a change!)

D . . . Desire     Talking about what the reader really wants . . . and  desires (a great lawn!) . . . is certainly emotionally engaging!

A . . . ACTION   By offering both a ‘package’ (The “Make Your Neighbors Cry” package and an urgent (call by Oct 15) CALL-TO-ACTION (offer) this meets the test

OK, is this the BEST ad you could do?  Probably not.  But, compared to what the other competitors are offering, it’s does stand out and often, that’s enough to generate a winning ad and make some money as a result.

When creating promotional copy of any kind — an ad, a brochure, etc. ALWAYS think about what you’re saying from the point-of-view of your prospect.

I had an epiphany this week.

It happened because I was seeking to create a video . . . to introduce an idea to others.

My first attempt was, I thought, “Pretty good”.  I mean, I was willing to share it with some people I trusted.

Less Is More
I’d asked for feedback and I got it.  In spades.  “You’re trying to cover too much.  FOCUS!”

Sculpting a Message 
Michaelangelo, the Italian artist and sculptor, created magnificent works of art that included ‘David’ and the ‘Pieta’, among others.  In the beginning of every masterpiece he created, Michaelangelo was staring at a big bland ‘block of rock’.

In his day, it was the equivalent of a ‘blank page’ in a Word or Powerpoint document.

Slashing and Burning is Best Done with a Laser
My original ‘message’ covered far too much.  Everything it included, suffered because of it.

So I sought to create an ‘under 2 minute video’.  That meant I had to do some serious ‘editing’ of the video.  And, the message I was seeking to convey to my audience.

Find The Filter
That’s when something rather amazing happened.  Creating a ‘shorter’ message forced me to refine what I was seeking to say.  I must credit my colleague, Craig Chapman with his challenge to craft a video that runs “under 2 minutes”.  Without that, I doubt the final product would have been what it is.

The Pleasant Surprise
As the message was filtered to fit the time allowed, it changed.  For the better. My original message was really a number of messages.  Not unlike an orchestra when they’re tuning up.  It was more cacophony than concert.  As the production time reduced, the message was refined.  It was tighter.  It was better.  It became a concert . . . where everything in it was in tune and harmonically reflecting the same note.

Once again, I am indebted to Craig Chapman of Cray Marketing for his admonition to ‘Cut It Back’.  Pruning is good for plants.  It’s even better for your marketing messages.

If you’d like to see the final product . . . VISIT THIS PAGE.

Less is (definitely) more and . . . better in the end! 

The power of words . . . can move people to action.

You just have to say what you want to say . . . in a way that matters.

Like this:

Attracting Traffic!
Apart from a possible narcissistic indulgence, you want to be found by people who are seeking the knowledge and expertise you have in great abundance. Afterall, if no one knows about you, how will they ever do business with you?  It’s not likely, is it?  That’s why you have (I hope!) a blog and write posts. That attracts qualified traffic (i.e. visitors) to your site from the Internet.

Your Credibility and Relevance
Being found by prospects for your business begins by Google seeing your site as a credible and relevant source of information you offer on the topic being searched.

Keyword-rich Content
One of the first keys to getting Google to show you to people who want to know what you know is to publish information that Google feels fits the search.

To do that, you must learn the keywords and phrases (AKA ‘long-tail’ keywords) people are using when they conduct an online search for the problem-solving information you have to offer.  There are several online tools that can help you here (e.g. Keyword Tracker).  A quick search on Google will reveal a number of resources on the topic.  Alternatively, HubSpot clients have this functionality seamlessly built-in to their sites — automatically.

Keyword-rich content starts with HEADLINES that are keyword-rich.  
Here are some examples of how one firm, HealthBridge — is creating relevant content to be presented favorably by Google.  Note how each headline reflects key words and phrases that are highly relevant to people who may require and/or provide in-home care for seniors:

  • Home Care Support – VA Aid & Attendance Pension
  • 6 Ways Health Care Reform Will Impact Seniors
  • $250 Senior Citizen Stimulus Checks are in the Mail!
  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Provider
  • 5 Signs that You Don’t Have Alzheimer’s Disease
  • How to Pick 8 Types of Dementia Out of a Crowd
  • What Makes a Good Caregiver Great?
  • Nintendo vs. Quilting in the Fight to Save Your Brain
  • 3 Big Mistakes When Talking to Your Parents About Elder Care

Publishing Content Online — is a key to marketing effectively.  Content that attracts quality visitors (traffic) must be credible and relevant to the people you seek to attract. That means learning and using keywords in the headline of every post you publish.

If your ‘negative’ headline attracts attention, you have alerted your reader to a threat to their sense of security. That creates a good bit of psychological angst in your reader.  And, an interesting predicament.  For you.

PAIN . . . is Good; Too Much PAIN . . . is Not!
If all you do is direct your reader’s attention to a threat or problem they have or may have . . . you’ll lose them.  Obviously, we’re not designed to live in a heightened and prolonged state of anxiety (which, your headline created!).

So if your reader’s initial anxiety is not addressed quickly — not completely, but to some degree at least — there’s a good chance they’ll stop reading as a way of protecting themselves from EPS (Excessive PAIN Syndrome).

Why We Love Scary Movies and Can’t Leave Until The End
Have you ever enjoyed (sic) a good scary movie?  The kind where Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney or Vincent Price starred?  As a kid, these movies scared the hell out of me.  Literally.  I hated that feeling.  But I loved those movies.  I also sat through the whole movie, too.  Why?  Because I learned to expect that ‘no matter what’ . . . in the end, all would be made right.  The sun would shine (poor vampire) and Belle would get her prince (sorry Beast).

Knowing that, no matter what PAIN I was feeling, in the end all would be fine . . . kept me in my seat for the entire movie.  Why?  HOPE!  Make sure you remember that hope keeps people in their seats while PAIN is what makes them want to run away!

PAIN-full Headlines may attract attention . . . but HOPE keeps your reader around