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AMiable Solution #391: Write This, Not That


Learn how to make healthier choices in your copywriting

David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding helped change the way we choose foods at home, in the grocery store, and in restaurants with their “Eat This, Not That!” series. Their goal? To help people improve their lives by eliminating harmful foods and food additives and by increasing their consumption of healthy choices. In that spirit, we submit our own fat-trimming, response-boosting options for healthier copywriting:


Write this: Dear Ms. Montgomery,

Not that: Dear Customer,


Why? One-size-fits-all marketing isn’t as effective as it used to be. Customers want to feel known by the companies they do business with.


But addressing your recipients by name is just the start. Consumers not only want to be identified by more than just a generic label, but they also want to be given more than just a generic experience. For maximum effectiveness, your campaign should include targeted offers and messages, too. SmarterHQ, which specializes in personalized marketing experiences, reported that “personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lift revenues by 5–15%, and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10–30%.”


Write this: Last week, more than 200 people improved their…

Not that: We can help…


Most decisions are made based on emotions and details. You can tell your readers what you can do for them, but it’s more convincing if you show them. Show them how your products or services make life/work better or easier for your customers. Give examples of your product in action. Appeal to their desire for excited, accomplishment, inclusion, etc. Use testimonials and specifics. Answer the question that every buyer asks: What’s in it for me?


Write this: Get your free trial now by…

Not that: If you’d like to try our service for free…


The difference might seem subtle, but in giving a call to action your best action should be assertive. Tell your readers what they should do. Assume there’s no “if” about it, no chance that your offer won’t benefit your readers.


How influential are good calls-to-action? In 2017, Delhi School of Internet Marketing claimed that “personalized CTAs convert 42% more visitors into leads than untargeted CTAs” and “more than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy.”


Do you have any “write this, not that” strategies you live by? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.


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