Jan 05 2013

Some Brief Observations on Writing From a Marketer

Published by at 8:15 am under Eccentric Tangent,Navel-Gazing

  • If you’ve ever wondered why so many stores use bizarre prices rather than whole numbers (e.g. $9.99 rather than $10), check out my article on pricing psychology. (Short answer: the prices look cheaper, so customers are more likely to buy).
  • Ads with the word “you” or “your” are generally more likely to persuade readers to make a purchase. Personally, my ads with “you”/”your” are about 11% more persuasive. I’m not sure that people consciously notice these little personal touches, but they definitely have an effect. 
  • Some people read an ad and are wavering so close to making a purchase that even a little burst of enthusiasm might seal the deal. My ads with a single exclamation point are 6% more persuasive. Fortunately, nobody likes multiple exclamation points. I’d go crazy if I had to write like this!!!
  • I mainly write 2-line online ads for Google, so my perspective here may be biased. In my limited experience, customers are more receptive to an unsubstantiated claim (like “Great [products]”) than any sort of evidence to substantiate the claim.
  • The average customer actually does care about proofreading. My strongest recommendation for young writers would be to pay attention as closely as possible to spelling/punctuation/grammar in schoolespecially if you are thinking about possibly pursuing a full-time writing job.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Some Brief Observations on Writing From a Marketer”

  1. Linda Adams - Soldier, Storytelleron 17 Feb 2013 at 5:10 am

    On the first one: Many years ago, I worked in a copy shop, which was a small business. The owner had this display of stationary items, all priced like $1.00, $2.00, etc. Despite the convenience of these items, no one ever bought any. I always wondered if it was the pricing, because other places were .99 or 1.99.

    On the last one: I’m still amazed at the writers I see who this doesn’t appear to be important. One writer submitted for critique this story that was riddled with grammar and punctuation problems. It was really bad and made the story unreadable. Two of us told him to clean up it and resubmit it so he could get a better critique. But he fussed at us with something like “Forget all that. Just tell me what’s wrong with the story.” Uh, we did. If a writer can’t master the basics of grammar, he’s not going to be able to put together a story.

  2. B. McKenzieon 17 Feb 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I enjoy this allegory about the importance of proofreading.

    ““Forget all that. Just tell me what’s wrong with the story.” In cases like this, the most obvious thing wrong with the story is usually that the author doesn’t know how to write and is trying to use reviewers as proofreaders. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend applying to the NBA until you know how to dribble and pass.

    Speaking of marketing, I really like your tagline (Linda Adams — Soldier, Storyteller).

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