Sales and marketing copy has one purpose – to get people to take some sort of action. So is your new copy going to do the job? Here’s a 7-point checklist. Tick this lot off and you’re well on the way, provided of course that you are a competent writer.
- Get attention
- Focus on the customer/client
- Bring the benefits alive
- Highlight the USP
- Build credibility
- Clarify price benefits
- Move to action
These 7 ingredients in more detail:
People are bombarded with marketing messages every day. Your headline must shout : ‘Hey, look!‘ What is it about that railway poster that anchors you to the platform and make you read the thing all the way through? Answer: A headline, a visual, or both of these working together.
2. Customer focus
You’ve got stuff to sell, so talk about it, but from their point of view, not yours. Does your writing show understanding of the customer and their preoccupations? Good copy is almost always the result of good research. Find out customers’ frustrations, ambitions and match them to the features of your product.
3. Bring benefits alive
For each feature of your product or service, identify at least one benefit. Your waterproof jackets are only the ones on the market that are triple-stitched. The benefit of that? The wearer will stay dry in a thunderstorm. Paint a picture of the customer enjoying the benefits.
4. USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
What the heck is different about my service or product? Does the copy say how it’s different from ALL the other competitors. This one can be VERY hard to nail, but…it’s gotta be done! How do you tell one apple from another one? Put them side by side. If you look hard enough you’ll spot a difference. Highlight how your particular product or service gives extra benefits, but keep it real too – don’t exaggerate.
5. Build credibility
“Our cakes are twice as tasty as those down the road.” Hmmm. Maybe, but people are wary of unsubstantiated claims. So prove them or offer a guarantee. Point out an independent credential.
6. Clarify price benefits
It ain’t about the price! A number out of context means very little. If you show good reasons why your product is more expensive than the competitors’ product – there’s no issue. What’s the Total Cost of Ownership? £20,000 for a new car? OK, but what’s the fuel economy like? What do customers stand to save in the long run?
7. Move to action
The ‘call to action’ of your copywriting piece might be at the end, ie, “Call us this month and save 15%…” Or it might be a little more subliminal. Either way, this is the key part of your copy, and what you’ve been building to. Make it clear what you want your reader to do and TELL (don’t ASK) them to do it. (Does a bottle of pills ask or tell? Imagine this – ‘We would ask you to take two of these a day, if you’re sure you don’t mind…’)
So how does your copy stack up? All boxes ticked? Remember – these are the 7 ingredients .
How much you use of each depends on what you’re writing, who you’re writing to, and why you’re writing. Let’s look at this next.