The power of language in direct marketing

On October 12, 2017

The importance of copy in your B2B or B2C marketing can't be overstated. No matter how good a deal you're offering, it's the way you word your offer that'll convince a reader to buy – or not, if you get it wrong.

Word choice matters because customers react to tone just like they do to content.

A word's worth

Word choice matters because customers react to tone just like they do to content. If you offer them the wrong product, they're not going to buy. But similarly, if you offer them the right product in the wrong way, you're still likely to lose the sale.

Take Detroit-based soft drink company Faygo. As Printwand points out, the brand markets their drinks as 'pop'. This makes sense in their region of America, but here in Australia the word wouldn't sell drinks.

For contrast, Hubspot offers this example of the right language choice helping a business. Stride, a company offering customer relationship management software, rewrote its abandoned cart emails to focus more on the customer. The text directly addressed the reader, repeatedly using 'you' and 'your' as it argued its case in terms of what Stride could offer the customer, not the other way around. Their conversions increased 112 per cent, according to Hubspot.

Your direct mail delivers a message - but your word choice determines its meaning.
Your direct mail delivers a message – but your word choice determines its meaning.

Here are a few tips for your marketing language choices:

  • Make it about the reader. As we saw in the Stride example, readers respond to copy that's about them and their needs. Douglas Smith, Creative Director for direct marketers Connect Direct, says that using second-person language (you, your) helps keep the focus on how you'll solve the readers problem, rather than just telling them how great you and your product are. Because why should they care about that unless it helps them?
  • Know your brand's character. Do you want your brand to project authority and reassurance? Or welcoming friendliness? Your word choice helps define this personality. A fun food brand might use casual language like 'bro' or 'LOL', but a respectable law firm probably wants more formal language choices.
  • Be consistent. Whatever your word choices, stick with them. Dr. Andrew Bredenkamp, a content marketer and computational linguist, suggests brands need to find a distinct voice and apply it across all your marketing. While there's room for flexibility, your direct mail copy should have the same voice as your website or your emails. Consistent language use will help you achieve this.

For more advice about your next direct marketing campaign, and how to reach your target audience, please get in touch today.

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