Monday, December 23, 2013

The Second Most Common Marketing Mistake

Any ad you put on Fri market on a list, on a flyer, on a bulletin board,  on craigslist—or anywhere else--can make you lots more income if it avoids the two biggest and most common mistakes.

 Last blog I talked about headlines.  That’s the place of biggest blunders.  Re-read that article to create headlines that actually get attention and tempt people to read further.  Reminder:  Write it, then ask yourself, “Who is this about?  Me or the Customer?”

 Whew, ok, you avoided the first biggest mistake and wrote a headline that works!

 Second biggest mistake is too many (and too big) words.

 Writing for marketing (copywriting) is different than any other kind of writing.  The reason is that no one has to read what you write for advertising.  Let me restate that because it’s the foundation of how to execute good copywriting!

 No one is FORCED to read your ad.

 Not like in school where you had assignments you had to read.  Not like at work where you have to read memos or reports.  Not like voter information booklets where you want to know what you’re voting on.  Not like research where you’re looking for information.  Advertising is not something anyone in his right mind says, “I want to read all these ads.”

 The upshot of that is you must make it fun, interesting, surprising, or relevant—but mostly EASY to read.  Or they won’t.

 If it’s hard to read, you lose them.  And too many words make it hard to read!  Sentences need to be simple and direct—subject, verb, and object, not a lot of irrelevant words.  This is one of the hardest things for people to “get.”  It seems like more words ought to make it clearer and more important.  They do not!  More words make it harder to read and dilute your message. 

 Let me give you an extreme example: 

 “Insofar as manifestations of functional deficiencies are agreed by any and all concerned parties to be imperceptible and are so stipulated, it is incumbent
upon said heretofore mentioned parties to exercise the deferment of otherwise pertinent maintenance procedures."

In other words, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Ok, that’s an extreme example.  But I watch farmers and crafters writing copy that does essentially the same thing—it wanders, uses too many words and uses big words where a simple one would do.  In many places that kind of wordiness is allowed or even encouraged.  Legal, scientific and law enforcement writing come to mind. 

 But this is copywriting and it needs to be simple and easy to read—about 5th grade level.  Not that you’re talking to 5th graders, but the easier it is to read, the more likely they will read it and get your message.

Distill every sentence down to the “meat” of what you’re trying to get across.  Find little words, not big ones, get rid of ones that are not absolutely necessary.

Understand that the brighter you are, the more you know, the bigger your vocabulary, the more tendency you have to use too many words and bigger ones.  It’s human.  It takes conscious editing to make things simple and easy to read.

 Here’s another example, extreme, about libraries:

Libraries are a prime example of the epitome in intellectual investigation.  They invite individuals to extravagant flights of fancy and exploration.  They are tailor made to entice the niche specialist and the generalist, both, to delve into realms unexplored as well as conducive to the entertainment of the simple, the young and the intellectual.   Not very clear, not very concise 

            Here’s what it’s really saying, “Libraries appeal to people in all walks of life and with many purposes.”  Even more distilled would be, “Libraries are for everyone!” 

Now let me give you some examples from Friday market list ads.  I am just picking ads or parts of ads that are too wordy for examples.  As I go along, notice, too, where these examples show seller focus on himself not on the customer, but my focus today is the wordiness.  This one for an alpaca: 

“_____and her mother were purchased by us to use in our breeding program (pregnant mother with female cria at side ). I am not disappointed in the quality of either of these girls. Both girls came from ____ genetics. She has _______ ($2500.00 stud fee), _______ (deceased), and ______ ($5000.00 stud fee), ______in her close genetics. Her mother has been bred to _______ for a 2014 cria and is in my foundation herd and not for sale. She has a gray muzzle and ears and would be considered a "GRAY FAWN" like her mother who has produced 3 gray cria bred to gray males!  She is very fine fleeced, dense and even color. She comes with a LIFETIME of free breedings to any herd sires owned or co-owned by us.”  131 words

This paragraph could be edited considerably without destroying the essence of the information:
“Here’s show winning fleece--microns, density and color--in one dynamite package with guaranteed 2014 breeding to Asteroid is one of my favorite herdsires. He has produced extremely well for me. He is easily handled and loves his job. He is housed with 4 other males and gets along well with them. Asteroid is extremely dense and produces crias with dense, fine fleeces. I have sold all of his crias with the exception of one of his females from 2013. She will be in my 2014 show string if I still own her. Please take a look and consider this incredible male!a 10x COLOR CHAMPION.  You also get free breedings to any of our sires for her lifetime.  Grey fawn with heavy genetics for desirable grey offspring, and championship genetics throughout her pedigree.”  49 words, and I could probably edit out a few more if I looked at it again later.
 
Here’s one for a goat.  Note how hard it is to read:  

             Sable Buck For Sale
 A Christmas gift for the one on your list that is hard to buy for????  Offering for sale a two year old purebred sable buck.  Proven breeder.  CAE tested (WSU) negative 1-13.  LA 2-04 86 (VV+).  _________, adga genetics ___________.   I am only selling him because I need to trim down the buck herd and I used him heavily this year.  He is also AGS registered.  Located in central Missouri.  $450 or best offer.  Transportation within reasonable distance for gas reimbursement.  View his photo on my website.  (91 words)s gift for the one on your liist that is hard to buy for????  Offering for sale a two year old purebred sable buck.  Proven breeder.  CAE tested (WSU) negative 1-13.  LA 2-04 86 (VV+).  Sweetbriar MV Eldorado  http://www.adgagenetics.org/GoatDetail.aspx?RegNumber=C001546081   I am only selling him because I need to trim down the buck herd and I used him heavily this year.  He is also AGS registered.  Located in central Missouri.  $450 or best offer.  Transportation within reasonable distance for gas reimbursement.  View his photo on my website.

Here’s how I’d edit and rewrite:

Solve the gift dilemma for your Sable-loving Special Someone
Give this top genetics two year old buck!  Outstanding enough that we’ve used him on everyone here!  You can have confidence in him with:
o   LA score
o   CAE Negative
o   Transportation available from MO
o   Reg #
Farm website for photos _______________________(55 words)

 The art of writing copy is a skill you CAN learn.  Go ahead and write your ad.  Then leave it for a few days.  Now, come back and look at what’s about you, what words are not necessary, what words are too big (pompous) and how you can edit to make it lots shorter and sweeter--but always about what the customer gets, not about you!

 My Christmas gift to any one on this list, between now and the end of the year, send me your already edited short classified ad and let me see if I can edit it even more.  Sometimes seeing more editing helps you learn how!  Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

jhon stiffler said...

I am feeling so tired today and after reading your article It seems to be great..

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