Copywriting and Salesmanship: Partners in Profitability


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Copywriting and Salesmanship: Partners in Profitability

  1. 1. Welcome to Copywriting and Salesmanship Proven copy strategies For stronger leads, better salesand longer-lasting customer relationships Presented by Carol Worthington-Levy
  2. 2. “A copywriter is a salesperson with a typewriter.” —Anonymous, c. 19202
  3. 3. “One of the worst mistakes you can make as a copywriter is to assume your job is about writing. It’s not.” —Dean Reick, ProCopyTips 20123
  4. 4. A great direct marketing effort works like a salesman • Walks the prospect through the steps of the selling process • Answers concerns or it suggests that by calling, they will get the answers they need • Teases the prospect into responding, through the use of benefit copy and offer4
  5. 5. Copywriting with salesmanship is hard, dirty work. “Before actually writing the copy, I write down every conceivable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform”. “I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.” — David Ogilvy5
  6. 6. We can learn from the great salesmen how to set up and close a sale…6
  7. 7. 7 Steps to Closing More Sales — Roy Chitwood, Max Sacks International, sales trainers1. Approach the prospect2. Qualification of prospect3. Prospect agrees on need4. You Sell them on your company and/or product5. Fill the need that’s been identified6. Get their Commitment, and you commit to them7. Cement the saleReference:
  8. 8. Translated to direct marketing efforts…DIRECT MARKETING STEP CORRESPONDS TO SALES STEPGet prospect’s attention. Approach and qualification; agreement on needPresent product benefits Fill the needCall to action Act of commitmentPresent company credentials Sell the companyCall to action Suggest/request their commitmentStatements about no-risk guarantee, Cement the saleease of ordering, ease ofimplementation etc.Call to action Ask for the orderBack-end fulfillment (delivery of order) Act of commitment 8
  9. 9. Roy Chitwood’s six buying motives:1. Desire for gain (often financial, sometimes emotional)2. Fear of loss (same as #1)3. Comfort and convenience4. Security and protection5. Pride of ownership6. Satisfaction9
  10. 10. Oreck’s advertisement is a paper salesman1. Approach the prospect2. Qualification of prospect3. Prospect agrees on need4. You Sell them on your company and/or product5. Fill the need that’s been identified6. Get their Commitment, and you commit to them7. Cement the sale 10
  11. 11. FABS (Features, Advantages, Benefits) • Feature: what it does • Advantage: how that makes it superior or delivers a technical benefit • Benefit: how that translates into a PERSONAL problem solved or need answered11
  12. 12. What are the FABs for…• Feature: what it … A toothbrush? does• Advantage: how that makes it superior or delivers … A washing machine? a technical benefit• Benefit: how that translates into a PERSONAL problem … A thumb drive? solved or need answered … A DMA conference? 12
  13. 13. What are the FABs in this ad? • Feature: what it does • Advantage: how that makes it superior or delivers a technical benefit • Benefit: how that translates into a PERSONAL problem solved or need answered13
  14. 14. Which ad’s FABs are more compelling?14
  15. 15. Think of your own products or aproduct/service you’ve been hired to sell. What are its FABs?What matters the most to your customer? • Share with the rest of us! Feature: what it does Advantage: how that makes it superior or delivers a technical benefit Benefit: how that translates into a PERSONAL problem solved or need answered15
  16. 16. Cinch the deal with The Guaranteed Close "If we can [deliver our promise] can you think of any reason why you wouldnt [summary of desired act of commitment]?” Sales guru Brian Tracy’s example: ”If I can show you the absolute best investment you’ve ever seen, would you be willing to invest in it today?” – takes them from ‘no’ to ‘maybe’ Try this with your own product … For example: “If we can promise that our air filter will make your home more comfortable and healthy that you ever dreamed possible — could even eliminate allergies and illness — then would you buy one right now?” Use this approach in your letter, your brochure, your self mailer, your email… you can even put a call to action of this kind at the end of some copy blocks within a catalog or website!16
  17. 17. Translating salesmanship into catalog, email and other DM copy…17
  18. 18. The ‘email salesman’… • Lots of competition in the email box • Distractions all around • Tiny space makes it tough to explain enough to draw the prospect in • How to generate the salesman’s steps? 1. Approach the prospect 2. Qualification of prospect 3. Prospect agrees on need 4. You Sell them on your company and/or product 5. Fill the need that’s been identified18
  19. 19. The ‘email salesman’… • You won’t sell ‘off the email’ – that’s a landing page’s job — so keep it brief • Plan your email based on reality: – for big contracts, you’ll need a two step – For single inexpensive stuff, one step should work19
