Writing Benefit-Driven Web Copy – 4 Steps to More Sales
You've identified the benefits you offer your customers, but how do you turn a list of benefits into engaging web copy which converts visitors into customers? Recently I wrote an article explaining how to identify the benefits you offer your customers (http://www.divinewrite.com/benefits.htm). That article challenged business owners and marketing managers to think in terms of benefits rather than features when writing their web copy. What the article didn’t discuss was how to actually write the web copy once they had identified their benefits.
That’s what this article is about. (It even gives you a couple of templates you can use to make your job a whole lot easier!) As a website copywriter, many of the projects I undertake are completely new websites. The client has some general ideas about what they’d like to convey, but they need someone who can fine-tune their message, and create web copy (and a web structure) which engages their readers. As a result, over the years I’ve developed a process for doing this effectively. There are four main steps: 1) Identify benefits 2) Identify how you deliver these benefits 3) Prioritise your benefits 4) Write the content Although this article touches on step 1, it’s mostly about steps 2, 3, and 4.
STEP 1 – IDENTIFY YOUR BENEFITS Branding aside, most websites are about selling. Customers don’t want to know what you can do; they want to know what you can do for THEM. That means the first question you should ask is, “What benefits do I offer my customers?” This is usually the first step toward identifying the key message to be conveyed. That’s not to say that your website shouldn’t describe your products and services. You just need to make sure it describes them in terms of benefits to your customer. But benefits identification is outside the scope of this article. If you’d like to find out more about how to engage your customer with benefits, go to http://www.divinewrite.com/benefits.htm.
STEP 2 – IDENTIFY HOW YOU DELIVER THESE BENEFITS Of course, you can’t just claim to deliver benefits and stop at that. You need to support that claim. On your website, you’re going to need to convince your audience that you actually do deliver these benefits. Anyone can say they deliver benefits, but few can say it persuasively. From step 1 you’ll have a list of benefits. Now you need to think about how you deliver each benefit in that list. This is where you start talking about features – price, product highlights, distribution channel, competitor weaknesses, external factors, USPs, etc. It’s helpful if you draw up a table with one column for benefits and one for the features which deliver those benefits. (Click http://www.divinewrite.
com/downloads/benefitsfeatures.doc to download an example Benefits-Features table – 20KB.) You’ll probably find this process much easier than identifying benefits. In fact, you’ve probably got most of this information written down already… somewhere. If not, chances are you uncovered a good portion of it when you were brainstorming for benefits. TIP: If you’re having trouble identifying supporting features, before filling out the table, try listing everything you can think of which relates to what you do and how you do it. Don’t worry about the order. Just braindump onto a piece of paper, a whiteboard, a Word document, anywhere… Don’t leave anything out, even if it seems unimportant. (You’d be surprised how important even the most insignificant details can become once you start assigning them to benefits.) If you start getting lost, think back to the question you’re trying to answer: How do you deliver your list of benefits to your customer? Once you’ve done your braindump, read through it and decide which specific benefit each feature delivers.
STEP 3 – PRIORITISE YOUR BENEFITS Now that you’ve identified all the things you COULD say, it’s time to figure out what you SHOULD say and where you should say it. This is where your benefits-features table comes into play. Read through your list of benefits and prioritise them according to how compelling they will be to your reader. The reason for this? Priority determines prominence. The most compelling benefits will need to be prominent on your site. TIP: Be aware that your list may include some benefits which everyone in your business category could claim. In other words, they’re not just specific to your company, but apply to the type of service you offer. For example, if you sell a Content Management System (CMS) for website creation, you may list “Greater control for marketing managers” and “Less expense updating content” as benefits. Every CMS vendor could claim these benefits, so you’ll need to question their importance.
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