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By Bill Grover – June 2016
Have you ever bought a shirt or dress that you don’t need? I think we all have. Why did you buy something on impulse? Emotions! You are being influenced by your emotions. In this case, vanity, the desire to look good. Perhaps the fear of loss because the sales price will go up, or the item will sell out. Admit it or not, emotions play a critical role in any buying decision whether personal or B2B.
|According to Bankrate.com – Real estate agents say emotional mistakes are common among homebuyers, who overpay for their “dream homes” because they let feelings cloud their judgment.|
If you arouse the right emotion, your sales copy or promotional material will produce a positive impact on your sales.
Everyone Has Emotions
Writing without emotion is just like being stuck in a loveless marriage, a dull coexistence. It’s lifeless, boring, uninspiring and going nowhere. If your sales copywriting is robotic and emotionless, you are wasting your time, money and effort. Leave out the emotion in the content and miss the connection to your prospect.
Emotionless Sales Copy Loses Sales
If your sales copy does not tap into your prospect’s emotions, you fail to keep your prospect interested in your product or service. If they aren’t interested, they will never buy. Look at how your sales copy is written. Is it easily understood or does it create confusion? Is the content robotic and technical like a manual or is it conversational with a human touch?
|Business purchases can involve huge amounts of risk: Responsibility for a multi-million-dollar software acquisition that goes bad can lead to poor business performance and even the loss of a job. The business customer won’t buy unless there is a substantial emotional connection to help overcome this risk. – Think With Google|
How to Use Emotions to Market Non-Sexy Items
You may be thinking, “Sure, emotion is great if you are selling something sexy like a sports car. But I’m B2B, selling restaurant equipment.” OK. Fair enough. Let’s say you are selling a meat slicer. Not very sexy to write about but it is a critical item for just about every restaurant.
Restaurant owners and managers have all the stress they can handle in their daily routine.
What if your slicer was “The easiest to clean”? Now your slicer saves them time, getting them home to their kids sooner. Maybe it is the “safest to use.” It lowers the liability and the risk of Tommy Teenager adding a slice of his palm to the roast beef sub. The safety factor reduces worry, stress and possibly insurance costs. These are valid emotions that should be included in your copy.
Everybody loves a deal. Tap into the greed emotion by adding a bonus and fear of loss by limiting the time. “Order before the end of the month and we will include a $100 stainless steel mesh glove at no charge.”
Find out how your non-sexy machine or software will positively impact your prospect on a personal level, then leverage the emotion in your sales copy.
|“In a recent study performed by the CEB, which examined the impact of personal emotions on B2B purchases, it was found that 71% of buyers who see a personal value in a B2B purchase will end up buying the product or service.”- Forbes.com|
Infographic courtesy of business2community.com.
The Balancing Act – Emotion Without the Hype
Your sales copy can have emotions without looking like a going out of business furniture sale. You need a balance between facts and emotions.
Utilize some powerful words that trigger emotional hot buttons. For example, Free, Save, Results, Proven, Easy, Money, Safety, Guaranteed or Discovery are words used to hook your readers. Be very clear on what problem your product will solve and how it will affect your buyer on a personal level. Even a technical sales brochure can have elements written in a conversational tone.
Asking Why and How When Writing About “Them”
An experienced copywriter will arouse emotion by talking more about their prospect than about the product. By this I mean you need to answer why do prospects need your product. For example:
- Features adjustable cutting thickness from deli thin up to 1/2″ thick. Removable 9″ stainless steel blade offers easy cleaning. Built-in blade sharpener.
- Features adjustable cutting thickness from deli thin up to 1/2″ thick maximizing your portion control and cost savings. Removable 9″ stainless steel blade offers easy cleaning, saving you time and labor. Built-in blade sharpener dramatically reduces accidental injury.
Concentrate your message on “You” and your sales copy will naturally highlight the benefits to your prospects.
Every Benefit Relates to One or More Emotions.
Here are some examples.
Your copywriter needs a clear understanding of your target market before he can find the right emotional triggers.
Push on the Right Emotion Button
Emotion plays a big part in the content of your sales copy. The majority of B2C purchases are based on emotion over logic. In B2B even though most decisions are made using cold hard facts and logic, without touching the right emotion with the decision maker, you might lose the sale.
