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What is “teaser copy” and how should you use it?

Confused woman

What is “teaser copy” and how should you use it?

“Teaser copy” is a term that has its roots in postal marketing. You might have received a letter that has said something on the envelope like “Sign up today for a FREE gift!” or “Open NOW for your free sample!” With post often easy to identify as marketing, the idea is to get you to open something you might otherwise throw straight in the bin.

Online marketing has given the term a new relevance, and new ways to assess its performance. With printed letters, we can keep track of how many people responded and how many didn’t, but we don’t know how many opened the letter, whether they read it, kept it for later reference, passed it on to a friend or binned it. On the internet, teasers can be tested much more thoroughly.

Where might teaser copy be used?

Teaser copy might be used between a title and the opening paragraph of an article to get people to read on, such as:

“Joe Bloggs though no career was right for him, but signing up to a free course led him to the job of his dreams. Here’s how he changed his life, and how you can too…”

This “blurb” of text may appear on the index page of a blog to encourage clicking and reading the piece in full. However, teaser copy can also be the subject line of an email, or even the text on a Facebook post that encourages readers to click through to the post.

What’s good and bad teaser copy?

A dry and lazy thing to do is to repeat or rewrite the title of the piece. For example, here’s an article I found about ways to make money online, so let’s imagine you want to share it via email or social media. Don’t just make the title “35 Real Ways to Actually Make Money Online” your teaser copy.

One way to encourage recipients to read on is to drop hints about what’s inside the article, such as:

  • Number 4 is a great site
  • I’d never have thought of number 17
  • Numbers 6 and 28 are priceless

Alternatively, make it relatable to the reader by urging them to ask themselves why they should be reading it. For example:

“Short of cash during lockdown? Here are some ways to earn more from the comfort and safety of your home.”

How can I test teaser copy?

You can use what’s known as A/B testing to compare how well your teaser copy is working. For email marketing, for example, you could use one subject line for half of your subscribers, and a different one for the other half. By monitoring open rates, as well as click-through rates to any landing pages linked to in the email, you can see which subject line had the better effect. Consider why this was the case, and what you can learn in time for your next email. Make sure the emails themselves are identical though, and that you are sending the emails to a similar demographic, otherwise there could be other factors affecting success.

For more advice on sales copy and online marketing, we’re here to help at Engage Web.

John Murray

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