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May 16, 2011

25 Ways to Make Your Marketing Copy Bolder and More Intriguing

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Clients have asked me for help because they feel stuck in a rut when it comes to getting the attention of their audience. Many feel they know only a limited number of techniques and seem to use the same strategies and angles over and over again. They’re bored and frustrated trying the same-old, same-old repeatedly and are pretty sure recipients on their lists feel the same way.

To the rescue is this list I created of bolder approaches you can try to freshen up emails, web pages, ads and other venues for promotional copy. Along with each idea, I’ve provided an example illustrating how you might put it to work.

I. In headlines, subject lines and elsewhere

1. Ask a weird or provocative question.
Whoever Heard of 77,000 Opt-ins From a Single Email?

2. Play up an emotion.
Take Command of Your Email Inbox.

3. Refer to current events.
Avoid Being Blindsided by a Blizzard.

4. Issue a challenge.
Can Your Widgywidget Pass the Steamroller Test?

5. Use a line of dialogue.
Pssst, Your Benchmarks Are Outdated.

6. Cite a specific number.
Here’s Why 45,682 Managers Trust Us.

7. Confess something.
We’re Embarrassed to Admit It, But…

8. Present a quiz.
Take the Readiness Roadmap Quiz.

9. Highlight case study results.
How Apoxya Achieved 458% ROI.

10. Quote a client.
“Helpful. Hard-nosed. Hassle-free.”

11. Say what the reader is probably thinking.
Why Can’t Metrics Be Simpler!

12. Guarantee something.
Quicker Payback – Guaranteed.

13. Connect to social trends.
Help Green Your Marketing Department.

14. Promise to get rid of an annoyance.
No More Compliance Hassles.

15. Compare before and after.
Before: 25½ Passwords. After: Just One.

16. Name the exact audience you’re targeting.
For the Manager Not Confident About Reaching This Year’s Targets.

17. Create suspense.
To Be Unveiled at the TTT Tradeshow…

18. Invoke imagination.
Imagine All Your Emails Effortlessly Organized.

II. Within your copy

19. Use un-businesslike language.
Time to cut the crap, wouldn’t you say?

20. Use vivid metaphors or similes.
When your to-do list feels like Grand Central Station.

21. Include surprising but true facts.
Only one government contractor in five knows that…

22. Compare costs/other factors to everyday items.
Solve your IT headaches for less than it costs to treat everyone on your team to a double latte.

23. Make predictions.
Prevent next year’s biggest risk now.

24. Tell a story.
When one of our clients took our new RXV234 back to the office, his IT manager at first refused to install it. Two days later he became an evangelist for it. Here’s why.

25. Write from an unexpected perspective – for example, from the night cleaning crew or the daughter of someone who now gets to go home from the office at a reasonable hour.

One fairly conservative corporate client surprised me at the number of items on this list he became excited about trying. Remember, the goal is to wake up the reader from their slumber of disinterest and to get them paying attention. Unexpected language, suspense, mysteries, relevance and promises are just a few of the techniques that belong in your expanded bag of tricks. Try being different, informing and entertaining without giving offense, and you’ll not only awaken your prospect, but also re-energize your own excitement about your product.


Veteran copywriter and marketing consultant Marcia Yudkin is the author of Persuading on Paper, Meatier Marketing Copy and 13 other books. Besides mentoring marketing departments in copywriting skills, she runs a one-on-one mentoring program that trains copywriters and marketing consultants in 10 weeks. Participants learn no-hype marketing writing skills and business savvy. For more information, go to www.yudkin.com/become.htm

One Response to “25 Ways to Make Your Marketing Copy Bolder and More Intriguing

    avatar Michael Carabini says:

    …Direct mail copywriting can make or break your direct mail program. In direct mail marketing your audience awareness should be ever-present. Numbered headlines are a proven way to increase the performance of your direct mail postcards.

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