tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/copywriting Latest Copywriting content from Econsultancy 2018-01-17T11:34:45+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3409 2018-01-17T11:34:45+00:00 2018-01-17T11:34:45+00:00 Copy that Means Business <p>Writing for business doesn’t mean having to be deathly dull. In this one-day course you’ll learn how to create b2b marketing copy that stands out, how to structure your writing to grab attention and get your time-starved audience to act, and how to avoid the common mistakes companies and agencies fall into when they’re writing for a business or corporate audience.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3408 2018-01-17T11:21:52+00:00 2018-01-17T11:21:52+00:00 Marketing Copy and Behavioural Economics <p>Marketing is about getting people to know, think or do something you want. Behavioural economics can help you change your language to make them do that, better. In this course, we’ll look at the language of persuasion, drawing on techniques from the Nudge Unit, Daniel Kahneman and Aristotle, among others. We’ll listen for and discuss the persuasive techniques of anecdote, fact and story. You’ll also learn the EAST (easy, attractive, social, timely) framework and how to appeal to logic, credibility and emotion.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3407 2018-01-17T11:20:55+00:00 2018-01-17T11:20:55+00:00 Marketing Copy and Behavioural Economics <p>Marketing is about getting people to know, think or do something you want. Behavioural economics can help you change your language to make them do that, better. In this course, we’ll look at the language of persuasion, drawing on techniques from the Nudge Unit, Daniel Kahneman and Aristotle, among others. We’ll listen for and discuss the persuasive techniques of anecdote, fact and story. You’ll also learn the EAST (easy, attractive, social, timely) framework and how to appeal to logic, credibility and emotion.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3405 2018-01-17T11:17:55+00:00 2018-01-17T11:17:55+00:00 Marketing Copywriting 101 <p>Most marketers need to create copy, handle content, and apply the right tone of voice. But lots never had any writing training. Spend a day getting back to writing basics. You’ll learn ten techniques to boost the quality of your copywriting. You’ll learn to be a better editor and give better feedback to agencies. And you’ll learn how to apply the right tone of voice to your copy (or someone else’s).</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3404 2018-01-17T11:16:51+00:00 2018-01-17T11:16:51+00:00 Marketing Copywriting 101 <p>Most marketers need to create copy, handle content, and apply the right tone of voice. But lots never had any writing training. Spend a day getting back to writing basics. You’ll learn ten techniques to boost the quality of your copywriting. You’ll learn to be a better editor and give better feedback to agencies. And you’ll learn how to apply the right tone of voice to your copy (or someone else’s).</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3403 2018-01-17T11:12:23+00:00 2018-01-17T11:12:23+00:00 Copy that Means Business <p>Writing for business doesn’t mean having to be deathly dull. In this one-day course you’ll learn how to create b2b marketing copy that stands out, how to structure your writing to grab attention and get your time-starved audience to act, and how to avoid the common mistakes companies and agencies fall into when they’re writing for a business or corporate audience.</p> <p>No need to bring your laptop. We’ll be working with paper and pencil. (Remember them?)</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69643 2017-12-08T09:30:00+00:00 2017-12-08T09:30:00+00:00 Four key traits of ‘human’ brands Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how do brands stop sounding like businesses, and start showing some humanity? Here are a few characteristics brands should strive to display, along with a few examples.</p> <h3>Speak like a real person</h3> <p><a href="http://www.geomarketing.com/76-percent-of-consumers-have-used-voice-commands-on-digital-devices" target="_blank">One in three US consumers</a> are said to have used voice commands on their mobile phone or tablet. We’re certainly becoming used to these human-like interactions with brands, and communication only looks set to become more natural in future.</p> <p>But of course, not everyone has this technology at their disposal. Most brands rely on broadcast techniques to communicate to customers. And while websites, social media, and email marketing might be run by human beings, it’s still easy to revert to formal or unnatural language – especially if the service or <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69621-four-simple-tips-to-make-boring-copy-more-exciting" target="_blank">product is similarly boring</a>. </p> <p>Not only can this frustrate and alienate consumers, but this kind of copy is also just harder to read. This doesn’t mean brands should go overboard and do the opposite – <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67886-word-on-the-street-four-tips-for-using-slang-in-marketing" target="_blank">using slang</a> or emoji in marketing can be a tricky thing to master. Instead, the key is to create content that aligns with natural speech.