Our guest writer Alexandra (Ali) E. Gay reflects on a typical day in the life of the average consumer (herself), and how quality copywriting influences and steers her along the way…
You might underestimate just how much writing—strong writing, that is—impacts every decision you make. From the coffee roast you decide to sip in the morning (artisanal, full-bodied, and full of pep you say?), to what crosses your mind during your commute and what you binge-watch in your spare time, wordplay is at the core of why and how you make lifestyle decisions each and every day.
Quality copywriting impacts both the customer and the businesses looking to provide and market their ventures in a meaningful and memorable way. To demonstrate just how often you encounter and rely on quality copywriting, let’s take a look at a day in the life of a young New York gal, whose day-to-day activities and decisions revolve around—you guessed it—copywriting. (And yes, that New York gal might just be me.)
8:00am: Getting the Message Through My Morning Brain
It’s a Monday morning, and though I’m still trapped in the usual new-week-daze, I’m up and on my way to work—and I’ve even managed to apply a quick coat of mascara and swipe on a bright red lip to appear more awake. On my way to catch the train, I hit a convenience store for a beverage to quench my thirst. Of course I’m overwhelmed by options as my eyes scan the bottles packed into the coolers, but one catches my eye in particular: “Revive” Vitamin Water by Glacéau.
Revive? I could use some revival myself at the moment, I think to myself. I read on: “Revive is the boost you need when you’re too overwhelmed to function alone. It’s like an assistant on the days when you couldn’t possibly be the only person responsible for your own life.” I let out a short laugh. This drink understands me! Within a few moments I’m in the check-out line, the bottle of Revive in hand.
Why it works: Humor
The best copywriters possess a sharp wit, and know how to incorporate humor that works in your favor while still maintaining your brand’s unique voice. An amusing and engaging tone seizes customers’ attention, and even supplies them with much-needed entertainment that can make all the difference when they’re deciding what to buy. Plus, you know what they say about laughter—it distracts us from negativity, and can help to reduce stress and boost our moods. It never hurts to make your customer’s day a little brighter—and it’s a surefire way to make them remember you.
11:50am: Speaking to What Matters to Me Most
A new e-mail flashes across my phone screen—“Repayment of Your Student Loans.” I let out an exasperated sigh as I realize that, at this point in post-grad life, the time has finally come to tackle that intimidating foe. Not entirely sure where to start, I do what any millennial grad would do: Google “paying back student loans.” As I sort through the results, one in particular stands out: On My Way by Wells Fargo.
I click through to the site and instantly I’m greeted by a page that appears to be a blog. Below a large title urging readers to “Shape your finances, career, and future,” I see an assortment of stories asking the important questions, like “Post-grad parental support: Who pays for what?” and “Should I consolidate my student loans?” Immediately, I’m browsing through each of the posts and finding some solutions to my post-grad anxiety.
Why it works: It’s Personal
As MarketSmiths’ founder and CEO Jean Tang likes to remind people, copywriting is for humans. While we of course have analytics and conversion rates in mind as we develop our copywriting strategies, we know that the best copy connects with audiences on a personal level—making even the most arcane concepts both accessible and relatable for our clients’ audiences.
This is especially true for financial copywriting, where a copywriter’s job is to humanize and convey money matters in a way understandable by and catered to the interests of the average person (like a worried owner of student debt), all while ensuring compliance and technical sophistication. Blogging is a fantastic way to do this, helping you demonstrate your understand of your clients’ hopes, needs, and dreams, and establishing your business as an authority they can turn to for solid advice, tips, and insights.
6:00pm: Telling Me What I Want to Hear (Before I Even Know I Want It)
As I head to the gym after work and step into the trademark purple and yellow-themed gym of Planet Fitness, I’m reminded that I’ve also entered “the judgment-free zone”, as large, animated letters exclaim on the wall behind the ellipticals. And thank goodness for that, because who needs judgement at the end of the day? Already, I’m feeling happier as I trudge toward the treadmill.
Muscles aching, I take the Subway home. Considering what I can possibly make for dinner with the sparse contents of my refrigerator, I lift my head and am greeted by an ad that seems to have read my mind—and granted my Monday night wish: groceries delivered right to your door, “Farm Fresh. Dirt Cheap.” You’re telling me I can eat healthily and cheaply without any effort on my part? Sign me up.
Why it works: Smart, but Brief
Brevity is a copywriter’s closest friend and an essential for crafting words with a lasting impact. Short, punchy phrases that are crafted intelligently and tap into an audience’s needs, fears, and desires will always top long bland sentences that, more often than not, are left unread. Even if you’re devoted to one brand over another, you can’t deny the relevance of a slogan that strikes the human psyche. And if it does it in four words or less? Pure genius.
10:00pm: Catching My Attention (Even When It’s Waning)
Before my head hits the pillow and I’m transported to Dream Land, I take a few minutes to indulge in my guilty pleasure: online shopping. With the arrival of the chilly weather here in NYC, I’m seeking some new sweaters to add to my wardrobe… But it’s getting late and I’m sleepy, so I’m just browsing for now. Then I stumble upon one deemed the “Dream Sweater,” claiming to be “irresistibly soft with an easy and oversized fit” and “a cozy closet staple for the season.” Less than a minute later, the dream sweater has made its way into my shopping cart, ready to follow me into my own dreams as I finally doze off.
Why it works: Vivid and Powerful
Impressionable copy is powerful and vivid—a collection of carefully selected words that work together to evoke an image in your customer’s mind, like a snapshot from a camera. Better yet, these words can create a coveted feeling or sensory experience. When it comes to website copy, this is of particular importance; words alone must bring a product or service to life before the customer can experience it in person. And when we say “powerful,” we also mean actionable. Good copy answers the “So what?” question, creatively delighting the customer’s imagination— but more importantly, telling them how this particular product or service fits into their lifestyle, and why they should care about it.
Curious about how clever copywriting can catalyze your business efforts? Learn more about the tools up our ‘Smiths’ sleeves by getting in touch with us today.