tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/copywriting Latest Copywriting content from Econsultancy 2018-04-24T11:30:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69965 2018-04-24T11:30:00+01:00 2018-04-24T11:30:00+01:00 How communication theory will help you write better microcopy (& make better products) Ryan Cordell <p>The Communication Book uses a combination of diagrams and explanation to effectively articulate various communication theories. With clever visuals and clear, succinct copy explaining them, they’re a breeze to take in. Explaining with just visuals or just copy would make each theory much harder to understand.</p> <p>This works in exactly the same way for any products you design. Just look below at AirBnB without the microcopy:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3795/Airbnb.jpg" alt="airbnb website without copy" width="615"></p> <p>The right combination of words and visuals is the key to communicating with your users and helping them achieve their goals. So design teams should invest as much time, love and attention to designing the words as they do anything else on the interface.</p> <p>Here are three communication theories to help with that…</p> <h3>1. Your product communicates whether you like it or not</h3> <p><strong><em>The theory: Watzlawick’s Axioms</em></strong></p> <p>Mikael and Roman state in their book that even if you say nothing, you’re saying something. They explain it in the following way:</p> <blockquote> <p>A man comes home, sits down, stares into space and is silent. His wife looks at him and asks him how he is. He says nothing — and yet he communicates something. It is immediately clear that something must have happened.</p> </blockquote> <p>Relationships fail when you don’t communicate. The story above suggests a disconnect between the man and his wife. A lack of considered or designed communication in our products shows how disconnected we are from our users.</p> <p>Microcopy is how your product communicates. It provides answers, feedback, comfort, guidance, encouragement and more. If we fail to design the words we use, it says we don’t care as much as we should. More than just leaving a bad taste in their mouths, this will prevent your users from achieving what they set out to do. This isn’t about branding; this is usability. </p> <h3>2. Demonstrate value to keep business and user happy</h3> <p><em><strong>The theory: Principled Negotiation </strong></em></p> <p>Principled Negotiation is a theory offered by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury on how to reach an agreement. They say you should focus on similarities, not differences, when negotiating. So you need to figure out where you and the other party share some common ground and how you can help each other out. </p> <p>If your product is asking for information, your microcopy needs to communicate the value the user gets in return  – “what’s in it for me?”. </p> <p>The questions you ask your users are blockers to them achieving their goals. So balance your requests with something beneficial wherever possible:</p> <ul> <li>Give us your email… so we can send over confirmation of your order</li> <li>Give us your mobile number… so we can send you a text when the courier’s on their way</li> </ul> <p>Your interface shouldn’t read like a list of demands. Marry business objectives with user benefits in your microcopy and you’ll have a happy business and a happy customer.</p> <p>With GDPR on the horizon, this is even more important for encouraging users to part with their data or accept your cookies. But well-written microcopy with well-communicated benefits can help you <a href="https://medium.com/swlh/why-microcopy-is-massive-for-your-gdpr-strategy-4688a5e9587d">navigate the challenges of GDPR</a>.</p> <h3>3. Always be constructive</h3> <p><em><strong>The theory: The art of giving feedback </strong></em></p> <p>Copywriters have always had '<strong>A</strong>lways <strong>B</strong>e <strong>C</strong>onverting' running through their brains as they put pen to paper, but writing for products requires another set of ABCs: <strong>A</strong>lways <strong>B</strong>e <strong>C</strong>onstructive. You need to help the user get to what they want, but what happens when they get it wrong?</p> <p>According to DL Cooperrider and D. Whitney, giving feedback can be categorised as:</p> <ul> <li>Negative, destructive (no!)</li> <li>Negative, constructive (no, because…)</li> <li>Positive, destructive (yes, but…)</li> <li>Positive, constructive (yes, and…) </li> </ul> <p>In other words, effective feedback is all about being constructive. And that’s fundamental to microcopy too. Your interface is there to help the user achieve their goal. So when you need to provide feedback, like validation or an error message, this is a really important theory to have in mind.</p> <ul> <li>Negative, destructive: “You can’t log in.” </li> <li>Negative, constructive: “You can’t log in because your password was incorrect. Please try again or recover your password.”</li> </ul> <p>A better example might be to bastardise this fantastic Dropbox message:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3800/Dropbox.png" alt="dropbox access interface" width="615"></p> <p>Being constructive is being useful. And that should always be your microcopy’s biggest priority.</p> <p>Understanding communication theories can help you write better copy for your products because the best products are the best communicators. They feel natural and human. And not in an 'uncanny valley' way, but in a way that’s genuine and understanding of your needs, fears and motivations.  </p> <p><em><strong>If you want to learn more about this subject, check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/copywriting">copywriting training courses</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69875 2018-03-21T12:00:00+00:00 2018-03-21T12:00:00+00:00 10 brands with hilariously funny product page copy Nikki Gilliland <p>So, who does it well, and why does it work? Here’s 10 great examples.</p> <p><em>(Before we start, remember to check out Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting" target="_blank">Online Copywriting training</a> course)</em></p> <h3>1. ASOS</h3> <p>Well-known for selling a huge variety of clothing, ASOS has also become famous for its sometimes bizarre and quirky own-brand clothing. </p> <p>Can’t choose between a beanie to keep you warm or, um, a veil? ASOS has <a href="http://www.asos.com/asos/asos-beanie-with-pearl-veil/prd/4341385" target="_blank">got you covered</a>. Luckily, ASOS manages to ‘justify’ its oddest items with a self-aware and sarcastic tone of voice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2966/no_snorkel_required.JPG" alt="" width="370" height="405"></p> <p>The quirkiest copy is usually found in the ‘About Me’ sections, where the brand cheekily injects random and funny info. Copy is also clearly targeted at its millennial audience, often referencing relatable topics such as money or adulthood.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2967/Bodysuit.JPG" alt="" width="360" height="404"></p> <h3>2. Palace Skateboards</h3> <p>Product copy doesn’t often have a cult following, but fans of skate brand Palace can’t get enough of its infamous descriptions.</p> <p>Putting a unique spin on the traditional bullet-point format, each one makes up a sentence or train of thought rather than separate points. They usually have nothing to do with the product or brand either.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2958/Palace.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="482"></p> <p>The product copy is reportedly the brainchild of founder Lev Tanju, whose childlike and infectious nature has helped make the brand a success. </p> <p>Should others use this rather random formula? Most probably not, but it’s a great example of how product copy can be used to differentiate a brand or make it memorable.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2959/Pocket_3.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="522"></p> <h3>3. Dollar Shave Club</h3> <p>Dollar Shave Club is known for its overtly-humorous ads, but its sense of fun extends to its website too (albeit in a subtler and more understated way).</p> <p>Its product descriptions aren’t solely based on humour – they’re actually very informative, and largely designed to convey benefits – but there’s still a light-hearted tone which helps to engage consumers. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2961/Dollar_Shave_copy_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="435"></p> <p>Humour can also make brands sound like they’re trying too hard, so its restrained sense of fun works well.</p> <p>Its usual tactic is to include a funny bullet-point at the very end, which ensures consumers are left with a smile (and hopefully more of an incentive to purchase).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2960/Dollar_Shave_Club_copy.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="234"></p> <h3>4. Firebox</h3> <p>Firebox is arguably the most creative brand in this list, taking any opportunity it can to inject funny storytelling alongside its products.</p> <p>The reason why the brand’s tone of voice works so well is that its products are usually off-the-wall – so why not include product copy that’s equally eccentric?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2980/Firebox_1.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="315"></p> <p>Unsurprisingly, the more bizarre the product, the more creative its copywriters tend to get, even extending wit and humour into the finite details or ‘specifications’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2979/Firebox_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="339"></p> <h3>5. Kallo</h3> <p>Kallo – a dutch brand best known for making stock cubes – takes a surprising approach to product copy on its website.</p> <p>Instead of listing ingredients or talking about how delicious its organic low fat rice cakes are (said no one ever), it treats visitors to a poem on each page. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2981/Kallo.JPG" alt="" width="540" height="592"></p> <p>It’s all a bit random, but somehow contributes to a delightful and warm tone of voice.</p> <p>The fact that the website is purely for promotional purposes – with no option to buy its products – means it does not need to rely on actionable copy to prompt purchases. So, poems it is then.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2963/Kallo_2.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="262"></p> <h3>6. Old Spice</h3> <p>Old Spice has shed its uncool, outdated image to become a relevant and powerful brand name – especially in marketing circles.</p> <p>Humour is the main reason, with the deodorant brand taking on a distinctive and original tone of voice, ironically designed to promote its ‘manly’ characteristics.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2972/Old_Spice.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="366"></p> <p>Its online product descriptions are no different, perfectly conveying its unique sense of humour.</p> <p>What are the benefits of staying fresh for 48 hours? Well, in the opinion of Old Spice – “that's long enough to build a small house or navigate an especially large lake.” As you do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2973/Old_Spice_2.