</p> <p>Pret a Manger has been criticised for veering into overly-friendly copy, but there’s no denying that it sounds distinctly human. Instead of merely talking about its products, it often puts them in the context of everyday life, addressing the consumer directly so that it is ever easier to relate.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hands up if you’ve waited until December for your first Christmas Sandwich (we admire your willpower) <a href="https://t.co/kpGWfMARni">pic.twitter.com/kpGWfMARni</a></p> — Pret (@Pret) <a href="https://twitter.com/Pret/status/936550469467488258?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 1, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Another example of Pret's human tone of voice can be found on its customer service page, which encourages customers to ‘talk to Pret’ – something that you’d usually do to a friend and not a brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0937/Talk_to_Pret.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="494"></p> <h3>Be on hand to help</h3> <p>Customer service is an important way for brands to boost their reputation and increase loyalty. However, this is often one area where brands are guilty of being cold and decidedly ‘business-like’ - despite the preference for human interaction. According to Accenture, <a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-digital-disconnect-customer-engagement" target="_blank">83% of US consumers</a> are said to prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels, with the majority being left frustrated over ‘human-less’ services.</p> <p>Customers don’t want to talk to humans <em>only</em> when problems arise either. One brand with an effective service strategy is Lush, which is well-know for being friendly and chatty to customers both in-store and on social. Naturally, the brand’s commitment to ethical and sustainability-related issues helps to further its reputation as a brand that cares, but without its level of care for the <em>customer </em>– I doubt this would ring so true.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lush customer service is honestly something else. I've never come across more deliriously happy staff in my life.</p> — kharis. (@kharismg) <a href="https://twitter.com/kharismg/status/916770401186996226?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 7, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Consumers also wish for this kind of human help and support to be transferred to the digital space, such as an online shop assistant to offer product advice. This example from Truly Concierge shows the value it can bring, with an assistant on hand to narrow down gifts instead of leaving users to browse (and potentially abandon their journey).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0941/Truly.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="407"></p> <p>With resources often the biggest barrier to services like this, one answer is to look to artificial intelligence. But doesn’t this negate the ‘human’ aspect entirely?</p> <p>In theory, yes, but it also appears that brands who use artificial intelligence can generate greater levels of consumer trust – as long as there is transparency. In other words, a customer is far more likely to trust a brand (and carry on with an interaction) if they know upfront they’re talking to a bot rather than a human. What’s more, brands can further this by knowing when to step in and let a human take over.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0940/KLM.JPG" alt="" width="273" height="524"></p> <h3>Show your flaws</h3> <p>Most brands strive to create a brand identity – a key set of characteristics that help to differentiate them from others. However, not many brands allow margin for error, meaning flaws or weaknesses are never usually part of this identity. </p> <p>This is not necessarily a good thing, and not to go all 'Oprah Winfrey' on you – but surely flaws are what make us human in the first place? Consequently, brands that do display or admit fault can be more appealing to the rest of us mere mortals, because it makes them seem honest and authentic. </p> <p>Interestingly, it can also help to sell a product. One of the most well-known examples of this is Stella Artois’s tagline of “reassuringly expensive”, which simultaneously includes both positive and negative elements. But by brazenly admitting that it costs more than other beers, it naturally leads the consumer to assume it must be worth it. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0942/Stella.