When you’re launching something new, it can be hard to decide your positioning. You want to try several different tests as you launch so you can learn what resonates with your potential audience, but how do you write copy that shows your offer in several very different ways?
It can feel tempting to read about the newest tactics and learn from cutting-edge gurus, but there’s value in the occasional throwback to marketing tactics that have been battle-tried and tested for 70 years. Here’s a look at some tactics that David Ogilvy would have considered cutting edge back when launching Ogilvy and Mathers and using them to guide some copywriting decisions for positioning tests.
“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”– David Ogilvy
Let’s workshop some ads from our recent launch of CrowdTamers AI through the lens of 5 different classic copywriting tactics:
- The 5 Ps of Marketing
- Convention vs. Novelty
- Steal from the competition
- Make ’em laugh
- Tell a story
What we’re working with
Here’s one set of ads we’re running right now for CrowdTamers AI’s launch:
The ads are okay, but their copy is generated via AI, and either the ads or the targeting itself is not great: we’ve got almost 13,000 unique impressions with only 100 clicks. Time to test some offer variants and see if that changes our CTRs! We’ll be changing only copy as much as possible for these tests since I don’t want to introduce too many variables into this test just yet.
1. The 5 Ps of Marketing
If you went to business school, you probably had to grapple with complicated slides like the above describing the “5 Ps” of Marketing. This looks pretty scary, doesn’t it?
Think of it in a simpler way. You can be different because of:
- Product – Your product is inherently different. How? And for whom?
- Price – You’re cheaper. Or more expensive! How do you create cost pressure?
- Promotion – How do people find out about you?
- Place – Where do your users find you?
- People – Your people. What makes your company special?
The current ad only talks about Product. It’s an AI that makes ads that find leads? That’s actually not super unique in any case. Let’s try a variant that talks about the specifics of each of these 5 Ps.
2. Convention vs. Novelty
Some people crave new ideas. Some are happy with old and reliable. Knowing which type of user wants what you have to offer is important. In some cases, looking more established and settled is actually a detriment to your offer because your best user wants the new, cutting-edge thing.
“Do not … address your readers as though they were gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing to each of them a letter on behalf of your client.”— David Ogilvy
3. Steal from the Competition
Don’t actually steal from them, but take their best ideas and see what you can do, based on their effort. Most advertisers put a decent amount of effort into optimizing their ads, so if you see an ad run a few times, you can bet it’s probably one that works. Let’s take a look at the Facebook Ad Library and see who we can crib notes from:
There are a lot of AI-based copywriting tools out there right now. We’re not in quite the same space, but it gives us ideas. A few common threads:
- Most of these mention that the ad was written with an AI.
- The assumed persona is “marketer” more than “CEO / Founder”
- Most have testimonials
- They all emphasize saving time
- None of them have CTAs in their image
One benefit of having many friends on the Internet is I can poke one or two and tell ’em to say something nice about CrowdTamers AI. Here’s a sample of a quote I’d ask someone for.
4. Make ’em Laugh
You can write witty copy, which can be hard, or you can find an image that makes people pay attention and smile, which is often easier.
“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”–David Ogilvy
5. Tell a story
If you can put your reader into a story in 10 words, you can establish a bond quickly. Finding a headline that starts in media res, as authors call it (that’s Latin for “In the middle of the action”) can build that rapport instantly.
There you go, 10 super different ways to talk about the identical piece of software, all brought to you by marketing tactics that you can find in David Ogilvy’s On Advertising.
If the ad tactics still smell a little of stale cigar smoke and whiskey, try not to mind it. The bones of these tactics hold up over time, even if it may sound like they come from a certain AMC drama that used to be all the rage.