We all have emotions and know how they can affect our moods and decisions. If your sales content can resonate with the right emotions, you have a better chance of closing the deal. There are 30 known psychological triggers and ten fears that all people have. When they are used appropriately, emotions increase sales, but we will leave that for another post.
How can we help you with your sales copy content?
“I Read Your About Page, But I Still Don’t Know What the Heck You Do”
By Bill Grover
Isn’t it maddening to spend the time reading part of a home page, get interested enough to read the entire About Page and yet still do not know what a company does? So many companies fall for beautiful writing and lofty ideas but somehow never get around to tell you what they do or how to do business with them.
Here is one perfect example of a website that is self-absorbed in biz-speak that even Sherlock Holmes would have a tough time finding clues to the purpose of this business. After reading the home page, I was still in the dark about what they do so, naturally, I click on About Page expecting my fog of ignorance to vanish with the light of knowledge. The headline promised an answer to my question, but the copy did not deliver. Take a look.
” Why CAKE for Restaurants? – Passion can drive us to take on difficult initiatives. It is what allows us to persevere where others may not. It is what allows us to overcome big obstacles and achieve our dreams. Passion is also what drives most restaurant owners to start a restaurant. …”
Ok, technically it’s a blog and maybe not intended to sell you anything, but I was on the About Page, and I found nothing “about” the business! What is the point of posting anything if it does not build your brand or educate your customers about your business.
When you want to tell your prospects about your product or business, speak plainly using as little jargon as possible. Speak to your intended audience in a way they would normally speak. If you sell complex systems, it is even more advantageous for you to simplify each and every benefit.
At times, the end user and the buyer are two different people. If your message is confusing or hard to understand they will go to your competitor’s site for the information.
|“The word is only a representation of the meaning; even at its best, writing almost always falls short of full meaning.” Stephen King – On Writing|
Your Target Audience May Not Have Your Level of Comprehension
You need to simplify the complex message. Otherwise, your message will be rejected or ignored; you will lose the opportunity to engage your audience.
Explain technical terms and write out acronyms. Do whatever you must to make your product or services understood by everyone. You will make more sales because you are reaching a larger audience. The buyer might not be the end user of your product. He or she may be someone tasked with gathering the information. If they don’t know what you are saying, they will walk away. Don’t confuse readers and require them to spend more time trying to understand your sentences rather than your ideas.
Instead of using sentences like, “From our core, cloud-based, modularized software infrastructure, to looking past just being a point-of-sale company, we’ve built a suite of technology operating products including guest list management, online ordering, analytics and consumer apps.”
Perhaps this might be clearer.
“We provide more than POS systems. Our company offers many restaurant management solutions such as:
- Guest List Management
- Online Ordering
- Restaurant performance Analytics
- Consumer Friendly ”
This sentence, “Prioritize staff diversity to get the collective wisdom of many,” was part of a company description. I don’t know what they are trying to say so I would rather not guess at interpretation. And this is the whole point of my rant. Do you want your prospects guessing at what you are trying to say?
Three Ways to Simplify Your Message
Think about these tips the next time you craft a message:
1. Address Customer Problems
Your prospects are looking for solutions and information. Tell them how you can fix their problems and how you have helped others. Leave the details and features for later. Use proper keywords to help others find you such as “Conveyor Belt Repair” or “Controlling All Restaurant Costs.”
If your product has multiple solutions, bundle two or three in a headline then add details later on the page or deeper on the website.
2. Reduce the Useless Verbiage
Here is a real example of using too many words. This example comes from a marketing company’s portfolio touting their expertise of marketing a craft brewery expo.
“(Our company) created a multi-channel campaign that put checks in all the boxes: conveying the event’s positioning, key value proposition and overarching benefits of participation in an authentic tone and visual style that appealed to the psychographics of craft beverage producers.”
How many times have you ever used the word “psychographics” in a sentence? Would the previous description compel you to use their services?
Check your website and marketing materials to see if you can clean out any dead wood from your paragraphs.
3. Communicate Using “Stepping Stones.”
Think of communicating to your clients like trying to cross a wide stream and the other side is where they buy from you. If there are no stepping stones to get them from here to there, they will walk away and look for another way to cross (your competition). So you need to lay down stepping stones to guide your prospects “across the stream” and buy from you.
- Start with a promise or the big picture of the problems you can solve. “One Easy to Use Tool Will Manage Your Entire Restaurant.”