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="316"></p> <p>Admitting fault is not always a deliberate marketing ploy. It can also be a necessity when a brand makes a mistake or inadvertently creates a backlash. In this instance, however, saying <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/66380-how-brands-can-say-sorry-like-they-mean-it" target="_blank">sorry like you mean it</a> can also help to boost a brand’s reputation rather than merely remedy it.</p> <p>In 2015, Airbnb published an apology letter in response to allegations that racial discrimination was taking place on its platform. Not only did it say sorry for being slow to take action, but it also followed it up with an investigation and a number of changes to combat the issue. In doing so, Airbnb showed it was capable of admitting fault – but also that it cares enough to try and turn it around. Since, it has continued to work on and update its policy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0938/Airbnb_1.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="528"></p> <h3>Tap into emotional data</h3> <p>We appear to be moving towards an automated world, with brands increasingly drawing on data to target and engage consumers. However, instead of focusing on demographics and other faceless data, brands are also tapping into so-called ‘emotional data’ to create stronger relationships.  </p> <p>This means tapping into the emotions of consumers to create relevant, engaging, and human experiences.</p> <p>Last year, eBay created the first-ever ‘emotion-powered’ pop-up, which used biometric sensors to monitor which items created the strongest emotional reaction in customers. Jaguar did a similar thing with its #FeelWimbledon campaign, which analysed the crowd’s mood and emotional response to the tennis.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">1/2 It’s your last chance to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FeelWimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FeelWimbledon</a> - we’re giving away 2 No 1 Court tickets. Hit before 1pm to play the game <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JaguarResponse?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JaguarResponse</a> <a href="https://t.co/Z3leAsDy9g">pic.twitter.com/Z3leAsDy9g</a></p> — Jaguar UK (@JaguarUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/JaguarUK/status/885755767214678016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 14, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>These campaigns aren’t necessarily ground-breaking in terms of what they offer customers, however they both show how emotion can be used as a form of intelligence.</p> <p>With understanding a key part of what it means to be human, brands have a much greater chance of forging long-term relationships with customers if they are willing to show it.</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69622-four-ways-brands-build-loyalty-engagement-without-using-points">Four ways brands build loyalty and engagement (without using points)</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69621 2017-11-30T10:00:00+00:00 2017-11-30T10:00:00+00:00 Four simple tips to make boring copy more exciting Nikki Gilliland <p>For brands that sell every day and, dare I say it, dull products – copywriting can be far more challenging. Similarly, regardless of the product in question, writing online copy such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68160-five-tips-for-creating-a-successful-faq-page" target="_blank">FAQ pages</a> and basic checkout features can soon sound repetitive. </p> <p>So, how can we inject some interest? Here are a few copywriting tips to help, plus a few of the best examples out there.</p> <h3>1. Personify your product</h3> <p>It’s hard to make financial services sound even mildly interesting, let alone fun. This is made even harder by the need to inform and educate consumers about confusing and complex topics.</p> <p>One way to make this easier is to personify your brand. In other words, to create a character that lends an identifiable ‘voice’ to a company or acts as a metaphor for a product or service.</p> <p>Direct Line is one brand that does this, using Winston Wolf played by Harvey Keitel - a famous fictional character from the movie Pulp Fiction. As the ultimate ‘fixer’, Winston is a metaphor for Direct Line’s insurance products, which provides help and assistance to people when their home or car has been damaged.</p> <p>While Winston Wolf is mostly known for his appearance on Direct Line’s TV ads, this personification continues through to the brand’s online presence. Using Winston’s “I solve problems” slogan, the company’s website provide users with similar reassurance and straight-forward advice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0789/Winston_Wolf.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="705"></p> <p>Savings bank NS&amp;I also uses personification in order to tell the story of its brand’s history. ERNIE (which stands for ‘Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment’) is a personification of the machine that generates premium bonds numbers. </p> <p>He stands for NS&amp;I’s commitment to providing a fair and honest service, reassuring customers that he only ever generates numbers at random, and that there have been four generations of ERNIE since the company began.