Warning: Are These 14 Essential Ingredients Missing From Your Marketing?

IMG_2309As a copywriter I see a lot of really poor marketing.

I define this as marketing that:

  • Fails to attract attention
  • Doesn’t inspire customers to take action
  • Is boring and forgettable
  • Is “industry generic” (meaning in the absense of your name and logo it could apply to just about any of your competitors)

And the worse bit is it means ambitious business owners like you are losing out on sales.

But it doesn’t have to be this way…

You see good marketing will help stand out in your niche, attract more customers and multiply your income.

And it can be achieved if you combine time and creativity with these 14 proven techniques.

So read on and discover your copywriting checklist

And don’t miss the link to a FREE downloadable version at the bottom :-)

1.  Communicate your USP

  • Why should customers pick you over all the competition?
  • What makes you “the one to go to” in your niche?
  • What can people get from you that they can’t get from ANYONE else?

Figure this out, weave it into your marketing message and suddenly you’ve got a Unique Selling Point that can encourage customers to make you their first choice.

2. Write headlines that attract attention

standout300x199Without question your headline is the most important aspect of ANY marketing material.

Want proof? Then consider this…

Approximately 8 out of 10 people will read your headline whilst only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of your message.

This statistic has SIGNIFICANT implications for where you focus your creative efforts.

You see, if your headline fails to inspire your reader to keep reading, the rest of your message is a complete and utter waste – it will go unnoticed.

In comparison, write a captivating headline that hooks your reader in with something that interests them, and you have a good chance of setting them up on a slippery slope through your pitch.

The lesson here is simple. You MUST spend the time needed to nail your headline. So please don’t settle for the first idea that springs to mind.

3.  Place the emphasis on YOU

Stand out from the crowdNext check the emphasis of your copy.

I see far too much advertising where the business presents the message from THEIR perspective by using phrases such as “we do this” and “we think that“…

This approach is a BIG mistake.

You see, your potential customers are just not that interested in you.

All they want to know is What’s In It For Me?  

And the quickest way to achieve that is by using copious amounts of the most powerful word in advertising… YOU.

(N.B: The best ratio is around 3:1 – that’s three you’s for every we).

4. Sell the benefits

I bet you can explain the features of your product or service to a customer really easily.

In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if you chose to explain those features in your advertising. A lot of micro businesses owners do.

However features fail to hit on the emotional buttons that you need to press if you want to close a sale.

Instead you need the emphasis to be placed on BENEFITS.

This means explaining what difference a customer will experience in their life if they invest in what you have to offer? 

Is it more time, more wealth, more intelligence, more power, more control etc…

You need to know because that is what you’re really selling.

And that’s the message you need to convey in your advertising. Do it and you’ll get more people buying. I guarantee it :-)

5. Include an offer…

As you know we are bombarded with information everywhere we look.

In addition to this you need to overcome people’s natural instinct to do nothing.

Offers are the best way to push someone to ACT NOW. So in addition to getting potential customers excited by how they could benefit from your business, ramp up your persuasive stakes by presenting an incentive that encourages them to buy | call | sign up etc. then and there.

But please avoid the boring, predictable 10% off! Instead try an added value package that doesn’t end up costing you money.

6.  With a fixed deadline

Calendar Date iconBoost your response rates by putting a fixed offer on your deadline. That means take action by x time on x date.

Avoid the temptations to use deadlines that never end because they train customers to expect your stuff to always be on special.

In addition, don’t be tempted to extend your deadline because you’ll simply undermine the integrity of your offer (and annoy the people who have already brought!).

7. Use a call to action to increase response rates

What do you want people to do after reading your message?

Perhaps you want them to:

  • Buy online
  • Call your office
  • Sign-up to your newsletter list
  • Complete a form etc.

Never leave a reader guessing. Always be clear and specific and outline EXACTLY what you want a reader to do once they have absorbed your marketing message.

