Marketing Copy That Compels

By: Samantha Whitehorne

Perk up your marketing copy with personal stories that are meaningful to your audience.

How does this conference marketing copy sound? "Our top-notch and highly qualified presenters will give you on-the-spot solutions to the day-to-day challenges you face."

Not exactly compelling, is it? But, unfortunately, it's the kind of copy you see time and time again.

Instead, what if you listened to what previous attendees have said about the program by assigning a staff person to ask them and to capture their exact words? You might come out with something more like this: "The Wisconsin Society of Widget Manufacturers offers educational programs that are worth getting up at 5 a.m. and driving halfway across the state to attend." Much better, isn't it?

According to Sheri Jacobs, CAE, president and chief strategist of Avenue M Group and author of 199 Ideas: Powerful Marketing Tactics That Sell, you have to tell an interesting story to capture your potential buyers' attention, and the revised copy above is a perfect example. "Think of these previous attendees as your spokespeople. This kind of word of mouth is particularly powerful," Jacobs says.

Before you get started on the personal stories, you need to know some basics. "To write great copy, you first need to know who you are trying to sell to. Without knowing that, you won't get far," says Jacobs. "Even more important, though, is knowing what the unique value of said product, event, or service is to your potential audience. There's a lot out there, so you have to be able to differentiate it from everything else."

One trouble sign to watch out for: "When you're being ignored," Jacobs says. "That's the worst."

Samantha Whitehorne is managing editor of Associations Now. 199 Ideas: Powerful Marketing Tactics That Sell is available in the ASAE & The Center online bookstore.