girlfriday:get thee a new angle
Got Radiator Problems?
Got gastro-intestinal trouble?
Got an original thought?
Think how effective and refreshing a sign that read, "Do you need a new transmission? We offer transmissions at a fair price" would be. Or, "You're welcome at our church." Or, " First-Time Patients: Free Teeth Cleaning. Call 555-5555."
Cleverness only works if you're clever. If you're a dentist odds are you're not. Remember that your competitors are trying to produce a clever marketing scheme that will attract consumers, and most of them don't know how to do it either. They are resorting to the trite "Got ?" campaigns. Join them and you will be fatally commonplace.
If you don't have the budget or edge to compete with McDonald's' billion dollar advertising campaigns, don't. Offer a good product, sell it professionally and with class. When in doubt remember that less is more.
This goes for email correspondence, letters, websites, news reports, journal entries and notes jotted on paper while driving.
We all try too hard (I do here a lot); we all make marketing mistakes. But failure is no excuse to keep failing. Attempt to write simple, declarative sentence. It hurts, but it's worth it.
If you need help eliminating unnecessary text, Bullfighter is one resource. It is an inconspicuous tool that, with the push of a button, will review your text for "bull." It will even rate your document and explain the rating.
Another helpful document that I've frequently referenced is, "Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes." It's hard to overstate the usefulness of Bad Ads, which was originally published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help nonprofits build meaningful public service campaigns. Click here to download it (free).
Extra tip: If you have long-winded friends, Fight the Bull offers a deliciously creepy tool called the Mystery Matador that sends an anonymous message to your troublesome penpal measuring the amount of jargon and verbosity in their document.
That pain they feel is the truth.
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