A Simple Copywriting Trick for More Effective Marketing

Are you focused on the benefits rather than the features in your marketing message?

If you’ve studied marketing even a little bit, you probably stumbled on the advice to sell the benefits and not the features of your service or product.

Some of us are slower on the uptake than others, and it took me a long time to really get what that means. Surely potential clients understand that having convincing copy on their website means more business and easier sales conversations! Why do I have to spell it out?

But clients - no matter how logical they are - buy on emotion. And emotion is elicited by the benefit to them, not by the features of what you’re selling.

It’s not their job to connect the dots, figure out why your stuff is good for them, and become enamored of your offerings. It’s yours. And if you don’t appeal to their emotional side in your marketing, they’ll find someone else who will.

Take, for example, dog food commercials. What do they show and emphasize? They play up how good the owner will feel by feeding the dog nutritious and delicious chow. They show wagging tails and smiling owners. Or peppy older dogs and smiling owners. Notice how no commercial is a straight recitation of the ingredients, micronutrients, and calories.

Dog food commercials focus on happy dogs and owners (benefits) rather than the ingredients (features).

Dog food commercials focus on happy dogs and owners (benefits) rather than the ingredients (features).

So how do you remember to appeal to the desired outcome that activates your potential clients’ emotions?

Simple. Practice incorporating the word “so” in your marketing:

Guaranteed delivery so you don’t lose sleep worrying about having the parts you need to complete your project on time.

Balanced meals so you finally lose the weight and keep it off.

Compelling, impactful content so you stand out as the go-to expert in your industry.

In each of these, the part before “so” is the feature; the part after is the benefit.

Your marketing doesn’t have to be this formulaic, and you don’t necessarily have to spell everything out in every interaction or flyer, but if the benefits to your clients inform everything you do, it’ll supercharge the results you’re getting from your marketing (including when you’re reaching out directly to prospects and following up with them).

So, if you’re not used to spelling out the benefits of your offering, it’s helpful to practice this formula.

And there’s also a bonus: it forces you to think about your offering from your client’s point of view - why would a client care about guaranteed delivery? Why does it matter that the meals are balanced?

Because if you can’t answer these “why” questions, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got some market research to do on what drives your clients’ buying decisions.

How do you uncover what the client is looking for? Just ask an existing client.

It doesn’t have to be a really formal conversation. A simple, “Hey Steve, I know that you’ve worked with a lot of writers in the past. What are some of the frustrations of working with writers? What are some of the things that you look for in a writer?”

You might be really surprised at what you hear. But if they give you any little nuggets of insight, that’s marketing gold. That is what you want to incorporate into your marketing strategy.

Stay tuned next week for some helpful tips on how to keep your email list interested in your content.

And if you haven't done so already, be sure to grab your copy of the free guide, 5 Simple Writing Tweaks to Create Sticky Clients, by entering your info below. These are simple strategies that I use daily when I’m working on projects.

Maria Granovsky