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0790/ERNIE.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="515"></p> <h3>2. Make the small print stand out</h3> <p>While many brands strive to be creative with their online copy, it’s tough to extend this to smaller or more hidden sections of a site. Or perhaps, more to the point, it’s easy to forget and focus on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65365-how-seven-ecommerce-brands-use-highly-persuasive-copywriting" target="_blank">persuading consumers to convert</a> instead.</p> <p>However, when a brand is creative in unexpected places, this helps to enhance a memorable and fun image. One brand that does this is pet subscription service, Barkbox, which typically uses puns and pet-related humour throughout its site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0792/Barkbox.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="372"></p> <p>From the charming way it describes a dog's size to cleverly auto-filling its form with puns – it is creative throughout the user’s journey.</p> <p>I particularly like its pun-filled 'Scout’s Honour pawlicy' (see below), showing how its unique voice shines through everywhere online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0791/Barkbox_2.JPG" alt="" width="633" height="823"></p> <p>Another example of this approach comes from Cultivated Wit, which creates comedy events and videos. Unsurprisingly for a company of its kind, it integrates humour everywhere on its site, even brashly telling visitors that ‘homepage copy can be vague’ to encourage newsletter sign-ups.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0793/CW.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="302"></p> <p>One area that is particularly pleasing is found at the very bottom of its homepage. Here it uses dry calls to action, like ‘monitor our public private lives’ and ‘communicate at us’ to complement standard (and slightly dull) website features like social media icons and contact info (see below). </p> <p>While an ‘About Us’ section is helpful, when it comes to copywriting, this shows how the little details can tell you so much more about a company and what it stands for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0794/CW_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="266"></p> <h3>3. Use social to inject humour and wit </h3> <p>Copywriting is not just a concern for your owned media. Social media copy can also revert back to being predictable if a strong or unique tone of voice is not a priority. For Tesco Mobile on Twitter, this is often the case, with a typical tweet involving copy relating to offers and new products. </p> <p>However, Tesco Mobile also actively uses Twitter to break out of this mould, specifically in terms of how it replies to customers and interjects when criticised. </p> <p>Last year, one unsuspecting user dared to refer to Tesco Mobile as the ‘absolute poverty’ network, before the brand sassily replied with an equally scathing put-down. It’s taken this tack countless times in the past, delighting users with its entertaining retorts and perhaps combatting some negative brand perception in the process.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Nah the worst thing is your own mother blatantly ignoring your calls.</p> — Tesco Mobile (@tescomobile) <a href="https://twitter.com/tescomobile/status/749542835066658816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 3, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Another brand with a similar approach is toilet paper brand Charmin. Hardly the most exciting product, right? But Charmin cleverly turns the topic on its head, tweeting out toilet humour and encouraging users to share their own #tweetsfromtheseat. Charmin is particularly good at tweaking its copy depending on the platform, too, using a more edgy tone on Twitter and a slightly more family friendly one on Facebook. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Happy Thanksgiving for everyone checking their phones in the bathroom. Enjoy your day and make sure to replace the roll after your <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TweetFromTheSeat?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TweetFromTheSeat</a> <a href="https://t.co/iCOjTMp6iZ">pic.twitter.com/iCOjTMp6iZ</a></p> — Charmin (@Charmin) <a href="https://twitter.com/Charmin/status/933776798768422912?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 23, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>4. Cut the crap – be conversational</h3> <p>Domestic products like washing machines and dishwashers are necessities rather than desirables. Consequently, it’s hard to sell them without focusing too much on the overly technical or functional aspects, and confusing customers in the process. </p> <p>There are many things AO.com’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66768-ao-com-the-best-ecommerce-experience-available-online/" target="_blank">ecommerce site gets right</a> and copywriting is certainly one of them, particularly how it concisely summarises key features without veering into jargon.