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Marketing Tactics

5 Ways Words Can Destroy Your Marketing Messages (And How To Fix Them)

Use these copywriting tips to improve your marketing messages and ensure you don’t lose sales or money on your marketing investments.

Susan Gunelius

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If your marketing messages aren’t powerful and don’t speak to the right audiences, they won’t deliver the results you need. In other words, you’ll lose money on your investments, and you’ll lose sales. No business owner can afford that!

Words carry a lot of weight, and you need to use them wisely in your marketing messages. An experienced copywriter can craft messages that communicate effectively and motivate the audience to take action, but what if you can’t afford to hire a copywriter? What if you’re not sure the copywriter you’re working with is any good?

Fortunately, there are a number of theories you can learn and tools you can use to write better marketing messages yourself or to ensure the writer you’re working with is delivering quality copy.

Here are five ways words can destroy your marketing and simple ways you can fix them.

1You used too many words

Research has found that people have an attention span of just eight seconds, so you don’t have much time to get your message across to your audience. It’s even worse for younger audiences. Millennials have a five-second attention span for ads!

Bottom line, every word that isn’t necessary needs to be deleted from your copy or you run the risk of investing a lot of time and money into a marketing piece that people will ignore before they see or hear the call to action.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 2)

Get to the point! Here are three ways to do it:

K.I.S.S. rule of copywriting: Remove filler words from your copy to keep it simple. For example, words like “really,” “that” and “very” should be deleted without mercy. Don’t feel bad for these words. Delete them!

T.M.I. rule of copywriting: Don’t let your audience get bored or distracted as you weave a lovely story. If text doesn’t support the goal of the marketing piece, get rid of it. Remember, you only have five to eight seconds, don’t waste them!

Red pen rule of copywriting: Keep your copy succinct, and it will almost always be more powerful. Once you’ve written your messages, get out your red pen and delete at least 30 percent of it. The objective is to delete a significant amount of copy, because it’s likely what you delete doesn’t include your strongest messages. You’ll be left with something that actually drives the results you need.

2You used jargon

marketing-sign

Big words and jargon are rarely appropriate in ads and marketing materials unless you’re in a highly technical or regulated industry. Even then, your audience will probably prefer you leave the jargon out, or it just looks like you’re trying too hard.

One of the most important factors to write great marketing messages is understanding your audience and writing copy that speaks to them. It doesn’t matter if you love the word grassroots. If your audience won’t respond to it positively, leave it out. The last thing you want is for your audience to cringe when they read or hear your messages. That’s a guaranteed way to lose sales.

Review your copy and find the jargon or excessively big words. Do those words enhance the message and make it more meaningful to the audience or do those words interrupt the reader or listener? Unless jargon and big words have special places in your audience’s hearts, replace them with simpler words.

3You used the wrong pronouns

Great marketing messages speak about the audience, not just about the company behind the products or services being offered. Therefore, your copy should use second person pronouns (you, your, yours) far more often than first person pronouns (I, me, mine, we, us, our, ours).

The truth is no one cares about you. They care about how your products or services can help them or make their lives easier. This is the cornerstone of the fundamental rule of marketing, which says, “Your product or service is far less important than its ability to fulfill your customers’ needs.” If your messages only talk about you, they’ll fail.

Related: 5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs Content Marketing

To fix this problem, review your copy looking for every instance where you use first person pronouns and talk about your company rather than about consumers’ wants and needs.

Now, think about how you can turn messages that focus on you around and show how that information about your company actually benefits consumers.

For example, you might have 300 customer service agents, but why should a consumer care? That number is meaningless until you give it meaning. Instead, say the wait time to get help via phone is extremely low since there is always someone available to take the customer’s calls. Remember, copy should always focus on benefits, not just features.

4You used passive verbs

When you invest in an ad or marketing piece, you typically want it to drive some kind of action from an audience. It includes a call to action that should motivate people to actually take that action. However, making a simple mistake like using passive voice rather than active voice in your sentence structure could negatively affect the results.

