Keep Advertising Copy Short and Focus on Solving Problems

Advertising copy must be compelling enough to inspire people to act, but not so annoying that it turns them off. It’s a delicate balance. (In case you’re unfamiliar with the term “copy,” it refers to the main text of an advertisement.)

The first rule of advertising is to make sure you know who you’re trying to reach. The second rule is to make sure you leave no doubt as to how you solve their problem.

In an era when attention spans are short and distractions are ever-present, it’s challenging to write a headline that engages people enough to keep them reading through to the fine print. That’s why it’s so important to write with your audience’s perspective in mind. 

Let’s say you represent a health center that just recruited a new pediatrician, and you want to attract more patients. Your target audience is parents, of course, because kids don’t choose their own doctors. So, how can you help parents meet their goals? Since most parents want to keep their children as healthy as possible, effective ad copy will demonstrate how your pediatrician helps them do so.

An ad that says, “We have a new pediatrician” or “Now accepting new patients” doesn’t tell parents what they want to know: is the pediatrician well-trained, caring, and dedicated? Does he or she share their values? Will that pediatrician be available to answer questions outside office hours? Does he or she have experience with children like theirs (toddlers, chronically ill, behaviorally challenging, etc.)?

While you may not be able to answer all those questions in one headline, you can begin to assuage parents’ concerns by addressing a core frustration: feeling rushed. Parents want to know their clinician will listen carefully and give their child’s problem the consideration it deserves. A far more effective ad might say, “Welcoming Dr. Jones, a board-certified pediatrician who takes time with every patient.” This may not seem dramatically different from the headlines above, because you have to distill your message to so few words in an ad, but this one helps reassure parents that Dr. Jones will take the time required to help your child feel better.

Every time you advertise, consider how you solve your customers’ problems. How are their lives better, easier, healthier, more fun, more stylish, or less stressful as a result of your product or service? Don’t make people figure it out on their own. Spell it out for them.

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