Hands typing up copy on a laptop screen

Five Steps to Crafting Effective Marketing Copy

Marketing copy is the heart and soul of your advertising efforts. It connects your product or service with your audience, compelling them to take action. Let’s break down five essential steps to writing effective marketing copy.


1. Be Imaginative: The Power of Creativity

Imagination is your secret weapon in the world of marketing. When crafting your copy, let your creativity flow. Don’t use the same approach all the time. Mix informational styles with humor. Play off the images in your pieces. Imagine that you are a recipient of your marketing copy. What would capture your attention?


2. Be a Salesman: Tactfully

Compelling marketing copy is persuasive without being pushy. Think of yourself as a tasteful salesperson. Highlight the benefits of your product or service, explain how it solves a problem or fulfills a need, and do so with finesse. Avoid over-hyping or making false claims, as trust is built on honesty.


3. Put the Customer Front and Center: It’s About Them

The customer should always be the star of your marketing copy. Speak directly to their needs, desires, and pain points. Use “you” more than “we” to emphasize how your offering benefits them. Show that you understand their challenges and aspirations, making them feel valued and understood.


4. Build Trust: Honesty and Authenticity

Trust is the cornerstone of effective marketing. Be honest about your product’s strengths and limitations. Authenticity in your messaging builds credibility. Share genuine stories and customer testimonials to demonstrate real-world success. Trustworthy marketing copy fosters lasting relationships with your audience.


5. Hire a Professional Proofreader: Dot the I’s and Cross the T’s

Mistakes in your marketing copy can be costly. A professional proofreader ensures your content is error-free, polished, and adheres to grammar and style guidelines. Their fresh eyes catch typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies you might miss. You can find great professionals on freelance sites like Upwork.


Crafting compelling marketing copy is an art and science that requires imagination, persuasion, customer-centricity, trustworthiness, and attention to detail. By following these five essential steps, you can create copy that resonates with your audience, drives action, and ultimately leads to your marketing success.

A thank you note partially inserted in an open envelope on an orange surface.

Case Study: The Power of a “Thank You” Note

When you are shipping products, do you include a simple thank you? You might be surprised by what a difference it can make. Most buyers open the box, take out their purchase, and recycle it with little thought. But opening the package to find a thoughtful and beautifully printed card can change that experience and win you a loyal customer.


QR code lit up in blue over the darkened keys of a keyboard

QR Codes Are Everywhere — For Good Reason!

The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the world of consumer marketing, and one of these impacts has been to bring QR codes more into the mainstream. With consumers increasingly comfortable using QR codes, businesses can confidently leverage this marketing tool, making it more straightforward for customers to gain information, access coupons, and reply to offers.


QR codes are those boxes of black-and-white squares you see on posters, on the backs of business cards, and in the drive-through windows at McDonald’s. When scanned with a mobile phone, they connect people directly from the world of print to the world of digital. While most people associate QR codes with taking the user to a web page, they can do much more.


When scanned, QR codes can launch a web page, play a video, make a phone call, add a calendar event, launch a survey, initiate a mobile payment, send an email, and much more.


QR codes are free to create and simple to use, and suddenly, they are everywhere.


Faster, Easier World for Customers


QR codes (short for “quick response” codes) have been around for nearly two decades. While traction has been gaining, adoption took off during the pandemic thanks to the promise of touchless interaction. Now QR codes are here to stay. Touchless interaction is still a benefit, but more importantly, QR codes make things faster and easier for consumers.


Consider just a few of the ways that QR codes are being used today:

  • Restaurants are adding QR codes to menus or table plaques, allowing patrons to browse their dining options and place orders without waiting for a server. QR codes enable restaurants to update their menus or daily specials in real time.
  • Hotels are adding QR codes to enable contactless check-ins, allowing customers to place in-room orders and control lights or air conditioning.
  • Sports, music, and travel lovers no longer need physical tickets to enter their favorite venues. From high school sports to rock concerts and art events, patrons show the QR codes on their phones.
  • Medical facilities use QR codes to let patients check in for appointments and access health information on posters.
  • PayPal, Venmo, and other payment apps have launched QR code mobile payment systems, making payments even to small businesses as easy as point and tap.