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="245"></p> <h3>7. Soap &amp; Glory</h3> <p>Beauty and skincare brands are usually a bit more limited when it comes to product descriptions, often required to inform consumers about ingredients or benefits (backed up by scientific proof). </p> <p>Soap &amp; Glory strikes a good balance, with the brand injecting fun and gently-sarcastic wit into its product copy where possible. Its main product descriptions are reserved for singing the product’s praises (with a pun or two).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2971/soap_and_glory.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="378"></p> <p>Meanwhile, it uses instructions as an opportunity to speak directly to consumers, and inject a bit of self-aware humour into what can often be patronising microcopy (e.g “Don’t eat this”).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2970/Soap_and_glory_2.JPG" alt="" width="452" height="381"></p> <h3>8. Think Geek</h3> <p>Think Geek is a brand that sells unusual and quirky gifts, sort of like a nerdier Firebox. However, unlike its rival brand, it is much more succinct and to-the-point in its main product copy (as well as being funny).</p> <p>It’s difficult to convey the benefits of a product in such a short amount of words, but Think Geek surprisingly adept at it, often doing so in just three bullet points.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2975/Think_Geek_2.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="489"></p> <p>With more space further down the page, it also lets loose with creative and more in-depth copy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2976/Think_Geek_3.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="220"></p> <h3>9. Fab.com</h3> <p>Fab.com isn’t very consistent with its product descriptions – there are a lot of products on its site that contain minimal and less creative copy. However, it does come up trumps on the odd occasion, infusing warm and gentle humour into its descriptions. </p> <p>This example for a cat-themed wall decoration is one of the best, and proves why the brand should be more focused on creating consistency in its tone.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2974/Fab.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="390"></p> <h3>10. Cards Against Humanity</h3> <p>The game Cards Against Humanity isn’t for everyone and neither is the brand’s copy.</p> <p>That’s exactly the point, however, as it is a shining example of how to create a tone of voice that delights a core audience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2968/Cards_Against_Humanity_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="320"></p> <p>The descriptions for each game are brilliantly dark, sarcastic, and give new players an insight into what they can expect from the game – great for nudging potential consumers into making a purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2969/Cards_Against_Humanity.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="292"></p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69621-four-simple-tips-to-make-boring-copy-more-exciting" target="_blank">Four simple tips to make boring copy more exciting</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69833-eight-time-honoured-tips-for-writing-awesome-email-copy" target="_blank">Eight time-honoured tips for writing awesome email copy</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69600-four-examples-of-persuasive-packaging-copy" target="_blank">Four examples of persuasive packaging copy</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3504 2018-03-08T15:47:02+00:00 2018-03-08T15:47:02+00:00 Online Copywriting <p>Boost your online copy’s effectiveness (across all types of device) with our practical and hands-on training course.  </p> <p>Our best-selling ‘online copywriting’ course includes lots of hands-on exercises to help you communicate, persuade and sell more effectively.  We’ll show you copywriting techniques that can boost your web pages’ performance by over 100%.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">No laptop is required.  For convenience, all exercises will be paper-based.</p> <p style="vertical-align: baseline; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/1597/dsc00526-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Tim Fidgeon training" width="470" height="313"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3487 2018-03-08T13:55:02+00:00 2018-03-08T13:55:02+00:00 Marketing Copy and Behavioural Economics <p>Marketing is about getting people to know, think or do something you want. Behavioural economics can help you change your language to make them do that, better. In this course, we’ll look at the language of persuasion, drawing on techniques from the Nudge Unit, Daniel Kahneman and Aristotle, among others. We’ll listen for and discuss the persuasive techniques of anecdote, fact and story. You’ll also learn the EAST (easy, attractive, social, timely) framework and how to appeal to logic, credibility and emotion.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69847 2018-03-07T10:35:11+00:00 2018-03-07T10:35:11+00:00 15 marvellous microcopy examples (and how they improve UX) Nikki Gilliland <p>Microcopy is another important element. This refers to the text that guides you along or instructs you to do something on a website or app, such as fill in a form. It can also be a mini call-to-action, e.g. a prompt for you to click a button.</p> <p>So, what makes good microcopy and why is it so important? Here are 15 mega examples.