Catchy Copy? It's a Numbers Game

A blackboard filled with equations.

This blog is by no means political, but it can be inspired by politics. Why? Because at its root successful politics is about communicating a message to the electorate. And isn't that the goal in business communications? To clearly and quickly embed your message in your customer's conscious?

Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak announced his plan to create one million jobs over eight years in the province of Ontario.

Hudak even coined a catchy phrase to describe it: his "Million Jobs Act."

In Digital Echidna's home of London, ON, our current mayor successfully ran on a platform that, in large part, was built upon a promise of a zero per cent tax freeze over the four years of his term.

Large or small, both numbers resonate.

It's nothing new. People have been manipulating numbers for generations. The concept of psychological pricing is still dominant today in the retail world. It's why items are priced at $19.99 instead of $20. Despite only a one-cent difference, to the consumer, that 20 seems far greater than the 19.

So what? You may ask. What's the point?

The point is, when it comes to engaging your customers, simple, clear, and catchy statements rule the day. Your Web copy doesn't need to be filled with slogans, quotes, and catchy statements – but the message needs to be clear and concise.

Just because the Internet afford you quote-unquote unlimited space to tell your product's story, it doesn't mean you need to list every minute piece of information "just in case." As in, "just in case one person out of a million wants to know this one fact."

ocus on the key takeaways – the "What's in it for me?" messaging. Give your reader easy access to a handful of prime sell messages, then implement a call to action for them to find out more.

Listing everything is bad. If your content is jargon or tech-spec heavy, it's even worse. High-level, compelling selling messages are good. If you want to offer a sub-page or PDF with every last bit of detail, go ahead – but don't do it right up front. Make it easy for the people who want more content to get it, but focus on the majority of your audience, who just want to scan everything quickly.

As a guy who loves words, it often pains me to say that less is more. But, as a guy who loves words, I also realize that the true skill involved is choosing the right words and the right tone, which best benefits your clients.

Zero per cent down! Buy one get one free! 1,000,000 jobs! No new taxes – all simple, memorable statements that your customers (or your constituents) can easily remember, embrace, and share.

There's a reason why people can quote infomercials – the content basically repeats itself. And while I'd never advocate writing your content as if you were trying to sell it in a half-hour TV block, the principles behind that type of content are solid.

  • Simple, catchy messages
  • Repeated so that they're ingrained in your customer's memory
  • Clear understanding of key features and benefits, and
  • Clear call to actions

All those K-Tel albums didn't feature a song called, "And More..." But they knew that it was more important to list the highlights and value than provide a comprehensive list of every song on every album.

Today, from the Schticky to the Snuggie, from Proactiv to P90X, infomercials all follow that same pattern. In fact, if you watch a full infomercial, you'll notice that there are very few actual claims, very little in the way of content, and frequently repeated images, statements, and segments.

For the rest of us, there are real nuggets of gold amidst all of that cheese. Simple lessons all about why successful copy is, in many ways, a numbers game.

Focus on crafting the right message for the right audience – then get out of the way. It will be easier for your customers to find it without all the clutter.

And the one numbers game everyone loves is when their bottom line improves!

Questions Answered

How much copy should I write on my site?

How do I create effective marketing copy?



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