In a passive voice sentence, the subject of the sentence receives the action of the verb (e.g., the ball was kicked by John), but in an active voice sentence, the subject of the sentence performs the action of the verb (e.g., John kicked the ball). Do you want people to take action or just think about taking that action? To elicit an active response from the audience, use the active voice in your copy.

Fixing this problem takes some sentence restructuring. Read through your messages and replace passive voice sentences with active voice sentences whenever possible. Keep in mind, adding a sense of urgency to your calls to action can boost results even higher. Don’t suggest an action, demand it – now!

5You didn’t use emotional words

Does your copy tap into the audience’s emotional triggers? If not, your results will be lower than they could be if you rewrote your messages to make people feel something. Copy that evokes emotional responses in consumers is almost always more effective than copy that does not. Why? Because most purchase decisions are ruled at least in part by emotions.

Related: 5 Extremely Effective Content Marketing Formats

Emotional triggers include fear, guilt, comfort, competition, trust and more. Follow the link for a great list of emotional triggers that you can use as a starting point to improve your marketing messages.

You can fix this problem in your messages by thinking about the benefits your product or service delivers to the target audience. Determine which benefits appeal to consumers’ emotional triggers and ensure messages related to those benefits and emotions are included in your marketing materials.

Know your next steps

Even if you don’t have the budget to invest in a great copywriter, you can improve your marketing messages by keeping the five ways words can destroy your copy in mind as you write. Follow the tips above to fix those problems, and you’ll be on your way to seeing bigger and better results from your marketing investments!

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

With nearly 20 years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience, Susan Gunelius is also an entrepreneur.

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Marketing Tactics

Useful Marketing Tactics For Growing Businesses

Customer acquisition, customer experience and content marketing can be identified as the three most important marketing strategy areas to focus on.

Jandre de Beer

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Digital marketing offers the business world so many advantages, including the ability to communicate with their target markets quickly and easily. Unfortunately, digital marketing has also opened doors for companies to flood mail boxes, news feeds and ad spaces with junk mail and spam resulting in customers tuning out to anything irrelevant and suspicious.

Customers have become less likely to trust companies and less receptive to messages. The only way for valuable messaging to stand out from the noise is if a business knows how to market itself properly.

Over and above advertising, there are a lot of other aspects that contribute towards an effective marketing strategy, these include research, email, content creation, list curation, social media and even customer service. To be a successful marketer it isn’t necessary to become an expert in every single marketing tactic, but it is important to master the most important areas. Customer acquisition, customer experience and content marketing can be identified as the three most important marketing strategy areas to focus on.

1. Customer acquisition

Of course, not all customers are the same. Some customers are only interested in buying products on sale from a particular brand and then never interact with that brand again. Acquiring, and of course retaining customers with a high lifetime value should be the overall objective for businesses, but this requires more time and money being invested in better, more qualified leads. While the upfront costs might be higher, in the long-term this investment will pay off with continued business from these lifetime customers.

2. Customer experience

Competitive pricing can’t be the only aspect that businesses focus on in order to stand out against competitors. In the current digital era customers expect a good customer experience when they deal with brands so this should be an important focus area for all businesses. Customers expect fast and seamless experiences such as intuitive user interfaces and processes, fast websites and service response times, as well as accurate information about the problems they face.

Customers don’t want to waste their time on websites that require them to jump through hoops, and they definitely don’t want to feel misled by anything a business is communicating. Customers will quickly move on to other sites that offer better experiences as well as other businesses that are more trustworthy. Good customer experiences can go a long way.

Offering more personalised, interactive engagement tactics and improving the customer technology interface should be high priorities for businesses.

3. Content marketing

Marketing is no longer about telling customers that your brand is the best. With the movement towards content marketing, marketing has become about showing customers why you are the best. Content marketing is a legitimate, effective strategy that every business and brand should make use of. While content marketing is a lot more cost effective than outbound marketing, it also generates three times as many leads and offers many other benefits.

Content is a key feature for growing businesses who want to survive in an information rich environment. Customers are looking for brands that provide value beyond their products so creating high-quality content can help you grab your audience’s attention.

