Copywriting is advertising.
That might sound egotistical to graphic designers, but it’s the way I feel about the subject.
I can take blocks of excellent copy, put them together without any graphics, and get a sale. It can be a sales letter, an email, or a speech. I cannot say the same about graphics with no copy.
And many examples prove this point:
- WSJ’s two-billion-dollar letter
- American Express’ Quite Frankly Letter
- Aesthetic Tech’s email campaign promoting the Elite Suffusion System
- Graves Golf’s email for “The Best Ball Striker Ever”
- Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor online sales page
Just to name a few.
Advertising without excellent copy attached to it is simply fluff. And you’re about to get three reasons why that is.
Before you get the three reasons why copywriting is advertising, I’d like to point out two resources that were key to the development of this report.
Firstly, there’s The Copywriter’s Handbook by Bob Bly. For this piece, let’s focus our attention on chapter 4: Writing to Sell. That chapter talks about the importance of having qualified copywriters at ad agencies. The chapter also covers unique selling propositions, secondary promises, and the use of false logic in advertising. And you get a checklist of copy motivators at the end of the chapter.
My second source is the book Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. In chapter 2 “Just salesmanship”, Claude Hopkins explains why advertising is not just salesmanship, but multiple salesmanships. Hopkins discusses the effects of (good and bad) advertising on your bottom line, and how to design effective ads. You also get some ideas to present advertisements in print.
Now, drawing from those two books, as well as my experience as a direct response copywriter, here are three reasons why copywriting is advertising.
You may have heard before about the importance of the headline to the success or failure of an ad. And you are about to hear it again.
Your headline is what will make your prospects turn their heads and pay attention to what you have to say. If you have a fluffy headline – or worse yet, no headline at all – your prospect will dismiss whatever message you are trying to tell them.
Let’s say you are a financial planner running a Facebook ad that leads to a landing page. If you present a photo of you shaking hands with a client and your text says, “Click here to learn more”, you won’t get a lot of clicks. Because there’s no context. What am I going to learn when I click the link? I don’t know. And because of all the bad faith going around the internet, I don’t like clicking on an unknown link without knowing what I’ll get.
Now, if you place the same picture, but your text reads “Are you looking to turn around your finances? Click on the link below to learn the 3 financial mistakes you may not know you’re making and how to fix them” – then I have the motivation to click on the link. I know what I’m going to get. So, chances are higher now that I will to your landing page. Thus, increasing the chances of you closing a sale.
Your headline is key to the success of your ads. Excellent headlines get the attention of the right people – those willing to buy or hire you. If you decide to go with a fluffy headline or no headline at all, you might as well save the money. Because your ad won’t work.
Your advertisements should be sending a clear brand message to your prospects. And for that, you need excellent sales and marketing copy that is easy to understand and very concise.
Presenting ad copy that carries a lot of jargon, me-language, and PHD-type vocabulary will only turn your audience off. If they must think/rethink your brand message, it is too complicated. And chances are people will toss away your ad.
Instead of trying to sound like a scholar, your brand message should be easy to digest. Get rid of vague messages that you think sound smart. And instead, be specific. Go straight to the point – letting your market know who you are, what you are, how you do it, and why it’s important.
Communication is key to the success of any advertisement. And excellent copywriters present text that relates your brand message clearly and concisely.
“The object of advertising is to sell goods” – those are the words of Raymond Rubicam (of Young and Rubicam) at the start of chapter 4 in The Copywriter’s Handbook. And that is something that every direct response advertiser must understand.
There are other marketing campaigns in which you can aim for other goals, such as engagement. But with your advertising, your bottom line is the bottom line. And your copywriting should focus on getting those leads and sales.
The biggest factor in what makes ad copy persuasive or fluffy is that one focuses on the offers features and how cool they are (fluff), while the other thinks about the prospects and highlights the benefits each offer supplies to the prospect. And as we discussed earlier, fluff doesn’t get the job done when it comes to sales and lead generation.
Being persuasive is about being consumer-focused. Present your audience with what they want or need and let them know you can deliver. Thus, your advertising copy should aim at presenting your offer as a practical choice that fulfills the desires of the prospect. That’s how your ads will achieve their goals of getting leads and sales orders.
Starting today, you must understand that excellent copywriting is a key element to the success of your advertising. Your ads should talk directly to the people you wish to be in business with – telling them exactly who you are and why it matters. Avoid jargon and fluff. And focus on fulfilling the wants and needs of the prospect.
Do you agree or disagree with my assessment that “copywriting in advertising”? Leave a comment explaining your side of things. And if you think this article could be useful to someone you know, feel free to share it with them!