5 Tips for Writing Effective Marketing Copy
by Jamison Stoike
It doesn’t matter how good your service is, how wonderful your treatments make people feel or how incredible your products are if you’re unable to successfully market them. In the past, Pulse has consulted with experts to offer tips on marketing strategy, platforms, content marketing and more.
However, there’s one aspect of marketing that we’ve not covered: writing.
Virtually all marketing, from email and social media to signage, requires effective writing. Yet, consistently producing effective, clean, errorless marketing copy can be a challenge even to the most veteran of spa operators.
Here are five tips to help you with the nitty-gritty of writing effective marketing copy.
1. Keep It Structured
Everything I write, from the shortest email to the longest article, begins with a rough, structural outline of what I’m about to write.
For a simple HTML email, structural elements to include are a subject line, headline, body copy and a CTA. For a blog post, begin by establishing a framework of introduction, body and conclusion. It can also be useful to think topically. Ask yourself, “what information do I need to include in this copy?” Create high-level sections that cover each topic, then flesh out these sections with necessary details.
It may also be helpful to structure your copy around the six classic questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Then, set out to answer each question as you write. Organizing copy like this makes it easier to ensure that all the information you needed to convey is included in the text.
2. Write Differently for Different Groups
Rather than thinking about what platform is best for what type of writing, think about which audience responds best to which kind of writing. We’re no longer in the days when only young people used social media. Grandmas use Facebook. Uncles send out Tweets. I’m sure there’s even an octogenarian who uses TikTok. Thinking of each platform as having a “style” isn’t as useful as it once was.
Instead, think about for whom you’re writing, regardless of platform. Are they primarily male or female? Existing customers or new customers? Are they educated on spa concepts? Are they most interested in aesthetics, pain relief or relaxation? The answers to questions like these are more important than what specific platform you use, in part because all copy should (as discussed below) be as concise as possible.
3. Be Brief
Shakespeare wrote that brevity is the soul of wit; this is never truer than with marketing copy. Regardless of the platform—be it email, Facebook, Twitter, blog, brochure, or spa menu—it’s best to keep your copy short, while still conveying all the necessary information.
Think of how much time you devote to reading long, text-heavy emails from people you don’t personally know. What about long Facebook posts? If you’re like most, you likely don’t read them at all. People have short attention spans, especially when digital media is involved. It’s essential to condense your message and make it as pithy as possible. This ensures that you grab the customer’s attention.
4. Never Forget the CTA
Most spa professionals are likely familiar with the term “CTA”: call-to-action. Every piece of marketing that goes out—even indirect content marketing, such as a blog post—should have a CTA at the end that tells the reader exactly what they should do next.
The CTA should always be concise and clear; try to shorten it as much as you can. For an email, the CTA might be something as direct as a clickable button or link that says, “Book your treatment today!” However, a CTA can be concise and clear without being “salesy,” and the subtlety of the CTA should vary based on which platform you’re writing it for. For a blog post on Ayurveda, you might include a gentler CTA, such as a concluding sentence that invites the reader to “discover our ayurvedic-inspired treatments at spawebsite.com.”
5. Let It Be
Proofreading is always a challenge, even to a seasoned editor. Fortunately, there are a variety to ways to make it easier. The simplest advice is to just let it be: write the copy in advance, then let it sit for a day or two before revisiting it. This gives your mind time to ‘clear its cache’, so to speak. The next time you review what you wrote, you’ll stop seeing what you thought you wrote and instead see what you actually wrote. This is useful for catching awkward phrasings, sloppy messaging or missing information.
Another tip to help tighten up any copy is to read it aloud. This method is especially useful for catching words that are misspelled, but uncatchable by a spellchecker: for example, writing “teal” instead of “real.” For typos, reading a text backward forces you to look at each word individually—not as part of a sentence—and can expose any spelling errors you might otherwise miss.
Grammar and punctuation errors can be more difficult to spot, but even Microsoft Word is increasingly adept at catching even complex grammar mistakes (such as issues with comma usage) as well as errors using where/were/we’re or its/it’s. If you write copy in Google Docs, Grammarly is a free software that integrates with Chrome and provides real-time suggestions and corrections.