How A Stupid Copywriting Mistake Killed An Otherwise Perfect Marketing Piece

Ben Settle

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As a copywriter and marketer, I love to collect direct mail, magazine, newspaper, email, and even radio and television ads. And the other day I got a piece of mail that was just awesome. It did everything in a way that left me shaking my head in disbelief.

But there was a problem with it. A problem that - despite how great the ad was - will probably cause this particular promotion to flop.

What was the problem?

It took almost a page and a half to get to the point.

In other words, the person who wrote this ad could have cut out the whole first page and a half of “fluff" and then started it there.

I'm not sure why the writer did this, but he spent several paragraphs talking about something totally unrelated to the product he was selling - almost as if he was “warming" up.

And if I didn't read every ad that arrives in my mailbox all the way through, I never would have known how great the rest of the ad was, nor would I have wanted to buy the product it was selling (which I did buy, incidentally).

And that's the problem.

Most people getting this marketing piece aren't reading it because they like to read ads. And that's why I doubt it'll pull very well. Even though it does everything else right.

People are busy and stressed and have things to do. They don't like to read long things unless they're 100% interesting and relevant to a problem or desire they have. And so, if we don't get to the point and strip out all the content they couldn't care less about, we're probably going to lose the sale.

All of which reinforces the importance of keeping ads simple and to the point.

The majority of people are not going to “hold on" while we go off on some tangent. Every idea, sentence and punctuation mark must have a reason - a purpose - or it needs to be cut.

Ben Settle is an expert copywriter and direct marketer. If you liked this article then check out Ben's website at - and get your hands on over 500 pages of advertising ideas, strategies and tactics just like this one - as well as rare swipe file ads and hot marketing information not easily found anywhere else.


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