Back to business basics: bad text, good text


Have we overlooked how to
write good marketing text?

In our never-ending quest for bigger and better altruistic, non-salesy blog posts, it’s easy to forget that marketing writing is still an important part of the business portfolio.

It’s a little alarming, therefore, to see that many smaller businesses, in particular, may be blogging away quite cheerfully but still produce marketing and sales copy on their websites and in their printed promotional material, that’s positively incestuous in its “we-wee” focus and makes the customer-to-be feel about as welcome as a t*rd in a swimming pool.

(If you should need a reminder of the golden rules of marketing writing, this article will help…)

Here are some examples of business text that, in my humble opinion, suck. They are taken from real life with names and places removed so I don’t get sued. Following the quotes, I’ve jotted down how I would improve on them a bit…

Does this ring a bell with you? A law firm for starters

The Firm is one of the leading law firms in (locality) and across the (region) offering an extensive range of legal services and independent financial advice. We have teams of specialists who are approachable, committed, experienced and knowledgeable and can provide a high quality service to both individual and business clients. We pride ourselves on knowing our clients and their business and delivering a service tailored to their needs.


Law firms: too we-wee focused?

Let’s try that text again…

You may already know that we are one of the leading law firms in (locality) and across the (region). That’s because we offer clients like you an extensive range of legal services and independent financial advice. You’ll also find that our specialists are approachable, committed, experienced and knowledgeable – so they provide you with a high quality service, whatever your needs and whether you’re an individual or a business client.

You’ll appreciate the way we make a point of getting to know you very well, so we’re as up-to-speed about your business as you are. That’s the only way we know how to deliver a service that’s genuinely tailored to your requirements.

Now, how about text for a plumbing company?

The best plumbers in (name of town) including plumbing and heating services. Covering burst pipe repairs, blocked drain cleaning, boiler repair and boiler service, power flushing and bathroom installations. We are building the best local (name of town) directory for plumbers.


Plumbers can’t afford to
sit on their laurels

Where are the benefits? What are they really selling? And who cares if they’re building a local directory? Let’s try again…

Whatever plumbing need you have, (name) plumbers have the experience and highly qualified staff to help you quickly and safely. After XX years serving the our customers in (name of town) people rate us as the best – a reputation we’re proud of and work hard to  maintain. So when you call us out, you know you can rely on us for first-class service, every time.

We’ll take care of:
*Repairing burst pipes
*Clearing blocked drains
*Boiler repairs and servicing
*Power flushing
*Installing bathrooms
*…and much more

And finally, some text for a garden design company (who got a tiny bit carried away with their keywords…lol)

We provide our clients in (name)shire with a comprehensive garden design service. Our garden designers are highly experienced in designing private gardens to suit the clients needs. We listen carefully to our clients, so that we provide the very best garden design solutions. We can provide sketch plans, 3D visuals, master plans, planting plans, lighting plans, maintenance schedules and advice. Our garden design team, based in (town 1) are full of creative and clever garden design ideas. We can produce a garden design for every space from a small courtyard to a large country estate. We can transform even the most difficult of gardens, if you have a sloping or very steep garden, an awkwardly shaped garden or you need to create some privacy we can help. The first step is a garden design consultation, you can meet your designer and we can explain the design process. We design gardens across the county from our base in (town 1). We cover (town 2), (town 3), (town 4), (town 5), (town 6), (town 7), (town 8), (town 9, town 10), (town 11), (town 12), (town 13) and (town 14) to name but a few.


Don’t get too flowery with your SEO

I would steer right away from this staccato nonsense and do something much more evocative. How about…

There’s nothing more gratifying than coming home to a beautiful, well-designed garden to relax in when you’ve had a hard day at work, or at the weekend when you can bask in that lush greenery scattered with brightly coloured flowers. And even if it’s wet or chilly out, a cleverly planned and designed garden is a joy to look out at from the warmth and comfort of your home.

If you’re in the (county)shire area, you can have just the restorative, stunning garden you’ve always dreamed of, designed by our locally based team of creative, talented experts – at prices that make a lot of sense.

Is your garden an awkward shape and/or on a steep slope? Garden very small? Very large? No problem! Our consultants have plenty of experience in incorporating all shapes, sizes and types of terrain into their designs, and will know exactly how to make the best of whatever your garden offers.

Because we always want to get it right first time, the design process involves a number of exciting, creative steps that will bring you enjoyment in themselves.

Your 6-point journey to the garden of your dreams  
1.Our consultant visits you to view the garden and discuss what you want and need
2.You’re provided with a sketch plan
3.You and your consultant agree the basic sketch plan
4.If you want, we can work through to 3D visuals and master plans
5.Next we design planting plans, lighting plans, maintenance schedules and provide further advice
6.You’re ready to get the garden of your dreams made into a reality!

Here are just some of the towns and villages we cover from our main headquarters in (name of town)
(list of towns and villages)

blog,writing,news,blogging,Suzan St Maur,, how to write betterWhat do you think? What criticisms would you have of the text examples here, and do you think my versions are improvements – or not? Please share your views…

photo credit: laverrue via photopin cc
photo credit: Gerry Dincher via photopin cc
photo credit: Jan Tik via photopin cc
photo credit: __MaRiNa__ via photopin cc




  1. Alison Kenward says:

    Brilliant as always and I found myself wishing for a garden simply to work with your garden experts. I’m going to think about how to put this into practice – it’s time I gave my website a makeover.