Photo by David Garfinkel. Yeah, it's not as good as the other ones on this blog. You got a problem with that?
Duh. This wonderfully obvious street sign, at the corner of Rivera Street and 14th Avenue in San Francisco, is a shining example of what a lot of people will laugh at you for doing, but you've got to do anyway... if you want to capture the maximum number of sales with your copy.
It's... stating the obvious.
I pass this sign several times a week, driving through my neighborhood. It's a blatant reminder of what I constantly need to remember to do as a copywriter.
In the back rooms of direct marketing, there are horror stories galore of direct mail campaigns that wasted thousands of dollars because the customer was given no way to order. Zero way to contact the company. The information was never included in the copy before the mailing was sent out to the marketplace. (So don't think it's happened only to you... it's happened to all of us.)
We tend to leave out the obvious because
- It just wouldn't look cool to state the obvious (it would show we're not hip, or we're writing to dweebs who simply don't know the score), or
- We simply overlook the obvious, because it's obvious to us. By doing so, we forget that it's not obvious to the rest of the world, particularly the part of the rest of the world that has money they would like to give us, if only we gave them a reason and a way to do so.
- We're more committed to meeting a deadline (arbitrary, or truly necessary) than we are to getting enough information in our marketing message to give customers everything they need in order to buy.
The next time you have an ad ready to run, or a letter ready to mail, or an email about to go out, or a Web page ready to release... ask yourself, have you included all the obvious things?
If you haven't, take the extra time you need to get it right. Your profit just might depend on it.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter