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9 Common Words to Avoid when Writing Marketing Copy

You’re probably working on an advert or a marketing campaign and you’re at a point where you’re Googling “how to write write marketing copy”.  Marketing copy can be quite limiting in terms of word count. There is barely room to describe a product and give potential customers all the details they need to make a purchase. Marketers are expected to use as few words as possible to achieve as many sales as possible. With such limitations, it is important to choose the words and phrases to use with extra care. Unfortunately, many marketers always end up using common clichés which add little to no value to a campaign. Here’s a list of commonly used words that could ruin your marketing campaign;

  1. Cheap
    Everyone likes a discount. A big number of consumers are more likely to go for the least costly product because it saves them money. However, the word cheap does not exactly motivate people to purchase. It is, unfortunately, one of the words thrown around carelessly in marketing campaigns to insinuate a better deal. This word, however, bears negative connotations, which you do not want to associate with your brand. It is strongly associated with poor quality products and services. It also makes interested customers feel as though they are of a lower social status.
    The better word to use, instead of ‘cheap’ should be ‘affordable’. This is a less harsh term with positive connotations. Affordability does not necessarily mean the buyer is of a lower social status. It means they are spending a reasonable amount of money on quality products.
  2. Excellent quality
    This pair of words is almost perfect, but it’s also empty and meaningless. Have you ever come across a brand that markets its products as ‘average or low quality’? This is a cliché term which adds no value to a marketing campaign. Consumers will automatically assume you’re just using the terms like every other marketer and that your description does not necessarily reflect on the quality of your product.
    Instead of this clichéd phrase, use unique words that describe your product truthfully. Customers value honesty as opposed to marketing clichés. For instance, if you’re selling shoes, zero in on your consumers’ needs and use these to write your marketing copy. Phrases such as ‘durable sole, ‘easy to clean’ or ‘all-weather use’ are likely to have a positive impact when compared to ‘excellent quality.
  3. Buy Now
    This is another commonly misused phrase, often used as a call to action in marketing copy. Customers are not robots, they’re humans and the way you communicate to them through marketing campaigns should mirror normal offline communication. You should take time to think about what you’re communicating and whether it would make any sense if you were having a one on one conversation with a customer.
    “Buy now” is often used to spark a sense of urgency and propel the consumer to immediate action. However, due to its excessive usage, this phrase has zero impact on most people. Ask yourself this; why would a prospective customer, stop whatever they were doing and make a purchase. Is your product a matter of life and death?
    Instead of asking people to “buy now”, give them a reason to do so. By itself, this phrase is incomplete and inefficient. However, when other words are added to it, it gains a sense of urgency. For instance, a phrase such as “Buy now and get a free coupon” or “buy now and change your life for good” are more likely to instill a sense of urgency.
  4. Try
    Try is a weak word. It lacks conviction and often evokes feelings of uncertainty. If you are going to put a marketing campaign out there and spend money on it, you might as well sound convincing and sure of your product. After all the customer does not want to feel as if you’re ‘trying’ to solve their problem, they want to be sure you are going to solve their problems through your product. For instance, if you’re selling skin products meant to restore beauty and health, using a marketing phrase such as “try our new and improved skin cleansing soap” sounds as if you’re giving the customer an option of ‘not buying’.
    To fix this problem, use stronger words such as invest, purchase or impactful statements such as “change your life for good, with our new skin cleansing soap”. Most markets are competitive and marketers who dominate and exude authority are more likely to attract serious customers, unlike those who sound weak and unsure.
  5. ‘State of the art’
    Do we even know what this phrase means…do we? Everything being sold is a state of the art product. From conference facilities to houses and cars. Unfortunately, this term has been beaten and battered by years of overuse and misuse, yet it is used to refer to ‘up to date’ or modern products and services. Ordinarily, when a person’s eyes or ears are exposed to a particular term too many times, they begin to experience permissible perception; meaning they’re ‘blind and deaf’ to the term. Therefore every time you use this phrase, you’re just wasting precious marketing space, because customers will neither hear nor see it.
    Fix: Stop telling and start showing. Rather than describing your product as ‘state of the art’, use images to demonstrate. Capture your products in a manner that proves their ‘state of the artness’ and let the customers decide for themselves.
  6. Are you looking for…
    All of us should probably leave an example of advert statements we’ve come across using this phrase, on the comment box below. This statement is simply redundant, uncreative and annoying. Of course, we are all looking for things to buy, why do we have to be asked whether we are looking for shoes, houses, cars, clothes, etc. Most customers will either skip this phrase if it’s used in a marketing campaign or get annoyed enough to ignore the rest of your text.
    From an entrepreneurial viewpoint, everyone who buys your products or services is not necessarily looking for them. Some are just impasse buyers while others are simply impressed by your marketing campaigns. Therefore, when you use these words at the beginning of your marketing copy, you ’re locking out a large number of consumers who’re not actively looking for your products.
  7. We care/understand
    Do you really care for and understand all your potential customers? People have too many problems which we as marketers or entrepreneurs cannot comprehend. Why then should you use limited space in a marketing campaign to tell a blatant lie? It’s a complete waste of words to say that you care because even the customers know you don’t.
  8. Some of the best
    “We have some of the best financial advisors in the region” or “we sell some of the best computers in town”
    This statement is as weak as the word ‘try’. You’re simply insinuating lack of confidence in your products or services and you’re also acknowledging the existence of strong or even better competitors. If you’re out to sell something, go all in and leave no room for competition in your marketing copy. By saying you’re one of the best, you are simply giving the customer an opportunity to consider your competitors who are also as good as you are.
    Fix; Dominate and have no mercy for your competitors. Capture your services as the best or find a unique attribute you offer and use it as a selling point. For instance, you may use specific qualities such as fastest service delivery, best customer care or most affordable.
  9. Location, location, location
    We understand that location is everything real estate. We also understand that the real estate industry is quite competitive…but why all this drama and repetitiveness? Inasmuch as repetitive statements are easy to remember, they limit creativity. When they become too common, the consumer gets bored.
    Unfortunately, real estate marketing is plagued by repetitive marketing copy such as; serene environment, tranquil location, beautifully designed and state of the art among others.
    If you’re going to use common real estate terms, at least don’t use dramatic ones like location, location, location.

Overall, consumers are really tired of seeing and hearing these common marketing terms. It can, however, be very difficult to eliminate them from your marketing copy since they are easy to remember and they tend to just come up. You may find yourself experiencing difficulties in writing your copy, if you eliminate these words, hence the need to work with a professional copywriter. Experienced copywriters have a lot of exposure to writing and they, therefore, enjoy a vast list of vocabulary which they can play around with to achieve awesome results.

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