If you’ve ever written a brochure, tender or proposal, website copy or other marketing materials, you’ll know how hard it is to write something that really grabs attention and convinces your readers to take action – there and then.
Trouble is, essay writing techniques were drummed into us at school. Then we used the same techniques at university. So they’re hard to shake off.
You’ll recognise that writing a uni paper is a bit different to writing a brochure, for example. A brochure may be shorter, but it’s just as challenging.
Here are 5 ways to write better marketing materials and get a better response.
Step 1: Write a killer headline
A great headline always gets attention. But writing headlines is an art. Have a read of my article on writing great headlines. Or take a note of headlines that grab your attention and follow the same formula.
Step 2: Make it all about “YOU” (as in the reader)
It’s very natural for us to talk about ourselves. And it’s the same when writing marketing materials.
Use the ‘Find’ tool in Word to count how many times ‘we’, and ‘our’ or your company’s name crops up in your marketing materials.
Now, change those words to ‘you’ or ‘your’. You’ll need to tweak the sentences too, so that they make sense.
By doing this, you’re personalising the document for your reader and putting the focus onto them.
Step 3: Offer tangible benefits
Make it easy for your readers to understand what’s in it for them. That is, what they will gain by choosing your product or service.
It’s not the features they are interested in, but the benefits. It’s always simple to write about how great your product or service is, how experienced you are, how long you’ve been in business. But what does this mean for your readers?
The easiest way to find the benefits is to list every feature, then put yourself in your readers’ shoes and for each one ask yourself “So what?” and “Why would I care?”. Your answer is the benefit.
Step 4: Tell them what to do next
Make it fast and simple for your readers to take action. Tell them what they can do next: include a link, contact information, phone number, email address. If you have a deadline, tell them so they know there’s a limited response time.
Step 5: Read it aloud
It’s easy for us to talk excitedly about what we love doing. But when we write about it, it’s much harder to sound interesting.
When you’ve drafted your copy, read it aloud to hear how it will sound to your readers. Is it natural and friendly? Is it conversational? Is the meaning clear? Are there typos and grammatical mistakes? Make time to edit and to refine your draft so you are completely happy with it.