According to SiteTurners (a website with a conversion-based glossary I randomly came across the other day), Marketese is this:
“A copywriting style that embellishes the effects or benefits of a product or service in an attempt to make it more attractive to the target audience. Frequently uses superlatives and adjectives.”
I don’t know if I could recommend SiteTurners, but I know I love that definition.
Love and hate it.
Hate it because thinking about it makes me cringe because that’s the kind of shit that is ALL OVER the internet.
For example, a story:
The other day, I saw that one of my friends, along with a few others, launched a new web design company.
I was super excited for them, because I’m all about entrepreneurship and breaking out from the cubicle to do your own thing, so I went to check out their new website almost immediately.
Cool website design, that’s for sure. (Good thing since they’re designers, eh?)
And because I’m in the market for a designer, I checked out the price offerings.
Their prices seemed reasonable, but to be honest, they turned me off the moment I saw copywriting slapped up on their offerings page as something done by one of the designers. Copy, to them, was nothing more than an after-thought.
I have no idea who the dude is who’s doing the copywriting, but I can tell he’s nothing spectacular.
I liked their page design they showed me on their site, but their copy did nothing to get me excited about what they could do for me.
Maybe I would hire them to do my page design, but never a word of my on-site copy. Not even the tiny text in the footer.
Because their pages were nothing but a huge mess of jumbled-up marketese about what great designers they are. Not that they necessarily cared about helping me accomplish my goals, but the most important thing for them was for me to know how well-educated and spectacular they are.
It’s an okay approach to a website, sure, but it screams ‘WARNING: Has no clue what he’s doing!’ to anyone with a trained eye and does nothing to turn on anyone with an untrained eye.
Right now, I know their price number, and even though it’s a friend’s business, that’s all they mean to me. A price.
If I find a web design firm that’s ready to “get” me, I’ll be theirs.
But then, this disappointment led to another conversation with a colleague on why marketese really gets under my skin.
I’ve said before that I hate being referred to as a copywriter, even though that’s what I do day in and day out. And even though I adore the work.
I expressed to my colleague how irritated I was with their boasting about copywriting, and my colleague decided to expand that into my hate of the term ‘copywriter’ and ask what’s wrong with them selling “copywriting” if they are indeed merely selling typical “copywriting.”
I told her I guessed she was right, but that by doing so, they were only defaming the name and concept of what copywriting really has the potential to be. That it should be a concept that gets people excited rather than putting them to sleep.
“Excited like how?” she asked.
“Mmmm…. more like experiencing sex on a page.” (That actually came out of my mouth. I don’t know how to feel about it, but I’m going with it.)
Yes people. Sex. Sex on a page.
THAT kind of experience.
No, I’m not some kind of perved-out idiot that weaves cheap innuendos into what I write. Or any innuendos at all, for that matter.
But think about it for a second.
That tasty, fun, exciting experience that makes you want more of it the instant it’s over.
The kind of experience that’s so good you actually think about later. The next day. The next week.
The kind of page that brings you back to it’s site for more.
The kind of site that’s so good that you look for ways to bring it up in conversation, like someone who just started dating a new person they find super attractive and super interesting. Because they are.
That’s what copywriting’s supposed to do.
It’s not supposed not be marketese. It’s not supposed to bore people to their wit’s end.
So let’s make it sexy.
Don’t hire a designer to do your copywriting for you. Unless, of course, they’re some kind of god-like combination of brilliant designer and seducing wordsmith rolled into one.
Hire someone who can create that hormone-inducing, addictive, seductive experience that makes visitors want more and keeps them coming back regularly.
Because with all the marketese out there, I can almost guarantee your your competition isn’t doing it.
And when you start using copywriting that’s as good as sex on a page?
You’ll become that guy that every other guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with.*
*Metaphorically and in business of course. But a sexy website will probably also put a boost in your self-confidence. And confidence is sexy. So there’s that too.