July 27, 2004 Volume 4 Issue 6
Copy Chaser Rules
The advertising world, and especially the business-to-business world, has had a collection of thoughts named Copy Chaser Rules.
Each article, written by several anonymous ad executives,evaluates one-two-three print ads and compares them one to the other.
What are the criteria for this critic? Well, that's what this weeks E-zine is all about - the 10 Copy Chaser Rules, with my twist. Let's begin.
#1. Use High Visual Magnetism
Only a small number of ads in a single issue of any magazine or newspaper are ever read.
Each reader selects what is appealing to them - that may meet a need they currently have. And skip the others - most often more is missed than looked at and read.
So, if you want your print ad read you must start by S T O P P I N G the reader. When your ad just lies there on the page, flat and 'gray' and uninteresting, or is so 'noisy and cluttered and hard to read - the reader move son. You do - I do - your prospect does.
Each ad should have a single eye catching component. Something dominant that takes over. A headline. A picture. A graphic or chart. Great copy.What should not be the focal point is your company name or logo ... although the message must be clear you are the deliverer.
The key word is always "interesting" ... interesting to look at.Interesting to read. Interesting to the reader.
#2. Select the Right Audience
This, from the advertising community, is almost 'funny' to those of us in direct. Sending your message to the right audience is the platform on which all DM is built. Yet, it is nice to see our brothers in other disciplines also understand this fact.
The Copy Chaser's say this about audience; "Often, an ad is the first meeting place of two parties looking for each other." WOW - how right-on.
This says, first, your ad must be in the right publication,right section of the paper - in the right place to catch your marketplace. And then, as this very well may be a first time encounter, #1 above - magnetism -comes into play. With my favorite marketing word, 'interesting'.
Again, usually a pix with a strong headline is a good way to grab this potential customer. The Copy Chaser says the ad should say to the reader, "Hey, this is for you."
#3. Invite the Reader Into the Scene
Now were talking art, illustrations, graphics. The visual part of the advertisement. What grabs the eye.
Of course, this includes typeface, type size, layout and format... all the design elements.
Plus ... the art must be a reflection of the audience - see #2.Engineers like things in order. Dominos that fall when pushed. Flow charts and numbers at work. Architects prefer drawings - engineers pictures of people and products at work. The techy folks are more interested in features - and how they function. Managers want to learn about results - and all about benefits.
Placing the right look and design into your ad will affect your results.
#4. Promise a Reward
We in direct call it an offer. A 'hook' is a mandatory element of successful direct marketing. Frequently advertising does not give readers reason to take a step ... there is no carrot out there asking for a response.Copy Chaser's know an offer, a reward, is key to gaining the action you want.
"A brag-and-boast headline, a generalization, an advertising platitude will turn readers off before they get to the message", is how they word it. i.e., give your prospect a reason to read on, to stay with you.
Although I personally do not like the approach, sometimes your offer can be stated in the negative ... what you will loose by not responding.No matter your promise, it should be easy to understand - and very specific.
#5. Back Up the Promise
Facts and figures provide proof. Make you believable. Hard evidence is as important in advertising and marketing as it is in any police case taken to court.
Sometimes a description of the product design, with both features and benefits, is enough. Sometimes a more technical explanation of how the product operates works. Comparisons with similar products can be powerful.
My favorite is case histories, or 'stories' about the product or service in 'live' action. This is more difficult in print - you run out of space. It works exceptionally well in direct mail, a special brochure or booklet and on the web.
And, then there are testimonials. Where someone says nice things about you - in their words. Most often your customers say things about you you don't have the guts to say about yourself. "They-say" works better than"We-Say".
#6. Present Sequences Logically
This goes for text and graphics ... your ad must have a start, a middle and an end.
The copy must read in order, so the message is understood. The art director needs to understand the words - what they mean, what they are saying - so the layout makes as much sense. Is in sequence. Is logical. Reads from beginning to end, like a good novel.
