by Greg Alban
Posted on March 14, 2017 17:56 PM
In this installment of our copywriting series for small-business owners, we're going to discuss two very separate but inter-related tips that pertain to content development. The third tip we'll discuss is purely a matter of style. But an important one because it is prone to overuse.
Be Honest: If You Can't Follow Through On It, Don't Promise It
Few things can hang a business out to dry more effectively than overpromising and underdelivering. When you are creating your sales messaging, avoid the temptation to exaggerate. Don't make wonderful claims about wonderful things that you may not be able to make happen. Doing so might convince a prospective customer to walk in the door the first time but you will lose their repeat business in the future. Even worse, with the emergence of online review sites like Yelp*, the customers you didn't satisfy are likely to share their disappointment on social-media. So, unless you can deliver every time, avoid superlatives like "fastest service in town", "quality is our first concern". Be honest and practice restraint. If you can't commit to it, don't say it. Adhering to the old adage, "Truth In Advertising", actually protects you every bit as much as it protects your customers.
Be Different: Express Your Brand's Unique Selling Proposition
A "Unique Selling Proposition" is a proprietary point of difference in your business that distinguishes you from your competition. Before you begin to write your sales messaging, take the time to identify the factors, features or characteristics that will give your products or services an advantage in the eyes of your customers. One way to to this is to put yourself in yoru customers' shoes and consider what you offer that would motivate their buying decisions. Often, that involves finding the emotional appeal that your product or services provide. One famous example is Revlon's Charles Revson who said he doesn't sell "makeup", he sells "hope". And Kodak (an example we used in an earlier post) doesn't sell "cameras", they make "memories".
Please! For The Love Of Pete!! Lay Off The Exclamation Points!!!
Overuse of exclamation points in your sales copy is a common habit. And it's one that we always try to warn against. Often, beginning copywirters think the best way to infuse their messaging with excitment or energy or urgency is to overpopulate it with exclamation marks. Doing this actually makes your copy seem less appealing because it makes it look insincere. If you overdo it, you run a risk similar to the danger of overpromising that we mentioned in tip number one. It can also make your copy look cheesy, like it was written by a bombastic carnival barker or an overanxious used-car salesman. So be discriminating and only place exclamation points where they are absolutely appropriate to the statement. A very talented copywriter that I worked with several years ago said this: "You're allowed three exclamations points during your career. Use them wisely." He was kidding, of course. But it was good advice then and it's good advice now.
Copywriting is part commerce, part art; part from the head, part from the heart. Getting the hang of it can take a good bit of time. But if you absorb and practice the tips in these short lessons -- and begin to incorporate them into your content -- you'll soon learn that good copy can lead to great results.
If you'd like additional help creating copy for your small business, MODsocket has a stable of professional copywriters ready to assist. Our writers come from advertising agencies and corporate marketing departments; they have years of practical, well-honed experience writing for both B2B and B2C brands. To learn more about how MODsocket can help take your small business marketing efforts to the next level, visit us online at www.modsocket.com.