Pile of stock photos and gibberish

If marketing is a conversation, as discussed so famously in “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” then shouldn’t marketing copy sound more like how people talk? Shouldn’t the imagery be less staged?

Imagine if more brochures were written this way. More conference booth signage. More website homepages. More direct mail pieces.

Marketers love to quip about how “people just don’t read stuff anymore.” That is a lie.

People read more today than ever. A likelier reason a piece of marketing doesn’t get the bang the team behind it hoped for is because it was poorly written. 

A good piece of writing — whether on a billboard, in an email, social media ad or on an airplane napkin can do the job of a room full of salespeople. Our own business here at 1000WATT attests to this fact. 

No one wants to read gibberish. No one salivates at stiff, corporate language. No one’s rushing to turn the page on a brochure that opens with a tired platitude. 

But give them inviting copy that sounds more like a conversation and says something they’ve never heard before and they will pull up a chair and lean in. I really believe this.

Think about something as basic as a recruiting packet for agents. I’ve read through a lot of these over the years. Lots of snoozers filled with gibberish — especially when it comes to the technology part.

No one expects a recruiting packet to seal the deal, but if money is being spent then why not make it memorable? Hit on your target agent’s emotions. Sound real. Break out of the broker speak. Give them a reason to pay attention.

On a recent client visit I sat in several rooms filled with agents discussing what their company meant to them, why they chose it, why they’ve stayed. Not one of them used the words “leverage,” “platform,” “concierge” or “seamless”. And yet these words come up over and over again in recruiting materials.

Words these agents did use: “use,” “relationships,” “support” and “easy”. And even “love”.

It’s a subtle difference, but a meaningful one. 

What I want to offer is this:

Language has the power to connect or to repel.

Therefore, in a business that is so focused on relationships and people…write how you talk. Write how your customer talks.

Use images of people in your company or a brand design and pattern that is interesting and uniquely yours.

These are the details that will get more people leaning in to hear what you have to say and what you have to offer.

Contrary to what we may think, people do like being sold to… but they like being sold to by other human beings who speak in familiar and interesting ways that are relevant to them. At the end of the day, humans just want to connect.

Use this lens in your marketing and avoid being thrown into the pile of stock photos and gibberish that never gets read.