“I have all the marketing books and info but still have a problem in the actual ‘doing’ — I still struggle to create that perfect ad/leaflet/flyer…”
If this sounds like you, then you may be encouraged to hear you are not alone. Judging by the emails in my Inbox, it’s a common concern. So what are you supposed to do?
The Perfect Ad Does NOT Exist
Well, first I’d say it is important to understand there is NO such thing as the ‘perfect’ ad/leaflet/flyer/blog post. (In fact, when pushed, I’d go so far as saying NOTHING is perfect.) Even the most successful copywriters and marketers don’t always hit bull’s eye with their first attempt. Some have produced outright failures. Many more than once.
The thing to remember is that even professional copywriters are continually tweaking and testing their copy. After all, it really is the ONLY sure-fire way to ensure they are left with the best possible draft.
I myself might go through several drafts before I think I’m on to a winner. And that’s before I’ve even thought about testing the copy. (You DO test your campaigns, don’t you?!)
Why Perfectionism Could Be Your Worst Enemy
Eugene Delacroix once said:“The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.”
In other words, if you’re always trying to make your book perfect, you’ll never get it published.
Okay, my hands are firmly up in the air. I AM a wee bit of a perfectionist. Oh alright, a BIG perfectionist. At least for 99% of the time. The thing is, I’ve learned (the hard way) that spending hours choosing the best words only to go back and substitute them because I think they’re not good enough does nothing for my confidence levels, let alone my business. So I’ve had to appreciate that, just as time is of the essence, perfectionism is a fool’s game.
I’m NOT saying writing any old tosh will do. Just try not to be so hard on yourself the first time round. A first draft is just that; a first draft. You shouldn’t expect to have to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ with an initial attempt. To be successful, marketing copy needs to be slowly baked, and then tested and reworked — again and again until it hits the right spot. The idea is to get something … ANYTHING written down, rather than nothing at all.
I know this because, as I’ve said, I’ve been guilty of staring at a few blank pages myself. And I know only too well that perfectionism is closely related to procrastination (oh, and how I have mastered the art of the latter, too!).
It is sad to think of just how long it took me to realise that it’s more productive to aim for ‘good’ and then aim for ‘better’, rather than trying to produce from the outset THE perfect marketing piece or article or whatever it was I was working on at the time.
If you worry about being perfect in everything you do, you will NEVER get round to the part that counts: Attracting new customers and making actual sales.
So forget about creating the ‘perfect’ ad/leaflet/flyer/blog post, and instead strive for completion. Your business will thank you for it.
Here’s something to try from today onwards:
1. Set aside time each week for tackling your marketing collateral. For example, Friday afternoons.
2. Keep this time free of any distractions. Close your email program and let the answer machine take your calls.
3. Buy a timer and give yourself exactly three hours to work on your ad/leaflet/flyer/blog. It can be less, but no more.
4. Once your time is up. Stop. Then give yourself permission to forget about that piece of copy until next week. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t finished. It’s a ‘work in progress’. You can finish it next week. And if it IS a complete draft, put it aside for a few days and then re-read it for sense and errors.
At the end of the day, it’s about not allowing perfectionism to trap or hold you back from working toward your marketing goals. Take a shot and do the best you can. It may not be ‘perfect’ but I’m sure it’s more than good enough. Even if it isn’t just yet, you can always fine tune things later on — when you will have constructive feedback from your customers, say, and thus more information to work with.
By Tracey Dooley, Copywriter | Editor | Proofreader
Want more detailed step-by-step help, with examples you can model for your business? See my fast-track audio programme, Better Writing Skills 101 — Write Your Way to Blockbuster Results and BOOST Business to Boot:
(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert affordable mentoring and have fun attracting clients easily?)
© 2009–2017 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved
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