</p> <p>Take this description for a tumble dryer, for example, which points out features of interest to customers, such as the machine being ‘great for medium-sized households’ and ‘easy-unloading’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0795/AO.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="566"></p> <p>Elsewhere, it uses more a conversational style of copy to explain technical aspects of items, letting customers know what features are most important and why – crucially, without patronising or sounding overly educational.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0796/AO_Buying_Guides.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="318"></p> <p>While it’s an entirely different sort of company, software creators Basecamp also utilise conversational copy to cut through jargon and ‘business speak’. Its product is internal communication and project management software, however, instead of focusing on the features or over-arching benefits (and the temptation to use words like ‘streamlined’) – it focuses on the every-day benefits.</p> <p>By telling customers that ‘everything will be in one organized place, everyone will be on the same page, and projects will get off the ground faster’ – it speaks to its customers like they are real people.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0797/Basecamp.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="632"></p> <p>Finally, I also like how it uses relatability, cleverly reminding people of typical workplace frustrations in order to highlight Basecamp’s USP.</p> <p>This effectively shifts the consumer's mindset, naturally engaging them rather than overtly selling a product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0798/Basecamp_2.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="368"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69307-eight-examples-of-top-notch-copywriting-from-travel-brands" target="_blank">Eight examples of top-notch copywriting from travel brands</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes/" target="_blank">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research" target="_blank">Three online copywriting tips supported by research</a></em></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>If you'd like more copywriting advice, why not attend our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting">copywriting training</a>?</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69600 2017-11-27T11:23:00+00:00 2017-11-27T11:23:00+00:00 Four examples of persuasive packaging copy Nikki Gilliland <p>Packaging copy has gained a bad reputation in the past few years, mainly due to the rise of ‘wackaging’ – i.e. the overly-friendly and almost sickly-sweet style of language used by Innocent and Ella’s Kitchen. </p> <p>It’s understandable why this tactic has become so popular. By using chatty language and quirky slogans, brands are aiming to grab the buyer’s attention and create a more personal connection. The problem is - it can also feel patronising if, say, you’re simply looking for a smoothie with the lowest sugar content. No one wants to be told to ‘eat your greens’ at the same time, right?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0644/Innocent.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="453"></p> <p>This is an arguably cynical point of view, and perhaps it is rather too obvious to single out Innocent. It has crafted its own unique and highly recognisable brand voice, and there is undoubtedly an audience for it.</p> <p>So, where does the balance lie when it comes to good packaging copy? Here are a few examples that I think hit the mark, and how it might impact the consumer in a positive way.</p> <h3>The Ordinary</h3> <p>Most beauty brands use over-the-top packaging to capture the attention of shoppers, using equally exaggerated names and descriptions to hammer-home the supposed benefits. </p> <p>For instance, while Maybelline’s ‘Colossal Big Shot Mascara’ sounds impressive, the reality could leave customers feeling slightly let down by its bold claim. Similarly, skincare is another area where brands tend to go over the top, waxing lyrical about how a product will restore a youthful glow or banish wrinkles. </p> <p>The Ordinary is one brand that does the opposite, instead using packaging copy to reflect its wider ethos of ‘less is more’. By taking away unnecessary ingredients, design, and marketing – which only ramps up price – it is able to take a no-frills approach across the board. Its packaging reflects this, merely listing ingredients to leave the consumer in no doubt as to what’s included.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0637/Ordinary.