How Marketing Content Is Like Table Manners

by Michelle Salater on May 7, 2012


If you grew up eating dinner around the family table, chances are there were rules you had to follow if you didn’t want to go to bed without dessert. The world of online marketing copy is actually quite similar: break the rules, and you won’t get to see the sweet reward of customer conversion.

Luckily, many of the rules you learned over pot roast and green beans can be applied to your digital marketing materials.

Online Marketing Manners

Here’s a guide to behaving yourself so your prospective clients start buying.

  • Be specific about what you want. Try saying, “I need the salt” around a crowded table, and chances are nobody will move. That’s because you’re focusing on your needs rather than those of your audience. If you ask a specific person at the table to pass you the salt, though, it will be in your hands in seconds. In your marketing copy, be sure to include specific calls to action so your readers know exactly what you want them to do.
  • Mind your manners. Slurping, chewing with your mouth open, and criticizing the chef don’t fly at the dinner hour. In online content, rude behavior won’t get you sent to your room, but it will lose you clients. Get in the habit of offering your prospects only high-quality content at reasonable intervals, and you’ll be rewarded with high rates of click-throughs and conversions.
  • Know when to use your napkin. We all make mistakes. Whether those mistakes lead to spaghetti sauce all over your cheeks or an angry client demanding a refund, be quick to do damage control. If not, you risk looking careless, foolish, or worse in front of prospective clients—and losing their business.
  • Know when to serve “dessert.” Everybody needs a little dessert! Treat your list to bonuses, discounts, and freebies, and they’ll be back for more. But don’t go overboard: you can ruin a potential client’s motivation to buy from you just as much as you can ruin your appetite for the main course.

Above all, keep in mind that everyone has a role to play at a family meal—and in the world of online content. Treat everyone with respect, and you’ll end up with a cheerful group of followers.

What dinner table rules do you follow in your web content?

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