• Janet Ballonoff

Four ways to improve marketing writing

Marketing writing can be tricky - what one person finds intriguing, another might yawn at. And trying to engage people in this world of digital-communication overload can seem like an impossible task. But there are a few rules you can follow to improve marketing copy so you can catch people’s eye, interest them, and encourage them to want to learn more.



  1. Be clear. It’s tempting to use sophisticated, technical or insider language to demonstrate knowledge or appeal to others in the know, but this approach risks alienating portions of your audience. You’ll appeal to more people if you use simple terms and short sentences. Most importantly, you’re more likely to get your message across. One trick for achieving clarity is to cut unnecessary words. In his book On Writing Well, William Zinsser says “Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” Take the time to remove extraneous words -- those you can delete while leaving the meaning of your sentence intact -- so that your message comes through clear and crisp.

  2. Be targeted. The more you can tailor your marketing writing to your target audience’s wants and needs, the more engaging they will find it. Let’s say you provide a service that has three distinct markets -- small- and medium-sized businesses, individual professionals, and nonprofits. Consider creating three different emails for the same campaign that stress the benefits of your service to each of these groups, which are likely to have different challenges and goals. By targeting your marketing copy and segmenting your email lists into these three groups, you can spell out how your service could help them specifically, which is more likely to interest them than a generic email would.

  3. Be the customer. It’s tempting to use marketing copy to announce all the great things about your offering or detail the new features you’ve added. But to be effective, marketing copy should put customers first. What are your different audience segments’ challenges, aspirations, and goals? Establish that you understand where the customer is coming from and what they are grappling with, then as they travel through the customer journey you can give more information about how your offering can help. When they understand how your offering can specifically help them solve a challenge, they will be more inclined to want to learn about the features and functions.

  4. Find an editor. If you have a marketing department large enough to employ dedicated editors, make sure the content development process includes editing. Ideally, each communication will be reviewed for both content (Is this relevant to the reader? Does the message come across clearly?) as well as for grammar, spelling, etc. But if you don’t have dedicated editors, it’s still worth it to have a colleague or freelance editor review marketing copy to catch mistakes that might have been missed by the writer.

Good writing is an important part of a successful marketing strategy. Check out our services page to see how we can help your organization develop clear, effective marketing communications.