Excerpts from my copywriting mentor, Clayton Makepeace
According to the late great direct marketing industry giant, Clayton Makepeace, closing a sale means successfully making eight separate sales. To maximize response to your promotion, you want to cover them all.
The visual layout and headline (along with subheads, sidebars, pull quotes, captions, etc.) take on the first two sales:
1. Attracting Attention
2. Prompting Readership
Once you’ve got your reader interested, carefully crafted body copy creates desire and prompts action by:
3. Promising Benefits
4. Proving Credibility
5. Showing Value
6. Ensuring Safety (minimizing or eliminating risk)
7. Offering Convenience
8. Urging Action Now
This post dives into #3 — PROMISING BENEFITS
Makepeace writes: Drill down to the real bottom-line, rubber-meets-the-road benefit each product provides — the tangible, measurable, real value they bring to prospects’ lives: the value they are willing to pay for.
Then fully explore the benefit each benefit provides, squeezing every feature until you’ve explored every benefit … and then squeezing every benefit for the secondary benefit.
Features are a yawn because they’re about the product, not about the prospect. But they can help demonstrate how your product delivers a benefit. And features are the fathers of benefits.
So start by listing all the key facts about 1) the business and 2) the product or service you’re providing. Then answer the following questions.
ABOUT THE COMPANY AND THE SPOKESPERSON BEHIND THE PRODUCT
What are your qualifications?
What resources do you use to produce a superior product or service?
Is your location a factor?
What is your response time?
How many products do you have available?
How does that compare to what your competitors offer?
LIST PRODUCT OR SERVICE FEATURES
What exactly does your product or service do?
How does your product compare with competing products?
How quickly can your product be delivered, installed, and/or begin producing results?
What have customers, peers and others said about your product or service?
What guarantees come with it?
What choices does your product offer to prospects?
What are your prices? How do they compare to the competition?
ATTACH A 'WHY' TO EACH FEATURE
(Answer each question as a 'you' statement, as if talking face-to –face with your prospective customer)
Why are these features included?
What are the benefits each feature provides?
How do they improve or add value to your customers’ lives?
What problems does your product or service solve?
What desires does it fulfill?
What immediate benefits does it provide?
What future disasters will it help your customers avoid?
Keep drilling down until you hit the Mother Lode—the benefits that mean the most and bring the most value to prospects’ lives.
DIMENSIONALIZE EACH BENEFIT
Make sure each benefit is as compelling as possible, painting word pictures of all the ways the prospect will enjoy that benefit. Compare that benefit with those offered by others. Add specifics that demonstrate all the ways the benefit will enrich the prospect’s life.
CONNECT BENEFITS WITH EMOTIONS
Connect each fully dimensionalized product benefit with a strong emotion that your prospect already has about the benefit, or the lack of it, in his or her life. How is your prospect likely to feel about having (or not having) each benefit on your list?
Don't stop at listing just one emotion per benefit. Think about how the prospect will feel as he or she is enjoying that benefit. And about how they’ll feel as others see them healthier, richer, happier…
RANK YOUR LIST OF DIMENSIONALIZED BENEFITS
Rate each benefit/emotion combination on a scale of one to five, considering:
• the relative importance
• the relative number of prospects likely to covet that improvement
• the relative intensity of the emotion(s) connected to each benefit.
Then USE your inventory to make sure you press every possible hot button as you begin writing, particularly in your opening copy.