- Then give your prospects a way to find more information (another stepping stone) by clicking a link. “Click here for technical specifications.”
- Ask them to buy or whatever call to action you want them to do. Be Specific. Use a big, juicy “Click here now to order”
Email marketing uses the same technique of feeding bits of information a little at a time. Your website should offer the big picture on the home page then have more technical information and detailed features deeper into your site. This way they absorb your information at their pace and interested in keeping going (crossing the stream with the stones you laid out for them).
|“Clarity in professional writing is a matter that depends on more than merely a writer’s level of skill. First, mature writers can write badly for different reasons confusion about a subject, in sufficient time to revise, carelessness, entrenched bad habits, sheer incompetence.” – Excerpt from Style Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams|
The Simple Clarity of an Elevator Pitch
Some of you know what an elevator pitch is. It is a short explanation of your business that you could tell someone in the short time it takes to ride in an elevator. Can you tell someone what you do in two to three sentences? Start there and work in the details as your prospects gain interest.
For example, if I want to tell people what I do, I say, “I am a copywriter who writes promotional material for companies in the food industry.” It is short and to the point. If I would rather confuse people, then I could say, “I am a correspondent and scribe who enhances and facilitates commerce between one commercial establishment and another with minimal obfuscation of verbiage in a variety of digital and print media.”
Vague Writing is a Waste of Everyone’s Time and Money
As a copywriter who writes sales material, vague messages frustrates me. It’s a waste of everyone’s effort, resources and the most important of all the message is lost. So the moral of this story is, if you have something to say, keep your message simple so that you will keep your intended audience interested.
JANUARY 18, 2015 - BY NORLELA GROVER
Get Your Sales Letter Noticed
Do you remember the last sales letter or email that jumped out at you, or one that grabbed your attention like a barking dog? This is exactly how your sales letter should affect your potential clients. When a dog barks it does get your attention, but when it goes on for too long it becomes annoying very quickly. Your sales letter should be balanced between attention grabbing copy and good information.
Customers, in general, are self-centered (aren’t we all?) and it’s understandable. This is why your sales letter should focus on “WIFM” or “What’s in it For Me” from your prospects’ perspectives. If they like your offer and you have enough “WIFM”, they will purchase your product.
Are you thinking of hiring someone to write a sales letter for you? Educating yourself and knowing the elements to incorporate in your sales letter will save you or your team a lot of time, unnecessary frustration and money. Knowing the basic parts of a successful sales letter before hiring someone to write it for you is essential for your success.
Sales Letter Elements That Command Attention
Almost everything in life starts with a plan. For example, before constructing a new building you will need a blue print. We normally visualize our destination before even planning for our vacation. Sales letters also have common elements, a basic plan and structure.
Just because the copywriter whom you will hire is experienced and reputable, doesn’t mean that you can just let him wave his magic wand and wow you with the perfect sales piece. It’s your business and product, so work with him and visualize the end result together. Always be very clear about your main goal and expectations. Tell him what is unique about your product or service which you want your prospects to know.
Once the sales letter is done, you or someone in your team will need to review it. Does the content provide all of the information that you would like for your prospects?
Here is a short list of proven fundamentals any quality sales letter will contain, seizing your potential clients’ attention.
What is Unique about Your Product?
What is it about your product or service that is different or unique compared to your competitors? This marketing concept is known as Unique Selling Point (USP). Having a powerful USP that is beneficial to customers will convince them to buy yours. Make sure your copywriter knows your USP!
The Headline Makes or Breaks the Sales Letter
You want your sales letter to lure prospects to open it, read it and then purchase your product. If they don’t like the headline, your mail will never get opened or read. According to the “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy, on average 5 times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. He went further claiming that every headline should appeal to the reader’s self-interest (WIFM) and should promise the benefit.
Your copywriter should have the ability to craft attention grabbing headlines. In his book, “The Copy Writer’s Handbook”, copywriter guru, Robert W. Bly says that headlines should be at least 3 of these 4 elements; urgent, unique, ultra-specific and useful. Subsequent subheadings are important too, as they help readers to determine the outline and navigate to specific information. This way your sales letter will accommodate both types of prospects, those that read it all and those that just scan through it.
Is your copywriter able to connect all of those subheadings? Interesting flow throughout your sales letter is equally important.
