How to Get Your Marketing Materials Read
Do you enjoy reading textbooks?
How about software manuals, annual reports or thesis statements?
When you sit down in your favorite chair after a long day, do you pull out one of your old term papers for a little light reading?
My guess is, probably not—unless you’re suffering from insomnia. Because any of these would make an excellent sleep aid…But that’s about it.
Sure, you might plod through a manual or report because you know somewhere, buried in all that dry, boring text, is information you need. But if you’re like most folks you’re not going to enjoy it.
Unless I know for sure I’m going to get something I want or need out of it, you’d have to pay me a boatload of money to get me to read stuff like that (and I’m readaholic who happily browses the back of aerosol cans).
So what happens when you use this kind of writing in your marketing or advertising?
Absolutely nothing. No calls and no sales.
Why? Because most of the time it simply won’t get read.
This is a serious problem since the goal of your marketing is to make people take notice, take action, and in the end, buy something. That won’t happen if they don’t read your materials.
Unfortunately, the dull, dry style of writing most of us learned in school isn’t going to do the trick.
So what do you do?
Learn to write like you’re having a one on one conversation with the reader. To put it another way, you have to write like their best friend speaks.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling to lawyers, doctors, or new moms. The same rule still holds true. Because no matter what you’re still speaking to one person reading your materials.
Of course, you might have to change your vocabulary a bit depending on the audience (after all, computer programmers use different lingo than pet owners). But anything you write needs to sound like a real person speaking—not like a textbook.
That’s not just my personal opinion. Years of testing by top copywriters and advertisers has proven that writing in a conversational voice gets better results every time.
Let me show you a quick example …
One of my clients came to me years ago with a flier promoting an upcoming networking event (I’ll call it XXXXXXX for the sake of anonymity).
Here’s the body text:
Organizations, in an effort to achieve overall business success, are coming together more and more to create synergistic strategic partnerships. (XXXXXXX) has been developed in order to identify, for and with, individuals and organizations that make natural referral partners and to more efficiently define each individual organization’s vision, resources, processes, and strategies leading to a more effective partnership within the strategic partnership group…
Whew! I swear I just had a flashback to my Economics class. And this is just a small sampling of the writing crammed onto one page.
Now here’s a taste of what I wrote instead…
Did you know referral leads close 50-80% of the time?
Even if you are unable to ask for business directly or you can’t pay for leads, you can increase your client base through referrals.
How do you create a quality referral network?
Not your typical networking events, XXXXXXXs give you plenty of time to share your thoughts, ideas and dreams and really get to know other professionals. Why? Because it’s hard to recommend someone you’ve barely met.
There was a good bit more to it, but I’m sure you can see the difference. Writing like this is engaging. And it is easy to read and understand because it sounds like a normal person speaking.
The result? Marketing that gets read—and makes more sales!
Ready to start writing like your prospects speak?
Try using these 3 nifty tricks to make your words come to life…
Trade 50-cent for 5-cent words. A good rule of thumb is to find and replace words with 3 or more syllables with one or two shorter words wherever possible. So “better” is better than “preferable”. If you’re struggling here, grab a thesaurus.
Studies have shown the average American reads at about a sixth-grade level (sad but true). So you want to avoid writing at more than an 8th grade level.
You can check the level of your writing using a neat little tool in Microsoft Word. Just click on Tools then Spelling and Grammar. Then click the Options button in that window. Now select the Show Readability Statistics box under grammar and hit Okay.
Run a spelling and grammar check and at the end a box shows up with your Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level.
Read your writing out loud, or better yet, have someone else read it to you. Got a kid around the age of ten or twelve? Get them to read it to out loud.
If it doesn’t sound like someone having a casual conversation, it needs work. And anywhere you or they stumble needs to be changed.