In How to Write Seductive Web Copy, Henneke Duistermaat outlines a simple secret for writing copy that sells: know who you want to sell to, what it is that they’re looking for and what action you want them to take.
Decide who you’re writing for
Most sales people write from their own perspective. They have something to sell and they communicate this through the lens of their own needs. A far more effective way is to write from the perspective of the customer. Write for them, not you.
If you try to write to too many people your copy will end up appealing to no-one.
Write what the reader wants to read, not what you want to write.
Decide on your ideal reader, which is often your most profitable customer.
Write like you’re talking to a single person. Visualising your ideal reader will help your writing resonate with your audience. To your reader it will feel as if you’re talking directly to them.
For marketers, finding out about your ideal reader takes work. For sales people it’s easy because you’re talking to your ideal reader often.
Takeaway: make some time to write a 1-page bio of your most profitable customers. Focus on doing this for one customer group at a time and avoid the pull of having too many.
Focus on benefits and problems
How can you produce content that focus on the features of your product and the feelings these features will produce.
Now that you know who you want to sell to it’s important to ask why? What’s going to motivate the person to buy what you have to offer?
There’s no point highlighting product features that your customer doesn’t care about. Remember, people aren’t interested in your product, they’re interested in what problem it solves or what benefit it delivers.
Your job is to identify these problems and benefits. Often a benefit can be restated as a problem that can be avoided.
Takeaway: Create a list of benefits that your product will deliver (remember, features aren’t benefits). Now create a list of all the problems your product will help your ideal customer avoid. Next, list all the objections that might be raised about your product.
Define your value proposition
It’s essential that you understand your value proposition because that’s what’s going to appear in your headline. Unless your clear about your value proposition your headlines will come across as weak and your body copy will never get read.
You know you’ve got a good value proposition when your ideal reader takes action as a result of your copy. And guess what, if you’ve skipped stage one, getting this stage right is going to be hit and miss at best.
A great value proposition is:
- Credible. It’s specific and it avoids cliches, buzzwords and superlatives.
- It’s clear. A reader can ‘get’ it straight away. Don’t try to get fancy or clever.
- Concise. Your UVP should be only as long as it needs to be to make the point.
Takeaway: turn the list of features, benefits and problems you’ve already listed and turn them into a headline a few bullet points that will appeal to your ideal reader.