How to write engaging marketing copy

Southampton copywriter
Engaging copy keeps your reader glued to the screen

These 6 copywriting techniques work really well to engage customers

I recently wrote a blog on 6 easy ways to de-fluff your writing (and why you should).

It tells you how to keep copy simple and easy to read by not using unnecessary big words, inflated words, jargon, adjectives, intensifiers and fillers.

But I received a challenge from a reader. 

They said eliminating these types of words would make the copy emotionless, sterile and boring. They said fluff-free copy wouldn’t be engaging.

Challenge accepted!

In this blog, you’ll learn how to write engaging marketing copy without using a single bit of fluffy stuff.

How to write engaging marketing copy (without adding fluff) #copywriting Click To Tweet

First of all, let’s be clear on what we mean by engaging marketing copy, and why it’s essential that your copy is engaging

The Collins dictionary says something that’s engaging is

  • pleasant,
  • interesting and
  • entertaining

That’s a good start, but in the copywriting world it goes beyond that. Engaging marketing copy grabs your reader’s attention and holds it. It connects with them in an emotional way.

And when your copy does that, it gives your reader a warm and fuzzy feeling about your brand. It builds trust and loyalty. It makes them feel like they know you and you understand them. 

And, most importantly of all, it helps to convert your readers into customers. 

Here are my 6 techniques for writing engaging marketing copy:

Engaging copy technique # 1: Talk to one person

Imagine you’re writing a sales letter which will be sent to 500 people – lots of faceless strangers. 

Don’t be tempted to address them like you’re talking to a crowd. Make every single one of those readers feel like you’re talking to them and only them.

And don’t forget, you’re a person too. If you’re a sole trader, refer to yourself as ‘I’. And if you’re writing for a bigger business refer to your company as ‘we’. 

So, for example, say: We’ll keep you informed every step of the way.

Don’t say: [insert company name] will keep customers informed every step of the way.

You wouldn’t speak like that, and it sounds impersonal.

Engaging copy technique #2: Make it conversational

You’ve probably heard the advice: write as you would speak. It’s good advice.

Because when we speak, we use short sentences, simple words and contractions (‘you’ll’ instead of ‘you will’ for example).

So, which one of these sounds better?

“I would like to purchase a car that has 5 doors and a big boot so that I can fit all of my camping equipment in the back and I do not like bright colours so I would like it to be black or grey” (and breeeathe!).

Or:

“I’d like to buy a car with 5 doors. It needs to have a big boot that’ll fit all my camping stuff in. I don’t like bright colours, so I’d like it to be black or grey”.

Hopefully you’ll agree the second one is better.

The first version sounds mechanical and stuffy, whereas the second version is natural and informal.

The inflated words, like ‘purchase’ and ‘equipment’ have been changed to simpler words; ‘buy’ and ‘stuff’.

And the shorter sentences not only make the writing conversational, it makes it easier to read too.

But, beware… conversational copywriting is a great technique but be careful you don’t overdo it. 

If you get over-familiar with your readers you can come across as insincere and, well, a little bit creepy.

Just be open and honest, and remember you’re strangers, not best buddies.

Engaging copy technique #3: Make your readers feel included 

Have you ever had a conversation where the other person doesn’t let you get a word in edgeways? Frustrating isn’t it?

When you’re talking to someone it should be a two-way thing. A conversation. So, reflect that in your writing too.

Ask your readers questions and tell them stories they can relate to. Make them part of the conversation.

Ok, so I know the reader isn’t actually going to be able to answer you… but it invites them to pause and think. It makes them feel included.

These 6 copywriting techniques work really well to engage customers#copywriting Click To Tweet

Engaging copy technique #4: Write in the active voice

Using the active voice makes your writing punchy and direct. It gives it an energy that keeps your readers engaged.

To write in the active voice, identify the subject, the action and the object. Then make sure the subject is doing the action to the object, not the other way around.

For example:

Passive –Your productivity will be increased by our new software.
Active – Our software increases your productivity. 

The active version cuts out unnecessary words, making the sentence shorter. It’s easier to read, easier to understand and more conversational.

Engaging copy technique #5: Make it flow

At school, were you told not to use words like ‘and’ or ‘but’ to start a sentence? 

If the answer is yes, then ignore it (your teacher will never know).

It’s absolutely OK to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions. ‘So’, ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘because’, ‘also’, ‘yet’… and so on.

They take your reader seamlessly from one sentence or paragraph to the next. They connect one idea to another, taking them on a journey they don’t want to end. 

Engaging-copy-quote
Make your copy flow by starting sentences with words like ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘because’.

Engaging copy technique #6: Mix up the pace

When you’ve written some copy, look at your sentences. Are they all long? All short? Or a bit of both? 

Short sentences are always preferable to longer sentences. But if your whole blog, web page, leaflet… or whatever, is written like that it can feel stunted. So, for engaging marketing copy, throw in some medium and long sentences to mix it up a bit.

I love this illustration by the late Gary Provost, an American writer and writing instructor. It demonstrates how to use pace perfectly.

Engaging-Copy-Gary-Provost-Quote
Credit: Gary Provost

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Have you got an example of engaging marketing copy which really resonated with you? 

If you enjoyed this blog (or if you didn’t) please leave a comment and tell me why – feedback is a gift.

Thanks for reading.

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