You and I know there are many factors that influence how your prospects and supporters respond to a direct mail letter, an email, a landing page, a press release … or anything else.

But there’s one thing I guarantee will mess up response: Anything written by committee.

For example: Your Board of Directors demands to review and approve your letters. Or you have any other type of committee for your development communications.  Or there are 3, 4, or more people in the chain that have to approve everything.

Each person makes changes based on their personal preferences, whether based on data from testing or not.  Besides that, how many members of this committee are representative of your target audience?

That’s not all.  Joe’s advice conflicts with Mary’s whose thoughts don’t align with Martha’s.  This leads to compromise and mauling of the copy.

By the time it’s through the gauntlet your letter or email is beaten, battered, and bloodied beyond human recognition.

In other words, everyone has put in their 2-cents worth and it no longer sounds like a single, distinct voice.  It doesn’t even sound human.  No normal person on the planet would ever talk like that!

Bottom line: It kills response.

Oh, I’m not saying you get ZERO response.  But it won’t be as high as it would be without the committee.

Get rid of the committee.  Have one skilled copywriter craft your message.  Have it checked and approved by one person.  Send it.

Don’t believe me?  Test it. 

Just make it a fair test and again, use a copywriter who can eliminate jargon, write reader-centric copy, be succinct, infuse the right amount of emotion, and can tell a great story.  Response will go up.

Remember the old joke: A camel is a horse designed by committee.

Or perhaps you remember this expression: Death by committee.

Moral of the story … Don’t let a committee kill your response rate.

{ 2 trackbacks }

This is hard work - Nonprofit Copywriting — Karen Zapp - Nonprofit Copywriter
September 22, 2011 at 8:34 am
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