In conclusion

Although there are many other factors that are involved in an effective marketing strategy, seeking out customers with a high lifetime value, providing them with a great customer experience while also providing them with valuable content is a recipe for success.

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Marketing Tactics

An ‘Outside-the-Box’ Approach to the e-Commerce Unboxing Experience

Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Daniella Shapiro

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With a predicted 24,79 million e-commerce users in South Africa by 2021, online shopping is here to stay, making it impossible to escape the predicament of perfecting the art of product packaging. It’s time to think outside the box when it comes to creating a meaningful unboxing experience. Get started by keeping three elements in mind – recyclable/re-usable packaging, personalised thank-you notes and free samples.

Recyclable/Re-Usable Packaging

Certain types of product packaging are having a tremendous negative impact on our environment, with 5.35 trillion pieces of plastic debris littering the world’s oceans, and with 269,000 tonnes of this amount floating on the surface – and plastic isn’t the only culprit. Did you know that it’s impossible for Styrofoam to ever be broken down completely? And that 1 million single-use coffee cups wind up in landfill every single minute of every day? These statistics make it obvious as to why it’s becoming so important for business owners to be more conscious about the type of packaging that they use.

Many business owners wonder if their customers really care whether their business is doing its part to protect the environment. According to Forbes and a 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, the answer is a resounding ‘YES, they most certainly do!’.

87% of the consumers surveyed stated that they always have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, and 88% claimed that they usually feel more loyal toward a company that they know supports social or environmental issues.

Thoughtful Thank-You Notes

The unboxing experience should be a unique and personal one, and it should be just as memorable as the experience of utilising the product itself! So, make it all the more special and build customer loyalty by including a personalised thank you note. Address the customer by their first name, thank them sincerely for their patronage and end off by giving them some helpful advice regarding the product, or share an interesting benefit of using it. Go the extra, extra mile by hand-writing the letter too.

Free Samples

Everyone loves getting free stuff. Why not bolster the unboxing experience by sending over a little bit more than expected? Not only will a free sample put a big smile on the face of the receiver, if they actually enjoy using it, there’s also a good chance that they’ll be coming back to order more. According to Shopify, free samples have the potential to boost sales by as much as 2,000%.

When it comes to packaging, make the right choice. Sustainable, thoughtful, memorable. Your customers, and the environment, will thank you for it.

 

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Marketing Tactics

The Facebook Ads Strategy That Can’t Lose

It’s a numbers game.

Entrepreneur

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Running a profitable Facebook Ads campaign is simple. Not always easy, but simple.

There is a formula that can guarantee a profitable Facebook Ad campaign. Once you know the formula and the values to plug in, you’ll never sink money into a losing digital ad campaign again. I know it sounds too good to be true, but stick with me…

The Guaranteed Growth Formula

Here’s the entire formula: CPA < AP

Were you expecting coefficients, remainders and dividing by polynomials? Nope, there are only two values that matter when assessing your digital marketing funnel.

1. CPA – Cost Per Acquisition

2. AP – Average Profit Per Client

If your Cost Per Acquisition, the amount you pay to generate a paying customer using Facebook Ads, is less than the Average Profit you make from each new customer you’re guaranteed a profitable campaign.

Calculating Average Profit

To get average profit per client, sum your total revenue from new clients and subtract what you spent to serve them. Divide the result by the total new clients. For example, if you made $75,000 from 10 new clients over the past year and it cost you $40,000 to serve them, your average profit is:

 ($75,000 – $40,000) / 10 = $3500 Average Profit Per Client

If your average acquisition cost for similar future clients is less than $3500, your campaign will technically be profitable.

Of course most businesses won’t want to spend all of their profit on acquisition. An average business can expect to invest at least 7 percent but no more than 15 percent of revenue in sales and marketing. If Cost of Goods accounts for 60 percent or more of total revenue, your low profit margin may make it difficult to afford successful advertising. Decrease operating costs by increasing efficiency or adjust your margin by raising prices.

