On Messaging Alignment

The following excerpt, taken from this week’s Yahoo! Small Business article about JC Penney CEO Ron Johnson’s marketing missteps, made me say “Yes!”:

Messaging alignment. Even though JC Penney’s ads made the company look new and fresh, when a buyer actually walked into the store, they were not greeted with the same brand messaging. This left potential buyers confused–never a good sign, online or offline. As a digital marketer, this reminds me of companies that use a very compelling call-to-action button or online ad, and then when you actually get to the landing page, it’s not at all what you were led there with. Can someone say high bounce rate? And that’s just what JC Penney prospects did in the store, without bags in their hands.

Occasionally as a copywriter I find myself in a position where I write ads for a product or service, only to have those ads point to a web page that doesn’t deliver.

If you’re going to the trouble and expense of hiring someone to write your advertising messaging, you really should hire the same person or company to write a custom landing page to match the ad. There’s nothing more confusing to a user than clicking on a cool ad, only to land on a generic or outdated web page that doesn’t lead you directly to the next step in the sales process.

The same goes for book ads. If I click on a book banner or Facebook ad with an intriguing teaser or a fantastic review blurb, I want to be taken to a page with a book description that matches–and easy-to-find buy buttons that offer me a choice of retailers.

Indie authors especially, take note: If you hire a writer to create banner ads or other promotional materials for your book’s campaign, consider using the same person to write your book’s description and/or website copy. Make sure, too, that all of these items describe your book’s plot accurately and don’t oversell (e.g., “A thrilling roller coaster ride” to describe a quiet drama, or “A soaring romance” to describe a fairly predictable love story with no obstacles on the path to happiness) so reviewers don’t complain later of a bait and switch.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and describe your product accurately, because once customer reviews are posted, you have no influence over what they say or where they appear.

— Kristen

Note: This article is also available at 563media.com.

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