How to Write Advertising Copy that Sells

Powerful advertising copy can boost your business, and with a few simple pointers, you can turbo-charge your marketing efforts. Here is a checklist you can use to avoid common mistakes and put real muscle into your marketing.

1. Command attention! If the headline doesn’t get noticed, the rest of your message is a complete waste. Ask a provocative question. Make a compelling promise. Warn people. Use a “How to” headline. Challenge the status quo. Educate and enlighten.

2. Be sure to deliver on promises made in the headline, and reward the reader for reading on by providing important facts and answers to relevant questions.

3. Get attention from the RIGHT people. Try using words that are hot buttons for your target audience.

4. Use colloquialisms as opposed to common terms so your message is more likely to stand out and get noticed. Example: “Are you getting a POT BELLY?”

5. Use the word “you” to make the message more personal and invite the reader into your world.

6. Write about YOUR CUSTOMERS’ needs, wants and desires, and how they can be satisfied with your product or service. Don’t write about yourself. They don’t care about your history, traditions, philosophies and vision. They care about themselves.

7. Write about the benefits your product or service delivers to customers. Don’t emphasize features over benefits. Features are just the means by which a benefit is delivered.

8. Use “proven facts” to support your claims. 80% of people question advertising claims the first time they encounter them, so you have to build credibility. Facts work. Testimonials work. Guarantees work. Warranties work.

9. Remember “less is more.” Getting people to read “long” copy is an art best left to the professionals. Keep it simple and stay focused. Resist the temptation to write every reason you can think of for someone to buy your product or service.

10. Use bullet points to make a list of benefits easier to digest. Make the top and bottom bullet points your strongest selling points. Items in those positions are recalled more often.

11. Read your copy out loud and see if it flows properly and seems like a reasonable way to express your point. If it seems “herky-jerky,” massage the copy and try adding a few transitions.

12. Humans are visually-oriented creatures so use words that conjure up vivid images.

13. Use metaphors to help people understand complex subjects. Metaphors work, and they work fast!

14. Personality counts. The copy you write reflects you and/or your company’s personality … or the lack thereof. Don’t preach or pontificate. Write as though you were speaking to the person across the table. Allow some enthusiasm and personal energy to come through.

15. If you are offering some type of promotion, put a time limit on it, and make sure you tell people to act before the offer expires. Warn them of the potential for missing out.

16. Tell the reader exactly what you want them to do. You will be surprised at how powerful a “call-for-action” is, and how often people forget to include one. Examples: Call right now! Hurry, this offer ends soon!

So now, this is what I want YOU to do: Put a copy of this near your desk so you can refer to it next time you are “wordsmithing.” Do it – you’ll be glad you did.

© 2013 Thompson Advertising, Inc. Reproduction of this article is only permitted if Thompson Advertising is credited and our Web site address is published along with it. “”