Are You Screwing Up Your Marketing Copy?

Many small to medium sized business owners think they can handle writing their own marketing copy. Unfortunately, many who try to take on this task themselves commit a few common mistakes that hurt more than help.  Are you guilty of any of these?

You Focus on Yourself

Sure, clients want to get to know you and trust you, but if all you have is 30 seconds in a radio or TV spot, don’t muck up your message by talking about yourself. People want to know how you can help them and what they’ll get out of the deal. They aren’t so much interested in your kids (they are cute, I’ll give you that, but they won’t help you promote your business), your dogs, your cat, or your grandpa. Get them out of your commercials and off your billboards.

People also probably don’t care too much about you.  Have you ever watched a local commercial and seen a stiff business owner reading cue cards or rehashing memorized lines? It’s painful.  You’re not an actor. You are a plumber or a baker or a lawyer.  Actors don’t tell you how to plumb or bake or litigate. It can be fun to see yourself on TV, in print or hear your voice on the radio, but people don’t want to see or hear you, necessarily. They want to know what you can do for them.  

Your website should have an “About” page where you do talk about yourself and your business, and maybe show some of the team. But that “About” page is the only place you should talk about yourself. The rest of your website should tell your clients how you are going to solve their problems.

You Don’t Adjust Your Message to Your Medium or Your Audience

You don’t write the same way for a TV commercial as you do for a billboard or a direct mail postcard. Every medium is different, and you should tailor your message to how people will be receiving it. Don’t try to cram too much in one commercial. People tune out most of what they hear in a commercial, anyway.  On the flip side, don’t be too vague or brief in a direct mail piece. You can get a little more in depth, there.

You also need to address your message to the appropriate audience. If a brand new customer comes into your store, you might talk to them a little differently than a person who has been a loyal customer for 10 years. The same thing is true of marketing materials. Adjust your message accordingly.

And no matter what you do, don’t use jargon with customers. If they don’t know what you’re talking about, they’ll move on – and fast.

Don’t Try This at Home

Writing marketing copy is a unique skill that requires talent and practice. It can be worthwhile to invest time and money into a professional copywriter who understands the subtleties of communicating with your audience.  Copywriters can save you time and once they start generating you business, actually end up making you money.  

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As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.

About Prudence Shank

As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.