Last week, I hosted a contest to see if anybody could identify the mistake made in a stadium billboard I saw during a baseball game. There was a smart copywriting tip to be found in the contest.
While a few readers offered suggestions on how to improve the headline, only one reader correctly identified the mistake made.
Congrats to Kevin Francis who pointed out that the mistake made and the one I wanted to make sure you don’t make in your own marketing.
Per Kevin’s comment, “Well, I assume the ‘32 Minute ER Wait Time’ is meant to be a benefit (you’re “only” waiting 32 minutes) but the way it’s written, it doesn’t come across that way.
And this is the point I wanted to make. Some copywriter thought the headline “32 Minute ER Wait Time” is a benefit-oriented headline that is going to connect with people.
But it doesn’t.
My guess is that 99% of people, myself included, would have no idea if 32 minutes is good or bad, but at first read, it sure doesn’t seem like a benefit.
A simple and smart copywriting tip and fix for this example would be a second line that states something like,
“Local average wait time is 90 minutes.”
So, the headline would now read,
32 Minute ER Wait Time*
*Local average wait time is 90 minutes
Or something similar, which gives context to the main headline.
Without some sort of frame of reference, like Kevin suggested, the reader has no idea if 32 minutes is a good thing or bad thing.
The takeaway here for your business and marketing efforts is to make sure that what you think is a benefit comes across as a benefit, and to never assume somebody knows or understands why something that is obvious to you, is important to them.
- If you are offering a special price, make sure people know how much they are saving off the original price.
- If your product is made with a special ingredient – tell the reader why this is important and different (I wrote about how Claude Hopkins did this for Schlitz beer in this article).
- If you can say something nobody else can say, make sure people understand why it’s important to them.
Seemingly a simple and smart copywriting tip, but it’s something we all forget from time to time. Thanks Kevin – your prize is on it’s way!