If you are like many small business owners you may unwittingly suffer from “too many words” syndrome. It occurs when your marketing material features extra words that don’t contribute to creating new business.

When your marketing material is too wordy you blur the clarity of your marketing message. The less clearly your prospects understand how you can help them the less likely they are to buy from you. You want your marketing message to come through without interference.

Too many words’ syndrome can rear its ugly head in just about any copy. It’s been known to lurk in websites, brochures, direct mail, and newspaper ads, to name just a few places it’s been found.

There is no reason to fear, however. The causes of too many words’ syndrome can be isolated and removed to improve your marketing material.

Should you choose to inspect and upgrade your copy you will need to know what to look for and what to do? Here are some tips to help you spot and eliminate the bloated copy.

In a nutshell, what you need to do is remove unnecessary words. The first step is identifying them. Look for the words that don’t contribute to one of the following goals:

Attracting Attention

Clients know what they want and are attracted to words that describe their needs. When they read words that describe something that concerns them they recognize something familiar and take notice. Your ads will be noticed more often by focusing your copy around words that describe your clients’ needs.

Describing Results

Clients buy results. They do not care about the fancy process you use or that you are the leader in your industry. What they care about is that you can provide what they need. You can sell more when your copy clearly describes the results and benefits you provide.

Conveying Value

Clients seek value. Your copy must help your prospects perceive that they will get more for their money if they buy from you. You can demonstrate value by offering something none of your competitors offer or by doing something more efficiently. You can also create value by giving away something useful in return for your clients’ business.

Creating Urgency

Clients buy when they perceive their need for your product or service as being at least somewhat urgent. The urgency you seek for your prospects can stem naturally from their current circumstance or artificially from the copy you create. If you’ve done your job conveying the value you have a better chance of successfully prodding your prospects to buy sooner rather than later.

One way to create urgency with words is to limit the availability of your offer. Just be sure to truly limit the availability of the offer you make. If you don’t, you risk losing credibility.

Requiring Action

Before your clients buy from you, they must be told what to do. It’s unfortunate but true. An exciting prospect may choose not to pursue a sale simply because he or she wasn’t clearly instructed to do so. Be sure your copy includes explicit instructions that are simple and to the point.

As you spot words in your marketing material that don’t contribute to one of the five goals listed above delete them. You will most likely have to do a small editing job to get your remaining words to sound just right. The work is worth it.

While you scan your copy ask yourself questions like:

Does this word, phrase, or sentence contribute to accomplishing one of the five copywriting goals?

Would this sentence or phrase lose its meaning or be more clear if I remove this particular word or phrase.

Are any of these words or phrases redundant in meaning?

When you’re done editing your copy it should be shorter than what it was when you started. It should also be easier to read and more crisply convey your marketing message.

What is your marketing message?

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