</p> <p><em>(But before we start, a note that Econsultancy now runs a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/marketing-copy-and-behavioural-economics-2/">Marketing Copy and Behavioural Economics training course</a> - get stuck in!)</em></p> <h3>Airbnb's search prompt</h3> <p>Let's kick things off with Airbnb's simple but effective search bar.</p> <p>Many users probably fail to even register what it says, but that’s the whole point. Short and simple - it subtly prompts users to start searching and see what they find.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2705/Airbnb_microcopy.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="634"></p> <h3>Muzzle's cheeky Lorum Ipsum</h3> <p>Muzzle has a single page website to explain its product – an app that stops potentially embarrassing notifications from popping up on your screen. </p> <p>It’s a lovely little site, full of delightful details (like the below example notifications) and very cheeky copy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2703/Muzzle_notifications.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="672"></p> <p>I particularly like how the text at the bottom of the page promtoes related products and services, all-depending on whether or not the user can or cannot build websites.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2704/Muzzle_1.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="755"></p> <h3>Grammarly's smart call to action</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly given the nature of its product, Grammarly uses concise and descriptive homepage copy to guide users along. </p> <p>It could have easily kept its button at ‘Add to Chrome’, however, the extra ‘It’s free’ immediately reassures and creates urgency. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2706/Grammarly.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="487"></p> <h3>Dollar Shave Club's hidden humour</h3> <p>Microcopy provides brands with further opportunities to convey personality. Dollar Shave Club, which is known for its sarcastic and humorous tone of voice, adds extra bullet-points to product descriptions purely for entertainment purposes.</p> <p>Do people really bother to read the small print? Well, if they happen to do so, this kind of copy is sure to stick in their minds ("This blade comes from the future and lives in outer space")</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2752/dsc.JPG" alt="dollar shave club" width="615"></p> <h3>eHarmony's touchy feely 404</h3> <p>eHarmony takes the opportunity to adds personality and tone into its error page, reinforcing its promise to users looking for love.</p> <p>The calls-to-action also lessen the chances of users abandoning the site, giving them an option to either sign-up or log-in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2725/eharmony.JPG" alt="" width="771" height="457"></p> <h3>Reformation's conscientious copy</h3> <p>Reformation is another brand that uses microcopy to educate users, this time pointing them towards its stance on sustainability and the environment. Note the fun and light-hearted tone of its product description and garment care too.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2711/Reformation_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="604"></p> <p>Elsewhere, the retailer uses friendly and engaging text on its homepage, using ‘we’ and ‘you’ to highlight the relationship between brand and consumer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2712/Reformation.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="370"></p> <h3>Modcloth's reassuring tooltip</h3> <p>Long and confusing checkouts can lead to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69561-why-online-shoppers-abandon-their-baskets-and-how-to-stop-them" target="_blank">basket abandonment</a>, which is why it's so important to include copy to help combat this.</p> <p>Modcloth asks for a phone number as part of its form, but instead of leaving it there, it takes the opportunity to reassure customers that it’s for their own benefit. The tooltip is also slick, taking away the need for any intrusive pop-ups or to veer away from the page.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2707/Modcloth.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="578"></p> <h3>Yelp's trustworthy credentials</h3> <p>Microcopy can also be used to anticipate customer concerns, often by highlighting further information such as privacy or data policies. While Yelp is a rather busy website in appearance, it still finds the space to point users towards its advertising policy. </p> <p>However, the microcopy means that users probably won’t feel the need to click through – it convincingly states that there are no dodgy reviews allowed on its site.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2709/Yelp.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="539"></p> <p>Elsewhere on Yelp, I also like the microcopy that brings to life its star rating system, beginning with ‘Eek! Methinks not!’ for one star and ending with ‘Woohoo! As good as it gets!’ for five.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2710/Yelp_2.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="584"></p> <h3>WeTransfer's amusing FAQs</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68160-five-tips-for-creating-a-successful-faq-page" target="_blank">FAQ and help sections</a> tend to be awash with copy. This means that brands often run the risk of over-complicating things or coming across as supremely dull. WeTransfer does the opposite on both accounts, infusing an amusing and ironic tone into its example FAQ’s.