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Write about customers first.

Avoid fluff.

At least try to sound honest, and personal.

Persuade with unique detail.

Encourage customers to click the next step.


How to write marketing copy

On the Web, marketing gets more generous, more personal, more intense. Here's how to write your copy the Web way.

Write about customers first.

  • Organize marketing information so you start with

    The customer's tasks or activities.
    The customer's problems
    The customer's needs or wants

  • In general, describe customer experiences first, bringing in your products or services afterward. Self-interest is the best hook.

  • Define niche audiences, and address them directly, describing them explicitly. Let me identify myself as part of your market.

  • Include stories about real customers using your products or services (case studies or success stories).

  • Include quotes from named customers.



Brainstorming for marcomm ideas

Persuading Niche Markets, Individuals--and the Press (228K PDF file, or about 5 minutes at 56K)



Avoid fluff.

  • Get at the emotional heart of the issue.

  • Avoid strings of pat phrases intended to shorthand a series of benefits (world-class enterprise-wide solutions bundle). Fight off the committee that came up with these jargon-jammed slogans. These phrases make sense to your team, but not to customers.

  • Build marketing text out of nouns and verbs, keeping adverbs and adjectives to a minimum. In this way, you will avoid the worst hype.

  • Ban the mission statement from the home page, demoting it to some minor sub-section, or deleting it completely. Why bore customers?

At least try to sound honest, and personal.

  • Write like a human being, not a corporation. Compared to big buildings made out of glass and steel, people are more convincing sales folks.

  • Do not get too polished. It is OK to ramble at times, to repeat your main point.

  • Mention details from your own life. Customers find you interesting, and gauge your reliability by what you reveal about your own experience, background, outlook.

  • Show your face. Include your photo, when speaking directly to the customers.

  • Be informative, realistic, and enthusiastic, so that customers feel as if you are honestly excited by your product.

  • Admit problems or drawbacks matter-of-factly, offering workarounds as kludges, not fantastic benefits.

  • Make promises that you know your companies can really keep.

Persuade with unique detail.

  • State a unique selling proposition for the company, or for each individual product and service. Show why I should buy your product, not one of the competition's products. Differentiate.

  • In product information, include photos, screenshots, or diagrams of the product. I can see what I will get.

  • In product information, connect concrete benefits to each feature mentioned. Do not just list a bunch of features. Show me how each feature would do me good.

  • When the product is new, unfamiliar, or complicated, show how it works, with animation, a tutorial, or a series of diagrams.

  • Offer a complete set of specifications in a data sheet for each product.

  • Offer direct links to original reviews (rather than just snagging some quotes out of context).

  • Offer quotes from happy customers-ideally, with their names and addresses.

  • Offer stories of your successes, or case studies.
    Include a direct comparison with the competition, pointing out advantages.

  • To answer common objections, address questions, or suspicions explicitly, rather than trying to get past the objections by exaggeration or implication.

  • To give managers more context, and make the extended argument for the product, offer white papers, web conferences, or slide presentations.

  • Mention and link to customer assistance, documentation, bug databases, and other support materials, without embarrassment. Go for complete disclosure.

Encourage customers to click the next step.

  • Make clear what action the customer should take next.

  • Make it easy to buy, from every page.

  • Give me an incentive to buy right away.

  • For potential customers who are hesitating to commit, offer something for free: a demo copy, a white paper, a tool, to keep them engaged.


See: Hansell (2001), Henning (2000a, 2000b, 2001a), Knowledge Capital Group (2001), Locke (2001), Price and Price (1999), Sawhney (2001), Sawhney and Parikh (2000), Sawhney and Zabin (2001), Usborne (2001a, 2001b, 2001c)

The marketing group said this product would give me a really good scalp massage.


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