  20. 20. B to B email: what matters most to this customer?• Very successful email• Going to people who handle sharp objects/metal in their jobs• They know the Kevlar brand – but may not know Superior Glove• Superior wants to sell them their own branded glove that competes with Kevlar20 © Beasley Direct Marketing
  21. 21. Alternate way toaddress that concern – and your FABs• Offer-driven headline gets attention• The title of the book/offer uses two words that are key to the customer’s interest: cut protection 21
  22. 22. Running through the sales steps• Subject line: Commute the REI way (Approach prospect)• This is to an existing customer (Qualification of prospect)• Copy approach: Head from camp to campus – time to switch gears, ramp up with must-have equipment (Fill the need that’s been identified)• Free shipping offer (Get their commitment) (I Clicked on “ride it” …) 22
  23. 23. Clicks send them to landing page• To keep the sales patter consistent, a landing page is better than your website’s home page• Copy confirms that this is the place for them to get stuff for fall cycling and school commuting• What’s missing? The offer should show here, too. 23
  24. 24. Answer all questions…• Subject line offer: ‘Let us treat you to a free pastry’ – approach, creates instant affinity. A treat!• Headline tells them what they will get, when and what they have to do• Email body copy has appetite appeal, targets market who looks for quality food rather than cheap food• Very short schedule and time period to take advantage of the offer 24
  25. 25. Email must hit the point quickly… Or you’ll lose their attention! Which one grabs attention more quickly?25
  26. 26. Salesmanship in Direct mailOutgoing envelope: Create a sense of mystery orintrigue that arouses curiosity—and compels theprospect to read further."Your outer envelope is the come-on …the dust jacketon the book, the display window outside the store, thehot pants on the hooker." — Bill Jayme26
  27. 27. Outgoing envelopeSales steps:1. Approach the prospect2. Qualification of prospect3. Prospect agrees on needCreate affinitythrough sympatheticcopy that challengesthe ‘no return’debacle of winebuying 27
  28. 28. Outgoing envelopeSales steps:1. Approach the prospect: build affinity as someone who believes in patient education2. Qualification of prospect: we are asking them for their expert opinion3. Prospect agrees on need4. Make them feel appreciated, with mention of an offerShowing your prospect specialrespect – which they feel theydeserve— is a powerful motivator tothem to keep reading28 © Beasley Direct Marketing
  29. 29. Outgoing envelopeSales steps:1. Approach the prospect2. Qualification of prospect3. Prospect agrees on needThis is a fear-basedconnection — forexample, no workingaccountant wants tohave limitations to © Beasley Direct Marketingcompleting theirassignment 29
  30. 30. The direct response Letter What makes a letter a ‘paper salesman’? See how this parallels the sales conversation… 1. Get their attention with some offer that you know will be of interest to them 2. Establish affinity (you understand my situation) 3. Reveal that you have something that they want or need 4. Establish qualification (here’s why we are qualified to provide you what you need) 5. Show the benefits, with features and advantages built in as part of the conversation 6. Introduce scarcity such as a time limit or limited quantity 7. Guarantee their satisfaction and assure of no risk 8. Close the sale 9. Remind them of the offer 10. Close the sale30
  31. 31. Additional sales devices in DM • Use involvement pieces to drive home the sales message… – A temporary membership card – A checklist or a quiz – A testimonial note – A letter from an authority touting your product or service – A coupon to show the value of the offer – A lift letter, addressing what may be in the way of the decision – An actual inserted sample of a product Choose the right one (or two) and you likely get a lift in response!31
  32. 32. LetterSales steps:1. Approach prospect2. Qualification3. Prospect agrees on need• Offer keeps theirattention, establishesopportunity• Certificatehighlightsthe offer 32
  33. 33. Add-on pieces to support the saleThis buckslip shows proof of value 33
  34. 34. Add-on pieces to support the saleThis buckslip shows deadline/limited time offerThis lift letter addresses theirobvious need for lawn serviceevery year This note reminds them of their potential loss!34
  35. 35. Add-on pieces to support the sale A strong testimonial piece brings the story home — they like folks like themselves who struggle with the same issues35
  36. 36. Even the reply form can support the sales conversation…• What’s more powerful? A simple form to fill out, or a ‘response-driving machine’?• Remind them of FABs• Give them multiple ways to say YES to reduce their resistance• Remind them of the offer36