</p> <p>In addition, it cleverly conveys that social channels are there to help with customer service queries.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2714/WeTransfer.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="473"></p> <h3>Wonderbly's pared down FAQs</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69284-how-wonderbly-uses-data-and-personalisation-to-create-a-magical-ecommerce-experience" target="_blank">Wonderbly’s</a> help section is also pleasingly pared down, simply urging people to search for keywords or ask entire questions if they’d like.</p> <p>Below, instead of confronting users with example questions, it uses categories like ‘our products or ‘printing and delivery’, showing that good FAQs can be intuitive.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2715/Wonderbly.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="413"></p> <h3>Slackbot (microcopy personified)</h3> <p>Slack shows how to personify microcopy with the help of Slackbot – the app’s friendly guide. </p> <p>Instead of leaving the user to their own devices, it lets you know just how easy and helpful Slackbot can be. The bold copy grabs the user’s attention, while the emphasis on being ‘only a bot’ promotes transparency. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2726/Slack.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="262"></p> <h3>Timely's password advice</h3> <p>There’s nothing more frustrating than entering a new password, only to find you need a more specific combination of symbols and numbers.</p> <p>Timely, a productivity-tracking app, immediately lets users know what the score is with its informative microcopy. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2716/Timely.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="716"></p> <p>Its trial sign-up form also effectively emphasises that there are no traps, with copy stressing its ‘no credit card no nonsense’ policy. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2717/Timely_1.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="488"></p> <h3>MailChimp</h3> <p>MailChimp also gives users extra tips on how to create a password, this time using a real-time component. </p> <p>As the user enters a new password, the bold bullet-points are greyed out as each required element is completed (i.e. one uppercase or one special character). This is extremely helpful and yet subtle at the same time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2721/MailChimp_1.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="526"></p> <h3>Github</h3> <p>Error pages are frustrating enough, but never more so than when they’re dead-ends.</p> <p>Github effectively uses microcopy to prompt users forward, telling them to try refreshing the page or to contact support. The small icon sends users back to the homepage, which is also good, but it could do with some accompanying text as it’s pretty easy to miss.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2724/Github.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="473"></p> <h3>Firebox's H1 tag</h3> <p>Finally, Firebox even infuses personality into its H1 tag, showing that it takes microcopy a lot more seriously than most brands.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2728/Firebox.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="525"></p> <p>Elsewhere, Firebox jumps on any opportunity to be creative with text, here asking customers whether they want their item wrapped in its own unique style.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2727/Firebox_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="375"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69833 2018-03-01T10:30:00+00:00 2018-03-01T10:30:00+00:00 Eight time-honoured tips for writing awesome email copy Nikki Gilliland <p>Here are eight tips for writing awesome email copy...</p> <p>(N.B. You’ll find more in Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide/" target="_blank">Email Marketing Best Practice Guide</a>, which is filled to the brim with tips and advice on email marketing.)</p> <h3>1. Create a hook</h3> <p>Very few people read emails thoroughly, with the majority scanning or skim-reading to find important details as quickly as possible. Although there is recent research to suggest attention spans are improving – the percentage of emails read for more than 18 seconds is <a href="https://litmus.com/blog/email-attention-spans-increasing-infographic" target="_blank">said to have risen</a> from 38.4% in 2011 to 44.4% in 2016 – it’s still sensible to ensure that emails are scannable.</p> <p>Alongside this, marketers should ensure that each section has a hook that grabs the attention of the reader and improves engagement. This could be an emphasis on key offers, persuasive headings, or elements of personalisation.</p> <h3>2. Create relevance</h3> <p>Personalisation is one of the most effective ways of improving an email’s impact. But this doesn’t just mean addressing the reader by name. </p> <p>With readers likely to react to something that is contextual as well as personal, relevancy might be more of an appropriate term to describe what marketers should strive for. This could mean talking about past purchases or user behaviour, or even referencing real-time context such as weather or location (like the below example for ASOS by <a href="https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/504857/Kickdynamic2017Review.pdf?utm_campaign=2017-Review&amp;utm_source=email&amp;utm_content=Link%20for%20tactical%20email%2C%20excl.%20Staples" target="_blank">Kickdynamic</a>).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2559/ASOS.