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="555"></p> <p>While this might sound like it lacks elements of persuasion, I think it instils confidence in customers. Promising ‘clinical formulations with integrity’ – it comes across as a brand that strives to be honest and authentic rather than boastful and in-your-face. There is the argument that a lack of information on packaging might leave customers unsure about what the product is meant to do, however, as a brand that largely sells online, the Ordinary relies on the fact that this is typically included on ecommerce sites.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0638/Ordinary_2.JPG" alt="" width="372" height="427"></p> <h3>Anatomicals</h3> <p>Another way brands tend to use copy to stand out on shelves is with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice" target="_blank">humour</a>. Again, this can be an even riskier strategy, with the combined danger of sounding overly-friendly as well as unfunny. </p> <p>One company that I think uses humour and wit to great effect is bath and body brand, Anatomicals. Its uses a bold typeface and witty puns to grab the user’s attention, also doing so to make its broad (and perhaps mundane) product range sound exciting and appealing to customers - especially against glossy and high-end competitive brands.</p> <p>I don’t mean that the brand is mundane. But on the product side is it really possible to make lip balm sound exciting? With its ‘stop cracking up’ balm – Anatomicals gives it a good go. Elsewhere, from the “you need a blooming shower, rose and jasmine cleanser” to the “help the paw hand cream” – its copy is both clever and unique.</p> <p>Anatomicals also shrewdly recognises the context in which its products will be used, for example incorporating lengthy descriptions on products like shampoo or shower gel, in situations where consumers are likely to stop and linger. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0635/Anatomicals_2.JPG" alt="" width="381" height="413"></p> <p>Another reason the copy works well is that – much like The Ordinary - it reflects the brand’s no-nonsense approach. If you’ve ever come across an Anatomicals product, you might have noticed that it does not try to convince you to buy it with endless benefits and promised results. Rather, it concentrates on the functional and straight-forward elements of the product. </p> <p>What more can you say about “puffy the eye-bag slayer: wake-up under-eye patches”? I for one am convinced.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0636/anatomicals_3.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="324"></p> <h3>Propercorn</h3> <p>As well as trying to make friends with consumers, a number of brands are now using copy to convey a sense of authenticity or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67874-the-rise-of-the-artisanal-tone-of-voice-among-brand-marketers/" target="_blank">artisanal sensibility</a>. This can backfire of course, with brands like (the now defunct) ‘Harris &amp; Hoole’ pretending to sound independent – despite being owned by Tesco.</p> <p>Some can get it right, if values and products match up that is. Propercorn is one brand that I think does succeed with its artisanal packaging copy, using a good combination of storytelling and product information to engage customers in-the-moment. After all, Propercorn does not largely invest in digital marketing activity, typically relying on outdoor ads and word of mouth instead.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0643/propercorn_OOH.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="371"></p> <p>On its packaging, which is also well-known for its bright and eye-catching design, it takes the opportunity to <a href="https://www.creativereview.co.uk/brand-storytelling-trend-began-whether-will-ever-end/">tell the story</a> of how the brand began. Detailing how it’s “popcorn done properly”, borne out “hours spent experimenting with ingredients and seasonings” – the copy surprises consumers with a personal touch.</p> <p>The fact that it’s also written from the personal perspective of co-founder, Cassandra Stavrou, further enhances this notion.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0642/propercorn.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>To me, this is what makes Propercorn stand out amid an onslaught of similar brands. With restrained yet engaging storytelling, the product is perhaps more likely to draw in customers browsing supermarket snack shelves. </p> <h3>Oasis</h3> <p>Finally, while you might not consider fashion items to contain ‘packaging’ copy (unless you order online) – I’ve noticed that Oasis has been placing a big focus on in-store copy of late. </p> <p>For example, customers might come across slogans like “you deserve it” or “treat yourself” on item hangers, perhaps prompting you to at least try it on…</p> <p>Meanwhile, signs around the store speak to customers at every touchpoint, from encouraging you to ask for another size to checking out Oasis on social. