In Case You’re Wondering
Writing Great Copy is a Science
But, It Ain’t Rocket Science!
The Concepts are Basic
Why do I use the term audience and not prospect, client or customer? Because a wide range of people will see your message. Some of them could be existing customers. But most of them are simply members of a faceless crowd and they don’t care about you or your product. How do you communicate effectively with such a diverse group?
You can’t win that battle – so pick a battle you can win.
It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching a product, a service, a free newsletter or whatever. What you are offering will not appeal to everyone. Don’t fool yourself. There is a specific demographic for your stuff. Call them your crowd, tribe, posse or clients.
This could be a large crowd (people that exercise at home vs the gym) or a small crowd (people that are allergic to electricity). Regardless of size, these are your people.
This might seem rather obvious. You’re probably thinking:
“I know my customers. What’s the next step?”
Not so fast. Do you really know them? Could you sit down and write 500 words describing them in detail without pausing and scratching your head.
This type of deep understanding will influence all subsequent decisions. It will make everything else easier and more effective. My process will guide you step by step to create this deep knowledge.
Call it a need, a problem, an issue or desire. The motivation behind your message is the same: to connect people with a solution that satisfies a need. But, not all needs are equal. They must be treated uniquely.
Four categories of people in Need.
- They have a problem and want a solution.
- They have a problem but don’t know it or don’t care.
- They don’t have the problem now but will have it in the future.
- They don’t have the problem and will never have it.
The first type is the easiest.
They are looking for a solution. We simply remind the audience of the problem and point to the solution. An example might a cordless mouse and keyboard for your computer. A lot of people are frustrated by cord clutter. It’s easy to remind someone of the issue, offer your product and point out the advantages over similar products.
The second type is slightly harder.
We need to make someone aware of a problem they are ignoring. This may seem disingenuous. If someone is blissfully unaware of a problem, should we point out their unknown misery?
I say “yes.” Example: I never complained about my inability to pause and backup my live television program. But, after I purchased a set-top box that had this ability, I can’t imagine going back.
The third category is even trickier. (They don’t have the problem now but will have it in the future.) I’ll cover it in the course.
When you’re crafting your message, should you address all three categories in the same message? Is that even possible?
Yes! I’ll show you how.
The purpose of identifying the “need” is to offer a “solution.” What else is there to say? You convince someone that you understand their problem. You provide a convenient link to Buy Now or Learn More. And you sit back and watch the responses roll in. Why isn’t it working?
Apparently, it’s not that simple.
Some messages convert into sales at much higher rates than others. What makes the difference? Is it the length, the writing style, the font size, the use of graphics or simply the price?
All of these have a degree of influence. But, there are a host of other factors as well. Some are within your control and others aren’t.
Some of the factors that are NOT under your control:
- A preference for only buying local (City, state region or country.)
- Personal factors (A person just experienced a virus on their computer is unlikely to open an email from someone they don’t know)
- Financial (Regardless of the quality of the product and the need, sometimes the offer is viable due to financial constraints. )
Some of the factors that ARE under your control:
- Familiarity (It often takes multiple impressions to get the response you desire)
- Uncertainty (Are the features, quality and price comparable to others? Is there a guarantee?)
- Hesitation (A desire to “think about it first”)
- Conviction (Have you done a good job of defining the need and the solutions – to the point that the audience identifies with it)
- Social Acceptance (A reluctance to be the only one using the product.)
How do you address all these in a message that isn’t 500 words in length? Is it better to use pictures vs words? Photos, illustrations or videos?
There isn’t a single, best answer for every situation. I’ll cover how you make this decision.
In this last step, you get to talk about yourself. How do you pull this off without sounding self-serving? If you’ve embedded the principles of Audience, Need and Solution into your message, you’re almost home. Don’t screw it up by falling back into bad habits.
Don’t resort to platitudes.
A platitude is any statement that is dull, ordinary, banal, or simply the “same-old stuff”. It’s the fastest way to write copy, and it rarely works.
Some of the “same-old-stuff” needs to be addressed, just so the audience knows you take care of the routine. This includes things like:
- Prompt and low cost shipping
- Return policies
You might call these, “table stakes”. You must do all of these things to stay in the game.
You also need something that sets you apart.
If you followed all the earlier steps, you know a lot about your audience, their need and your solution. That’s where you begin.
Let’s go back to the cordless mouse and keyboard. You may think this is a commodity product, like a tube of toothpaste.
How do the producers of commodity products overcome the “commodity” label? They focus in like a laser on some aspect of the need and the solution. It might be the results of clinical tests for cavities, the ability to freshen breather or a candy-like flavor for kids.
What can you do with a cordless mouse and keyboard? Are they all created equal? Is there some aspect of your product you can highlight to increase its appeal. Perhaps you can feature the color, a graphic design, size, weight, portability, ergonomics, extra buttons, longer battery life, extended range of operation, latest technology, the smallest dongle, durability, country of manufacture, favorite of social media, or a trusted name brand.
I’ll show you how to overcome the challenge of being treated like a “me too” product.