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Marketing Tips for Dentists
Published by Galen Stilson
Direct Response Copywriter/Consultant
Dental Marketing a specialty


Sterile Copy: It's Clean, It's Accurate,
It's Logical, But It Lacks Potency

You've seen it.

It's understandable. It's believable. It states user benefits. It talks to the reader in the reader's language. It asks for a response. It's copy that follows all of the "rules."

But it doesn't work.

Why?

Because it's like kissing your sister or brother. There's no imagination. No emotion. No excitement.

Sure, it's a kiss ... but it doesn't do anything for you (and if it does, you need to see a specialist).

For direct response copy to do its job most effectively it must do something for, or to, the prospect. You know, make him or her give a sigh of relief or squirm anxiously ... make the heart pump faster ... produce excitement and anticipation ... involve ... stimulate ... fascinate ... exhilarate.

Right now, give one of your ads or direct mail pieces a quick read-through.

Did the copy make you feel like you just kissed your brother or sister? Or, did it feel like you just "made out" with Elle McPherson or Brad Pitt (depending on your gender).  If Elle or Brad pops to mind, your copy is likely to be quite virile, effective. If a sibling comes to mind , it's likely to be quite sterile.

Familiarity Can Breed Sterility.

When you write your own copy about your own service, you must guard against copy sterility. You become so familiar with the benefits, uses and appeals that you begin losing the emotional edge the excitement you need when writing copy.

It's kind of like some marriages. During the courting stage and the first year or two of marriage, everything is exciting. The new partners learn about each other, try new things, and find pleasure in the trivial.  

Then, gradually it changes. Routines are developed. Excitement fades. Contentment sets in. Sound familiar?

Here are some ideas to avoid the sterile copy trap ...

Before you get started, ask yourself why a prospective patient should choose you as his/her dentist?  What do you have to offer that other dentists don't ... or what can you do better than other dentists?  Don't be shy.

Write your ad to someone you know who needs the help you're offering ... and do it with the single goal of causing him or her to get excited, filled with anticipation about taking advantage of your offer. Don't worry about anything except building excitement.

Whenever writing copy, do it in a relaxed setting where you will not be interrupted.

* Never forget that the people who will be reading the ad don't aren't as familiar with dentistry as you are.  Nor do they understand the benefits of it the way you do.

Avoid using potentially misunderstood dental terminology.  Use the target audience's everyday language.

After you've finished the ad (design and copy), let it sit for a couple of days.  Then come back to it.  It's likely you'll want to make changes.  If you do, set it aside for a couple more days ... then come back to it.

Have your copy critiqued by someone who is not so close to the situation.  Ideally, a professional copywriter.**

There are other techniques that will help you create more exciting and enthusiastic copy ... and I'll cover those in a later issue.

In the meantime, here's wishing you a stimulating Elle or Brad fantasy.

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Copyright 2006 by Galen Stilson. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.