Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Word on Copywriting

Why do clients routinely take good, engaging copy and turn it into something that reads like a college textbook? I understand that businesses want their products to be credible and that credibility often comes with some wordy baggage.

BUT, according to the Newspaper Association of America, we are exposed to more than 3,000 advertising images every day in the U.S. If you bore your customer in the first second, you’ve lost them – perhaps for good.

I just randomly opened a magazine and found an ad for a flooring company. Here’s the copy:

We have made it easy for you to add comfort, style and color with new floor covering! With the special pricing now available, you can’t help but redecorate! So come on in and take advantage of…….zzzzzzzz.”

Sorry….I dozed off there. Who writes this stuff and why – why – does it get to print day after day? As someone who writes for a living, I can tell you first-hand that a lot of business owners spend more time analyzing their screensavers than their marketing copy.

So I challenge you to pull out all of your marketing from the last six months or so and take a long, hard look at it. Keep in mind:

- If you skip over the copy in your own materials, chances are your clients will too.

- The more exclamation points you have in your copy, the less your customers will believe you.

- When it comes to copy for print ads, less is more. Make your point with design.

- Save the academic text for academics. Marketing is entertainment. (Didn’t used to be, but it is now.)

In short, copywriting is both an art and a science. To be effective, you have to know what you’re doing. So don’t put Herb from Accounting in charge. Hire a reputable marketing agency or read up on it yourself. One of the best books I’ve found for would-be copywriters is Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Good luck!


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