Marketing Copy: Speak your Customers’ Language
Good copy is written for the reader. Good marketing copy is written for your customers. When beginning a project, you should start with the same question every time: what does the customer want to know? Studies have shown that people only read 20 to 28% of text on a web page — so get to the point! The quicker you communicate your key information, the greater the chance your customers will see it.
Customers come to your website or shop because they need something. It’s about them, it’s not about you! Avoid focussing on “our service” or “our products”, or even “our added value”. You should be using the pronoun ‘you’ far more often than ‘our’ or ‘we’. Don’t waste time trying to find new and creative ways to promote your brand goals. Instead, describe what your company does, what you offer, and how it can benefit your customers.
Tell them what they want to know!
People read advertising and marketing copy because they want information. So give them what they want: be specific, be informative and always be clear and to the point. Don’t fill up your copy with jargon, buzzwords and platitudes — most people are tired of them, and they are easy to ignore. Good content is easy to read and understand.
Put important information first
Web-user eye-tracking studies show that people tend to scan, rather than ‘read’ a webpage. Often our eyes follow an ‘F’ shape pattern. This means, that we look across the top and usually read the first paragraph. Then we scan down the side, reading further across when we find the information we need. So always put your key information at the top, and front-load your titles.
Front-loading means putting the important information first. For example: “Our [service] offers benefits to the user”, compared to (front-loaded) “Benefits of our service”.
Use plain language
There is a temptation when writing corporate copy to use formal or fancy language. But people don’t talk like that in real life! Studies have shown that people prefer plain English because it allows them to understand the information more quickly. Research has found that 80% of people prefer sentences written in clear English (the more complex the topic, the greater that preference). People don’t “connect and engage”, we meet up and talk. We don’t “create solutions”, we fix the problem. In reality, we are rarely “passionate” about brands or products, we like them a lot. We don’t “utilise” things, we use them. Try to write as you would say it.
If you need to use technical terms then do so. But make sure to explain them the first time they are used. If using acronyms, don’t assume your customers will recognise them — write them out in full the first time. When translating, we strongly recommend using consistent terminology — ie. the terms you use should be translated the same way every time. Creating a glossary will ensure that.
Use short sentences, and break up your text with sub-headings. Large blocks of text are very off-putting. A ‘wall’ of text takes time to read, and if your potential customer has other things to do, you could miss the sale.
Use short words, for example: “The recently standardised procedures should not be applied until January 2024.”
This sounds complex! It would be better to say: “Do not use the new procedures until January 2024.”
Avoid footnotes and small print. If it’s important information it should be included in the body text. If it’s not important, leave it out.
Avoid unnecessary introductions, such as “this document will explain how to…” — just explain.
Titles should be unique and explanatory
People use titles to navigate a document — to remember where they are! Especially when browsing online, where you may have several pages open. Don’t repeat, or use similar titles. Furthermore, make your title useful. Be specific. For example, “Tee-shirts” is quite vague, “Organic Cotton Tee-Shirts” is more useful.
Effective communication can boost your sales!
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QuickSilver Translate helps companies create or adapt their sales materials and websites to different linguistic areas. And we do this for all needs (marketing, technical, journalistic, etc.). We take care of copywriting, translating, editing or reviewing any type of document, using our pool of highly qualified professional editors and linguists.