Crafting and Communicating Messages that Register

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November 15, 2011

With all this talk about increasing conversion rates, let’s get back to the basics and work on our conversation skills. Your marketing messages will be tossed or deleted if they’re tooone sided, filled with internal speak (jargon, unidentified acronyms, corporate phraseology) or cloudy copy that seemsdirection less or arbitrary to that one special customer that is reading it.






Writer beware, people can tell when they are being “messaged at.” So craft your messages and stories naturally and conversationally.

Rick Levine and the other authors of “The Cluetrain Manifesto” offer some of the best advice on how to write great direct mail, email, or web copy to bond with your highly intelligent customers today:

  • Enter the conversation
  • Loosen up
  • Lighten up
  • Shut up for a while and listen
  • Don’t try to insert forced messages into the mind of the masses. You should be listening, targeting, and refining accordingly
  • Spin gets noticed and scorned, be real
  • Engage your customers with an authentic voice
  • Tell really good stories

Stories are the currency of the social media realm. By threading good stories, not hype, throughout your marketing messages, you’ll embed richness, immediacy, and memorability that dry bullet points rarely do.

Long before bullet points came into vogue, there were extraordinary minds and copywriters. Just look through the list of the Top 100 Advertising Campaigns of the Century for a refresher course. You’ll see the top three ads were written before 1960, before email campaigns, before social media campaigns, before we overcomplicated the art of copy. In case you can’t read the copy from the Think Small campaign link, here it is. Enjoy.

Think small.
 Our little car isn’t so much of a novelty any more. A couple of dozen college kids don’t try to squeeze inside it. The guy at the gas station doesn’t ask where the gas goes. Nobody even stares at our shape. In fact, some people who drive our little flivver don’t even think 32 miles to the gallon is going any great guns. Our using five pints oil instead of five quarts. Our never needing anti-freeze. Or racking up 40,000 miles on a set of tires. That’s because once you get used to some of our economies, you don’t even think about them any more. Except when you squeeze into a small parking spot. Or renew your small insurance. Or pay a small repair bill. Or trade in your old VW for a new one. Think it over.

This terrific copy underscores Bill Bernbach’s 1949 manifesto that good taste, good art, and good writing can be good selling. If your messages are as true and pure, they’ll help evoke and engage people and customers to embrace your brand.

So go forth to craft and share your marketing messages like a good story vs. a bad propaganda piece. You’ll know you’ve achieved that goal when you hear people echoing your words in their voice online, in social media and on the street. Success as a communicator, copywriter, PR person, social media master, or CEO means getting back to the basics of keeping it real.

Is your copy the real thing?

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