8 Tips on Assessing Copy when you Aren’t a Writer

An advertising manager some years ago hired Bill Jayme, then — justifiably — the country’s most famous direct-mail copywriter, for a phenomenally wrong reason.

He spent his company’s hard-earned money to pay Jayme’s $25,000 fee, so that he could brag that he had paid $25,000 in order to be able to rewrite the legendary writer’s copy. The mailing sank like a stone. Which proved that Jayme was not infallible, the ad man told his bosses just before they fired him.

Not many advertising men are that foolish. But few of the many individuals in the typical chain of advertising approvals have good instincts about copy. Here are eight questions to ask when you want to evaluate copy without watering down its magic:

  • Is it on target?

    Fussbudgets often miss the main point of advertising copy — which is to deliver the right marketing message clearly and persuasively. If it does, it probably will work. If it does not, no amount of verbal tinkering will help.

  • Does it address the right audience?

    Determine the wants, needs, and other motivations of the individuals in your target audience. Then ask yourself, “If I were they, would my offer make them secrete hormones?”

  • Does your headline flash a green light?

    A good headline makes even the casual reader want to go ahead and read further. It is not gimmicky. It is short, specific, and promises rich benefits. A good headline wins 80% of the advertiser’s battle, David Ogilvy observed.

  • Is your copy logical and pointed?

    Every word and phrase of your copy must contribute to your advertising’s main thrust — usually, to make a sale or spark an inquiry.

  • Does it anticipate and answer all possible questions?

  • Does your advertising make the ideal offer?

    Think of everything that might sweeten the pot and spark action by your most likely respondents. Question your offer’s price ... any premium you offer ... your guarantee ... your deadline date ... the number of paths you are opening for responses ... a special discount ... your shipping charges.

  • Is it easy to read?

    Most people read at the eighth-grade level.

  • Does your advertising set you apart from all competitors?

    If not, you are spending money that could send business to your competition.

See also:

Advertising Copy Home Page

Marketing Tactics Home Page

Marketing Home Page

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