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To a 21st century digital copywriter, watching Mad Men is like taking a campy face-in-a-hole photo at a carnival. On the outside, it’s the life of an adman gussied up (not us). And yet, the agency plotlines resonate in a way that’s surprisingly contemporary and real.
In Don Draper’s mock-up for the Royal Hawaiian (season 6, episode 1), he doesn’t show Diamond Head, a lavish suite, or the hotel pool. In their place are a suit, tie, work shirt—doffed and discarded on the fine white sand. The invisible subject has shed his skin and jumped into the ocean, says Don. The clients are flummoxed. It’s morbid, they say, shaking their heads and minds emphatically.
Three episodes later, a pitch to Heinz features naked food— fried chicken, glistening fries, a slice of steak. Above it, a simple directive: “Pass the Heinz.”
It feels like half an ad, says the man at Heinz, who sees only what’s on the page.
According to show creator Matt Weiner, these ads were six years ahead of their time. “The greatest thing you have…is not the photo you take or the picture you paint. It’s the imagination of the consumer. They [sic] have no budget…no time limit. If you can get into that space, your ad can run all day,” says Don.
We’ll raise our whiskeys to that. 1968 or 2013, great marketing copy is often anything but literal. Rather than douse you in a stream, it doles out condensed, heady droplets. Rather than hand you the punchline, the reader gets to pick it up himself. Which do you think is more powerful?
At MarketSmiths, our hats are off to Don Draper, copywriter of the future.
Think of a luxury item that you bought recently. Now think of something that you may have gotten at the dollar store. What they have in common is that their packaging sets your expectation of what was inside. The packaging on the luxury item probably oozed quality and maybe exclusiveness, while the bargain item’s package probably stressed inexpensiveness and approachability. In both case, you knew exactly what you were getting before you opened the packaging.
Now imagine that your business came in a box, and that box is your website. What do you think your customers and clients would expect of you? If you have years of experience, are selling high end services and are charging premium rates, would people know that by looking at the quality of your website?
Every business is trying to convey a message to their potential customers, so think of website design as part of your visual messaging. That means your design is communicating something whether it’s intentional or not.
Your prospects, just like you, experience the world with their eyes first, and it only takes milliseconds after they arrive on your site for them to make a gut assessment on whether they trust you enough to stay and learn more,. And that first impression can make or break the acquisition of that new client.
In essence, design has an impact on how much money you will make, but why is that?
Good design shows potential customers that you care about what you do; that you are invested in it. It shows them that you are as professional as you can be. It shows people that you are relevant, and in turn it makes your prospect feel comfortable with idea of doing business with you. The inherent thinking is such that if a business has made the proper investment into their design and brand, then they’ve done the same with their services.
Now think about the alternative: a cheap, poorly designed site with outdated content. Do you think that visitors are going to care about that business when the business doesn’t care about itself? Do you really think that business is going to get the lion’s share of sales leads?
Another way to think about this is to invoke the phrase “dress for success.” When you have an important meeting, you pull out your best suit and shine your shoes. Why do people do that, and then ignore their website, when more people will see their website than they could ever meet in life?
The bottom line is ...you can be the best at what you do, but if your website doesn’t make you look like the best at what you do, you’re not going to get the business you deserve.
So take a hard look at what your website design is saying about you and your business, and ask yourself if you are really proud of the way it represents you.
Originally posted in the e9digital blog.
There’s a chauvinism in our society that says act first, think later—if at all. Against this action hero backdrop, poets are seen as flighty, dreamy…emotional. Either our brains live in space, or there’s too much space up there, say the movers and shakers. As a poet, I think that, too, especially right after I’ve stepped off a curb and into the path of, yikes!, oncoming NYC traffic.
And yet poets make ideal candidates for the cinematic art of commercial copywriting. To wit:
1. We think associatively, in leaps that align with logic, then follow its (sometimes) treacherous path.
2. We hoard metaphors like shelves of dried Ramen. Our brains are a wordsmith’s grocery, stocking juicy, aromatic analogies to hit your readers harder than a sucker punch—and more memorably.
3. To paraphrase Emily Dickenson, “we tell all the truth, but tell it slant.” We look at your business holistically, then find its most persuasive angles.
4. If your copy project
has limits, we’re used
to tight wordcounts
spun in potent verse.
5. For poets, the written word is a collision of images, and a consequence of breaths, pauses, white space. Silence isn’t simply golden; it’s the poet’s samurai sword.
6. We’re always writing something in our heads. A street hazard? Sure. But our preoccupation is to your advantage.
7. We’re notorious revisionists. We’ll craft your copy and burnish it to a gleaming finish—then go further.
If you think poets belong in coffeehouses and metaphors are better left in high school English classrooms, think again. And give us a shout.