Writing for sales: so maybe we DO need a few features…

It had to happen, didn’t it. We stretched the elastic band so tight on heart-centred sales and conversational copywriting and benefits-only wording that the other day, it snapped.

It was someone on LinkedIn who made the point that sharing the benefits of a product or service is all fine and dandy, but what if your prospect asks how you make those benefit promises come true? Not with smoke and mirrors, presumably. So here we must turn to corroborating features. Snap!

article on features

OK, but how do you make it Texas’ best bread?

I’m sending myself up here because I’ve been bleating on about “benefits sell, features smell” since the Dark Ages of my former career as a copywriter. (NB: I still deal with features and benefits in the planning and marketing of nonfiction books.)

So how do features work when our words are benefits-led?

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Please welcome ReaderReady writing. (This time around.)

ReaderReady? Yes, I just coined that word. It means the same as most of the terms and descriptions mentioned below going back to about the 1950s or so. So why is it new?

conversations in slaes

In both business writing and sales, success now lies in conversations – not presentations.

Short answer? It isn’t. But along with every new incarnation of the concept, we get the accompanying yee-hahs and whizzing bow ties assuring us that this is how we should be writing our books, online content, blogs, ad copy, and everything else down to the note you stick on your front door asking the delivery people to leave your stuff around the back. [Read more…]

Are you losing out because your adverts are upside down?

How often do you see adverts that are phrased, and proportioned, like this? (And this is a real one from a piece of email marketing, not made up…) It’s an unusually brilliant example of WE-WEE marketing… 

Why upside down adverts don't work

See how much more powerful it would be if we turn it right-side up again, and give it a little tweak…

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We are market leaders and have arranged £3 billion of funding for UK businesses over the past 20 years

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Local advertisers: words and phrases that make customers groan

In this look at local advertising we’re going to focus on the next favourite words used by well-meaning but non-savvy advertisers … next, that is, after the famous first prize winner, WE (as in we-wee). This follows on from the last article which focused on the issues that cloud the effectiveness of the same ads.

words that make customers groan in local advertising
These words are not necessarily bad or even unsuitable (in themselves) for sales. However according to my research in dozens of local magazines and handbooks, they have become irritating because they are used by so many advertisers, and so they are relegated to cliché status. (Don’t forget that most clichés started out in life as very popular words which everyone loved and used over and over again, which is why they became clichés. One of life’s little ironies.)

The top 10 over-used words and phrases in local ads, and why they put customers off

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Local advertisers: stop writing we-wee and start getting a decent ROI

Just over three years ago we published about the we-weeing problem in marketing material, and much as most pro writers like me bang on about it, it’s still raging away.

Local advertisers we-weeing on their customers HTWB

This historic little guy, Manneken Pis, has been we-weeing on people in Brussels, Belgium for 400 years. Fortunately this is good, for his business.

The reason why I am throwing the toys out of my pram this time is because I feel sorry for the ever-constant stream of local magazines that set up in all good faith, sell advertising space to local businesses, and go out of business themselves within a couple of years.

Why? Here’s my theory and it’s not their fault … it’s the fault of the we-wee local advertisers who, because they we-wee, don’t get the results they should from their advertising and so eventually abandon the local magazines as not cost-effective. Naughty, naughty and frankly, bloody ignorant.

Local advertisers: stop writing about how wonderful you are

(NB: After my rant, you’ll find 10 Tips on how to do it right, below!) [Read more…]

How the SO WHAT? test can boost a lot of your business writing

Although the SO WHAT? test originally was written to test the content effectiveness of your elevator pitch, actually you can use it to test almost any promotional statement. Here’s how it works…So what test for all your marketing on HTWB

The basic idea behind the SO WHAT? test

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