This is a guest post by Digvijaya Rau.
Words are free, yet marketing copywriters use words to enhance the value of the products they sell.
A marketing proposition expressed in terms of words shares certain similarities with a food recipe. Certain standards of ingredient-mixing are required to create an appealing dish. Ingredients need to be mixed in precise proportions to create that overpowering taste. In addition, the dish being prepared needs to be in tune with the taste of the target audience.
There are three parts to understand the power of marketing copy: the root, the shoot, and the fruit.
To understand the root of marketing copy, you need to know one thing – the purpose of the words is to sell.
But words mean different things to different people. To a lover about to proposition, carefully chosen words mean the difference between rejection and happiness everlasting. To an interviewee, the words chosen mean the difference between a rejection and a job offer. To everyone on this planet, words can mean the difference between winning and losing. The reason is simple – we are always selling something with our words.
Once you understand persuasive word usage and practise it, you are ready to move on to the next stage of marketing copy.
Selling with words is about understanding who you are persuading (the second part). Once you do this, you must create a persuasive pattern in words that will trigger the desired response in your audience. The best marketing copywriters are those who appeal to powerful unfulfilled impulses that can be fulfilled through a product being sold.
The fruit is the final marketing message that has gone through round after round of revision. It is a refined piece of writing, usually simple, that leads the prospect towards an action. Marketing messages are often rewritten hundreds of times. The key to creating a great marketing message is rewriting again and again till you are satisfied.
When you are writing marketing copy there are three things to keep in mind: consistency, unity, and emotion.
Consistency in copywriting
Readers assimilate information better when it is consistent. Why? The human mind likes consistency. Badly written copy sounds like a number of jumble voices speaking together, saying different things. Good copywriting has a consistent voice and personality.
To evaluate your copywriting for consistency, read it aloud a number of times. Does reading the copy feel like traveling in an Audi over a new road? Or does it feel like traveling in a used 1970’s van over a bumpy road? Flow of copy can be blocked by out-of-character words and sentences. Think of the write-up as a personality and every part of the write-up must sync with the personality.
If your copy is consistent, a third of your job is done.
1) The copy must be consistent (like a single voice)
2) The copy must be smooth (like a smooth car ride)
3) Take the prospect on a journey from the beginning of the proposition to the sale
Unity in copywriting
The message you convey must appeal to one emotion. Appealing to more than emotion is like trying to hit multiple targets with one arrow. You need to have a clear target – the desired end result of the persuasive message. In addition, you need an arrow to hit the target. Think of the arrow you choose as one type of persuasive message. How well you convey the message is like the skill with which you fire the arrow.
Here are two examples of perfectly executed persuasion:
“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the New Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock” (David Ogilvy/Rolls Royce). This message uses luxury as its main unique selling proposition and it does this with extreme subtlety and class.
“Do you close the bathroom door even when you’re the only one at home” (Bill Jayme/Psychology Today; design on envelope). This message uses curiosity as its tactic to arouse an instant desire in recipients to open the envelope.
Both messages are unified under one theme and emotion.
If your copy is unified, another third of the copywriting job is done.
1) Define the goal of the message (the target)
2) Choose the arrow (type of persuasion)
3) Skillfully fire the arrow at the target (write the message with skill)
Emotion in copywriting
Emotion is perhaps the most important element in the marketing message. Emotion is more powerful than logic and reason and emotions in words will often override logic.
Apples and bananas, for example, are just the names of two fruits. In writing, however, an array of emotions is associated with just these two fruits; and this cannot easily be explained in logic.
The sentence – “You are the apple of my eye” conveys a strong emotion. Change that to “You are the banana of my eye” and it means nothing. Everything in existence is associated with an emotion. Someone goes “bananas,” but they don’t go “apples.” That is because both the objects (bananas and apples) as well as the sound of those words mean something to emotion. Likewise, Steve Jobs named his firm “Apple” because of the emotion associated with that word. Imagine if he had named his firm “Banana”; it just wouldn’t work in marketing.
Logic in copy is useful as long as it appeals to emotion. Tapping into the hidden emotion in words is part of writing great copy.
Great writers and speakers master the skill of appealing to emotions and this takes time and practice. Ideally a synergy of feeling and thinking is required to create great copy.
If your copy projects and invokes the right emotions, the most important part of your copywriting job is done.
1) Appealing to emotions is more likely to persuade than appealing to logic
2) To learn appealing to emotions, study great writers and great speakers
3) Think and write using both your heart and your analytical brain in synergy
Persuasive copywriting is the art of turning words into money. To do this you need to question your copy and revise it repeatedly. Copy must be written so that it is consistent, unified, and emotive.
Do this, and watch your words conquer the world.