3 Simple Steps for Selling Anything With Copywriting

Hello my fellow WordPress bloggers.

In this blog, I’ll be giving you three simple steps I’ve used for over ten years to sell products and services with copywriting. Whether you’re selling in print or on the internet, these three simple steps are all you need to hit a home run with your copywriting.

Step One: List All the Features of Your Product

Start out by simply making a list of all the features of your product.

When you do this, don’t worry about making it sound good. Don’t edit, don’t worry about grammar, sentence structure or word selection and certainly don’t worry about selling anything. Just make a laundry list of all the features of your product or service.

For example, the following is a list of some of the features of the premium membership package at WPMU DEV:

  • Hundreds of customizable WordPress themes
  • All plugins updated to comply with the current version of WordPress
  • A member community where you can get your questions answered by our experts
  • Dozens of white label WordPress tutorial videos
  • Unlimited downloads of hundreds of premium WordPress plugins
  • Three different WordPress eCommerce solutions: Pay Per View, Membership and MarkPlace, all of which integrate with our Affiliates plugin.
  • Dozens of BuddyPress plugins
  • Dozens of WordPress PDF tutorials
  • WordPress plugins which will help you “rebrand” WordPress
  • Plugins to protect your site from spammers and sploggers
  • Customizable customer support plugin for reselling the WPMU DEV plugins and themes to your site members
  • WordPress Autoresponder plugins
  • WordPress plugins for integrating Google +, Facebook and Twitter

Notice that this is simply a list of features. The reader still has to use their imagination a bit to find out what the benefits will be for them. In sales, we call this “grocery listing,” and while it will help you to make some conversions, it’s not really good copywriting.

To make it good, you’ll need to apply step two…

Step Two: Turn Every Feature into a Benefit

Good copywriting doesn’t sell features, it sells benefits!

I know, don’t you love that vague copywriting advice?

To make this step more practical, let me share how I’ve come to understand the difference between features and benefits:

“What the product does is a feature, what the product does for the customer is a benefit.”

Pretty simple right?

So if I want to turn our list of features into benefits, I simply ask myself what the feature does for the customer and write it directly after the benefit, like so:

Feature: Hundreds of customizable WordPress themes

  • Benefit: Never have to search for quality plugins again. Now you can find everything you need right here.

Feature: All plugins updated to comply with the current version of WordPress

  • Benefit: Update to ANY new version of WordPress with complete confidence.

Feature: A member community where you can get your questions answered by our experts

  • Benefit: never have to figure out a WordPress hack or feature on your own again.

Feature: Dozens of white label tutorial videos & WordPress plugins which will help you “rebrand” WordPress

  • Benefit: Start your own custom web design service business, without learning anything about coding.

Feature: WordPress plugins for integrating Google +, Facebook and Twitter

  • Benefit: Explode your traffic and online presence with the power of Social Media.

Notice how I’m simply writing down what the feature will do for the customer. I’m still not worried about making it sound perfect by creating a well-structured message. However, I could use these two steps alone and write a pretty damn good piece of copy.

But if good isn’t enough for you, let’s apply the third step and turn good into great…

Step Three: Turn Every Benefit into a “Before & After” Experience

Great salesmanship comes from the ability to sell an experience.

When your copywriting creates what I call a “synthetic experience” in the imagination of the reader, conversions are guaranteed to follow. The more accurately you nail the reader’s current experience and the more appealing you make their “post purchase” experience sound, the more sales you’ll make.

What’s the difference between a benefit and an experience?

Let’s take some samples from the list of features and benefits we’ve already created and turn the benefits into before and after experiences:

Feature: Hundreds of customizable WordPress themes

Benefit: Never have to forage for quality plugins again. Now you can find everything you need right here.

  • Experience: Tired of spending hours searching for the right WordPress plugin? Now you’ll can have a library of professionally crafted plugins at your fingertips!

Feature: All plugins updated to comply with the current version of WordPress

Benefit: Update to ANY new version of WordPress with complete confidence.

  • Experience: Do you dread new WordPress updates because your plugins might not be compatible? Now you can kiss those worries goodbye! All our plugins are guaranteed to comply with all new WordPress updates, always!

Feature: WordPress plugins for integrating Google +, Facebook and Twitter

Benefit: Explode your traffic and online presence with the power of Social Media.

  • Experience: No more struggling to scrap up new traffic from PPC and search engine rankings. Now you can use the power of Social Media to get hundreds of eyes a day on your blogs and product offers!

Notice that I’m describing the before experience and contrasting it with the after experience. I’m also doing it in a way that connects the features and benefits of the product and creates a strong case for how the product will change the customers’ work experience.

That’s powerful and persuasive copywriting, and look at how simple we’ve made it. Three steps:

  1. List Your Features
  2.  Turn Features into Benefits
  3. Turn Benefits into “Before & After” Experiences

Try these steps out, test the results and get back to me in the comments section of this post.

-Til’ next time,

Seth C

 

 

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Comments (4)

  1. Does anyone have a link to some live examples of this?
    I’m currently done following this advice but am not sure how best to visually set this up :-)
    Struggling a bit on how to style it with CSS, i.e. backgrounds, colors, formats, etc.

    I know the technical part, just need some inspiration.

    • Hi Ovidiu,

      There are a TON of variables to consider when it comes to sales copy design.

      It would be easier to answer this request if I knew your demographic and media (direct mail, email etc). Generally, I suggest doing a Google search for Dan Kennedy style sales letters or “Advetorials,” which work really well for printed copy. Online, authentic reviews and testimonials or multi-media features(videos, audio clips on your offer page, product screen shots etc) are really more important than fancy design…especially the reviews.

      Online it also helps a lot to have your contact info on the offer page so the buyers can ask questions. More than half of my sales come from people who send emails asking questions first. People are way too skeptical online these days and even the best copy and fanciest design can flop if you don’t use transparency and authentic reviews to back it up. That said, here are a few resources for learning the psychology of marketing design:

      http://www.precisionintermedia.com/color.html

      (on the psychology of color in marketing)

      http://www.researchplan.com/blog/?p=120

      (on the psychology of fonts)

      In my experience, you’re better off learning the psychological principles behind good design rather than trying to copy someone elses’. It’s better for finding your voice as a writer and marketer. Finally, test everything…even the best marketers can be wrong sometimes.

      Thanks for the question.

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