Will people be drawn into your website, or will they back off with the Back button? Will your mailer end up on their desk, or in the trash? Start paying attention to your own reaction to the marketing messages all around you. You’ll find that the right words have the power to compel. Everything else is just background.

A focus on selling vs. a focus on buying.

In most marketing pieces within any given business category, companies start out talking about their people, their commitment, their experience, and what year they were started. There’s nothing wrong with that, except…it has nothing to do with the needs that motivated the buyer in the first place. Plus different competitors all end up saying pretty much the same thing. Copy that seemed to make perfect sense at the time makes no impression whatsoever on the person who’s looking to buy. Back button. Trash can. Uh oh.

But what if the words on your page could tap into the viewer’s underlying desires, sensibilities, even their frustrations? Try talking about the issues from the buyer’s perspective. Think in terms of their solution—not ‘your’ product. Then when skillful words paint a picture of how smart they’ll feel once they have that perfect solution in hand, that’s the moment when “can’t afford it” becomes “got to have it.”

Give them writing worth reading.

Good messages offer an overriding benefit that makes your company stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, why exactly would they remember you? Good pages are “scannable” because no one reads every word; we all scan until something catches our eye. Good copy is relevant, because it’s full of the key terms that people are specifically searching for. And good content doesn’t just sell; it educates and informs, and helps the buyer make the right decision.

Getting your website or brochure in front of people took money and effort. If the words they see don’t grab them right off, that back button and that trash can are too close for comfort. You know that’s right, because you’ve done it a million times yourself.