Hold the fluff – ‘Just tell me what you do’

FluffIs your marketing converting into leads and sales? If not, crummy copywriting may be to blame. As a frustrated friend recently noted about her organization’s product literature, “I don’t want to read a bunch of gobbledygook. Just tell me what you do.”

So how do you deliver the goods? I’m going to give you a few simple solutions you can use starting right now:

  1. Laser focus on your prospects and customers. Make the copy about them – not you. At the end of the day, they don’t care that your employees have 150 years of combined experience and that your plant is centrally located. They want to know what you’re going to do for them.
  2. Solve problems – even the ones they don’t know about (yet). The most successful companies anticipate the challenges that keep prospects and customers up at night and then share concrete, actionable solutions. If you don’t know their pain points, you need to do some serious intel.
  3. Show (don’t tell). Provide specific examples of what you’ve achieved for customers and the results. Don’t just say you deliver on time, on target and under budget. Explain who, what, why, when, where and how. The more details you can provide, the more business you’ll reel in.
  4. Share product benefits – not features. Benefits reveal what we all want to know: What’s in it for me if I use your products and services? Benefits are the secret sauce for persuasive copy. Features distinguish your products and services from those of your competitors. For example, let’s say your company makes corrugated boxes. Features could include that they come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and are crush-proof. Meanwhile, the benefits are that customers will be able to order boxes that fit their unique specifications and that they’ll save money because their products will arrive intact.
  5. Show some personality. Make your copy sound like you rather than a robot. Most prospects and customers appreciate seeing the human side of your business. You don’t need to reveal your warts, but they’ll engage with you if let your guard down a bit.
  6. Dump drivel. Omit clichés, jargon and hackneyed adjectives such as “innovative,” “cutting-edge,” “advanced,” “best of breed” and “world class.” They’re meaningless and cause readers’ eyes to glaze over. Be clear and concise and sell solutions and benefits – not fluff.
  7. Facilitate skim reading. Intriguing headlines, subheads and short, action-oriented bulleted points break up copy so it’s easier to read and helps lead readers to the end.
  8. Write a strong call to action. A call to action is a simple and compelling offer that persuades readers to take the action you want. You worked so hard to write excellent copy; don’t forget to ask for the sale.

What are some of the obstacles to writing benefits-oriented copy? Have you overcome them? Share your experience in the comments below.

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