One of our favorite copywriters, Craig McNamara, wrote this brilliant short essay on successful writing back in 2009. Every time I get lost in a jungle of product or service features, I re-read it. It never fails to provide me the orientation – the machete I need – to cut through the thicket of lists – and get back to the basics: selling with benefits.
Read, enjoy and practice!
You, You, You — It’s Never About You.
Don’t get mad, I’m not finished!
It’s never about you — it’s always about your customers. (Sounds better that way, doesn’t it?) In other words, don’t just talk about yourself. Talk about the benefit you bring to the person using your product or service. Instead of announcing a new factory, announce increased capacity for fulfilling orders. Instead of trumpeting new hires, talk about adding personnel to better service your customers. Instead of bragging about your years in business or your client list, frame these to demonstrate your depth of experience and satisfied customers. It’s easy to assume that what’s relevant to you has the same significance to your customers. But look at it from their perspective, i.e., “What’s in it for me?” If you can’t answer that, don’t bother mentioning it. That’s one of the guidelines I use in writing copy. But more importantly, it’s a guideline you can use in evaluating your advertising. (Because after all, it’s not about me.) – Craig McNamara
USING FEATURES AND BENEFITS IN MARKETING WRITING
Brilliant, concise. Features are about “me.” Benefits are about “you.” The former should always be wrapped in the latter.
I’ve found that small companies especially have a hard time with this because they were founded on a great feature. Eventually every great idea gets copied, and what was unique becomes a commodity. But because the founder made money when his or her widget was unique, they learned that promoting features makes money. It’s sometimes hard to learn that successful brands wrap features inside benefits and brand.
Craig’s point is that fundamental; and fundamentals are the foundation for how we operate at Sinard. It’s not about you [sorry]. It’s all about the client. And that’s all about sales.