Want to learn how to use QR codes to make your customers’ lives easier? Just ask!

Computer dialog boxes and open records with green check marks.

5 Benefits of Having an Up-to-Date Mailing List

Keeping your mailing list up to date is essential for making the most of your marketing dollars. It ensures that your messages arrive in a timely fashion and provides other benefits such as cost savings and better targeting. Let’s look at five benefits of an up-to-date mailing list to motivate you to make this one of your top investments.

  1. Gives you a strong foundation. Accurate, up-to-date lists are the starting point for creating relevant, personalized communications. Keeping your mailing list clean, accurate, de-duped, and up to date is a best practice that should be part of your routine. If you get in the habit of keeping up with the basics, it will help you with more sophisticated targeting later.
  2. Keep customers happy. Nothing says, “We don’t care,” like a misspelled name or street address. Sure, your mailer might get there (eventually), but at what cost? Keeping your list up to date ensures that your target audience knows you care enough to get it right.
  3. Keeps costs down. With an inaccurate list, you are printing and mailing pieces that may never arrive. Don’t waste money! Ensure that every piece gets to its destination. With an accurate list, you also save money by not sending duplicates to the same individual or household.
  4. Provides anchor points. As you compile your records, basic data points can be used as reference points for future refinement and additions to that list. For instance, is Jane C. Cochran the same person as Jane Cochran? Can Bob Smith be distinguished from Robert Smith, Jr.? These questions can be answered by cross-referencing data points from an accurate mailing list.
  5. Improves targeting. Once you are confident in your list, you can begin to build more detailed profiles of each person. You can purchase additional data to construct more complete profiles that will help you improve your targeting and personalize your communications even more.

Invest in your mailing list regularly. Not only does it help you create an accurate, up-to-date profile of your customers that improves targeting and saves money, but because your email, social, and mobile marketing draw off the same list, it also benefits your marketing in other channels.

Person holding a card with a smiley face emoji in the foreground.

Creating Customer Loyalty

What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of loyalty that makes customers stick with you, even when their favorite sales representative, hair stylist or financial advisor moves on?

Here are some tips from the experts.

  1. Know your customer base. Customer bases are not homogenous. They are made up of different demographics, with different needs and with different motivators for shopping with you. Profiling your customers can tell you a lot about how to keep them. When was the last time you did a customer survey or conducted a focus group?

The more you get to know the unique makeup of your customer base, the more you are able to adjust products and services to respond to their unique needs and the more likely you are to hang onto their loyalty.

  1. Make it personal. Shift from mass mailings and generic communications to personalized print communications as much as possible. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal here is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications to their lives.
  2. Spread the communication around. Some companies assign each customer a specific customer service representative or sales consultant. This creates a special relationship between customer and sales rep that can be invaluable. The downside is that this relationship can become so valuable that, should the sales rep leave the company, your customer might be willing to leave with them. For this reason, encourage your customers to have multiple contact points within your company.
  3. Increase the frequency. Stay in communication with your customers on a regular basis, not just when there is a special promotion or event. This is the idea behind most drip marketing campaigns. They help develop a relationship that creates a value beyond price and convenience and keeps your company top of mind.
  4. Reinforce and reward loyalty. When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Then reward them for that loyalty. Send them special “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences whenever possible.

Retaining customers takes effort. It requires a customer retention plan and an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan?

Hand holding a magnet which is attracting likes and the concept of customer attraction

6 Principles of Marketing Persuasion

Understanding buyer psychology is key to grabbing consumers’ attention and getting people to buy. The 6 Principles of Marketing Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the most influential models in this approach. Cialdini’s six principles—scarcity, reciprocity, authority, social proof, liking, and consistency—can help boost results and get customers to act quickly.