  37. 37. Reply form as a paper salesman• A personalized membership certificate ‘seals the deal’• Reminder of the offer• A sticker to remove and apply in the “yes” sectionAll of these tactics imitatethe sales conversation of theworld’s greatest sales gurus!37
  38. 38. Catalog as paper salesman: The Cover 1. Approach the prospect – High visibility and high contrast to get attention, teaser headlines 2. Qualification of prospect – Refer to the customer’s interest in your product line/topic 3. Prospect agrees on need 4. You Sell them on your company and/or product – mention your guarantee, quality, and include a testimonial 5. Fill the need that’s been identified – Show best- selling product on front and back cover38
  39. 39. A well-chosen offer helps with customer self-identification• If they like the offer, they feel the catalog is really for them• Don’t be coy about your offer: show them you have nothing to hide 39
  40. 40. Show the life that thecustomer yearns for — and they will feel connection with you• Teasers should have specific product AND emotional triggers• Offer should be easy to find, straightforward to create trust in the relationship 40
  41. 41. Even in B2B, salesmanship is key to getting attention • Dramatic photo gets attention… • But the copy teasers are what drives desire, interest, and affinity • Special offers help this customer to self-identify41
  42. 42. Don’t forget the back cover — it’s the first thing they see! • Back to the FABs: Present a key benefit in the headline • Sell product that has a good record of being interesting to best customers – so your prospect sees herself as a customer • Keep copy brief, emotional, and save long sells for inside • Teasers show customer you’ve got something for them: this is the salesman opening his kit and showing his goods • Present the offer and expiration date or scarcity message42
  43. 43. The back cover as salesman • Headline describes the life this prospect wants: they feel that you understand them • Body copy describes how this product fits into their ideal life • Offer copy indicates time limit for urgency43
  44. 44. Compare these before and after back covers… • Good sell copy makes this back cover work measurably harder • Clever headlines like ―so many teas, so little time‖ don‘t drive the sale like a mention of the special offer • Don‘t let your designer tell you that nobody reads copy anymore. Customers and good prospects DO read your interesting product copy44 Before After: significantly improved performance
  45. 45. Inside the catalog: the introductory note • Make it personal: use it to establish context • ―Dear Golf Nut‖ • Use it to establish rapport • ―Dear Fellow Golf Nut‖ • Describe what you know they like and want, to gain affinity • Share your excitement about the products they‘re about to view • Skip the ‗spring is in the air‘ junk copy — always45
  46. 46. The introductory note • Use it to open your sales case: Mention products or product categories, and specific page numbers when referring to them. • Warmth and strong suggestion that your purchase from this catalog will improve your life – and why. • Tell a story about a customer to gain connection and trust46
  47. 47. Even B2B catalogs benefit from an intro letter • Show affinity with customer • Respectful but friendly • Gain trust with guarantee • Legible signature says ―the buck stops here‖47
  48. 48. Establish a voice for your brand • Signed by the Minister of Tea, letter sets the tone for the very strong voice in Republic of Tea • We easily suspend disbelief when the Minister offers better quality life through tea!48
  49. 49. Copy elements that encourage sales • Positioning headline • Offer (earn money for your school) • Engage readership with 1-2-3 copy • Use callouts to draw in the reader (salesman opens his case to show goods) • Table of contents (view the open case of goods) — also think of this like an ecommerce site “nav”49
  50. 50. Inside: added-value, crossheads and introductions to products • Set the mood • Value added copy holds a products on spread together for improved cross-sell • Give back to your customer, they like you more • Help customer envision using your product • Ease concerns about whether the product will do its job50
  51. 51. Good crosshead ties a whole line of products together• Great selling copy encourages purchase of multiple products• “Good-better-best” copy gives customer reason to choose 51
  52. 52. Added-value helps customers envision the experience of using your goods • History and special features of a product group • Recipes that use this pot or pan build appetite appeal, excite the customer into planning their menu with this product.52
  53. 53. Added-value charts help customer to compare your classes of products at a glance• Good-better- best copy takes it from “should I buy it” to “which one should I buy” 53
  54. 54. Use added-value to build an emotional bond with the customer• “Dewars Profiles” of children for kid’s clothing catalog shows how individual kids are - supports their want for their own fashion ‘style’54
