9 Ways in Which You Need a Good Online Copywriter: Revisiting Nick Usborne’s _Net Words: Creating High Impact Online Copy_ (Part Two)

In my last posting, I introduced, through Nick Usborne’s classic study, Net Words:Creating High Impact Online Copy, four ways that a good online copywriter can improve the marcom collateral of your organization or company. Today I’ll conclude with five more reasons.

(5)   This is an outgrowth of #4: your customer service department is not only cash-strapped, but is also struggling because it isn’t earning your prospects’ trust. While automated text is sometimes necessary, so is a copywriter’s warmth:

To meet the reality of high costs, everyone knows that customer service is usually outsourced to call centres in remote locations (e.g. Bangalore).  But online, with text or chat, staff use scripts (and should view callers’ histories on screen before them), so that company replies tend to sound “controlled, pre-determined and repetitive” (165). But as a result, customer service online rarely sounds as fluent in print as it does when spoken in an email or chat. Therefore, when automated copy (e.g customer service emails) must be used, it should always be balanced with some personal additions:

An example of the problem is this website autoresponder:

“Thank you for your e-mail. At CircuitCity.com we are committed to providing excellent customer service. One of our Customer Service Representatives will respond by the end of the next business day” (168).

By contrast, Usborne suggests the following email, which has more warmth, because it reflects the challenges, needs and interests of the customer:

“Thank you for your email. This is an automated response – just to confirm that we have received your message. One of us will get back to you in person as soon as we can. In fact, you can be sure of an answer by the end of the next business day.

Best wishes,

Jane Smith

Your Customer Service Representative” (168).

Many organizations and companies deal with the demands of customer service by mixing prepared blocks of text with a new or direct reply. An agent can say that while they don’t have all of the consumer’s answers personally, they are sending out information that has helped others with similar problems, in the past. A good online copywriter would close such a message to consumers by saying: “If you need more assistance, let us know,” and leave a name and contact information for you. Compare that with the original, lifeless  autoresponder, above!

(6)   You need an e-newsletter (and who couldn’t benefit from one?):

Usborne says that similar to email, online newsletters grew out of the imagination of individuals, not the marketing divisions of large companies.

There are now millions of e-newsletters online, of which many are written with the “passionate voice of . . . people who have something exciting they want to say and are delighted to be able to do so via the Internet” (174). E-newsletters can reflect prospects’ challenges, needs and interests very well, and should include sales copy only secondarily (later in the copy). Newsy newsletters are interesting. And interesting sells.

(7)   . . . All marcom copy needs to know its own message, before anyone thinks about how to say it:

A good online copywriter won’t publish generic copy where it’s convenient, instead of thinking through the copy’s purpose and meaning. Usborne cites Southwest Airlines’ email confirmation to updates to their website:

“NO ACTION REQUIRED.  Thank you for your interest in Southwest Airlines’ International Specials Mailing List” (214).

Whoever wrote that needs to find another way to express more precisely and engagingly that there are currently no updates to this site.

(8)    . . . You need to show enthusiasm in your  marcom materials—your copywriter can vivify your copy and your prospects’ minds:

Writers (and designers) need to feel good about what they’re creating online. When their copy is honest and genuine, their words will flow easily. Quirkiness often brings enthusiasm with it.  For instance, Usborne cites the example of the website, “FishPhilosophy.com,” which sells materials aimed at companies hoping to motivate employees to achieve and enjoy work more (“The Fish!” website).

(9)    . . . You need to keep things simple:

The web “calls out for simple language” that consists of briefer words. A good copywriter reduces high-flown diction. Instead of “The teacher supply situation is serious,” one could write: “Teachers are scarce” (223). Instead of “Warmer conditions will prevail,” one could write: “It will be warmer” (223).  Writing (or rewriting) for simplicity privileges meaning above all else and is the hallmark of any good copywriter’s work. This is never more so than in the intensive and fast-paced, online environment.

So these are five final ways that a good online copywriter can help you with your marcom promotions. There are more—including others in Usborne’s classic study, itself. It’s worth the read!  But these highlights should whet your appetite: how can an online copywriter like me compose marketing collateral for you, that reflects these truths that Usborne writes about?  Tell me more about your projects and send questions.  I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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