Message & Media: 12 Copy Improvements
I just got back from a stint of doing some on-site copy coaching and leading a direct response creative workshop. One of the most frequently asked questions from writers and approving managers alike was, “How can we improve our copy to make it more engaging and generate more response?”
Here are 12 simple fixes for taking your copy and content to the next level of effectiveness.
1. Be specific. Generalities don’t sell, specifics do. Using words such as “many” and “few” are not as enticing as using specific numbers such as “537” or “less than 9.” Adjectives also add specificity. What’s the difference in your own mind between describing a car as “red” vs. “fire engine red”? Or your quote service as “being prompt” vs. “we provide on-the-spot quotes”? Specificity is compelling.
2. Get to the point. Too often writers take too long to get to the point. This includes me. We create too much mood music. Look for your most powerful headline, subject line or letter opener buried in your second or third paragraph where a scanner will never see it. Then move it to the forefront and get to the point of your message.
3. Tell me what to do. And make it easy to do it. Direct copy and content are all about getting your customer to take action, whether that’s a click, call or visit to your store. Make your call to action crystal clear by providing a link, button, phone number in boldface type, variable data locator map, or mail-in card. Make your call to action a fast find by putting it in hot spots where it’s seen first. Then repeat it. How well you communicate your call to action is one of the most important distinctions between effective and ho-hum direct response copywriting.
4. Anticipate objections. Don’t ignore them. Dealing with buying objections is particularly critical when your job is to get an on-the-spot sale. Think like a salesperson and counter potential objections before they surface.