“Words Matter: Why Copy is Everything In Your Business”
Years ago, I remember reading about one of my first marketing mentors who, at the time, would get up to $25,000 for three-step marketing campaign. This basically entailed him writing a long-form sales letter mailed by snail mail to a target audience, followed by two shorter letters each usually spaced out about one to two weeks apart. The purpose was to sell a product or service for his client. And many times, not only did he get $25,000 but he got a percentage of the profits of products sold after a certain point. Since then, he has commanded up to $100,000 for the same type of mailing sequence.
Why would companies pay that kind of money for three simple letters? The short answer? Words matter. And in today’s online world, whether your favorite form of content is blogging, doing videos or podcasts, the thing they all have in common are the words that are used in them. Putting the right words in the right order can mean the difference between a mediocre business and a booming business.
In addition to doing marketing consulting, I’m also a copywriter and have seen first-hand the power of good copy on landing pages, email sequences and websites. The proper use of words in writing sizzling copy can make a ho-hum product stand out and sound amazing in a crowded marketplace.
Way back in the 70’s there was a fad that made huge waves nationally for a while. They were called “Pet Rocks”. They were conceived by an advertising copy editor named Gary Dahl. They were simply smooth rocks from Mexico’s Rosarito Beach. Here’s how Wikipedia describes them:
“They were marketed like live pets, in custom cardboard boxes, complete with straw and breathing holes.”
Like any other fad, once these things got traction in the marketplace they sold like hotcakes. Although this only lasted about 6 months, he sold 1.5 million of them and became a millionaire.
Now remember, this was back in 1975 when there was no internet. How did he get the word out? He wrote his own carefully crafted press releases to news outlets. Newsweek got hold of the story and published a half-page story on it which led Dahl to be a guest, twice, on The Tonight Show. He also included a 32-page official training manual titled The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock with each Pet Rock. It was full of puns and gags regarding raising and caring for your Pet Rock. The entertainment value of the product caused a lot of word of mouth advertising alone.
This is an old example of how the power of a good idea and good copy to back it up can catapult a product into the limelight. In the online world, we’re fighting for attention for our business. This is why branding even a small business is so important. You need to stand out online with a logo, tagline or other means to get the attention of the reader or viewer. Once you have that attention, keeping it is critical and you have a very short window of opportunity to get your sales message out. At this point being brief, concise and choosing the right words is critical.
I’m convinced virtually anyone can write good copy for their marketing pieces if they simply study the do’s and don’t of this critical skill. There are a number of good books out there on the subjects that can be purchased online. And, if you simply don’t want to learn to do it yourself, there are a lot of copywriters who can do it for you. Feel free to contact us if we can help you with this. We write web content, email sequences and landing page sales copy and blogs for a variety of businesses regularly.