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In honor of barbecue season, a season held sacred by this writer/grillmaster, let’s take a look at your marketing copy from a completely different perspective.
Put away your red pen and grab your grilling fork and tongs. Ditch “business casual” and put on an apron. Dump the coffee and reach into the cooler for your favorite beverage. Think of your clever ideas as a recipe for a new marinade you’ve been wanting to try.
Now that you’re in the right frame of mind, bring some of your most recent marketing copy outside to the deck, put your feet up and read the copy out loud so you can really hear how it sounds.
Metaphorically speaking, are you working with filet mignon or sausage?
What Exactly Are You Cooking?
Many types of sausage do include fresh meat, but sausage is also traditionally stuffed with tissues and organs that are edible and nutritious but don’t sound particularly appealing. Call it efficient butchering. On the other hand, filet mignon is a very specific piece of meat cut from a particular part of the tenderloin.
Some business owners are inclined to include a laundry list of everything they do or sell in every marketing piece. It may seem logical to follow this sausage strategy, but your copy shouldn’t be overstuffed with information about your business.
The only places to list everything you do or sell are the services or products pages of a website or brochure. When consumers are overloaded with information, they may get confused about what exactly your business does.
Remember, your target audience won’t care about your business until you’ve shown what your business can do for them. Focus your marketing copy on your target audience by showing them, in very specific terms, how your business can solve a real problem or fill a real need.
Keep your message simple, clear and focused. This filet mignon approach is much more likely to grab and keep the attention and interest of your target audience.
Trim The Fat
Filet mignon is an extremely tender cut of beef with very little fat content or connective tissue. In the United States, sausage could legally include up to 30%, 35% or even 50% of fat content by weight, depending on the style. Yikes.
Keep your marketing copy lean and tender. Give it room to breathe so your target audience can fully absorb your message. If you have 200 words and determine that you can convey your message just as effectively in 100 words, do it.
Just like fat can clog arteries, too much copy will be more difficult for the brain to process clearly.
Years ago, “sell the sizzle, not the steak” was a popular marketing mantra (yes, another meat metaphor). In 2011, consumers are too informed and too savvy to hand over money for a product or service because of unnecessary, self-serving sizzle.
Forced creativity for the sake of being clever or funny is the equivalent of fat content.
Consumers want to know how the steak tastes and whether or not it’s a quality piece of meat. You can bet they’ll check customer reviews to find out what others think, too. This will help them determine the product’s value.
In other words, they want to know about the steak, which should be the focus of your marketing copy. Creativity is great, but only if it enhances your message. Otherwise, it’s just a distraction.
Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to disparage the millions of sausage producers, sellers and eaters across the country. As a matter of fact, as I write this, I could go for grilled bratwurst on a torpedo roll topped with green peppers and mustard alongside a frosty brew.
Unfortunately, sausage just doesn’t serve as a good model for effective marketing content. I shed a tear.
Is your marketing copy lean and tender or overstuffed and fatty?