Copywriting Tips 4 – 5

Copywriting Tips to Help You Sell with Force.

4. Features without benefits fail to engage. Prospects respond: “So what?”

You may remember the name Abraham Maslow. He’s the psychologist who postulated a hierarchy of needs to explain human motivation. Students of marketing ponder Maslow’s theory for perspective on buyer behavior. Without going into detail, suffice it to say consumers make purchases to satisfy various needs. (I am compelled here to issue a warning: Refrain from using the word needs in commercial copy. E.g., “Visit Trixie’s Salon for all your hair care needs.” Such usages do nothing to position a brand for competitive advantage.) Copy must answer the question foremost on every would-be buyer’s mind: What’s in it for me? In other words, how will this purchase I am considering… Make my life easier? Save me money? Make me more attractive? Help me feel better? Make people like me? Help me provide for my loved ones? Give me a better future? Let me help others? Make the world a better place? The answers to these and similar concerns are the benefits. Statements of benefit are the proteins that build persuasive muscle in copy. They do the heavy lifting, raising the prospect’s awareness up to the level of desire.

FEATURE → BENEFIT Patented Genie bi-radial audio speaker system → gives you a listening experience so real you’ll think the performers are in the room with you.

480-Horsepower Dynaluxe engine → delivers power enough to pull a 5,000-pound cargo trailer or a 15-foot pontoon.

Fans and misters throughout the fairgrounds → provide refreshing, cool relief for you on warmer days.

Ninety-three cents of every dollar we take in goes directly to the mission → so your gift has the greatest impact on feeding and educating those who need help the most.

 When you write about the features of what you are selling, get in the habit of asking: “So what?” The answers are statements of benefit, and they are essential if you expect customers to part with their hard-earned greenbacks.

Copywriting Tips: Without benefit statements, a marketing message is dead on arrival. Copy must answer the consumer’s ever-present concern: What’s in it for me?

5. Failure to speak directly to your prospect will likely result in a failure to be heard.

Remember that annoying kid back in grade school who bragged all the time? He liked to talk about himself, his cool stuff, and how great his life was in general. He grew up to become a copywriter. Here’s a recent sample of his work touting a client’s social responsibility.

We are committed to the environment and take extra steps to ensure the eco-friendliness of our processes. Our state-of-the-art production technology and proven techniques for reducing waste have earned us recognition by leading environmental organizations.

I suppose one could argue that concern for the environment is a given nowadays. But the message does nothing to acknowledge this important fact. Why not use the common ground to start bonding?

Are you concerned about the environment? Here’s good news. The Regional Resource Recovery Group and the Alliance for Energy Conservation give favorable ratings to our production processes.

We warmed the tone by changing the construction from first to second person (you). We brought specificity to leading environmental organizations. And we struck the limp descriptor, state-of-the-art. A marketing guru once told me every customer reacts to his own name as if it were the most beautiful word in the world. (I confess — my name in the subject line of an e-mail message makes me pause, even if the message is spam.) Although e-mail and snail mail allow such personalization, other channels do not. When you can’t address your prospect by name, “you” is the best choice. Should your prospect see “we” and “our” again and again, you may come off like an annoying kid bragging about his new bicycle.

Copywriting Tips: “De-we” your message and write in the second person. Prospects feel more connected to you and your sales proposition when you address them directly.