Article written by Mr Rob Hardy
I often talk about areas such as how to write a powerful story, the importance of a conversational approach and how to build momentum. However, there are a few specific techniques worth bearing in mind that fall outside of these areas – in particular the following eight points are crucial to keep in mind:
- Restate your proposition in different ways throughout the body of your communication – your audience are often preoccupied with something else when they first see your communication, so they may not fully absorb your proposition the first time they see it.
- Keep your copy focused on how your target audience perceive themselves to be (when conveying the problem) or how they aspire to be (when conveying your solution) – rather than how they necessarily are.
- Positive/ negative contrast – give a positive benefit, and then emphasise it by saying that this means that your prospect can avoid experiencing the downside. For example: ‘the bedroom has a triple-glazed window, meaning that you’ll never be affected by the noise of any traffic’.
- A related approach is to take the opposite point of view to the point you wish to make, for example describing an imaginary product which doesn’t offer the benefit which yours does, or a character who is the opposite of your target audience (for example the classic poster headline run by ‘The Economist’ magazine: “I never read the Economist.” Followed by the subheading: ‘Management Trainee, Aged 42’.) By emphasising what is wrong or missing, this creates contrast with your own product that, by implication, can deliver what your target audience are looking for. Expanding on the above example, you might contrast the peaceful night spent in one of your hotel rooms by describing the feeling of having slept next to a noisy building site.
- Convey that the product will make the prospect’s life easier – enabling them to effortlessly achieve the benefit you are offering. Powerful words to achieve this include: “simple”, “easy”, “hacks”, “tricks”, “quicker” and “hassle-free”. To convey ease of use, group the required steps into fewer and broader stages. People will rarely be willing to put in a lot of effort in order to achieve the benefit you promise – unless it is something they are already firmly focused on attaining in their life.
- ‘Linking’. If the benefit is unfamiliar or cannot be quickly grasped, consider relating what you are selling to something that is already familiar to the prospect. This helps to bridge the mental gap, making your benefit easier to understand – for example describing an online system for individuals to record their personal preferences as a ‘virtual personal assistant’, or the classic Ready Brek slogan ‘Central heating for kids’. The renowned copywriter Joe Sugarman vividly conveyed the benefits of a smoke-detector by describing it as a ‘nose’ – sitting on the ceiling and sniffing the air. In this way you can create a unique concept to convey your proposition, even if the product itself is similar to that of your competitors. You can also use linking to explain how a new product offers superior benefits to existing products that your target audience are already familiar with.
- Focus – if you offer a range of products, it is better to spearhead only the single most relevant product in your initial communication to your prospective customer. This keeps the communication simple, single-minded and impactful (remember, people never buy a range). You can then offer more options once your prospect has confirmed their interest by clicking through to your product page or by requesting a brochure.
- See if you can introduce an element of topical information at some point into the body copy – what’s going on in the world that will be of interest to your target audience, and also links to your proposition? This approach can make your content come across as more human, interesting and rooted in the ‘real world’. Do try to go beyond just stating common knowledge though – see if you can unearth an interesting nugget of detail that your prospective customer doesn’t already know.
- Not all of these copywriting techniques will suit your own individual copywriting style, but it’s certainly worth experimenting with a few of them from time to time to see if they can positively affect your results.
A massive thanks to Rob Hardy for providing our readers with such insightful content! If you would like to read more of Rob’s articles revolved around the hospitality industry, be sure to check out his Marketing Communications Expert Blog here! Rob has also published a number of books, all available on Amazon here!