Today’s post was inspired by Jared Spool’s article, “The Public Groupon Voice Guide,” which provides a handy link to Groupon’s guide for writing snarky copy. Anyone who has visited Groupon.com before already will be familiar with their writing style. For those of you who haven’t heard of Groupon, it is a site that offers discounts for local businesses in your area. A new deal is up for grabs each day, and you typically have til midnight of that same day to purchase it. One of Groupon’s attention-grabbing techniques is to introduce the daily deal with a sprinkling of sarcastic humor rooted in…
These techniques result in copy that sounds like this:
Rural Vespa accidents are increasing in the Italian countryside, owing to the huge increase in the number of wild meatball herds. Help eliminate delectable accidents with today’s Groupon for southern Italian cuisine at…
Spool tells us that Groupon’s “customers regularly say they find the clever copy delightful.” I’m going to play devil’s advocate and claim that such consistent use of this kind of copy may not actually convert your prospects well over time.
Now, I am a pretty big fan of Groupon. When I say fan, I mean that one of the first things I do in the morning is hop on my computer and check my daily Groupon email to see what the day’s deal is. So, what exactly is it about Groupon that lures me to my email before I’ve even had a cup of coffee, and beats out the other noise in my inbox? I’ll tell you one thing: it’s not the copy.
Sure, sarcastic humor will cut right through your prospects’ B.S. meters, but could there be a down side? I admit that Groupon’s copy definitely worked its magic on me and lured me in. It is ridiculously funny! But the actual deals are what made me a die-hard fanatic. Now that I’m familiar with the brand, I go back to Groupon time and time again… not to read clever copy, but to get a good deal, and I am willing to bet that a lot of other Groupon customers are the same way. To be honest, I don’t even read the intro copy anymore, and it sometimes even annoys me. I just want to get down to the good stuff and all that copy is standing between me and the details of their offer. If it becomes too much of annoyance, could Groupon actually be in danger of losing even their most loyal customers?
There’s a fine line when it comes to the pluses and minuses of attention grabbing copy. We’ve written about that fine line before, and even suggested that a reader’s tolerance may have something to do with personality type. It’s a line we try to help our OnTarget clients work around every day. One way to break through this challenge is to feature what it is you have to offer your prospects right up front. Or if you can’t find a way to do that, make it easier for prospects to find the details of your deal by using bold font or bullets. Of course, the only way to know for sure what is going to be most effective for your prospects is to watch your data and test it. If you want to learn more about your visitors, how your copy is affecting them, and how to continuously improve it to drive better results, one of our OnTarget subscriptions could help.