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0640/Oasis.JPG" alt="" width="510" height="345"></p> <p>This example shows that copywriting does not have to begin and end online – and neither does it have to be the hallmark of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68919-how-visual-social-listening-is-helping-fmcg-and-beyond" target="_blank">FMCG brands</a>.</p> <p>By using copy in a creative and personal way, Oasis is able to successfully reach out engage customers in-the-moment, when they’re ready and primed to buy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0641/oasis_2.JPG" alt="" width="403" height="313"></p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions" target="_blank">A copywriter's template for excellent product page descriptions</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes/" target="_blank">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research" target="_blank">Three online copywriting tips supported by research</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69595 2017-11-22T14:25:00+00:00 2017-11-22T14:25:00+00:00 Emojis in email subject lines: smiley face, or smiley poop? Parry Malm <h3>Should we Emoji… or should we eNOji?</h3> <p>Ever since the Oxford English Dictionary named the “Laughing face with tears of joy” as the word of the year in 2015, marketers have been all about emojis. And so you see them everywhere, because just because you can do it… you should do it. Right?</p> <p>Not so fast. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. </p> <p>We know a little bit about email subject lines. In fact, our business at Phrasee is predicated on using AI to generate and optimise subject lines. So, our team of 30-odd people is solely dedicated to understanding the linguistic attributes of subject lines that work, and conversely, those that don’t. Also, we’re great at parties. </p> <p>Anyway, one day our linguists asked our data science team the age old question: should we Emoji… or should we eNOji? </p> <p>The answer was a resounding:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/0600/shrug_emoji-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="235"></p> <h3>And so we started researching.</h3> <p>We started by looking at a huge volume of subject lines, in the hundreds of thousands, to first determine the frequency of subject line use. <strong>Overall, about 5% of global subject lines over the last 12 months include one or more emojis.</strong> So, not mega, but not insubstantial.</p> <p>But, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Of the 5% of subject lines with emojis, about 1500 different emojis were used. That’s a lotta emojis! (Note: we included things like emoticons and whatnot in the sample set - so, any non-word-based linguistic constructs.)</p> <p>Some trends became apparent just by eyeballing the frequency table. Here’s the top five:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0602/top_5_emojis.PNG" alt="" width="127" height="300"></p> <p><strong>Clearly, all you email marketers are stars who love holidays, amirite? </strong></p> <p>At this point, we had shown that emoji usage had become quite widely adopted, presumably in the travel industry, and perhaps in the organ transplant industry as well. That’s great to know… but that wasn’t our question. </p> <p>So we went back to our data scientists, and asked a much more specific question:</p> <h3>Do emojis improve or decay performance of subject lines?</h3> <p>This question is more challenging to answer, as natural (i.e. unstructured) data doesn’t tell the whole story.</p> <p>See, a subject line is made up of a multitude of components. To give you an idea of the scale of the linguistic complexity within a single subject line: our deep learning engine is trained to consider roughly 750,000 features when determining efficacy of a subject line. Emojis comprise some of those features, but there are MANY more. </p> <p>Further, deconstructing an advanced deep learning system is nigh on impossible. See, there’s a tradeoff between a model’s interpretability and accuracy. The less sophisticated the model, the more you can post-hoc explain it. As the model’s sophistication increases, the interpretability decreases at a disproportionately high rate.</p> <p>(Tangent: if you ever see an “AI” model and people can easily deconstruct it to tell you why it made the choice it made… then chances are the system isn’t terribly sophisticated, and you probably just got ripped off).</p> <p>Still, people kept asking us, “Should I be using emojis”? So our intrepid data detectives got to work.</p> <h3>Here’s how we designed the experiment.</h3> <p>To isolate - and measure - emojis as a (non) causal variable requires a specific experimental methodology.</p> <p>The only other direct experiments we’ve seen in the past are single-subject-line tests, where you have A versus B - one with an emoji, and one without. This, however, doesn’t allow for repeatability. So it’s like those studies you see, where one day red meat will kill you, and the next day it’ll save your life. Pretty much not worth the paper it’s written on. </p> <p>So, our appetites for emoji research not yet sated, <strong>we partnered with one of our customers - a huge global brand - to do a proper experiment, following a proper scientific method.