Over the past 25 years of working as a copywriter in advertising and marketing, I’ve learnt many things. Here are six tips, which I hope you find useful in your business.
Be single minded
It’s difficult for your customer to get hold of more than one message at a time. Therefore, try to be single-minded in each of your communications. Lead with one main message, and either don’t mention the others at all or make them secondary points. Usually the best ads are single-minded. They have one memorable idea, and the copy stays focused on it.
Single-minded is another word for simplicity.
Be different in your advertising, marketing, and on your website. If you’re in a very competitive category, it’s not enough for your website just to be at the top of Google. Your customers are going to look at some of your competitors, too. If you can offer a better service or product, than your competitors, wonderful. But make sure that’s clearly communicated – sometimes this is not the case.
If you don’t have a USP, you’re going to need wit and charm to make your website and other advertising stand out from your competitors.
Use ideas to sell your brand
What do I mean by an idea? Here’s an example using a product I advertised.
The Casio Web Ceptor is or was the world’s most accurate watch. It never needs adjusting, because it automatically sets itself to the correct time by tuning into an atomic clock in Rugby, of all places. This is a nerd’s watch.
You could just run an ad and say, “The world’s most accurate watch”. But that could so easily be dismissed as advertising hype. It’s not engaging, which a good idea should be. That’s why the agency I worked for advised Casio to spend all their advertising budget in the lead up to the 26th October, when British Summer Time ends and the clocks go back one hour.
Casio ran the adjacent ad, which I wrote. That’s an idea. Ideas help you sell. Casio sold out of Web Ceptor watches and were very happy.
Long copy can work
It’s a myth that people don’t read long copy. The truth is, people don’t read boring copy. If you have long copy that’s exciting, informative and for certain situations and products, entertaining, people will read it. The internet is great for long copy, because you can arrange your text so that it doesn’t look long. You can feed it to your readers in bite-size chunks, so that it’s always inviting, never overwhelming. Visitors who want only the main facts can get them; others who want all the details can get them, too. You could never do this in a brochure, without it becoming a book, and it would be very expensive to produce.
Think of your advertising and direct marketing as a conversation with your customers
Wherever possible, make it one-to-one. Be empathetic. Talk about them and their needs. Keep in touch with your customers. Email newsletters, which customers have opted to receive, are a good way to keep the conversation going. But make sure you keep your communications interesting and relevant. In your emails, always try to include a link to something free that your customers can download – maybe a link to a prize draw, or a special offer to reward them for their loyalty. Pizza Express (UK) are good at this.
Get people talking
Word of mouth (or mouse), is the best form of advertising. So make sure your advertising gets talked about. If your ads don’t surprise, make people smile, or make them write letters of complaint to the Daily Mail, then they’re probably not very good. We are bombarded by advertising messages all day long, and unless yours stand out, they’ll just be wallpaper. And wallpaper doesn’t sell.