Last time on this blog, we studied the importance of fonts when it comes to designing your leaflets. But those fancy fonts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on without words – or copy. Good copy is crucial when it comes to direct marketing. Do it right, and voila – you’re a marketing whizz. Do it wrong though, and you’ll be hounded out of business by the Grammar Police. OK, it may not be that bad, but you do risk being ridiculed, or worse, ignored. The fact is that just a single spelling mistake can make you look unprofessional – a whole sentence out of place and you look inept and untrustworthy. With a few pointers, you can easily nail your copy down and ensure you’re making the right impact.
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many companies can’t write a headline. Either they try to fit too much in, or they say literally nothing at all. A good headline can seriously get anyone’s attention. Think about those links at the bottom of websites. Ok, they’re click-bait – and we should all rightly hate click-bait – but they catch your attention, right? Even the most disinterested person will wonder what Kim Kardashian did on the red carpet that was so intensely shocking. That’s because they’re focussed, and intriguing – even if the pay-off is dull. Newspapers have mastered this craft, and the results speak for themselves.
Knowing your audience is vital. In the same way you wouldn’t read War and Peace to a three-year-old, you wouldn’t write copy that doesn’t resonate with your customers. It’s all very well for some marketing man or freelance copywriter to pigeonhole your customers with meaningless abbreviations, like C2 (which is skilled working class, by the way), but nobody knows your customers – and more importantly, your potential customers – better than you. Write about things that will interest them, tailor the piece for them. Get inside their heads. Come election time you get a lot of leaflets that do this. MPs might be trying to persuade new voters to join them, but at the same time, they’re preaching to at least one section of the choir.
Tone is linked to your audience, sure, but it’s also about the message you’re throwing out there. Like this blog – it’s written pretty informally. I mean, it’s just us here, discussing good copy like we’re old pals, right? And it’s a pretty long discussion, so you might not read it if it was written like a stilted undergraduate essay. But if we were addressing the Government, the tone would obviously be adapted. If you’re looking to send out the message that you’re a professional law firm, say, you’re unlikely to refer to your potential clients as dudes or use the F-word.
USP. Unique Selling Point. It’s a fairly hateful marketing buzz-word, but you can basically sum it up as: ‘Why should a potential customer choose your business over anyone else’s?’. Knowing why your company is better than your competitors is one thing. But don’t be shy about shouting about your quality customer service, your cheapest rates, or your always on-call opening times. Whatever it is that sets you apart from the rest. Just drive that USP home in nice, plain-speaking English – or any language you’re printing your leaflets in, for that matter.
The fact is, sometimes a potential customer might just glance at your leaflet. They’re not going to read that 100-word spiel about what you do and how you do it. Hey, we’re all busy people, we’re all guilty of it. That’s why it’s a great idea to summarise your finer qualities in eye-catching bullet points. Good copy can say more in six words than bad copy can in six-hundred. Make rapid-fire statements, using sharp, eye-catching words. Costs are always a draw – who doesn’t fancy a bargain? Efficiency and heritage are also great points to get across.
A Call to Action
You don’t want your readers to be passive, do you? You want them engaging with you, getting on the blower to you. So you’ll want a call to action. In which case, you might consider ending your copy with something along the lines of…
A bit like that.