Too many commas.
Adjectives and adverbs too far away from the words they’re describing.
Unnecessary terms and unfamiliar jargon…
You know what it’s like to reread a sentence several times because you can’t understand what the writer is telling you.
In Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller wrote about marketing, “The key is to make your company’s message about something that helps the customer survive and to do so in such a way that they can understand it without burning too many calories.”
Guess what that difficult, clunky writing does?
You guessed it: Clunky copy makes customers burn too many calories.
How? Everything the brain does every day (like reading and processing copy!) requires calories. If your copy burns too many calories because it’s hard to comprehend, prospects and customers stop reading and go in search of another product or service they understand.
Miller continued in his book, “People don’t buy the best products; they buy the products they can understand the fastest.”
So how do you help prospects and customers save calories and quickly understand your product? Here are 3 ways to make your readers save those calories for when they decide to make a purchase!
1. Get rid of commas where you can.
We get it: utilizing commas in your copy is tempting. But too many commas make readers burn too many calories.
Think about how many times you pause or reread a sentence when it’s filled with commas. Read this one-liner for a made-up brand:
With Mojo Instant Coffee, even if you’re in a pinch, get your caffeine fix.
Takes a lot of mental work, right? You can communicate the same message without the commas:
Get your caffeine fix in a pinch with Mojo Instant Coffee.
2. Kill your darlings.
You have those phrases, adjectives, adverbs, and words you love to use, and you will die on those hills.
“Kill your darlings” is popular advice among writers, although who said it first is unclear.
Our copywriters at Sigl Creative have their darlings too, but here’s the bad news:
Those darlings you love sometimes make your readers work too hard.
Consider the following examples:
“There are actually many styles to choose from.”
“You’re unsure about what’s next.”
“Think about how many times that you use ‘that.’”
“There are darlings in each of these sentences that you should nix.”
Words and phrases in these examples are common darlings for writers, but they frustrate readers. Do you really need “actually” to describe a fact? Is the word “that” crucial to understand your meaning? Can you start a sentence with something besides “there are” or “there is?”
You can rewrite each of these sentences so readers do less work:
“Choose from many styles.”
“You’re unsure what’s next.”
“Think about how many times you use ‘that.’”
“You should nix the darlings in each of these sentences.”
When writing copy, reread your sentences and ask, “Is this word or phrase necessary for readers to understand my company’s message quickly, or is it a darling I need to scratch?”
3. Write like people know less than you about your product or service.
You know the “insider” language of your industry very well. It’s easy to assume your readers do too. But have you ever visited a company’s website with so much jargon you can’t understand what they’re selling?
Remember, potential customers and clients are looking to you for guidance, and too much insider language can make them feel lost.
The business world is a good example because it has so many acronyms. To name a few, there’s the CEO, COO, IT, and PSA.
Make your readers burn less calories by telling them what your acronyms mean the first time.
“We’ll give your Chief Operating Officer (COO) the tools they need to streamline workflows and increase sales.”
You can also make prospects work less by staying away from words most readers need a dictionary to understand.
This doesn’t mean you must only use one-syllable words or short phrases. There’s a balance. Remember, people are coming to you for help. Write your copy with the presumption they know less than you do about your industry or product.
Our copywriters at Sigl Creative use these guidelines so our clients’ customers and prospects burn less calories and understand products quickly. We’re confident you’ll serve the people you’re trying to reach by integrating these practices into your digital marketing strategy, too. If you’re still unsure how to write engaging copy for your brand, our copywriters would love to help you get started. Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how to take your digital marketing strategy from functional to exceptional.