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In the Trenches – Copywriting and Marketing Message in Action

In the trenches_copywriting and marketing message in action

Today we’re looking at the Prepay Power.ie sales letter that was delivered by my lovely postman Tony. (Yes, I meet him quite regularly and it’s important to know your postman!). An effective way to get to every householder is to use An Post or your equivalent postal service.

It was addressed to the householder and it is a good example of fine copy-writing and consistent use of their marketing message. I think some things can be improved but I’m pretty sure the guys in Prepay Power are constantly monitoring and testing.

I won’t go into the document with a fine toothcomb like I would with a Look over your Shoulder Copy Critique but there are some valuable points that I think you can learn from.

What you can learn from the Sales Letter

This A4 sales letter came with the four page brochure or leaflet. (I like it so I’ll write another post about it later). Ideally when you or your chosen copywriter sits down to write, you want the reader to read every single last letter of the page. Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on a number of things such as the readers’ interest level, time and style of reading.

What the reader sees

So while you may think that the reader is going to read all the letter:

Prepay Power sales letter - a good example for business owners when copywriting and ensuring marketing message is consistent. A real-life marketing piece in action by denise fay of denisefay.com

Some people only see and read this bit:

Prepay Power sales letter - a good example for business owners when copywriting and ensuring marketing message is consistent. A real-life marketing piece in action

Which in reality is this:

  • Dear Householder
  • Introducing a new way to control your electricity costs
  • Switching is easy. It’s quick and it’s just a phone call away
  • Have a read of the enclosed leaflet for more information
  • freephone
  • Join the 70,000 customers who have already taken control of their electricity costs
  • Hugh Ryan
  • Marketing Manger
  • PS You’ll be in total control the moment you switch, and our FREE Welcome Top Up means you’re already on the way to saying goodbye to electricity bills, forever.
  • Free

Why?

Because they are glance readers and it has to be said that more and more of us are reading more and more like that….until we stumble on a subject of interest.

You need to cater for Dual Readership Path when you’re writing

So when you write, you must think of Dual Readership Path. You must write so that both type of readers are catered for.

That’s why you’ll see me talk about bolding and using italics. It draws the eye as it’s different. Same thing with P.S. Statement. It’s key – it’s the second thing that people read on a document.

Always use a PS Statement

This P.S. Statement reads – You’ll be in total control the moment you switch, and our FREE Welcome Top Up means you’re already on the way to saying goodbye to electricity bills, forever.

Prepay Power sales letter - a good example for business owners when copywriting and ensuring marketing message is consistent. A real-life marketing piece in action

It’s a good one – it emphasises some points and the message they want to convey:

  • You’re in control
  • You get a free top up
  • Say goodbye to electricity bills

Lets look at White Space

I’m a big believer in white space as I think it helps the eye move around the letter quite well. However, I wonder why there is so much space on the top third of the letter. The remaining two thirds has all the detail especially with the call to action at the bottom banner.

Prepay Power sales letter - a good example for business owners when copywriting and ensuring marketing message is consistent. A real-life marketing piece in action

If this were an ad, I’d say that the top third is expensive real estate that is wasted. As a small business owner, you can’t afford to waste such space. I’d recommend that you lead with the benefit or major headline.

The image first and then reading gravity

I’d read research that people are attracted to images first, then they read down as gravity would suggest. It’s interesting therefore that they put the image at the bottom right of the letter. But as I said earlier, the guys in PrePay Power do a lot of testing.

That’s why as a business owner, you should always test small before launching anything. You could buck the trend for any number of reasons. So avoid printing 10,000 letters before you’ve had a chance to print and test 300, 400 or 500 letters.

Colours are uplifting

I work with graphic designers so I won’t spend time talking about the colour. But it’s simple, vibrant and fresh. Couple that with good copy and you have a winner. I was looking at another piece of copy that came in through the door and it was fine on its own, but compared with this letter, oh how it paled in comparison. Just something to keep in mind.

Tip: If you want to read more about colour, read my article on The Importance of Colour.

So lets recap. What can you as a small business owner take away from today’s lesson In the Trenches – Copywriting and Marketing Message in Action

1. Think about dual readership path
You need to write to both glancer and reader so that they both understand the message that you’re saying.

2. Always include a P.S. Statement
And make sure it’s value laden – reiterate the benefits of your product or service

3. Be careful of white space
You don’t want one half or two thirds to be crammed or chockaful of content when the top half or third or quarter has lots of space.

4. Be conscious of reading gravity
Images attract people’s attention so they are the items that we are drawn to first. But reading gravity does take over and we read down after the image. Just be aware of that and the importance of their placement. Get advice from your web designer and/or graphic designer.

I hope these tips will help you. And if you’d like your piece to be featured in the next ‘In the Trenches – Copywriting and Marketing Message in Action, then get just get in contact.

And feel free to share your thoughts here about copywriting and marketing message in action.

 

 

 

About the Author

Denise FayI'm Denise Fay, an international marketing communications advisor. For over 16 years, I've been helping corporations and business owners to promote themselves by communicating the right message with the right audience. They achieve clarity, leads and sales. I'm also an award-winning author, engaging speaker, entrepreneur, business owner and mum of two, I have written copy that has won awards, won clients and most importantly, built relationships. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to how we relate to others. And writing great copy that engages with your reader is well worth its weight in gold. You too can find wealth in your relationships. I can guide and help you find your words, create an engaging message and build a relationship that results in repeat sales with your customers & leads. Contact me today to get started. Come find me on Google+View all posts by Denise Fay →

  1. Hugh RyanHugh Ryan09-16-2016

    Was Googling PrePayPower today and this brought a smile to my face 🙂

    The reason for the large white space is the letter is contained in a large C5 windowed envelope, we only wanted the ‘To the householder’ to appear in the window, not the contents of the letter.

    Interestingly a lot of work goes into the envelope to get customers to open it, for example a large brightly coloured envelops get a higher response rate vs. a standard white DL envelop.

    Glad you like it anyway!
    Hugh

  2. Denise FayDenise Fay11-02-2016

    Hi Hugh,
    Somehow this comment got lost. Delighted to get a response. Can we chat further about it. So many of my clients do direct mail badly and some just don’t do because they think it’s ineffective.
    Would love a chat if you’re available.
    Take care
    Denise

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