3 ways to write effective marketing materials in less time

friday, 17 march of 2017

By Tom Trush

As a busy attorney, you likely feel your work as a marketing writer could be improved.

The problem, though, is you don't have time to comb through a bunch of books and courses.

Fortunately, with a little practice -- especially on the changes that have the greatest impact on your skills -- you can quickly start creating more effective marketing materials.

Here are 3 places to focus your attention:

1. Push the outcome, not the features.

It's easy to write about how your product or service can "save time" or "save money." These claims have even become a crutch for many copywriters and marketers. The problem with this type of messaging is that it's so common -- so your message never really stands out.

Rather than talking about the technical details and features of your offer, shift your focus toward your readers' ideal outcome. What experiences and feelings do they want and why? What impact do they want your product or service to make in their lives?

By asking these questions, you'll address your readers' deeper needs, rather than just checking off a list of repetitive features.

So why does this work?

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Advertising, mental pictures of a promised positive scenario help persuade people to change their intentions. The stronger and more positive the mental picture, the easier you make it for prospects to be transported into the world you're building (so they can "buy" into your vision).

2. Tell stories.

Whether writing an email, website content or a direct-mail piece, making it compelling or persuasive depends on one factor:

Your story.

However, not just any story will do. A truly persuasive story takes readers from their current state to the world you create with your words.

Psychologists Melanie Green and Timothy Brock are recognized for their extensive research on stories' persuasive powers. Their studies show that as long as a story successfully transports a reader, it can cause a change in views or attitudes (to more consistently align with the story), regardless of whether the story is fact or fiction.

So what does this mean for you?

Well, while a positive end result is a great place to start your marketing message, you should also include a fully realized story. According to Green and Brock's research, your story should create excitement and cause readers to feel uncertain about the ending (so they keep reading).

Also, include a "model" in your story, a character your reader can mimic by following behavior and attitude changes.

Zapier, an online software company, features an impressive collection of customer stories on their website. These stories often follow a common template ...

A customer encounters a complex problem in their business processes and then, after creating a solution in Zapier, now spend more time doing the work they love.

Framing customer stories in this way, rather than just through vague testimonials, provides stronger proof. More importantly, prospects can see themselves in the profiled clients.

3. Anchor your claims in facts and data.

Strong credibility is critical to supporting your stories and promises. Statistics and science-backed research are an effective way to handle this task.

According to Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, these concrete details add credibility to you (as the writer) and your marketing message.

Slack, a collaboration and messaging tool for teams, offers an example of this approach in action. Though they pack their marketing messages with outcome promises -- such as "make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive," their homepage) also shows several charts and numbers.

For example, a bar chart details how teams using Slack report a 25.1% reduction in meetings and a 48.6% reduction in internal emails. Displaying hard facts like these boost credibility because the messaging is backed by data.

So when crafting your marketing messages, once you figure out your prospects' desired outcome and work in a story or two, review your claims, and support them with data. You can use your own research (like Slack) or cite academic research and statistical findings.

Tom Trush is available at http://www.writewaysolutions.com

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