Do your eyes tend to glaze over when you glance at a supposedly insightful business article that begins, “In these challenging times…” or “In this fast-paced world…” and then follows with, “At the end of the day…”?
You are not alone, and there’s an important lesson here. In your marketing materials, don't use hackneyed language. As master copywriter Drayton Bird points out, “It makes you sound like a politician. Whereas if you sound like a real human being, something wonderful happens: people like you, and your sales go up.”
Drayton is now well into his eighties, yet still writes copy every day for clients. Here’s some more of his commonsense advice to get you thinking.
“For more years than I care to contemplate I have tried to determine what makes messages sell. Not based on my opinion, but on all the available research and testing.
So here's a checklist based on what I learned you must look for if you want to sell.
- The opening must quickly offer or clearly imply a clear, strong benefit.
- Is everything instantly clear? If it's funny, clever or obscure - beware.
- Unless you give every sensible reason to buy, answer obvious questions, overcome all reasonable objections, you'll lose sales.
- Is what you sell fully, clearly described?
- Is the tone right? Don't be funny about serious things (eg, charity, business or money).
- Show it to someone uninvolved, preferably a likely prospect. Ask if they understand it - and if they would buy.
- Do you prove your claim is true? Testimonials? Independent figures?
- Do you ask firmly enough for a reply, tell people precisely what to do? Repeat your arguments at that point.
- Is the button, coupon, order form or request to reply big enough, clear, simple and easy to use?
- Read the copy aloud. Does it sound like someone talking? Good!
Drayton goes on to say, “You may find using this checklist a bit of bore. But a lot less boring than stuff that flops. Because if you want to sell, you'll find that some, perhaps many of your messages miss one or more of the above 10 points. And if you look out for them I promise you will improve your results - perhaps so much it will surprise you.”