Enough, already, with the exclamation punctuation.

by John Furgurson on October 18, 2015

I’m an Advertising guy. And ad guys are not nit-pickers when it comes to grammatical details like sentence structure and punctuation. We write how normal people talk, not how english teachers write.

So it’s pretty unusual for me to take issue with anything grammar related. But someone has to speak out about all the exclamation points popping up in marketing circles. If I see one more boring marketing cliche punctuated with three of these !!! I’m going to scream.

exclamation_mark1Exclamation points are everywhere these days… in social media posts, on home pages, in emails, ad copy, and even in straight-forward product descriptions.

“All natural! Gluten-free! GMO-free! Vegan!!!”

I have news for you…  There’s no correlation between the number of exclamation points and the effectiveness of your copy.  Just the opposite, in fact. The more exclamation points, the less believable it is.

Yelling never works, and that’s the effect of all the exclamation points. Like a hyped-up used car salesman, in your face…”Seating for four! Steering wheel!  Air bags!” Putting exclamation points on your list of features is not going to make them more compelling.

Give me a break.

(See how I did NOT use an exclamation point right there. I could have said, “give me a break!” But nothing says desperate, amateur writer faster than a bunch of  exclamation points at the end of  a sentence.)

You’ll love the new John Deere riding mowers!

The longest, straightest driver ever!

Better comfort! Better feel! Better performance!

Your whole family will love it!!

Really?  Those two punctuation marks transform the sentence from a statement of fact into a boisterous claim. It’s just not a normal tone of voice, and it’s going to affect your credibility.

In business communications, credibility is critical. Your message needs to sound believable. Professional. Sensible. When you add the exclamation mark it sounds like your pants are on fire.3027633

You can add excitement and immediacy to your marketing copy without adding exclamation points. Just try saying something meaningful. Different. And honest. Start with a value proposition that holds water and resonates with your target audience. Then write some micro-scripts that cement that idea in their minds. Test them on  people. Get a second opinion and don’t be afraid to re-write. You have to be patient and persistent if you want copy that really sells.

Finally, try crafting a headline that is relevant and intriguing on its own, without all the grade school punctuation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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