Let’s take a quick look at each one:


  1. Scarcity. People want it more when something is in short supply and are more likely to act quickly. This is why marketers use messaging such as “Offer by invitation only!” or “Only for a limited time!” Offering free shipping if shoppers order within the next 20 minutes can increase checkouts by up to 300%.
  2. Reciprocity. The principle of reciprocity is when marketers offer something of value, such as a gift or sample, to customers right out of the gate. This triggers the natural desire of customers to give back in kind (reciprocity). It’s why nonprofits put personalized notepads and address labels in fundraising envelopes — because it works.
  3. Authority. Authority uses the demonstration of expertise to inspire trust in customers. Authority can be established through external sources such as press coverage or third-party endorsements. It can also be established through internal content like blogs, whitepapers, case studies, or interviews. By building authority, businesses can create credibility and increase the likelihood of customers responding to offers.
  4. Social proof. Social proof relies on peer influence to increase credibility and trust among potential customers. This could include customer testimonials, displaying reviews or ratings, showing celebrity endorsements, or featuring influencer posts.
  5. Liking. The principle of “liking” states that people are more likely to comply with the requests of someone they like or identify with. For example, popular influencers sharing their experiences and stories about using a company’s products is more likely to resonate with customers than regular advertisements.
  6. Consistency. People want their beliefs to be consistent with their values. If buyers see themselves as good parents, for example, they are more likely to respond to messaging that positions them this way. “As a great mom, you know how important it is to…”


These are essential principles, but it may take some testing until you get the messaging right. Subtle changes can make a big difference, so be patient. Keep testing until you get a winner.



Visualization of many streams of data being broken up and mapped

5 Tips for Data You Can Trust

The success of your marketing campaigns hinges on having excellent, reliable data. But how can you be sure that you are working with data you can trust? Here are five tips for getting it right.


  1. Clean and update your data. When was the last time you ran your database through a mailing list cleansing and updating routine? Ensure that your mailing list is complete, accurate, and up to date. Even the most well-crafted direct mail campaign won’t be successful if the mailers themselves don’t get there!
  2. Enhance your data. You can do a lot with someone’s name and address (more than you might think), but having additional demographic or behavioral data can help you do even more. Use third-party resources to add information that helps you better understand your customers, create more targeted segments, and improve the relevance of your messaging.
  3. Verify your data. So, you’ve bought additional data to enhance your campaigns. How do you know the data you’ve purchased is accurate? Verification tools run data against a series of algorithms or an external database to ensure it’s right. Ask if your third-party data provider verifies its data before you make your purchase.
  4. Consolidate it. One of the biggest bugaboos in data-driven messaging is data in silos. Consolidate your data from different departments (such as marketing, sales, and purchasing) into a unified view of your customers. Is Susan Jones, who shops online, the same Susie P. Jones, who buys from your catalog? You need to know. If it is, ensure that everything you know about Susan is in the same place.
  5. Standardize it. It needs to be standardized to gain accurate insights from your data (including identifying relationships and patterns to inform your personalization and targeting). For example, if your system has your customers’ birthdates
    stored in multiple formats, such as October 1, 1963, Oct. 1, 1963, 10/1/63, and 10/1/1963, the system won’t “see” them as the same.


Your data is your greatest marketing asset. Let us help you make the most of it.


Person leading a large group of people, viewed from a distance

During Times of Uncertainty, Market Like a Leader

In today’s times of uncertainty, it can be challenging to know how to strike the right tone. While consumer spending remains strong, there is still much uncertainty about the future. Some Americans are doing quite well. Others are still struggling. For marketers, this means crafting messaging that is both optimistic and sensitive. It can be a tricky balance. Here are five tips for getting it right.

