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7 golden rules of marketing – how to be sure your copy works

So you’ve written an advert, a direct marketing piece, a sales spiel. How good is it? Will it work? These are seven questions to ask before you show it to the client or publish it:

1. Is it on strategy?
It may be brilliantly creative, it might be downright clever, but is your advert or marketing copy communicating the right messages?

2. Does it talk to the right people?
Who is the audience for the product (or service)? You did know this before you started work, right? Now, is it clear that you are talking to these people? Does the copy get this across, does it haul them in?

3. Is it compelling?
Is the idea interesting enough? Is the copy? Or is it, in truth, just a bit dull? Be ruthless with your own work.

4. Is it instant?
People don’t linger long over adverts, so you’d better get your idea and message across pretty fast. Remember that if the headline doesn’t grab them, then they will never read that finely crafted body copy.

5. Is it credible?
Are you making claims that people will believe? If they don’t believe you, they are unlikely to buy from you. It’s always tempting to make promises about the huge benefits a product will deliver. But simply changing your underarm deodorant won’t really make you irresistible to beautiful young women. It won’t really turn them into slavering sex slaves. And deep down, everyone knows it.

6. Is it striking?
Has your idea and copy got punch and pizzazz? Is it unexpected? Does it stand out from the ads and marketing of the competition? If not, then it isn”t really good enough, is it?

7. Have your proved your sales argument?
You are trying to persuade someone to part with their hard-earned. You have made big claims for your product. Have you convinced them? Is there any proof? Or will they be left feeling flat at the end of it, still unsure? If that’s the case, you still have more work to do.

Providing your copy passes these seven tests, then using these criteria can be a good way of defending your work when you have to show it to clients or account executive types, designers and so on.

It shows that you are not just being creative for the sake of it, but that you are working hard, and thinking clearly. That there is method to your creative madness.

These seven rules of effective copy were adapted from the book The craft of copywriting: How to write great copy that sells by Alastair Crompton. It’s highly recommended (although somewhat hard to get hold of, these days).