The more years I spend writing copy, the more convinced I become that the context in which the words live is at least as important (if not more important) than the words themselves.
For example, I was mentoring a junior copywriter this week. He posted his email copy for review in a private group.
His email sequence was getting opens but no click-thrus.
The question was why.
Other copywriters jumped in with valuable tips about getting the tone right and keeping the reader engaged.
It was great stuff.
So I decided to step back.
I leaned back in my chair, blurred my eyes, and stared at the copy.
I thought about how the reader was going to experience the copy and what they were likely to do next.
My advice to the copywriter?
Increase the font size and move the link up to the first or second paragraph.
The reader is most likely looking at the email on their phone.
That means two things.
The font is too small.
And the reader probably won’t scroll down to the bottom of the email to get to the link.
Will those two tips increase conversion?
Time will tell.
Here’s the advantage of my advice: There is a strong chance it will work. And it will take less than 5 minutes to implement.
By comparison, rewriting the copy could take days.
Ultimately, the copywriter will probably do both… adjust for UX (user experience) and modify the message itself.
How to Modify Messaging for UX: A Hard Reality Check for Modern Copywriters
One of the strange things about my job is that I spend all day writing copy and then spend the rest of my time figuring out ways to get those same ideas across without words.
Smaller screens and shorter attention spans.
When I show up in a person’s inbox or on their web browser, I’m an uninvited guest to a party that’s already bursting with interesting (or at least important) things that need to be attended to.
In the past, the copywriter’s solution to this problem was to say something that would get attention.
Probably including bolded words, red font, and lots of exclamation points.
Now, I’d consider most of that a waste of important real estate on the tiny screens and 1-second social media moments we’re all grappling with.
The important thing to remember is that it’s not the words; it’s the ideas.
If you can get across the same idea with fewer (or even no) words, then do it.
We’re not writing novels. We’re trying to get people to take action that we KNOW will improve their lives.
If that means I have to invest more time up front to make the reader’s experience better, then that’s what I’m going to do.