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Groupon's Copywriting Style

Jul 10, 2011 • general

Valeria Maltoni from Conversation Agent recently wrote about Groupon as an example of a business employing a strong copywriting strategy. Valeria writes,

Great copywriting is the secret sauce of successful email newsletters.

Groupon is an interesting example of promotional writing that sells, when attached to the right deals.

(See Conversation Agent: How Content Seals the Deal at Groupon.)

If you're unfamiliar with Groupon, it's a daily deal site, meaning they send you one knockout deal every day in the city where you live. What's unique is their copywriting -- it has a unique, twisted, oddball style to it that keeps your attention. Here's an example:

Often used for toting memorable subpoenas or slices of deli meat, books also make for handy spots to place noteworthy photos while ensuring minimal mold growth. Preserve images in a portable and rodent-repelling format with today's Groupon: for $35, you get $115 worth of custom-designed photo books from Photobook America. There is a limit of two Groupon purchases, but only one book and any additional copies of that book may be ordered per transaction. This Groupon cannot be used toward shipping. (Photoshop America)

The Groupon creative manager spoke at Confab and explained their process. He said they have 425 creative writers. Granted, Groupon has daily deals in more than 180+ cities across the U.S., but still, that's a lot of writers. Many of them are young creatives, fresh with writing degrees and ambitions to put their creative talent to use.

The Groupon strategy clearly works. Except for their controversial ads, which can sometimes offend or annoy readers, their copywriting seems to be driving their business forward.

I envy their voice. At times I wish I could adopt a unique style of writing in my own organization. But I also think Groupon is trapped in their own copywriting voice. Just as it's unlikely that I'll be able to adopt their style in my copy, I doubt they could adopt my style in their copy. My style is plain speech, friendly but without the [forced] cleverness, honest but not pushing the edge [of logic], thoughtful but not [weirdly] analytical. Regardless, Groupon shows us the power of engaging writing. It's what's making Groupon stand out.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in simplifying complexity, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.