Don’t make the mistake of calculating Average Profit based on revenue only from the first sale. Use at least six months of revenue or your lifetime client value as the basis for your calculation, or you risk underfunding your marketing and sales budget.

Related: Here Is Why Your Facebook Ad Campaigns Aren’t Producing Results

Calculating Cost Per Acquisition

Let’s assume you’ve considered all of your marketing and sales costs and determined you can spend $350 per new client on Facebook Ads. Let’s reverse engineer your ad campaign to see if a $350 cost of acquisition is reasonable.

The simplest Facebook ads funnel includes four metrics that build upon each other to determine your acquisition cost. I’ve included standard benchmarks for use as a starting point, but your results may differ:

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR) – Percentage of people clicking on your ad. Your CTR should be near or above 1 percent.

2. Cost Per Click (CPC) – The cost of one website visit. CPC should generally be below $3.

3. Lead Conversion Rate – The percentage of site traffic that becomes qualified leads. This value should be 20 percent or above.

4. Sales Conversion Rate – The percentage of leads that convert to a sale. Aim for sales conversion at or above 5 percent. (E-commerce companies often skip the Lead Conversion stage and have a Sales Conversion Rate of 1 percent or greater.)

If 10,000 people view your ad at a 1 percent CTR, you’ll get about 100 website visits. At a $3 CPC, you’ve spent $300. Since 20 percent of your traffic will become leads and 5 percent of those leads become closed sales, we can calculate that you’ll generate approximately 60 leads and three new customers.

Your estimated acquisition cost using Facebook Ads is $100 per client, which is well within your budget of $350. This cost may rise as you scale and target less optimal prospects, but as long as your acquisition cost is less than $350 you’ll make an acceptable profit.

Complex funnels can include several ads and conversion points, but the Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP still applies. There’s no immediate reason for concern if your metrics differ from the benchmarks. You can and should split test ideas for improvement if your numbers are far from what you expect, but don’t mess up a good thing until you’ve got a better one.

Optimising Your Guaranteed Growth Funnel

If unhealthy metrics cause your acquisition to cost more than what you’ve budgeted, start with these adjustments:

Click-Through Rate Too Low or Cost Per Click Too High

If your CTR falls far under 1 percent Facebook may stop showing your ads or show them to second-rate audiences causing your traffic to tank and CPC to increase. To improve your click metrics, adjust your ad copy (headline and body text), ad creative (image or video) and highlight the benefits in your offer.

Refine your audience. Tailor your copy, images and call-to-action to the audience you’ve selected and ensure that your audience has the desire and means to act.

Lead Conversion Too Low

If leads aren’t converting at 20 percent or more, either the promise made by your ad isn’t congruent with your landing page, or the process of moving forward is too difficult. Try using the same image and headline in your ad and reduce the form fields in sign-up forms to the bare minimum. Also try retargeting visitors who don’t sign up with ads stating the benefits of acting now, or with a different offer.

Related: Staying Relevant In The Facebook Age Of Meaningful Social Interactions

Sales Conversion Too Low

If you’re an Ecommerce brand with sales conversion below 1 percent your shopping cart or sales process may have too much friction. Simplify the sales process to decrease clutter, or increase trust by adding testimonials and trust signals near important calls to action.

Your sales process may need improvement, but that is beyond this article. In the meantime, you can still increase revenue by cross-selling and upselling those who convert. You may also improve client retention with recurring contracts. Yes, that’s why many software companies are switching to cloud-based subscription models.

When used properly, The Guaranteed Growth Formula of CPA < AP makes Facebook Ad marketing an investment, not an expense. Using the formula, the most you should ever risk is a small initial budget to test whether your estimated calculations hold true in practice.

If your net profit is 3X your acquisition cost, your funnel returns $3 for every $1 you invest. Instead of asking “How much should I spend on marketing?” The question becomes, “How much do I want to make?” I’ve built a Facebook Ad Growth Calculator that incorporates the Guaranteed Growth Formula to help execute your growth strategy. Input your revenue goal and it will estimate the Facebook Ad impressions and traffic required to reach it.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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