</strong></p> <p>Over the course of 14 campaigns, 10 randomly selected groups (about 50k in size each) received one of 10 different subject lines over 14 sends - five without emojis, and then the same five with emojis. <strong>This allowed us to test 70 different emojis across thousands of people.</strong></p> <p>Note: the goal of the experiment wasn’t to find a “good” emoji - it was to answer whether or not emojis improved or decayed response. That’s why we used a large variety of emojis.</p> <p>We then tabulated the results, and made a fancy chart, because that’s what you do with data:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0603/emoji_prob_chart.PNG" alt="" width="400" height="230"></p> <h3>So, what did we learn?</h3> <p>Emojis are like Sex Panther cologne:</p> <p><iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/65UhRV75wOQ?wmode=transparent" width="425" height="350"></iframe> </p> <p><strong>60% of the time, they work every time.</strong> When they work (about 60% of the time), they spike open rates by about a quarter of a standard deviation. When they don’t work (about 40% of the time), they decay response by about the same amount.</p> <p>One interpretation of this result would be “inconclusivity”... but we weren’t satisfied with that. So we looked at the winning and losing clusters in more detail. And we learned something interesting.</p> <h3>Emojis are language amplifiers. </h3> <p>An emoji, in itself, won’t make or break a subject line. The data proves this. But, they can be an additive - or subtractive - linguistic feature. </p> <p>What an emoji does is one of two things:</p> <ol> <li>It makes a bad subject line worse</li> <li>Or it makes a good subject line better</li> </ol> <h3>When emojis make bad subject lines worse…</h3> <p>If you’re already high-pressuring your customers into buying your stuff using misleading tactics, then adding in emojis will make them even spammier. Here’s an example of some subject lines that seem to be doing this:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0619/Sears.PNG" alt="sears" width="800"></p> <p>Spam in, spam out. An emoji ain’t gonna make these awful subject lines good. With trash like this, you may get a short-term spike in response... but it’ll drop off, I guarantee it. Tactics like this assume your customers are stupid, and that they’ll fall for it time and time again. But - this just in - your customers aren’t stupid. So you shouldn’t treat them so.  </p> <p>This strategy smacks of desperation… with an emoji.  </p> <h3>When emojis make good subject lines better…</h3> <p>If your subject lines are already good… and your emojis are contextually relevant… then guess what? They make your end result even better. For example, Domino’s Pizza:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0618/Dominos.PNG" alt="dominos email" width="800"></p> <p>Note how the emoji usage flows within the context of the subject lines, and they aren’t being over-used. The subject lines are on-brand, and are effective. And - not all of them contain an emoji, because not every subject line will benefit from one. </p> <p>This strategy smacks of delicious pizza… with an emoji. </p> <h3>Wanna find out more? Sure, no probs.</h3> <p>Phrasee has put together <a href="https://phrasee.co/emoji-or-enoji-what-science-says-about-subject-lines/">a fancy report</a> (Editor’s note: registration required) covering all of the above in way more detail, with a bunch more stats and findings.</p> <h3>Emojis are here to stay, so don’t ignore them.</h3> <p>But at the same time, don’t look at them with short-term goggles, and simply use them to become a better spammer. If you’re already a spammer, then go ahead, throw in some emojis. It’ll work once, maybe twice.</p> <p>Your customers aren’t stupid, so don’t treat them as such.</p> <p>Emojis are the biggest linguistic revolution since the QWERTY keyboard, and they are shaking things up and fundamentally changing how we communicate.</p> <p>Unlike a picture, emojis don’t say a thousand words. </p> <p>But they <em>can</em> make the rest of your words better. So use them wisely.</p> <p><em><strong>More from Parry Malm:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66328-211-awesome-phrases-for-email-subject-lines-that-sell/">211 aweome phrases for email subject lines that sell</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67739-according-to-32-198-emails-most-retailers-use-boring-subject-lines/">According to 32,918 emails most retailers use boring subject lines</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67241-what-s-the-best-black-friday-subject-line-ever-according-to-3-892-emails/">What's the best Black Friday subject line ever according to 3,892 emails?</a></li> </ul> <p><em><strong>More from Econsultancy:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/email-marketing-best-practice-guide">Email Marketing Best Practice Guide (subscriber only)</a></li> </ul>