Is Your Marketing Copy Turning Customers Away? Business Lessons from the Cat

Copywriting & Marketing Lessons from the Cat  Whether your marketing copy is sitting on a website, in a blog post, an email, or a brochure, it is speaking volumes about you in your absence.

Is what you’re saying or the way you’re saying it turning away business?

I call this piece Business Lessons from the Cat because as we were searching for and adopting our now three loving kittens, I learned an awful lot about marketing from a feline perspective.  After all, cats waiting for adoption must be marketing masters if they want to find that purrfect forever home (aka land the ideal customer).  This article is the first in a series.

As we sat on our couch pouring over Petfinder looking for local cats available for adoption, we spent many hours reading the descriptions and pondering who we might like to meet.  Once you get past the demographics (age, breed type, and sex), the rest is pure sales copy.  As such I expect it to be informative, accurate, and give me insight into what I might expect should I choose to “do business with” (aka meet) the cat.

I realize that cat foster organizations are volunteer run and overstretched.  They do amazing work in the world and I am grateful for that as a cat lover. That said, some of the copy I read made me shake my head and scream “You’re doing it all wrong!”

Here are the top 5 mistakes I saw the cats make while marketing themselves via copywriting:

No Copy

If you tell me nothing about you, how compelled will I be to meet you?  There’s zero know, like, and trust factor happening and you haven’t even given yourself a fighting chance beyond your photo.

No Photo

What sells cuteness better than a photo? Whether you’re a cat looking to be adopted or a service provider, pictures engage, tell a story, and make you instantly more appealing and approachable.

Limited/General Copy That Says Nothing

The line “I am cute, cuddly, and playful” repeated for every cat is not very effective.  I haven’t found too many cats in my day that aren’t cute.  What is your personality like?  Tell me more, something, anything about the real you.

The Total Turnoff

A number of cats needing homes are special needs cats.  These cats can be tremendous companions for the right owner.  While the copy needs to be an accurate depiction of the responsibility at hand, it shouldn’t totally turn off any prospective customer.  For instance, I read several that started with a laundry list of ailments and accompanying ongoing and expensive monthly medical fees.  To put it comically it almost read like “I am a mess, sickly, and an unbearable burden to own and love”.  What is the likelihood that someone would consider adopting such a cat? Instead the copy should have spoken to the wonderful personality, gifts of owning her, and then led into a few specifics or made the call to action to learn more about adopting this special needs cat. You don’t want to lie or present unfair expectations about a cat, product, or service. However, don’t slam the door before you’ve made a real invitation.

Too Many Demands/Overly Complicated

Some of the cats had an awful lot of demands, requirements, and preferences.  Of course you want the right fit in terms of home, family, and living conditions. This is extremely important. Yet, some of the copy read like a list of demands from a hostage situation. The “I must get adopted with my 2 brothers, 1 sister, live in a house without dogs, children, or carpets, and have access to fresh air even in the winter months” sort of approach.  Your copy should not make it so overly complicated that your prospective customer runs for the hills exasperated. A confused, frustrated mind always says NO.

While I use this fun example from my time in searching for a cat to adopt mode, I know each of these lessons is immediately applicable to all businesses whether you sell a product or service.

Are you making any of these mistakes?  If you’re not sure, ask an impartial party to read your copy and give you honest feedback.

Need help with your marketing plan or message so it is authentic and effective? Contact me today for a complimentary Intuitive Intelligence Activation Session to explore how working together will help you grow your business.

photo credit: MendocinoAnimalCare via photopin cc

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