Views and Opinions from our Marketing Experts

Is there anybody out there? How to write marketing copy that people actually read.

Is there anybody out there? How to write marketing copy that people actually read.

Guest Blogger - Rachel Barker of Real Communication

Are you boring your customers? Or, even worse, scaring them off? In this week's guest blog we invited Rachel Barker from Real Communication explain how to write clear and relevant content that will leave your audience hanging on your every word.

Writing your key messages is easy, right? You know your business inside out. You can list all the services you offer. You can even explain what makes you stand out.
So why do you get the feeling that your message isn't quite cutting through. That your marketing is getting lost in a blizzard of other... stuff.
Writing content that attracts attention and builds a rapport with your audience isn't straightforward. But there are a few tricks you can use to create marketing material that speaks directly to your audience. Tweet: Are you boring your customers with your copy? @realcopywriter explains how to write clear, relevant copy http://bit.ly/CopyGuest

1. What does your audience want to know?

Think about the last time you clicked on a new website. Did you have a leisurely browse through the site, soaking up details about the company's background and values? Or did your eyes dart around the page, searching for a key piece of information, before you jumped to the next item on your to-do list?
We're all the same. We know what information we need and we don't want to spend any longer than absolutely necessary looking for it. We're talking seconds, rather than minutes.
So for your marketing content to be in with a chance of making the cut, it's worth taking time to:
- Work out exactly what information your audience is looking for.
- Articulate clearly and succinctly how you can help them.

Here's how to do it.

2. Rewrite your key messages

When writing copy for our website or planning a new marketing presentation, most of us start by drafting a few key messages.

Here's an example.
Imagine you're a family-run business consultancy, imaginatively named ABC Consulting. Your key messages might look something like this:

- We were established in 1988.
- We provide professional and tailor-made business solutions.
- We are passionate about customer service.
- We are experts in helping you achieve your goals.

You've given some background about your company, explained what you do and how you can help your clients. Great!

Except...

Do these messages tell your customer exactly what you can offer them? Do they explain the difference you could make their business? Or why they should choose you instead of DEF Consulting down the road? And what on earth is a business solution, anyway?

Think about this from a potential customer's perspective. Imagine you're a small business owner in Bristol whose software company is growing very quickly. A colleague recommends you speak to a business consultant so you click on the ABC website . Within 30 seconds, you're going to decide whether or not they can help.

What's important to you right now?

As the software director you might be thinking:
- My business is going really well, I need to keep up this momentum. How can I continue growing without getting overwhelmed?
- Can they help us implement a new accounting system? Or measure staff performance? Or put a marketing strategy in place?
- Has ABC Consulting worked with companies like mine before?
- Will this company ultimately make my business more efficient, bring in more customers and increase profits?

The thing is, ABC Consulting can do exactly that! But they've hidden that crucial information behind generic, internally focused messages that have no meaning for a potential customer. Off your customer trots to DEF Consulting, who have articulated all of this clearly on their website and get the new business.
Back to the drawing board. Back to your customer.

What do they want to know? Ask yourself:
1. What do you know about your customers? Be as specific as possible.
2. Why might they use your service?
3. What problems are you going to solve for them?
It can help to think about:

- The questions they ask when they first make contact.
- Testimonials you've received from previous customers that show what's important to them.
- Feedback you receive from your employees and sales team.

Now use these insights to write meaningful messages that directly target the people you want to talk to. Answer their questions. Allay any concerns. And focus on the outcomes and tangible benefits that a client can expect, rather than on the activities you spend your time on. Tweet: Focus on outcomes and benefits in your copywriting. Tips from @realcopywriter in this week's guest blog http://bit.ly/CopyGuest

3. Clarity and relevance

For every point you make, ask yourself why it's relevant for your audience.
For example, rather than saying, 'We're passionate about customer service,' explain how that translates into a benefit. Perhaps it's a series of follow-up calls. Or a loyalty discount off future products. Be specific.

As in the earlier example, you might want to tell your customers how long you've been operating. This is fine, but make it relevant.

Statements such as: 'Established in 1988' Often appear in marketing literature without having any clear meaning. However, if you write: 'Helping software start-ups in Bristol for the last 30 years.'
Ah-ha! Now that's much more interesting to your software developer client. Using this kind of language on your website may also help your SEO.

Summary

Tailoring and tweaking your key messages is a powerful way to speak directly to your audience. By providing meaningful and specific information you make it easy for clients to learn about your business and can quickly start to build a rapport with them.