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="635"></p> <h3>3. Be informal</h3> <p>While email copy should always reflect the brand’s wider tone of voice, informal language tends to be effective in most cases. Implementing this is trickier than you might think, because any attempt to explain something tends to result in language becoming stiffer and more salesy.  </p> <p>In order to ensure copy remains conversational and friendly, it’s helpful to imagine that you are writing an email to a single person (rather than a large and homogenous group). That way, it’ll be easier to ensure you <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69643-four-key-traits-of-human-brands" target="_blank">sound like a human</a> rather than a brand trying to sell something.</p> <h3>4. Draw on emotions</h3> <p>Most marketing emails <em>are</em> trying to sell something, of course. However, to ensure the message hits home, marketers should always convey the value of what they are promoting – not just the product itself. </p> <p>This example from Airbnb effectively draws on emotions, stirring up the desire to experience all that Melbourne has to offer. The ‘Melbourne Has Soul’ headline is a great way to hook in the reader, and is a far more effective way of selling Airbnb's <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68749-why-online-travel-sites-are-focusing-on-tours-and-activities" target="_blank">Tours &amp; Activities</a> vertical than merely listing things to do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2555/Airbnb_email.JPG" alt="" width="422" height="716"></p> <p><em>(Source: <a href="https://reallygoodemails.com/industry/travel-and-leisure/discover-your-new-favorite-singer-on-airbnb/" target="_blank">Really Good Emails</a>)</em></p> <h3>5. Have a persona in mind</h3> <p>While it’s helpful to remember your audience is human, it’s worthwhile going one step further and creating a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69322-what-are-customer-personas-and-why-are-they-so-important" target="_blank">customer persona</a>. Instead of surface demographics (like age and gender), a customer persona allows brands to recognise and understand an audience’s key traits, such as their motivations, desires, and potential reactions.</p> <p>By referring to personas, marketers will be able to write copy that motivates readers and conveys real value. This email from MailChimp is a good example, with the copy being tailored to prospects who want no fuss, and a quick and easy journey to sign up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2558/MailChimp.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="652"></p> <p><em>(Source: <a href="https://reallygoodemails.com/inaugural/onboarding/list-management-setup/" target="_blank">Really Good Emails</a>)</em></p> <h3>6. Consider formatting</h3> <p>Though words are key, formatting can be a useful way of emphasising what you are saying. Things like bolding text, using italics or bullet points, and inserting text into images can be beneficial.</p> <p>While this example from WeWork is a touch too wordy, its bold headings helps to promote key messages (and as I previously mentioned, makes the email easier to scan).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2552/WeWork.JPG" alt="" width="460" height="887"></p> <p><em>(Source: <a href="https://reallygoodemails.com/industry/legal-industry/big-news-meetup-x-wework/" target="_blank">Really Good Emails</a>)</em></p> <h3>7. Show personality</h3> <p>Email tends to be a little more serious than other forms of marketing, such as social or digital advertising. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let personality shine through.</p> <p>Some of the most memorable emails are those that aren’t geared around selling a brand or its product. Rather, those that simply raise a smile can be much more effective, and help to create a more meaningful connection with an audience. </p> <h3>8. Cut the crap</h3> <p>A final tip is to always keep copy fairly concise, and to consider whether each and every word is necessary. </p> <p>If it doesn’t add anything to the overall message, or does nothing to persuade the reader to take action – it’s probably not worth keeping. </p> <p><em><strong>Don’t forget to download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide/" target="_blank">Email Marketing Best Practice Guide</a> for lots more analysis and advice.</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>Or see our related training courses:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/copywriting"><em>Copywriting</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/email-ecrm/"><em>Email marketing</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69831 2018-02-28T10:16:00+00:00 2018-02-28T10:16:00+00:00 10 brands with superb social media copywriting Nikki Gilliland <p>So, which brands do it best? Here’s a few examples that have recently caught my eye.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-best-practice-guide"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3234/Social_Media_Best_Practice_Widget__1_.png" alt="social media best practice guide (subscriber only)"></a></p> <h3>Charmin</h3> <p>Generating loyalty towards a toilet paper brand is a tricky feat. While Andrex uses cute puppies to capture attention (those sneaky devils), Charmin uses humour and wit to hook in users on social media. </p> <p>On Facebook and Twitter, it crafts relatable and shareable content that stands out amid boring brand copy. It doesn’t use ‘toilet humour’ per se, however it’s always self-aware, posting a mixture of polls, pop-culture references, and poo-related hashtags designed to make users chuckle. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Best time to take a potty break today?