7 Tips for Great Biz Marketing

Working with a marketing copywriting pro can prove a boon to your small business. A pro can tailor your message to new and future clients. But not every small business has the financial resources to hire on a professional. That means it’s up to you to put pen to paper.

Writing may not be high on your skill set list, but knowing a few tips and strategies can make writing effective marketing copy a good deal easier.

Here are seven tips to get you started:

1. Keep things simple. New customers don’t want to wade through Moby Dick to learn about your business’ products or services. I it’s an e-mail or a printed flyer, keep your writing tight and make every word count.

“Don’t be afraid of white space. When people are communicating, they feel uncomfortable with too much white space on the page and they tend to want to fill it up with a lot of words,” says Joel Warady, principal of Chicago-based Joel Warady Group. “To the person who is reading, less is more communicative.”

“One of the best long-term campaigns is Nike’s ‘Just Do It’. Three words, and a swoosh. Not even the brand. Yet everyone knows exactly what it is.” (Want to produce professional-looking marketing materials in-house? Check out Microsoft Small Business.

2. Make it emotional. With apologies to Mr. Spock, consumers generally don’t buy with logical reasoning. Something appeals because it’s engaging, sexy and compelling for reasons they can’t put their finger on. Whenever possible, have your copy emphasize emotions. “People will make the decision to use your product or service for emotional reasons, not because it makes logical sense,” says Warady.

3. “Talk” your writing. The more you can keep your copy at a basic, conversational level, the better you can engage in a dialogue with your customers. “Write like you talk. Use contractions, be funny, include asides,” says Lyn Mettler of Mettler Public Relations in Charleston, S.C. “It makes it so much more interesting to read.”

4. When formatting, load up with bullets. The overriding goal of marketing copy is to convey your message to the reader, no matter how that happens. One way to hedge your bets is to use bullets, lists and other formatting strategies that allow clients and customers to absorb copy at a glance. They may not get everything, but chances are good that the salient elements of your message will come through.

5. Make it viral. A marketing message that resonates with one consumer is great. One that makes one want to pass it along to friends, colleagues and family is better. Again, something that hits an emotional chord is more likely to be shared than one that merely lists products or services. “You want people to spread the word about what it is you have to offer, so make certain that the message is compelling enough that people will want to tell others,” says Warady. “Most marketers share boring details about their product or service, about which only company insiders will care.”

6. When in doubt, go with your gut. Writers-particularly inexperienced ones-often wrestle needlessly with their copy, struggling to find just the “right” words or turn of phrase which may or may not exist. Think about the one sentence or message that pops into your head first. What’s noteworthy about your business that you want others to know? That association may prove to be the most effective message possible. “Don’t write the great American novel. I run into many people who get stuck writing, because they feel it has to be deep, have a theme and metaphors,” says Mettler. “Don’t get hung up in the perfect piece or you’ll never finish. Oftentimes your first thoughts are your clearest and best.”

7. Once more, with feeling. Once you have a marketing concept or message that hits home with clients and customers, don’t make the mistake of having it lapse into a one-shot deal. Repeat your message frequently to make certain that it’s reaching as many prospects as possible. “Don’t worry about repeating the same message over and over. It will help you rise above the clutter of advertising,” says Warady. “Marketers get bored with their marketing campaigns way too early. Consumers don’t hear it or see it as often as the marketers do, and it will take some time for the message to invade their brains. Stick to the message, and don’t be afraid to repeat it over and over.”

Jeff Wuorio is a freelance writer, author and speaker based in southern Maine. He writes about small-business management, marketing and technology issues. His business and finance blog is at http://wuorio.blogspot.com.

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