Copywriting is one of those underestimated elements of marketing.

Underestimated because it can do so much to affect the sales of a product or even a company.

One of the best descriptions of copywriting you can find is by advertising legend, Claude Hopkins.

It's within the pages of his book Scientific Advertising, written in 1927.

He said that copywriting is "Salesmanship in print."

That book has been a foundational text for many thousands of direct marketing people ever since.

It was a seminal work because it showed a study of advertising, unlike anything that had come before it.

As the title suggested, it took a scientific approach to the subject.

Explaining how to measure the effectiveness of advertising and the return on money spent were innovations when this book first published.

Writing with the sole aim of selling things or influencing a decision is my simple description of this skill.

Copywriting is a skill, and it's not just about using words effectively. That is, of course, an essential detail of the job. 

Perhaps even more important than the words is crafting the proposition.

For the copywriter, that often that involves much digging and asking lots of questions.  

You have to interpret; you have to dig out from your client what's in it for THEM with them being the prospective clients whom we hope will be receptive to the emails we send or the ads that we publish.

Often, you have to clarify who the customer is or should be with your client.

It's surprising how often this question arises.

Stripping things away to get to the heart of a proposition can help define who the client is and why they will be interested in what we have to offer.

Without this knowledge, producing something that will resonate with the target audience will be hard to do.

So, if you are a client briefing for copy or content, this clarity will significantly help you achieve a successful result.

Today, copywriting has for many clients been overtaken by "content marketing."

However, the truth is, excellent copywriters have been "content marketing" for decades.

How? By always focusing on the most prominent benefits that a product or service would bring to the lives of those who purchased the thing they were marketing.

Repeating and re-emphasising those benefits within the copy as often as they could.

They put those benefits into direct mail pieces, sales letters, brochures, faxes, newspaper and magazine advertisements, postcards and a host of other non-digital communications.

Today, they are writing for emails, lead magnets, landing pages, digital brochures and newsletters and the many other things that a company like yours produces.

Here are five tips that will help you improve the response rates to your direct and digital marketing.  

Mail to an accurate list

A list full of holes in the email or address fields is not going to get a good response.

You can send a poorly worded offer to a good list and get a great response, but even fantastic copy can't repair holes in your data. 

Invest in the development and growth of your list

This tip is the logical follow-on to Point No.1.

Your database, your CRM, prospect file, or whatever you call it, is vital to your marketing.

Write for those who are interested

When you send an email to a list of thousands, only a small percentage will be interested in what you have to say.

That's because they are in the market for what you are offering or were already thinking about your kind of product or service.

Many of the other people on your list will be ready at another time. That's why you have to keep in contact.

When putting your copy together, write for the interested.

Use long copy for the interested

If now is the wrong time for a recipient to think about buying what you offer, long or short copy won't make an iota of difference to their decision.

However, if your recipient is interested, even faintly, then you need to present them with all of the facts.

Think about when you book a holiday, you need and want all of the details.

Just knowing which country the yoga or tennis retreat is in won't help you find and fly to the closest airport.

Give people all of the facts and by facts, I, of course, mean, the benefits to them. 

Keep testing

Many commercial copywriters will tell you that they weren't keen on maths at school, but now numbers really interest them.

Stats for open and click rates and enquiries received are all of high interest.

As of course is the number relating to orders placed straight after an item of marketing lands in inboxes.

You learn from numbers because they tell you which approach has worked best or better.

When you find what those things are in your marketing stick with it.

Find new ways to enhance that approach. That's what testing is all about.

Ongoing, incremental improvements can bring massive changes in results.

Achieving those results is to me, is what copywriting is all about. Hopefully, that sounds good to you too.

David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051


The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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