  55. 55. Added-value sells a group of products by educating customer • A Yoga article on Nautilus Fitness catalog page that sells yoga DVDs and equipment55
  56. 56. Testimonials add value too — if they are short, natural and believable.• Nautilus sells its TreadClimber by showing results• Keep testimonial trimmed to the point you want to make — cut out the “we love you” copy 56
  57. 57. Typical B2B catalog — just facts, impersonal• The original catalog:• Just the facts, not very visual or inspiring or even engaging• No sales language — the assumption that the prospect understands the product. 57
  58. 58. B2B catalog as a “paper salesman”• The replacement catalog Includes demonstrations that puts the reader in the driver’s seat• Explanation of the product with emphasis on successful use and comparison• THIS catalog sold OVER TWICE the product as the original one. Demo - using OUR paper vs. using THEIR paper 58
  59. 59. Website as salesman: engage the visitor with strong voice and great content• Don’t assume the viewer understands the message you want them to get when they see a picture• Tell them what you want them to do59
  60. 60. They came to you — so reward them… make an emotional pitch that pays off their search• Put the product or service ‘in their hands’ through motivating copy• Tell them what you want them to do (Find a trip) 60
  61. 61. ‘Open up your sales kit’ and show them the goods• Selling copy on a website is more than just keywords• Incorporate those words into sales language that engages your visitor 61
  62. 62. Don’t forget value-add content on your website!• What does your customer enjoy learning about?• What do they find fun and interesting?• What can you teach or show them that makes your products more relevant? 62
  63. 63. Just a few more tips…63
  64. 64. “Clarity trumps grammar” — Herschell Gordon Lewis • Write like you talk, or worser • Start sentences with “And” to pull the reader along • Making your sentences more conversational, less formal • Avoid words that can be read more than one way64
  65. 65. To write believable copy…• Make a logical transition to each new selling point• Don’t make unsubstantiated statements• Be specific in presenting information• Keep the voice consistent• Avoid conditional language, asterisks, etc.• Encourage contact with customer service representative if they have any questions - “we have nothing to hide”.• Support with testimonials - but edit them down to make them easy and fast to read65
  66. 66. Long copy or short copy? The eternal question!66
  67. 67. Long copy… • Long copy is needed to sell complicated or expensive products off the page • Long copy can be used in a magalog format to develop a ‘following’ for a product such as continuity or clubs • If copy is too short, people are frustrated by lack of information. • Make it easy to read: Long copy can look flat and grey if left with no breaks… so • Break Long copy into smaller digestible chunks via… – Sidebars – Subheads and short paragraphs67
  68. 68. Short copy… • Short copy is best for lead-generation for big, very technical or expensive products. It gets the conversation going — so be ready for their calls! • Short copy is appropriate for simple products that don’t require explanation • People bore easily. If copy has too many irrelevant facts or has lots of ‘clever’ junk in it, people will be bored and stop reading it. Resist the temptation!68
  69. 69. Common sense is a good guide… • A $2500 couch requires more information than a $99 spiral votive holder. THE BOTTOM LINE… The best copy is when the reader‘s time is not wasted — they get what they need to ‗cross the hurdle‘ from consideration to action69
  70. 70. The power of enrollment is heightened with an emotional sell• Copy on left is completely dependent on the photo and a retail experience.• Copy on right ―dresses the reader‖ in the jacket70
  71. 71. Summary Copywriting that turns your effort into a sales machine … • Is engaging, creating affinity and trust • Is relentless, hitting every hurdle to the sale • Utilizes features, advantages and benefits at every turn • Incorporates written user imagery so prospect sees themselves using the product successfully • Gets to the point quickly: so don’t fall in love with the genius and art of your writing • Doesn’t try to do too much - keep your eye on the ball! • Creating desire and action by the prospect or customer71
  72. 72. Always remember:• You’re on probation, awaiting your reader’s acceptance• If they don’t believe any single statement, they’re likely to reject your entire selling argument72
  73. 73. A final note: Leo Burnette’s 3 principles of the creative process 1. There is an inherent drama in every product. Our No.1 job is to dig for it and capitalize on it. 2. Try a few approaches to find the right one. When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. 3. Steep yourself in your subject, work like hell, and love, honor and obey your hunches.73
  74. 74. Questions? Email© 2012 - all rights reserved. Carol Worthington-Levy Thank you! Carol Worthington-Levy Visit for a trove of educational articles 74