</p> — Charmin (@Charmin) <a href="https://twitter.com/Charmin/status/960293254494347267?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 4, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>Its ‘Tweets from the Seat’ hashtag series is a particular favourite, and one which has cemented the brand’s tongue-in-cheek attitude.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The interesting thing about being <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/backtowork?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#backtowork</a> is re-adjusting potty schedule. New schedule means new coworkers to talk to. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TweetFromTheSeat?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TweetFromTheSeat</a></p> — Charmin (@Charmin) <a href="https://twitter.com/Charmin/status/948210590337716225?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 2, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Sharpie</h3> <p>Some brands take the time and care to respond to users on social, but their replies are rarely interesting or noteworthy. Sharpie – those darlings of the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69311-six-lessons-we-can-learn-from-the-best-stationery-brands-on-instagram" target="_blank">stationery world</a> – appear to be an exception. </p> <p>While their Twitter account rarely tweets in broadcast mode, Sharpie has a history of delighting users with unique and witty replies. The brand offers a more formal and helpful tone to people who complain, but when a user shows the brand some love, it takes the opportunity to respond with the a whole lot of love back.</p> <p>A sure-fire way to reinforce brand advocacy and drive loyalty.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I think you've found the best drawer in your house, Lisa!</p> — Sharpie (@Sharpie) <a href="https://twitter.com/Sharpie/status/956273421893160960?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 24, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Pret</h3> <p>When a brand aims to sound ‘friendly’, they can veer into being cutesy or over-the-top. I like how Pret sounds on social because it always seems to get the balance right, talking to customers in a casual but straight-to-the-point way. Essentially, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69643-four-key-traits-of-human-brands" target="_blank">it sounds human</a>, rather than a big corporate brand.</p> <p>Pret uses succinct and engaging copy to complement other forms of content on Facebook, including images, videos, and polls. It’s also a good example of how to integrate emojis without trying too hard.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpretamanger%2Fposts%2F2070830642932069%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="595"></iframe></p> <h3>Chubbies</h3> <p>I recently mentioned Chubbies as an example of a brand that uses <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69827-push-notifications-are-rising-here-s-four-examples-of-brands-using-them-well/" target="_blank">push notifications</a> to engage and entertain users. It’s also a great example of how to harness a humorous tone of voice, with the brand coming up with its own unique line of ‘dad jokes’.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our new sales rep is really unproductive. <a href="https://t.co/LDXpyASDxB">pic.twitter.com/LDXpyASDxB</a></p> — Chubbies (@Chubbies) <a href="https://twitter.com/Chubbies/status/963244236064751616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 13, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>Creativity is on full display, with its social media team constantly tweeting a stream of silly but endearing content. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Your weekend plans: a hike<br>My weekend plans: <a href="https://t.co/6c7MUEFLDD">pic.twitter.com/6c7MUEFLDD</a></p> — Chubbies (@Chubbies) <a href="https://twitter.com/Chubbies/status/964943293640396801?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 17, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Oasis</h3> <p>Product-focused posts by retail brands can often come across as overly salesy, but I’m always impressed by Oasis’s ability to engage users on Facebook. </p> <p>By using clever calls-to-action and concise but enthusiastic descriptions, it manages to instill desire in shoppers, drawing on the classic ‘treat yourself’ mantra.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Foasisfashions%2Fposts%2F10155980594989693&amp;width=500" width="500" height="762"></iframe></p> <p>When it comes to actual sales, Oasis is also effective at creating urgency without over-egging it. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Foasisfashions%2Fposts%2F10155978104534693&amp;width=500" width="500" height="639"></iframe></p> <h3>Paddy Power</h3> <p>We’ve previously covered Paddy Power on the blog, highlighting its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65409-why-paddy-power-s-marketing-is-all-about-mischief-pr-and-press-coverage" target="_blank">PR-focused attitude</a> towards social. Not much has changed, as the brand continues to demonstrate a decidedly edgy attitude, and a blokey, jokey tone of voice across social channels. </p> <p>Why does it work so well? Simply put, the brand knows its audience, and exactly the kind of thing that will provoke a response. It’s not for everyone, of course, but with such a large and engaged amount of followers, it's certainly mastered its craft.