Do you sometimes struggle to write content for your social media, ads, or website? Does the thought of coming up with something original overwhelm you? If so, now you finally can relax because, today, you will learn the top three elements to a perfect marketing message every time.
In fact, this article could be one of the most important things you read all year, and here’s why: Great marketing campaigns are built upon a great message first. In advertising, we refer to this messaging as ad copy. You can spend all the money you want on Google Ads, SEO, Facebook Ads, etc., but those are just different media channels.
What matters is the message behind the media – the copy. That’s why you remember slogans from popular brands like McDonald’s, Nike, and Apple. They focused on the copy first, and the media channels second. For that reason, the words you write must grab your client’s attention, keep their attention, and direct them where you intend (whether to give you a call, fill out a form, reply to an email, and so on).
Tip #1: Know Your Perfect Client
Before you start writing copy, you must understand your customer at a deep level. You probably have a good understanding of them already. But have you ever taken the time to document it? I mean, really sit down and get clarity on who exactly your perfect customer is? Unfortunately, most contractors haven’t.
If that’s you, here’s a simple three-step strategy to help you identify your ideal client fast:
- Go on review websites like BBB, Google Reviews, and TrustedPros. Then, study the one-star and five-star reviews from some of your direct competitors.
- Analyze the review feedback. Take note of five to 10 reviews that were positive, and what the customers liked. Then, do the same for the negative reviews, but for what they didn’t like this time.
- Now, search for patterns. You should begin to see recurring negative and positive things clients liked and didn’t like. Write all these points down and reflect on them.
You can reference this information as you create your copy during the writing process.
Tip #2: Follow AIDA
Whether it’s copy for your social media posts, website, brochure, or a script for a promotional video, you must follow a proven framework to deliver an impactful message to your audience. AIDA is a simple acronym you can use to outline the structure of your copy without getting off track:
A = Attention. This is your headline, opening question, or hook. In marketing, we usually call this a “grabber” because it grabs people’s attention. Our goal is to pique their curiosity in the first one to three seconds. Here are three easy strategies to grab your audience’s attention fast:
- Write your headline like it’s news. People read stuff that sounds newsworthy. Example: Austin’s Finest Hardwood Floor Experts Guarantee Your Floors Will Look Like New in Four Days or Less!
- Present an incredible offer. Create a head-turning hook that’s impossible to ignore. Example: Toronto’s Finest Hardwood Flooring Experts Offer
Free Lifetime Warranty!
- Appeal to their desires and pain points. Give them what they want and remove what they don’t want. A simple headline formula you can use to achieve this is: (Insert Benefit) Without (Insert Pain point). Example: Now You Can Refinish Your Hardwood Floors Without the Dust!
I = Interest. Now that you have their attention, you must hold their interest so they stick around to listen for more. The easiest way to do this is to focus on their needs and how you can help them get what they want. Here are two ways you can build more interest:
- Focus on benefits more than features. Features are aspects of your service, which could be technical or descriptive. Benefits explain why those features matter to your client. Example: The fact you use a multi-directional sander with an integrated vacuum is a feature. But the benefit is a flawless-looking floor in less time without the dust.
- Use the word YOU as often as possible. Avoid saying “I” too much in your copy. Make it all about them and what they get out of investing in your business.
D = Desire. At this point, you’ve got their attention and their interest, and now you need to build the desire for them to speak with you. This usually means pictures of your work, testimonials, and other forms of credibility. Here are some general guidelines for building desire using these strategies:
- Show transformational testimonials. Paint a clear picture of how your clients’ lives have improved since working with you. Example: “Before working with Trent, our floors were embarrassing. We couldn’t have anyone over. Now, it feels like we have friends over every week. We’ve gotten more compliments on our home than we can count!”
- Use before/after pictures. Nothing builds desire more than seeing a beautiful, finished product. Prove your skills by showing the transformation you made to a client’s floors.
- Keep it relevant. Keep your testimonials and before/after pictures relevant to the types of jobs you want. You will attract leads like the testimonials and pictures you display. So, if you want high-end job leads, show high-end work. The same goes for testimonials!
A = Action. Now our prospect has an intense desire for your services, which means it’s time to command them to act. In marketing, we call this your “call to action” (CTA). For example, the CTA most likely will be to get a free quote. Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating a call to action:
- Command them to act. Be very firm in your tonality. Avoid passive language patterns like, “Feel free to contact us.” Be clear and be authoritative. Tell them exactly what they should do, and to do it right now. Example: “Call now to request your free quote!”
- Keep it simple. Don’t tell them to do two or three different things. Give them one, very simple thing to do that takes them less than five seconds. Otherwise, you’re going to confuse, distract, or dissuade them from moving forward.
Tip #3: Write Like You Talk
A common mistake people make is writing differently than how they speak. They start using fancy words and tonality they would never use in a normal conversation. Don’t do that! Great copy should be in a conversational tone. It should seem like you’re talking one-on-one with the person. Here are three tips for writing more conversationally, so you can connect with your audience better:
- Speak one-to-one. Never say something like, “you guys” or “our clients.” Always refer to your audience as “you.” And when it comes to referring to your company, say “we.” This helps the reader relate and connect with you deeper because you’re speaking directly to them.
- Use short sentences and paragraphs. Avoid run-on sentences. If possible, your sentences should be no longer than six to 10 words. Usually, you can replace a comma with a period anyway. Also, keep your paragraphs short, no more than five to six lines. This helps your audience consume information easier.
- Write in 6th grade language or lower. The simpler words you use, the less chance of error or misunderstanding. Your content also will appeal to a wider array of people. I recommend putting your content into a free tool called hemingwayapp.com. This grades and simplifies your content for you.
There you have it. Three of my best tips so you can write better marketing messages for your ads, website, brochures, whatever. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Remember, if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to look at examples from other people. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little external inspiration.
Matt Thibeau is the CEO of Savant Marketing Agency and author of Digital Marketing Secrets for Contractors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613.619.5319. For additional marketing insights, visit contractormarketingbook.com to download a free copy of Digital Marketing Secrets for Contractors.