By Chris Newton
One of the most common frustrations I hear from business people is that they can't write words that sell.
Put these same people face-to-face with a prospect, and they're in their element. But put them in front of a computer screen and ask them to create the words for a compelling, tightly written ad, sales letter or brochure - and they freeze up.
True, there are very few professionals who can write in a way that moves people to action. Indeed, my own 'baptism of fire' in learning to write response generating copy was the direct marketing industry. Not only is direct marketing a totally accountable form of marketing where response rates can be measured to the decimal point, in many cases, it entails 'selling off the page'. In other words, you're inviting prospects to put money in the mail or to call up with their credit card details to buy something, sight unseen.
Nothing focuses you on good writing more than a challenge like that!
Yes, writing selling copy isn't easy. But here's the good news. When you learn the basic tools to move people through the written word, you'll blitz your market and leave your competitors in your dust. You'll have the power to bring sales and enquiries flowing into your business whenever you need them, like turning on a tap. And you'll be able to do it in ANY business you run, manage or consult to.
Think about those face-to-face encounters. How many places can you be in during any one day? On a good day, you might get in front of four or five prospective clients.
But when you write compelling copy, you can engage thousands, or tens of thousands of people in a 'conversation' in a day. And guess what! Out of those thousands, only those who are qualified will 'put their hand up' and ask for your attention. These are people who want to buy.
When you've got people coming to you, you can say goodbye to cold calling. And you control the transaction. Does that make sense?
'Power words' give you an almost unfair advantage when you write.
John Caples, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, identified some fascinating 'power words' when he studied the top 100 headlines of his time. Of the 100 great headlines he analysed, he discovered that certain 'power words' appeared over and over again:
You (or Your) - 45 times!
How – 12 times
New – 10 times
Who – 8 times
Money – 6 times
Of course, this is just a small selection of power words. But this tells you something! Why do you think the simple word 'you' appeared 45 times? Clearly, this word focuses on the reader. It forces the writer to write 'through the eyes of the prospect'.
When you use the 'Point-of-You', it's almost impossible to talk all about your yourself, your company or your product - you know the stuff - "We have a big factory", "We are proud to announce", "Our product is so great -".
Write in that self-focused way and your prospects will very quickly flip the page, hit the delete key, or toss your message in the rubbish bin.
Talk about them, and what they want - and you'll rivet their attention! Can it be this simple?
I've had one client who attended one of my workshops, who then re-wrote all his communications from a 'Point-of-You'. He achieved a 5 times increase in response. From nothing more than that one change in focus!
Think about that. He didn't have to spend 5 times the advertising spend. He didn't have to hire more people. He simply re-positioned to a 'Point-of-You', and achieved a 500% increase in leads! What would doing that achieve for you?
I could write a whole course on copywriting techniques. And in our written programmes, we do exactly that. We work though the powerful yet logical steps to re-writing your own copy with response generating techniques, so that you move people to act.
It's a fun process, and once you 'get it', there will be no stopping you. For now though, let's look at another critical element in achieving effective communication. And that is why people buy? The late and great Ed Mayer compiled these 26 reasons why people are motivated to buy:
Some fairly primeval motivations there! Some we may not even readily admit to. But they are the things that drive us!
Now ask yourself, how compellingly does your marketing collateral zero in on, and develop, one or more of those motivators? Or does your literature fall back into 'we have a big factory' mode?
If you're going to move people to action, you need to really get inside their heads, understand what their 'buying drivers' are, what their fears and uncertainties are, and their doubts - and address those compellingly.
When you do that, when you craft compelling copy into your message, that's when you start to take control of the market. That's when people buy from you because you've inspired them, because you've inflamed their imaginations, and educated them that you've got what they want.
At this point, the focus goes off price and onto your value package. More about that another time.
In the meantime, do you think now might be a great time to do a 'Point-of-You' communications audit on your marketing collateral?