Where I've enjoyed the most success is when the copywriter and art director sit together before the first word is written, the first sketch made. When they get on the same page as a team, the copy does flow - the graphics are in order. And your ad is most likely to reach out to your prospects to turn them into customers.
#7. Talk Person-to-Person
Direct Marketing is a dialogue discipline. Frequently advertising has not been. It should always be per the Copy Chasers.
"Copy is more persuasive when it speaks to the reader as an individual ..." Well, dah! I am not knocking Copy Chasers. Still we have all seen advertising which tosses feathers into a wind storm and wherever they land they land. Talking with your prospects one-on-one has been, is and will always be the best way to get your message across. Since Adam and Eve - and today in the 21st Century.
Plus, the writing must be in the readers language. Keep your industry terms to yourself - your readers do not care.
How do you do this best? Well, something you've read in these pages before comes again;
Oh me oh my ... from the advertising world principles we indirect have been following since about WWI.
#8. Be Easy to Read
These thoughts are also in concrete - and have been in the DMworld since forever.
Type size should never be less than 9 points - my preference is11 or 12. Why? Well, look around you ... 75-80% of the world wears glasses or contacts. Why? Because they cannot see!
Type should be clear of interference from the graphics of the ad, brochure, direct mail or whatever. This means type on top of a piece of art or picture or illustration or chart is bound to be less read. I think a design like this is just plain stupid! It ruins the pix and you can't read the copy - why would you ever do such a thing?
And something for all writing ... the column width should not exceed half the width of the ad or the page. Newspapers have columns because you couldn't read 'em unless they did. Ditto for all your ads, brochures, direct mail, your web pages and everything read.
#9. Emphasize Your Service
. . . and what it does, I am adding.
Every ad should make the reader want to buy what you sell. And this must come before you tell them where to buy it.
Meaning what you offer your marketplace is more important than you. Even your product name is not as important as what your product or service do - the good it brings the customer. People don't buy red buttons ... they buy what happens when you push red buttons.
Yes, your name, your brand, your position in the marketplace,your level of awareness and more all help - yet, what the customer takes away is more important.
#10. Reflect Company Character
Be who you are to your audience. To move suspects up the ladder to prospects and then to customers.
Your advertising and marketing can be more effective than your sales force in bringing a consistent message about who you are, what you do and how you can help your customers. It can show you as 'user-oriented'. It can portray your company's personality - the things you know make you a force in your industry. Respected. Admired. Looked up to.
Know that repetition of your word will build your reputation. If you help others be more efficient, or effective, or more profitable - whatever you do - your advertising will help you get that thought into the minds of those who can and should be your customers. And keep it in those that are.
That's it ... the 10 Copy Chaser Rules. Use them and benefit.
A couple of months ago I very much enjoyed the opportunity to share my favorite marketing seminar with the San Diego Direct Marketing Association.
Creative by the Numbers has been in my arsenal as a foundation for how to do creative right. So what you write is read. And understood. In direct mail, print, on the web, for E-mail - anywhere there a rewords.
Sounds like I've found and established some standards - right?`Well, Anonymous reminds me . . .
"Standards are great ...
. . . a loose thought
Words are communication.
Here is a collection of 'Fun Puns' from email@example.com,the folks who offer a wide collection of good stuff.
The RJm Story
A visitor to wwwMarketingWithRay.com- Sebastien Di Meglio - tells the story of The Baker's Dozen.
"A long, long time ago cooks and chefs would visit the baker to buy pastries, cakes and bread for the castle where they worked. To keep these buyers happy the baker would always give them an 'extra' pastry or bread or cake ... to keep them happy."
My Baker's Dozen collection today has 50 articles, offering ideas about marketing, direct marketing and sales. And a few related topics. Each of the 50 with an 'extra', a 13th idea. The full file can be found @ www.rayjutkins.com/baker/ ... surf over and EnJoy.
Solo or in combination these Baker's Dozen collections can become a seminar for your club or organization. When you'd like to talk about it call me at 1+805-771-8300 or E-mail Ray@RayJutkins.com.
"See" ya next week.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.