Don’t leave home without it
Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
Just do it
A diamond is forever
Finger lickin’ good
Singapore girl, you’re a great way to fly
Bet you recognised these slogans even without the brand names.
They’re stuck in your memory. They’ve stood the test of time. We even use them in everyday speech. These iconic brands are arguably more memorable for their slogans.
And that’s the power of great copywriting.
Copywriting is a craft. It’s a combination of good storytelling and psychology. Whether it’s an ad, a social media post or a website, copywriting serves to catch the attention, incite curiosity and desire, and motivate action. Good copywriting sells.
“How hard can it be? It’s just words.”
If you’ve ever spent time crafting a job application and making sure you answered all the requirements in your résumé and cover letter, you’ll know it takes time to do a good job. You have to be on point. Detailed but concise. Persuasive. You are, after all, marketing yourself.
The same goes with copywriting. We spend time understanding the client’s business and its products. We pick out all the benefits, advantages and unique differences. We identify the target audience and their pain points. We craft ways to address those pain points. We work on the messaging and various channels through which it’s delivered.
It may be just words, but those words need to work magic. They need to convert into sales.
“I can write the copy, after all, I know my business best.”
We don’t doubt that clients know their business best. They’re justifiably proud of what they’ve built, so they’ll want to focus on how amazing their products and services are.
However, ‘Our ground-breaking methodology and highly-trained experts are industry leaders with the ability to take your business to the next level’ is just a bunch of unsubstantiated claims and empty promises. It doesn’t answer your customer’s question – what’s in it for me? Your customer wants to know specifically how you can solve their problems. It’s not about you.
The 3Cs of copywriting
When we work with a client to produce marketing copy, we make sure we deliver on all 3 Cs:
Every day we’re deluged with content on the internet and in our social media feeds. Our attention spans have become extremely short. Any brand ad or message you put out there has about 3 seconds to capture the attention of your audience.
Headlines have to be thumb-stopping. What we’re selling has to be obvious and easily understood. Yes, our copy can be clever, funny or satirical, but never at the expense of being clear.
We never want our audience to have to figure out what we’re selling. We tell them what they want to hear. We give them the solution to their problems.
Good messaging gets to the point. No fluffing around. Yes, there’s a place for exquisite long-form copy, but that’s pretty much in the domain of print ads. On small mobile screens, there’s no space for
extraneous big words. Or jargon. Or unnecessary info.
It’s harder than you think to be concise. As Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” These examples bear that out.
When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie split in 2016, the UK office of Norwegian Airlines leveraged the momentum of the spreading news with this brilliant ad. Concise, and enviably funny too.
The trick to compelling copy is to fully understand your audience so you can talk directly and meaningfully to them. It could be addressing your customer’s pain points. Providing a solution to a problem they didn’t realise they had. Offering them an irresistible benefit. Or in the case of Nike, taking a controversial stand with an ad that connected emotionally with their audience, and powerfully underscored their brand philosophy ‘Just do it’. It was a risk that paid off because they truly understood their target demographic and the values they aligned with
The last word
We’ll leave you with examples of excellent copy-led ads here and here. Then there’s The Economist with its memorable long-running campaign of red and white ads, a personal favourite. If these examples have stirred up some ideas for your business, then let’s chat and see how we can help you convert them into sales