Think back to the worst resume you ever read: It never mentioned the skills you specifically asked for, overflowed with vague adjectives (proactive, dynamic, results-focused), and fired off so many acronyms and twelve-syllable words you needed an interpreter to get past the first sentence. If you want your customers to read and act upon your marketing copy, think about that world’s worst resume and instead:
Condense the life story. Like a resume, your marketing copy is an introduction, not the entire story. You want customers to call your company for more information.
Give your customers what they want. Your customers expect specific benefits from your technology, just like you expect specific skills and achievements in a job applicant. Yes, customers are interested in product features and what else your company can do, but most of all they want to know that your technology solves their immediate problem.
Write like you talk. Any recruiter would reject the resume of someone who described editing surveys as “elucidating opinion-evaluation processes.” Yet technology companies regularly obscure what they do and deliver by using complex language. Your technical achievements are strong enough; you don’t need to burden them with 5-syllable words and 40-word sentences.
First be clear, then be brief. We all know that readers have limited time. But if you pack too many acronyms, drop too many articles (the, an, a), and cover too much information in one sentence or paragraph, you’ll lose your customers.
Show them the next step. On every good resume, the applicant’s name and contact information are easy to find and read. The next step–inviting the applicant for an interview–is clear. Is your contact information equally easy to find? Have you readied your customer for the next step (call, email, purchase, download, comment)?
Run from green ink on purple paper. Look to professionals for copywriting and design. Grammatical errors, unintended puns, multiple changes in fonts, poor photographs, unreadable tables, and all the other failings of bad copy and bad design make your customers wonder: Is the technology as unprofessional as the marketing materials?
Take down the “gone fishing” sign. With every new job, you review and revise your resume. Yet businesses allow websites, blogs, Twitter campaigns, brochures, and other marketing collateral to age without any review. Old copy sounds old. If you let an abandoned blog or brochure hang around, you might as well post that “gone fishing” sign on your door.
Like a good resume, good marketing copy introduces you in the most positive light possible to people who are really hoping you’ll meet their needs. Like professional resume writing, professional copywriting convinces them to give you a chance.