  1. Exude confidence. During difficult times, people flock to leaders who exude confidence. Brands can inspire, motivate, and make people feel that everything will be okay. Reach out using the theme, “We’re here to help.”
  2. Invest in social and environmental justice. Consumers like to align with brands that “do good.” Promote your support for socially or environmentally conscious organizations and let people know about it. For example, a SheerID study found that, during the pandemic, 68% of respondents wanted brands to donate to programs that provided direct support for medical workers.
  3. Offer a helping hand. While the U.S. economy continues to grow, this is still a time of struggle for many. Offer deferred payments, ideas for lowering expenses, and so on. Even if your customers don’t need the help themselves, this kind of care for others builds brand equity that pays off in the long run.
  4. Show off your expertise. This is a great time to share meaningful expertise with your customers. Think “Top 5 Ways to Save on Lawn Care” or “3 Plumbing Fixes You Can Do Yourself.”
  5. Make your customers’ lives easier. When the world is uncertain, consumers want to feel that they at least have control over their own homes and families. Position your products in terms of how they can help your customers make lives safer and easier, even in small ways. “Let us help you save 10% on your home electric bill,” or, “We’re offering FREE delivery of pool chemicals all summer long so you can relax at home!”

Brands can play a positive role in helping their customers through uncertain times. Striking the right tone tells your customers that you are paying attention… and that you care.


Designer sitting at a desk picking colors for a design

Designing an Effective Postcard

One of the best ways to use direct mail is to use postcards. Postcards are an inexpensive way to get your message in front of potential customers, and when done well, they can produce great results. How do you design a direct mail postcard that moves people to action? Read on to find out.


  1. Keep it simple.

The first rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Your postcard should have a clear and concise message that is easy for the recipient to understand. The last thing you want is for your postcard to end up in the trash because the recipient didn’t get your point or see the relevance immediately. So keep it simple and to the point.


  1. Create different messages for different target audiences.

While full personalization (each piece speaking directly to each recipient individually) is highly effective, it may not always be practical. Fortunately, dividing your audience into targeted segments gives excellent results, too. You will speak to parents with young children differently than you do single adults or empty-nesters, for example. Or talk to men differently than you do women. By segmenting, your copy will be more relevant, increasing the chances that your postcard will be read and acted upon.


  1. Use eye-catching Images

Another critical element of creating an effective postcard is using eye-catching images. With a postcard, you have limited space to get your message across. Studies have shown that people process visual information 60,000x faster than text, so when space is at a premium, let images help tell your story.


  1. Don’t forget the Call to Action

Last but not least, make sure you include a call to action. This is a step that many businesses overlook, then wonder why their results are disappointing. If you’re running a sale, your CTA might say, “Visit our website today and use promo code XYZ.” Without a call to action, people may set down the postcard without ever taking the desired steps. Don’t assume your audience will act. Always include a CTA!


Postcards can be a great way to reach your target audience and generate leads. To get great results, you must keep it simple, mail to carefully selected targeted audiences, use eye-catching images, and include a powerful call to action. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to designing postcards that get results!

Professional people shaking hands in an office

Turning a Bank from “Stodgy” to “Personal”

Do you always need lots of data to make your mailings seem personal? No. Take the example of MB Financial, a Chicago-based financial institution that used segmentation to achieve great results. It’s a formula that any company can follow to make its mailings feel more personal and increase conversions without personalizing them down to the individual level.


MB Financial wanted to target more than 430,000 small companies in the Chicago area. MBF has 86 branches, but it wasn’t connecting well with its audience. Small businesses saw the bank as an old, stodgy institution like all others. MBF wanted to put a more friendly face on its branches and make banking at each location seem more inviting and accessible.


To do this, MBF developed a four-pronged messaging strategy: “We deliver the personal attention you want, the banking services you need, business advice you can use, and business connections you wouldn’t expect.” The heart of the campaign was direct mail, but it also used radio and digital media ads.

  • First, MB Financial used customer modeling to identify 30,000 small businesses that were its most likely prospects.
  • Second, it broke its mailing into highly versioned segments, one for each local branch.
  • Third, it created targeted postcards that appeared to be coming directly from the bank manager at each SMB’s closest branch.


Each postcard included a photo of the branch manager, a personal message from the manager, and an invitation for the recipient to call their direct line. To sweeten the pot, MB Financial included an offer to receive “bonus cash” for opening an account or line of credit.


The results? High visibility and a 205% increase in sales leads attributed to the direct mail campaign alone. What a great way to make a large business seem small!


Inspired? Let’s discuss creating a similar campaign to reach your target audience!