By Karen J. Marchetti
How does copy become more compelling? One way is to be more specific to your audience with your messages. And that means a smarter message strategy – a clearer direction as to what points your sales message should hit.
Every audience doesn’t have the same concerns. And every product or service doesn’t face the same sales challenges.
Your copy approach or message strategy for each product or service should be tailored to the familiarity of your audience with the product/service category, their most common questions and objections, and the competitive situation.
The Sales Process – when you’re selling by phone, in person, in print, in digital media
What steps does your current sales message take your target audience through? Always discuss this with your copywriter or creative team. Leaving out a critical step (typically, answering objections or proving your credibility) or adding in elements that address your particular challenges can make the difference between a positive or negative ROI on the effort.
There are still some copywriters that say they use AIDA to craft their sales message. AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. But it’s not a really specific direction for your copy. They are the stages that customers follow when they make a purchase decision.
But this isn’t a strong-enough strategy to close the sale. The stages if AIDA are not persuasion components. – they’re just a general guide.
And those general steps wouldn’t help a salesperson. As marketers, we’re selling in words. So, if AIDA isn’t specific enough to help a salesperson, it’s not going to provide enough insight to copywriters.
Just think if you were a sales manager, you’re hiring a new sales rep, and you’re in charge of training, You would never say to your new sales rep.:
“Here’s all you need to do — just generate some Awareness and some Interest and Desire and Action.”
It’s not enough to help a salesperson. And so, it’s not enough for copywriters.
Great salespeople follow a process called the Sales Process. If we’re selling with words, we should be following a similar process.
And the most effective message components tend to be what your best salespeople would say.
The Sales Process steps give you a much more specific direction for your copy:
STEP ONE: Remind of some pain and/or promise some pleasure.
The Sales Process typically starts out with some pain and/or some pleasure:
“Are you having a problem with . . . are you struggling with?”
“Wouldn’t it be great if you could, . . .”
STEP TWO: We have the solution.
Present your solution.
STEP THREE: “Sizzle” the solution.
Tell me “what’s in it for me” – all of the benefits, not the facts. Tell me why I should care, what is your product/service going to do for me.
STEP FOUR: Why take action now.
Give me a specific offer and tell me how to get it.
If you’re generating leads, you stop there. You’ve got me interested with the pain/pleasure lead in. You’ve told me you’ve got a webinar or a piece of downloadable content. You tell me all the things I’m going to learn, and then tell me how to get it.
If you’re selling by ecommerce, you have to take some additional steps . . .
(If ecommerce) STEP FIVE: Answer objections and build credibility.
As soon as we leave an objection in the prospect’s mind, they’re not going to take action – and we’ve just wasted the budget we spent driving that traffic.
If I was selling in person or over the phone, I’d have an opportunity to find out what the objections were. I’d say something like, “what’s standing in the way of you making a decision today.” Hopefully, the prospect would tell me what the issues were, and then I’d have an opportunity to answer those objections. In print or digital, we have to address those objections BEFORE the prospect leaves the page.
If you have proof – especially numbers – use them to prove what kind of results your audience will get from your solution. Third-party reviews or customer testimonials (especially from a well-known customer) can help to answer objections.
Be sure to have a clear answer to: “why should I buy from you?” It should be a clear benefit statement that no other competitor can say.
STEP SIX: Re-pitch the offer.
Once the objections are answered, go for the close. With ecommerce, the offer is the something extra that motivates the sale TODAY – a special bundled price, a gift with purchase, free shipping, etc.
As you craft the steps in your Sales Process, focus on the target customer you’re writing for:
Address their problems, the benefits most relevant to them, and their most likely objections.
Write like that target Persona is sitting across from you and you’re having a discussion.
If your content doesn’t sound the way you’d say it if that target Persona was sitting in front of you, time to revise until it does.
This is part 1 in the Copy Strategy series from Karen J. Marchetti.
Karen J. Marchetti is Head of Client Services for Response FX, a master direct-response copywriter, and certified in Google Ads and Google Analytics. She is the best-selling author of The Results Obsession: ROI-Focused Digital Strategies to Transform Your Marketing, available on Amazon.