June 20th, 2005 by Bob Bly
English teachers and copywriters have different goals, which is why you should never let an English teacher review or edit your copy.
The English teacher?s goal is to be grammatically correct. The copywriter?s goal is to sell.
When the two conflict, give selling priority over grammar.
For instance, several English teachers told me that one of copywriting?s most popular phrases, ?free gift,? is redundant. After all, what gift isn?t free?
But when a direct marketer tested a mailing with ?free gift? vs. ?gift,? not only did omitting the ?free? depress response ? but recipients actually called to ask ?Is the gift free??
And in his book ?Crowning the Customer? (Ralphel Publishing), supermarket owner Fergal Quinn tells the following story:
?We have always given away bones for customers? dogs, and at one stage put up a sign: ?WOOF! Take home some bones for your dog.?
?One day a shopper said, ?I don?t shop here for my meat. I go to the butchers down the road, because they give me free bones for my dog.?
?’But they do that here,? other customers chorused. ?We even have a sign about it,? I added.
??Oh, I saw the sign,? she said, ?But it never said the bones were free.??
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