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This post was written on 28 May 2012 and is filed under Uncategorized.






Your Customers Don’t Give a Shit


You poured your heart and soul into that ad copy. It’s the best thing you’ve written all year. You burst with pride when you look at it. Your ad’s customers don’t give a shit.

Don’t feel bad. The art director just about orgasms when he looks at his layout. Your customer takes one empty glance at the page and throws it aside.

Take this lesson to heart: your audience cares approximately zero about your copywriting. It’s nothing personal. Like the vapid movie title says, “She’s just not that into you.”

 

Did I Have Spinach for Lunch?

Potential customers aren’t DYING to read your sales letter. You’re lucky if they open it. Even then, do you think most of them are going to read from start to finish hanging on every word?  They’re just looking for an excuse to throw your letter to the side. They have much better things to do in the two minutes it would take them to read it. Like pick their teeth. Or stare at that spot on the wall.

Please don’t curl up into a fetal position and cry. I’m not done with you yet.

 

Reality Check

I’m sorry to smack you across the face with the real world and shatter the thin illusion that your genius is appreciated. Have you ever seen that clip of the master violinist who played incognito in a subway station as a social experiment? One of the world’s top virtuosos. Playing on a $3.5 million Stradivarius violin. Over a thousand people passed by. Do you know how many stopped to listen? And even then only very briefly. Seven.

You think your ad for toothpaste is going to wow Joe Public?

 

There’s Hope

Some campaigns capture imagination. You might create a winner.  We’ve all seen ads that generate buzz and get passed around like a Loose Lucy.

But more than likely your best case scenario is to capture some eyeballs and get them to look at some of your wordsmithing. How can you grab your frankly-I-don’t-give-a-damn audience and entice them to stay a while:

- Hook them with headlines. Try one of these headline concepts to snag your readers as they’re flipping.
- Magic bullets. Spoonfeed key info in bulleted lists. They draw eyes in.
- Break it up. A big block of text is an anvil that will sink your copy. Break it up into manageable sections with sub-headings.
- String them along. Tease. Keep your readers wanting more. Push them forward with the architecture of your copy…  questions, cliffhangers, verbal commands, references to info further below…

 
Seduction for Dummies

Treat your audience like morons.  (Some more copywriting advice on that here.) Dumb your copy down so that someone who’s not emotionally invested in it is going to get your main points. They’re not spending hours on it like you did when you wrote it. They’ll skim. Maybe read a little. A small minority will read it all… maybe even a small army of your readers if you really apply the tactics above.

And if you’re a thin-skinned pencil pusher who’s all shook up by the idea that your customers don’t give a flying fork about your copy, wipe your tears. Your customers – they’re not haters. They’re just indifferent. Our trade is a game like seduction. Use the tactics above to make the customers want you. Then make your move with a call-to-action.

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