Copywriters State the Problem but Emphasize the Solution
It is understandable for your copywriter to write about your company and business as an introduction. However, the emphasis and focus should always be about your prospects because without their support you don’t have a sale or business. Content should be about solving customers’ problems by offering solutions from your product.
If eighty percent of the content addresses your prospects’ wants, needs, hopes and desires, you will grab your prospects’ attention and convince them enough to purchase your product.
Does Your Sales Letter Carry The Tone That Matches Your Product and Brand?
“It’s not what you say but how you say it” is an adage we have all heard before. The tone of your sales letter should establish a connection with your prospect’s emotion. For example if your product is about some kind of training program, the tone of the writing should be knowledgeable, helpful and confident. If it’s about travelling or photography your tone should be lively and fun. Your tone is your company’s “personality” and should match your audience and customers. It can be fun and friendly, scientific and serious or somewhere in between. Help your copywriter by giving him guidelines as to the tone you want to project.
When your copywriter understands clearly the benefits of the product and who the target audience is, your letter will deliver a voice that matches your product and brand image. Your writer should visualize that he is having a private conversation, face to face with your customer. This helps produce the right tone and he will be on the same wavelength with your prospects’.
Haven’t I Seen This Sales Letter Before? Keep it Original and Unique
Even though there is a basic blueprint to writing a good sales letter, it should always be original and unique. Otherwise it will look like a template, like one of those that are available online. It is why you need a professional copywriter, to produce a one of a kind sales letter, unique in your industry and customized to your company or brand. A good copywriter will identify the marketing message your customer wants to hear and the image you want to represent.
You Are neither Editor nor Proofreader
No excuses, your copywriter has to check his work prior to sending it to you. He or she has to make sure that grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct. These details affect your time, credibility and are direct influence to your business and are a vital part of being a copywriter.
Display professionalism throughout your sales letter by applying appropriate format, grammar and punctuation. Sentences should be polished, precise and to the point with a clear message. Use a conversational tone as though talking with a friend.
Is your deadline reasonable? The more complicated the product or service, the more time is required so that he/she can write and edit an impeccable sales letter for you. It takes many re-readings to fine tune any sales letter.
A Quality Sales Letter Will Show Credibility
Do you or your company have high-profile endorsements from clients about your product or service? If not, how about testimonials from your customers? Are you expecting your copywriter to contact some of your customers for their feedback?
Your copywriter will require some kind of testimonial or accreditation to establish your product’s credibility. Sales letter’s without any form of validation will quickly end up in a trash can.
Your Product Is All About Personalization and Building a Relationship
For your sales letter to be unique, original and informative, one that touches your readers’ feelings, look for a copywriter who is willing to invest his time learning about your product. By doing thorough market research and being aware of what your competitors are doing and who your prospects are, your copywriter will be able to write a sales letter that converts.
A Call-To-Action Guides Your Prospects to You
By sending your sales letter to prospects, you are attempting to form a beneficial rapport with them. To get this result, your sales letter needs to portray sincerity, it should contain viable promises with legitimate endorsements or testimonials. Good copywriting content will get them excited about the product or service, but now you must tell them exactly what they need to do. This “Call-To-Action”, also called “the Close”, is the time where your prospects must do as you ask such as, Order Now, Call this number or whatever you need them to do.
Don’t Forget the P.S. and the Bonus
Do you have any added incentive for them “Buy Now”? This will be an added bonus. A free report or discount can mean the difference between a sale and no sale. You can add it in the P.S. (meaning post script, which is always capitalized) below the signature of your letter. It has been shown that the P.S. is read as much as the headline and is a vital part of any successful sales letter.
A Quality Sales Letter is an Orchestra That Hits All the Right Notes
To quickly recap, here is a list of the major elements of a successful sales letter:
- Clearly defined USP
- Powerful headline
- Good leads
- Product benefits and customers’ solutions
- Endorsements or testimonials
- Conversational tone
- Strong Call–To-Action with clear, easy to follow ordering instructions
- A P.S. with a Bonus or Discount
These elements along with professionalism will take your sales letter to the next level and produce the results you want.
Can your copywriter write you a sales letter that “barks” gently to your prospect in the desired theme and tone that is captivating? Does it satisfy the “WIFM” question for your prospects? If your answer is yes, then you have found a good copywriter for your project and you are in good hands.