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Arsene Wenger assessing his options ahead of Thursday night’s league game against Man City… <a href="https://t.co/Fjy3dphzzd">pic.twitter.com/Fjy3dphzzd</a></p> — Paddy Power (@paddypower) <a href="https://twitter.com/paddypower/status/968091211369275392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 26, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Tesco Mobile</h3> <p>Being sassy on social media can be a dangerous game, but Tesco Mobile is a brand that tends to hit the mark when replying to customer service queries - always with its tongue firmly in its cheek. The reason it works so well is that it is consistent, never failing to respond (even long after the user expects them to keep doing so).</p> <p>The brand has previously generated press coverage for going the extra mile with its Twitter account, for instance with its rap-battle with competitor provider EE. However, I particularly enjoy how it does the same with the public, and is happy to have chats about not very much at all.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Devilishly tired and hungry... let's not forget about that.</p> <p>Yourself?</p> — Tesco Mobile (@tescomobile) <a href="https://twitter.com/tescomobile/status/967731171181453312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 25, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Ben &amp; Jerry’s</h3> <p>Copywriting is not typically a priority for brands posting on Instagram. However, I think Ben &amp; Jerry’s does it particularly well, taking the opportunity to hammer home the message conveyed by its visual content.</p> <p>Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where Ben &amp; Jerry's tends to wax lyrical about its social responsibilities, Instagram is solely for grabbing the user’s attention with short and pithy copy. From new product launches to seasonal celebrations, it always complements its posts with descriptive, amusing, and entertaining copywriting. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2529/ben_and_jerrys.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="501"></p> <h3>Everlane</h3> <p>Another brand to integrate words into its Instagram strategy is US clothing brand Everlane. Alongside standard imagery of clothing, it occasionally publishes text-only posts, usually when it has an important message for users. </p> <p>This is often related to its ‘Radical Transparency’ philosophy, which involves informing customers about the costs involved in manufacturing and producing its clothing. However, the brand also uses the medium to make a stand on issues or events that it feels strongly about, and that it is certain its audience will feel strongly about too.</p> <p>For example, this post about the Las Vegas shooting, which emphasises its stance on the issue of gun violence. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2530/everlane.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="497"></p> <h3>MailChimp</h3> <p>B2B brands can struggle on social, finding it hard to get the balance right between professionalism and personality. MailChimp is one that succeeds, infusing character into its copywriting along with valuable information about its product.</p> <p>It tends to use Twitter to convey the serious stuff, but Instagram is where the brand really gets creative, taking the opportunity to project a quirkier brand image. Plus, it can't resist the odd pun or two, which is sure to raise a smile.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2531/mailchimp.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="496"></p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69546-the-role-of-copywriters-in-a-gdpr-ready-world">The role of copywriters in a GDPR-ready world</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69600-four-examples-of-persuasive-packaging-copy">Four examples of persuasive packaging copy</a></em></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>Related training courses:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/copywriting"><em>Copywriting</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3409 2018-01-17T11:34:45+00:00 2018-01-17T11:34:45+00:00 Copy that Means Business <p>Writing for business doesn’t mean having to be deathly dull. In this one-day course you’ll learn how to create b2b marketing copy that stands out, how to structure your writing to grab attention and get your time-starved audience to act, and how to avoid the common mistakes companies and agencies fall into when they’re writing for a business or corporate audience.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3408 2018-01-17T11:21:52+00:00 2018-01-17T11:21:52+00:00 Marketing Copy and Behavioural Economics <p>Marketing is about getting people to know, think or do something you want. Behavioural economics can help you change your language to make them do that, better. In this course, we’ll look at the language of persuasion, drawing on techniques from the Nudge Unit, Daniel Kahneman and Aristotle, among others. We’ll listen for and discuss the persuasive techniques of anecdote, fact and story. You’ll also learn the EAST (easy, attractive, social, timely) framework and how to appeal to logic, credibility and emotion.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3406 2018-01-17T11:19:07+00:00 2018-01-17T11:19:07+00:00 Marketing Copywriting 101 <p>Most marketers need to create copy, handle content, and apply the right tone of voice. But lots never had any writing training. Spend a day getting back to writing basics. You’ll learn ten techniques to boost the quality of your copywriting. You’ll learn to be a better editor and give better feedback to agencies. And you’ll learn how to apply the right tone of voice to your copy (or someone else’s).</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p>