Copy Review #008: The Passive-Aggressive Ad

Have you ever seen a passive-aggressive ad? I scrolled past one not long ago on Instagram. My first thought was, “Ick!” My second thought was, “Interesting.” And my third thought was, “I wonder how I might optimize this.”

So here I am with a mini copy review.

Follow along and see how I would optimize this ad to (1) sound more approachable and (2) better connect with ideal buyers, so they’re more likely to convert.

Transcript:

Have you ever seen a passive-aggressive ad? Well, today you will.

Hi, I’m Paige from The Impact Copywriter. I’m a Conversion Copywriter. And in this mini copy review, we’re going to look at this ad and explore ways we can optimize it to make it more approachable and to better convert our ideal buyers.

Let’s dive in.

(To see the optimization, watch from 00:18-09:42.)

This is the ad that I came across that caused me to pause because, initially, of course, I’m not a lawyer, but initially, when I scrolled past it on Instagram this headline made me cringe. It came off a little passive-aggressive.

So it reads: “Should we give this to your competitors?”

What I think they’re trying to do is rely on this sense of urgency because of the competition in this area. Because there’s a lot of competition between law firms in a city, you should do this now. Because if you don’t, your competitors will.

I think that’s the meaning behind the message, but when I read the message, “should we give this to your competitors,” it comes off as passive-aggressive, kind of like they’re my enemy if I’m a law firm, because if I don’t download it now, they’re just going to send it to my competitors.

So there’s a tone of passive-aggressiveness for me.

I don’t know anything about this company’s brand voice and the tone that they want for this asset. But if passive-aggressive or making the customer the enemy isn’t the desired tone, then I would rethink this headline.

When I take a closer look, I also notice that we have a lack of focus on the customer, so looking at things from a “you” versus “we” perspective. So we’ll play around with that.

One other thing that I highlighted was, I wonder if leads and profit are the best words to use to reflect the voice of the customer when it comes to talking to lawyers specifically.

Let’s do some quick optimization.

Starting with our headline, I want to keep with the message of urgency due to the competition, but I don’t want it to sound like the business is the enemy of the customer. I want to massage it a little bit to better reflect what I think the idea behind the message is: if you don’t do this, your competitors will.

Something as simple as “grab them before your competitors do” still conveys the same message of competition but it sounds less passive-aggressive. In fact, for me, it doesn’t sound passive-aggressive at all. It doesn’t position the company as the enemy to the buyer.

Before I go into this subhead here, I don’t know a lot about the space and how lawyers speak because I haven’t worked with any law firms.

I’m going to quickly go over to Amazon and look at a few books that are for marketing for lawyers and see if I can get a better grasp of the words that are used in this space and how lawyers speak.

I’ve already pulled up a few books right before I started this video so I’m gonna take a quick look and see if I can grab some language that’s more specific to the lawyer context and less like general marketing speak.

Okay, first iteration, I saw this statement in one of the descriptions for one of the Amazon books, which was just perfect for our ad.

“The best cases go to the best marketers.”

It really establishes to a law firm why they should pay attention to being a better marketer. It makes a case for downloading 50 marketing tips.

So the best cases go to the best marketers, again, I like this because “best cases” is for me, based on what I’m seeing, better VOC than saying leads and profits. It’s more specific, and lawyers talk in terms of cases, casework, so…

“The best cases go to the best marketers. Use these 50 proven marketing tips to build your reputation, land the best cases, and become the top firm in your city okay.”

I’m seeing here that I’ve used “best cases” twice, so let’s swap this out really quickly.

I’ve landed on, “The best cases go to the best marketers. Use these 50 proven marketing tips to build your reputation, land better clients and, become the top firm in your city.”

We’re using more specific outcomes instead of just “flood your firm with leads.” I do like the phrase “flood your firm” because it’s an alliteration, and if you’ve watched my videos, you know I love an alliteration.

But I have a problem with like leads and profit. It’s just too general. If you can be more specific in a way that’s going to better resonate with the ideal buyer, then that’s what I want to do.

Keep in mind, I’m making a lot of assumptions here just based on what I’ve seen from the books and the description of those books on Amazon. I don’t know anything about this ideal buyer. There could be better options, but we’re going to run with what I’ve got and illustrate the concepts that I’m talking about.

Let’s keep going. Because this is a little bit longer and I really want to be you know short and snappy considering where it’s going to be used.

Here’s where we are so what I’ve done is shortened it and focused specifically on the outcomes: “Build your reputation, land the best cases, and become the top firm in your city.”

I did take out “Use these 50 marketing tips.” It felt redundant because that’s in the image. So it felt redundant to say that twice in the same space.

This is the next iteration. We kept our headline the same: “Grab them before your competitors do.” I brought back in “the best cases go to the best marketers.” That’s just really sticky for me, and again, it reinforces: why marketing?

I’ve modified “Master marketing” (I like the alliteration there) “to build your reputation, land the best clients, and become the top firm in your city.” We’re using the rule of three.

And I flipped the CTA to focus on “my” instead of “your.” So instead of “get your free PDF,” I’m saying, “send my free PDF.”

I will highlight here that this might be too much text for an ad like this, so that’s something to keep in mind as we optimize further.

In this variation, all I’ve done is take out the previous headline and replace it with “the best cases go to the best marketers.” And it’s made it short and snappy.

There’s one more thing I want to try.

In this variation, I was trying to keep the competitive message that we had as a headline earlier. Now it reads: “The best cases go to the best marketers. Grab this PDF before your competitors do.”

I like that it’s short and snappy. I like that I get to keep the competition message because there is some inherent urgency in it. What I don’t like is I’ve had to sacrifice my outcomes.

Of all the iterations that we’ve looked at so far I’m leaning definitely towards the last two.

“The best cases go to the best marketers. Grab this PDF before your competitors do.”

And:

“The best cases go to the best marketers. Master marketing to build your reputation, land the best clients, and become the top firm in your city.”

Looking at these two different variations, I’m leaning toward this one because, without more data to say that the competition message is going to be a stronger message, I’m leaning towards the outcomes of building the reputation, landing the best clients and becoming the top firm in your city as being more important to the reader than the competition angle.

This message is still juicy, though. So I don’t want to sacrifice it, but what I could consider doing is pulling it into the opening of the primary text that’s going to show as you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.

Here’s what I’ve landed on as the final variation:

“The best cases go to the best marketers. Master marketing to build your reputation, land the best clients, and become the top law firm in your city.”

With the button that says, “send my free PDF.”

And a opening description text that reads, “Grab these 50 proven marketing tips before your competitors do.”

When you compare it to the original version, you can see we’re no longer being passive-aggressive.

In fact, we’ve kind of tossed aside the whole competition angle as the leading headline altogether and gone, instead of the competition angle for the headline, we’ve gone with “the best cases go to the best marketers,” which really captures, for me, that why marketing angle.

It also is meeting that desire of wanting better cases, wanting more cases, wanting the best cases in the headline.

And then we’ve shifted away from this company-centric way of talking, “we’ve created 50,” and shifted it to “master marketing to build your reputation, land the best clients, and become the top law firm in your city”

Again, with those outcomes, we’re being more specific to how law firms might speak instead of just saying something general like, “Get more leads and more profit.”

We’re shifting the CTA from “get your…” to “send my…”

And we’re pulling that urgency angle into the primary text with “grab these 50 proven marketing tips before your competitors do.

I hope you grabbed at least one idea that you can use to optimize your ads.

Thanks for watching. And as always…

If you’d like help optimizing your copy to increase your conversion rates, let’s chat. You can start a project conversation with me here.

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