When writing copy, which features should you focus on?

Types of featuresLike any copywriting trainer worth his salt, I teach the importance of stressing benefits in marketing copy. After all, it’s the benefits of a product or service that the customer is truly buying.

However, during a recent workshop a participant asked, “Do we need to connect a benefit to each and every feature? Our services have dozens of features. If we explain the benefit to each one, the copy is going to be a mile long!”

Good point.

Of course, you don’t have to “benefitize” every arcane feature of your product or service. That would be like dramatizing the benefit of a gas pedal. “As you press your foot down on this lever, the car will begin to move forward, magically transporting you to…”

The trick is to focus only on those features that are important to the prospect – those which are most likely to motivate him or her to take action.

How do you figure that out? The simplest way is to organize features into three categories. read more…

How to Write an E-Book That Generates Leads

iStock_000015472610SmallI was speaking to a client the other day who joked, “E-books are the new white papers.” He was kidding, of course. He knows all too well there are significant differences between e-books and white papers, and even e-books and free reports.

That being said, there’s no ignoring e-books. They are all the rage these days, especially in lead-generation where they are working particularly well.

So how do you write one of these things?

The first step is to come up with a topic. People read e-books offered by companies because they want a quick education on something specific. They want to learn how to solve a problem, complete a task, make the right decision, deal with a difficult situation, improve sales performance, reduce costs, and so forth.

And your topic needs to reflect that expectation. read more…

Quick Ways to Read Your Prospect’s Mind

Mind readerJust about every marketing guru touts the importance of “knowing your prospect”. But how much do you really know about the person you’re trying to persuade with your landing page, email or other marketing piece?

A few years ago, for example, I was hired to write a direct mail letter for a training firm. The target market were sales managers and my client assumed, reasonably, that sales managers would be eager to reach this year’s quota. After all, it was the end of November. Only a few weeks to go.

After doing a little investigating, however, I discovered that sales managers at the end of November had already said their goodbyes to the current year. It was done as far as they were concerned. They were, instead, focusing on the new year – especially the first quarter. From a sales standpoint, they wanted to start the new year with a bang. read more…

Double the effectiveness of testimonials

Testimonial DefinitionThere’s a good reason why some websites (mine included) feature so many client testimonials. They build belief and credibility like no other copy element can. In fact, these days, prospects get suspicious if your website doesn’t feature clients or customers saying great things about your products and services.

But there’s a problem with testimonials.

According to eye path analysis—a method of studying where eye balls linger on a web page—people tend to look at testimonials rather than read them.

So a client may have given you a glowing endorsement, but beyond the fact that the testimonial is there and gets noticed, the message itself may not be getting through. read more…

Getting “Marg the Marketing Manager” to hire you

I had an interesting phone call with my friend, Dianna Huff, yesterday. We were chatting about the importance of creating “Buyer Personas” to represent the kind of clients we’re trying to attract.

What’s a Buyer Persona?

It’s simply an imaginary character you create that represents – and closely as possible – your target prospects.

If you’re targeting dental clinics, for example, you might create a persona called “Debbie the New Dentist”. You’d get to know Debbie very well. You’d understand her needs and challenges. And exactly how your services can help her. read more…

Should you be writing infographics?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this. But three years ago I hadn’t even heard of infographics. Now they’re everywhere!

In fact, according to a recent survey, infographics rank in the top 10 types of marketing communications that B2B companies will be investing in this year.

To me, that’s astounding. Infographics – essentially a cool way of visually presenting information — is becoming as important to companies as white papers, emails and websites!

Should you be writing or creating infographics for your clients? read more…

10 Minutes With Gordon Graham [Interview]

Do you write white papers? Or are you interested in learning more about this type of project?

I just completed a great interview with the leading expert in that field, Gordon Graham, known as “That White Paper Guy”.

During the interview, he shared some VERY practical tips on crafting a terrific white paper… the kind that gets attention, builds thought leadership, and brings in new leads and sales. read more…

How to write copy, faster

Yesterday I was writing a sales page for a new program I’m offering. It wasn’t a particularly complicated job so I didn’t think it would take long. In fact, I sat down to write at 8am and figured I’d be done and sipping a congratulatory Starbucks by 10am at the latest.

Not so.

Blog pic10am came and went and I wasn’t nearly finished. The writing was going so painfully slow that I felt like banging my head on the keyboard.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Why was I struggling to write this thing? Why couldn’t I figure out what to say and how to say it? Why couldn’t I get this damned thing done? read more…

An Excellent Copywriting Teacher

Steve is an excellent teacher. His style is concise, relaxed and interesting. I gained a great deal from his teachings and his books. And I left with real hands-on experience through the work that was assigned. Steve is a true expert in his field. Any copywriter could benefit from his suggestions.

JoAnn Attison

Worshop Participant

Engaging and Incredibly Informative Seminar

I wanted to thank you so much for sharing so much valuable information with us on Saturday… I found your presentation engaging and incredibly informative. The simplicity of the processes that you shared with us is truly elegant. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to create useful copy using the steps you outlined.

Lorna Wyllson

Workshop Participant

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