Monday, January 29, 2018

3 Powerful Ways to Make Your Marketing Content "Pop"

Many years ago, I helped the owner of a local shipping service create a print marketing onesheet to boost his business. He had a fascinating personal story and a compelling value proposition, with plenty of written detail to back them up. Even so, he was frustrated that prospective customers didn't seem to respond to his marketing message. I explained to him that I could take this body of material and employ my copywriting skills to make his marketing content "pop." The next time I saw him after submitting the draft, he smiled ear to ear and yelled across the room, "I SAW THE POP!"

Does your own marketing content fly off the page and demand the attention of your target audience? Does it pop, or does just sort of lie there silently like soda gone flat? If you're not happy with the results you get from your website or print marketing, here are three things you can do to put some extra "wow factor" into your words.

1. Ask Questions

One of the easiest yet most powerful methods for grabbing readers' attention involves asking them questions. "Are you tired of floor cleaners that don't clean?" "Are you ready for a totally new taste sensation?" "If you could have twice the Internet speeds for half the price, would you go for it?" Questions simulate a conversation by forcing the reader to concoct answers, if only in their own minds. This degree of engagement can make all the difference between keeping and losing your audience within the first few seconds.

By the way, make sure the answer to each of your questions is "Yes." Eliciting this magic word from your audience doesn't just keep the emotional tone of the conversation more positive -- it also gets them agreeing with you, which makes life a lot easier when you finally ask them if they're ready to buy.

2. Use Your Reader's Imagination

Products and services usually aren't that exciting in and of themselves; it's what they can do for people that creates excitement. If you sell personal financial solutions, you could easily bore readers to tears by focusing on stuff like interest rates, stock diversification strategies, or retirement account contribution limits. These issues may be important, but they don't captivate the imagination.

But what about the outcomes of successful personal financial strategies? That dream vacation for your family, the summer home you've always wanted but never dreamed you could afford, a stress-free early retirement -- these and other images will get your audience listening to what you have to say. Dream building is a powerful content marketing tool, and it's as simple as painting the picture your ideal customer has always wanted (but perhaps never dared) to visualize.

Your reader's imagination can conjure negative images as well as positive ones -- and this is a good thing. Make them see in their mind's eye that dreary, painful, or frustrating scenario they currently live through on a daily basis, that problem that keeps them from being happy. Make it as sharp and vivid as possible. Then dispel those clouds by offering the path to a sunnier future.

3. Keep It Simple

"The more I say, and the fancier I get with it, the more convincing I'll be." This all-too-common strategy usually backfires when you're creating marketing content. First of all, most people can't be bothered to read a solid wall of text about anything, no matter what the end reward might be. Second, you can't assume that everyone in your target audience shares the same reading level. Last but not least, short, simple words pack more punch -- and they'll give your content more pop, especially when you include plenty of empty space around them. Less is more.

Taking your audience on a journey is another important technique for keeping your message simple, straightforward, and effective. Give your pitch a shape, starting with your leading questions, pain statement, or dream building imagery and then moving on to your proposed solutions. Once you've given the reader both the problem and the answer, hand them the key to happiness by ending with a strong call to action. Tell them what they need to do right now to make the dream come true.

Don't settle for marketing content that barely fizzes. Get your marketing team or freelance copywriter to put these techniques to good use. With any luck you, too, will "see the pop!"