Imagine if I started this article with the headline, “Using attention-getting copy will
improve your results by 50% or more…guaranteed.”
Or what about, “Save thousands of dollars on your next print project…read on to
Chances are good that you'll keep reading because you’re in my target audience of
Now how about, “Wisconsin Lumber Industry announces shortage of pine trees in
the northwest part of the state and needs your help.”
If you received a postcard with this headline, you’d probably throw it away. That’s
because the first key to writing attention-getting copy is tailoring it to a specific target
audience. Your piece will get read if the offer is meaningful and appropriate to the
That said, there are several ways to get the attention of the reader:
1) Open With a Question
- Asking a question can be effective when the answer is important to the recipient. It
can also pique the reader’s interest if the question can stimulate curiosity.
2) Personalize Your Message
- People love seeing their own name in print. From using a last name in the Dear
line to including a first name with the offer, make it personal whenever possible.
3) Use an Outrageous but True Quote
- When you include an unbelievable statistic, the recipient will naturally want to read
on to find out how it could possibly be true. Of course, in order to maintain your
credibility, make sure that it is true. People also don’t like being misled.
4) Empathize With the Recipient’s Problem
- By identifying a specific problem, the readers will feel like you understand their
situation. They will be searching for a solution, which conveniently, happens to be
your product or service.
5) Include a Message From the Owner of Your Company
- Having the message come from the highest executive at the company makes the
recipient feel important, and…a surprising number of people will actually believe that
your owner actually took the time to sign it.
6) Compliment the Recipient
- Just like seeing your own name on a printed piece, everyone loves to be
flattered…especially if it comes across as being genuine. If your readers feel like
they are part of a special group, they’ll feel more connection to your offer.
7) Tell a Story
- Throughout time, storytelling has been a vital form of communication. People
respond to stories because they’re less formal and often talk about issues that
relate to everyday life.
8) Make an Announcement
- This approach is best used when you have important news like the introduction of
a new product, an improved aspect of service or a lowering of price. The only catch
is that it must be newsworthy to the recipient.
9) Emphasize the Offer
- People want to know, “What’s in it for me?” By highlighting the benefits and
emphasizing the offer, your target audience will understand why it’s important for
them to respond. Remember, don’t just tell them how great your product is, tell them
how much your product will improve their situation.
Obviously, you can’t do all of these things at once. Many times it will depend on the
specific goals of your project and what you’re selling. Regardless, you’ll need to
develop a strategy for testing to determine which method will be most successful.