If you don’t include a clear call to action, the likelihood of your readers doing nothing increases significantly (and the cost effectiveness of your advertising will diminish).

N.B: Don’t forget to include your contact details (and don’t laugh – I’ve seen it done!)

8. Testimonials add credibility

Seriously nothing is more powerful than a 3rd party telling potential prospects just how great you and your business is – especially if the testimonial has been written by someone who is your target customer.

So become an active testimonial collector. Don’t wait for the testimonials to come to you, instead actively ask for them as part of your customer pipeline process. And then weave them into your leaflets, press ads, website, sales letters, even blogs…

You’ll be amazed at the impact they can make.

testimonialbanner Gisa

9. Bullets & lists make for easy reading

However great your copywriting, it’s rare for a reader will give your sales message the same kind of attention that they will when reading a good book.

Which means you need to make it as easy as possible for your message to be absorbed.

Bullets and lists are great for this because they break up a big block of text and make it much easier on the eye.

In addition, don’t be afraid of short paragraphs and short sentences.

You’ll find these proven copywriting techniques all help to pull your reader effortlessly through your copy.

10. Long route & short cuts

Most people won’t read your sales message carefully from beginning to end.

Instead they are more likely to skim and skip their way through, landing on words and phrases that particularly stand out to them.

As such you need to ensure your message is communicated in multiple ways.

The whole piece of marketing should capture everything you want to say. But in addition to that, your subheads and emphasised words and phrases should enable a skim reader to grasp the essence of your message.

(This blog is a good example. You can read the subheads for a simple checklist, whilst the short descriptions underneath explain each one for detail and clarity).

11. Guarantees remove the risk

money back guaranteeGuarantees are brilliant because they take away the risk from your reader and instead put the risk onto YOU.

As such, it helps to build trust, can boost your integrity and make it easier for potential customers to respond.

This article contains some really powerful examples of cracking guarantees.

And if you’re interested in mine, well I won’t stop writing until you’re happy. Simple. 

12. Photos & cartoons add visual interest

For sure your words are critical.

But images and cartoons can really help attract attention and draw people in.

And this works even better if you integrate captions. After all, captions are the second most read element of your message after the headline. So don’t miss this opportunity to make an impact.

13. Write for somebody, not everybody

AvatarsIf you try to appeal to everybody who could possibly be interested in your business, you’ll end up appealing to nobody.

The quickest way to raving customers and making more money is to know who your ideal customer is and then write your message so it’s specifically targeted at them.  This means:

  • Getting involved with the conversations that are already happening around their kitchen table
  • Using your customers’ “jargon” and language
  • Solving the key problems your customer faces etc.

Make this person the focus of your marketing message, and you’ll have a much better chance of success.

14. P.S:  Don’t forget the P.S!

The P.S. at the bottom of your sales letter is often overlooked.

In fact, surprisingly it’s one of the most well-read parts of your advertising. So use it well – or lose out on sales.

Get your marketing checklist… It’s FREE!

Copywriting checklistCopywriting theory is relatively easy to grasp.

After all, I expect most of what I’ve written in this post makes perfect sense.

The problem is, when it comes down to writing your message, you forget or get confused by all the different elements you need to include. That’s the hard bit.

So to help I’ve created a really simple A4 checklist which you can pin up on your desk to remind you of the elements you should include when creating your next marketing piece.

It’s easy to get a copy. To download the checklist simply click here.

P.S: Please leave any questions in the comments below :-)

Download 99 writing prompts and discover how to write with personality.

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  1. says

    Your use of You is an interesting one and one I am trying to do more, after all it isn’t like there really is a team of “we” it really is just “me” and my family. Personal is key!

    • says

      Hi Fiona, personalising your copy with stories of farm life that appeal to your target audience will work really well for your business (and I know you do a lot of that already). If you can succeed in making potential visitors feel themselves already there, you’ve tapped into something very powerful. I think you’re doing a great job :-)

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