The Power of...
You certainly must know that Many Big Marketers consider COPYWRITING to be the most important skill you need to be earning online.
There's a lot of good copywriting around. But even in good copywriting there are some manerism that in my opinion don't help to achieve the desired result. No doubt the most over-used in copywriting is the Exclamation Mark. As a result of this over-use it's become a very ineffective means of expression. But nevertheless, it still appears everywhere, often in pairs or big flocks. Conveying practically no longer any real emotions. I don't mean that the feelings that the copywriter expresses are not true - whether it is or not is no the point here. The important thing is that the READER, seeing those expression marks, doesn't feel anything "extra". Nothing over what he/she would feel if there was no exclamation marks.
While exclamation marks in a book or a newspaper may be needed for stressing something you are saying, making it more violent, "louder", on the Web you have other options. On a webpage or in HTML email you can for example stress a word using bolder, bigger characters in a different color. And it will generally work much better.
Yes, in a plain text emails you can't use colors and bold characters. But there is another unpleasant aspect of too much exclamations: they tend to trigger those bitchy "spam-filters". While failing to arise much excitement in the reader.
I'm not saying that exclamation marks are not to be used at all. I simply see much to many of them, and they usually don't achieve the result they were intended for. Not with me in any case, and I doubt if they do with you.
OK, that was mostly "against". But I also have got a positive suggestion for you. In fact it will be the main topic of this article...
Relatively little used today, which makes it very noticable and powerful. What it is? It's the ellipsis. Three little dots ending a sentence. Or rather - suspending it only, leaving the reader aware that something is to follow, and that something for some reason is letting the reader wait. Arousing that readers curiosity, waking his/hers impatience... Isn't that what most copywriters want most of the time?
OK, it's not quite as loved by sentimental shool-girls of the old as the exclamation mark. But let's make a small experiment. What's the title of the present article? It's "The Power of...". Power of what? you say. Somebody who has just seen that title can't possibly know that... Perhaps that title is just awful and could be easily made much better.. How? By using exclamation marks of course! ;-)
Seriously - please take a look at each of these suggested versions of the title, one after another:
1. The Power of...
2. The Power of SuperWidget
3. The Power of SuperWidget!!!
Sincerely, which of those titles best incites you to read on in order to see what's it all about? I'm sure you will agree that no number of exclamation marks can compete with the psychological trick of the number 1.
Let's take a look at another example. This time we want to convey the feeling of suddeness and shock. Which version does this the best?
1. And then KABOOM! It happened!
2. And then... KABOOM! It happened!
3. And then - KABOOM! It happened!
My bet is on number 2: softly, slowly... and THEN! (By the way, you can notice here that this is NOT a crusade against exclamation marks.)
Elipisis is all suspence, uncertainty, hesitation... Yes, but here I hope to have shown how it can for example enhance the exact opposite - the violent feeling of a sudden KABOOM!
An rather interesting thing about elipsis, in realation with the Internet and marketing, is that it can't easily "transcribed" into visual elements, such as: colors, size and shape of the characters etc. In any case, much less easily than exlamation marks. Which is one more reason why you should consider using it more in your copywriting.
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