MSP Copywriting – Part 5
As a quick recap, I mentioned AIDA last time as a well-trodden framework that people can use, although there are plenty of others. And I extended it to become URGENT AIDAC which we’ll cover off.
Attention is the most important part of the formula (which we skimmed last time) and now we’ve hopefully got your readers’ attention with a powerful headline, we can try and immediately deliver on the promise of the headline with interest, leading on to desire.
The first few paragraphs are where you set the scene and build up the picture of what you’ll be addressing. As another aide-memoire, these four steps may help :
Map Out Your ‘BIG MESSAGE’ In 4 Steps.
Write down the following four steps and then you will quickly have your main message in more detail that you can refer back to. To reiterate, this step should be done promptly because the whole point of this part is to capture the essence of what you’re trying to say without getting writer’s block – you can fill in the details later – so just get it down and start writing !
1- What is the Problem You are Trying to Solve?
You’ve done this part already! Just write down the main key words and key concepts that you explored earlier. Use interesting stories and facts to really establish and remind your audience of the pain points. For each pain point, try and establish a scenario that your market can really relate to.
2-Why Hasn’t the Problem Been Solved Already? You need to identify and state why their problem hasn’t been solved already and what is/was wrong with the other solutions and why your solution is more viable. This is a part of ‘overcoming objections’. It might even include some of the negatives that you might need to address as well.
3-What is Possible? I.e. use ‘possibility-thinking’. At this point, you should get your prospects (i.e. your readers) to imagine what would happen when their problem is completely solved. This step is essential as it will pre-sell the solution and give them an image of their desired outcome.
Prospects that have already envisaged the problem solved with your solution and seeing the benefits in their mind’s eye are significantly more likely to commit to a purchase or at least take an action. Make sure your prospects can see a world where they are worrying less about hackers or having more productive staff that can use their technology seamlessly or whatever your benefits convey. The more vividly then can envisage this, ideally with multiple senses such as sight and sound and best of all with emotion, the better.
4-What’s Different Now? This is where you can really start to bring your USP into focus and why it was so important to develop this as part of the exercise.
The main thing you need to remember in copywriting and indeed in business in general is that you are a sales person of benefits. For whatever it is you’re trying to sell, think of all the different benefits your product or service can bring. This brings us on to the classic difference between features and benefits or FABS as I was taught. Products have features but people buy benefits. So mention the features by all means but fleshing out the benefits is where the magic happens.
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous example a about a power-drill. A feature might be that be that it has “Hammer Action”. The benefits of this means that drilling in hard materials like masonry, reducing effort and time for users. The theory goes that people don’t buy the drill, they buy the holes the drills can make. I think this is a bit cliché and doesn’t take into consideration that some people will buy one drill over another because it looks ‘cool’ and they can walk around their garage with it pretending they’re James Bond but I digress! Uncovering hidden motives and desires is another rabbit hole all together.
Certainly however, benefits are key and let’s say your landing page is about something like encryption of a laptop or PC. That might be a feature. The benefit means that if your company sales person or apprentice leaves a laptop on a train somewhere, then it’s effectively a glorified paperweight or door-jamb because unless someone has the key to decrypt the laptop it’s unusable, giving peace of mind or reduced insurance premiums or whatever. The encryption of the device is a feature, the reduced insurance premiums and reduced worries are the benefits. Of course you can really milk this because each feature is singular yet you can list limitless benefits for different scenarios.
This is why peppering your copy with stories and abbreviated case-studies is so helpful, because it brings alive the benefits out of the features.
Another example might that your VOIP phone system automatically records and backs up all inbound phone calls. That’s a feature. The benefits could include being able to draw upon the recording in case of a dispute with a client about what was promised. Or as training opportunities for staff. Or as a sentiment analysis tool for the AI that can scan all the transcripts and looks for sales opportunities to increase revenue. The trick here is to think of as many benefits and bring them alive to demonstrate the usage here and there’s one thing that’s important to remember, which is that just because you know about something, doesn’t mean your audience will.
It’s been demonstrated time and again that even outlining features and benefits that you think are blindingly obvious to you – even if all the other providers include it – the fact that you include it within your copy and establish the benefits of it can help establish you as the preferred choice, simply because the other providers didn’t mention it.
It might be that all VOIP phone systems are capable of call-recordings but the fact you’re the only company that mentioned the benefits your sales copy or presentation means you’ll stand out.
Tip : Put The Most Important Information First.
The first paragraph is the most important. Newspapers work on the basis that at any time more news can come in and needs space. Therefore stories are written in such a way that if they are truncated at any point (from the end towards to beginning) they will still make sense.
Your copy should work the same way. Why put the most interesting stuff at the end when there’s every possibility that the reader might not get that far?
Put the most important stuff first and people who are interested will read to the end. Those who are less interested will have less reason to abandon!
Tip : Use Surprise & Unexpectedness.
Irrespective of which product or service you want to sell, there are always ways to make a story appear more interesting. Adding an unexpected angle in the copy can help achieve this.
If you can sketch out half a dozen different angles or perspectives, that can help. Try looking at it from different people’s perspectives if it helps and think of anything unusual or quirky you can add.
Novelty – is of course a reliable choice and the joy of the IT space is that things are new all the time.
Anything that is “New”, “Ground-breaking” or “Pioneering” is interesting to people that are your target market. Why? Because it implies that because it’s new, they won’t have heard it before and therefore they will need to read the information to become acquainted with it.
People like to hear about new things! Have a new version of your software? Talk about it and present it as being new.
Next time, we’ll build upon the Interest and Desire …
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