Have you hired someone to help you build a shiny new website for your business? For many business owners, this means writing sparkling new copy to go with it. Many of my copywriting clients come to me with this very challenge, but not everyone can afford to hire a professional writer.
Whether you are writing copy for your services page, a blog post or a couple of sentences to go on a leaflet – there are a few simple tips that can help to make your copy engaging.
In this post, I want to talk about the importance of benefits over features, and how asking yourself So What? will make all the difference.
Focus On The Features
Stop just telling people what you do, start showing them why they should care. We have all heard the phrase ‘features not benefits’ – this is never more important than in written content. Of course, you need to know that I write website copy for clients like you, but what you actually want to know is why this is a good thing for you and your business. Otherwise, you will quickly switch off and put your attention elsewhere. As the excellent business advisor Heidi Green quite rightly points out – “we are all lazy and greedy. We want to know what is in it for us, and as quickly as possible.”
Let’s use the humble sketching pencil to illustrate how this works.
Feature = break-resistant lead
Benefit = You can be as heavy handed as you like with this pencil, it won’t leave you in the lurch without a sharpener
Feature = Includes a handy eraser
Benefit = Mistakes can be removed easily as you go along without the need to carry an eraser
Feature = bevelled edges in bottle green and black stripes
Benefit = this pencil won’t roll away every time you put it down on an uneven surface
Feature = it is inexpensive to buy and lasts for a long time
Benefit = spending less money on your pencils means that you get to buy better quality drawing paper
Now try this exercise with one of your products or services. Make a list of features on one side of the page and a list of features on the other.
To make even more of your benefits, next apply the So What Principle. Let’s take a look at the second benefit of our pencil.
Mistakes can be removed easily as you go along, without the need to carry an eraser.
It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake because you can rub it out and start again.
You can keep improving your drawing until you are happy with the end result.
You don’t need to worry about drawing things right the first time out.
This removes the fear of not getting it right the first time if you have never drawn this object before.
Fear is one of the biggest obstacles that stops people from taking up drawing as a hobby.
Well, that’s a real shame because drawing is a great way to relax and be mindful.
Science shows that mindfulness through creativity reduces stress and improves your mental health.
Who would have thought that we could get all that from a simple pencil with an eraser on the end? Once you have done this exercise for your business, you can decide which parts of the message belong where in your marketing plan. Remember, the features that really matter are the ones that hold meaning for your ideal client. If the person buying the pencil is an architect, he might be interested in the more tangible benefits of a pencil with an eraser on the end. If your client is a mother hoping to encourage their young children to take up art, well that’s a different story altogether.
Could you benefit from talking through the So What Principle with a professional copywriter? Give me a call on 07928122079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you craft a stronger message that sells.