My nine-year old is always asking me to choose a favorite or declare something a winner:
“Which is better – daddy long legs or house spiders?”
“Which number do you like the best?”
“What’s better for you – oatmeal or cream of wheat?”
Sometimes I quickly launch off in an explanation about why I’d choose one thing over the other. But often I’m stumped and sometimes – frankly – I’m a little annoyed. What makes 6 better than 7?
But this morning when he asked me about house spiders vs. daddy long legs, I got to thinking. Why is he always wondering which is better? Which is best?
And I realize it’s such a basic human strategy. We’re always looking for ways to make our lives better. But we want it in simple terms. We want some definitive conclusions that we can take with us to new situations and new choices. We want a conclusion that helps us cut out unnecessary hemming and hawing the next time we face this choice.
Every time my son bugs me with , “Mom, which is better . . . “, I see my son developing his map for getting through life. A map for negotiating all those crossroads and choices. And in many ways he’s looking at me to help him identify the criteria for making these choices so he doesn’t feel like he’s floundering at each intersection.
As a copywriter, I realize this is one of my core duties – Make the choice crystal clear.
Every prospect I’m communicating with is floating in a sea of choices. It’s time-consuming and sometimes it’s so overwhelming that it can actually paralyze us.
How many times have you been trying to purchase something and then just given up buying something altogether because you can’t make the choice between the various options.
Ugh – the time wasted, going back and forth. Only to let indecision stop you from making a move in the end.
My job as a copywriter is to make that choice as easy as pie.
People want information – yes. But they really want information that will help them move down the path to a final decision, a purchase. Task done, they can gleefully wipe their hands of it and go on with their life.
So here are the elements of making sure your copy helps them make that choice:
1. Identify the Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Now, this may seem basic in some ways. But I can’t tell you how many projects I work on where the client has not really thought about their USP. Or is missing key elements that should be brought into it.
Or even worse – creating a great USP and then filing it away, never to be heard from again in even the briefest email.
Your USP is what makes your product special, different from the rest. And it may be something quite simple:
– That your colon cleansing system has a two-step/two-dose process, unlike other ones that throw everything together in one capsule, for example.
Or it can also be what you decide to highlight about your product. Other companies may be doing it, but not making a big deal about.
– You have a team that visits your suppliers’ farms to insure that your organic certification is really meeting your standards as well.
Work hard at figuring out how to distinguish your product and then make sure you keep that front and center.
- Compare and Contrast Specifically
Take your prospects by the hand and really show them how your product is better, step by step. Include a chart that compares cost or ingredients. Do not hedge but really explain clearly, with specific examples, how your product compares to others on the market.
But be careful: Use caution with superlatives like “best” or “the most divine”. First of all, these kinds of statements are FTC/FDA red flags. But even more importantly – they’re empty.
They don’t show much to your prospect except you shouting from the rooftop. In a skeptical market, you need to explain why your book, supplement, exercise machine is better.
If you use a superlative, make sure you back it up with an explanation about how you can make this claim.
- Keep Benefits Up Front
People want to know why your product is better for them. Abstract feature descriptions won’t help. Make sure that you connect your special features to what it does for them better than the other products out there.
Again, people are looking for shortcuts in making these decisions. They will have to do this work anyways in their mind when they’re deciding about whether or not to buy your product. Help them out!
Explain not only that you have this unique lavender oil in your toothpaste and how that will help keep their mouth bacteria-free. Tell them how that will keep their smile beautiful and breath fresh so they can relax when chatting with a colleague at work.
I realize my son is doing a lot of hard work – and very important work – with his ongoing stream of questions about what’s better.
And those questions won’t end when he grows up, he just won’t have that parent right nearby to help out. (Not to mention that soon enough, he will realize that I don’t know the answer to everything – only most things).
So do what you can to help all of us grown-ups trying to work our way through all the intersections of life. Create marketing materials that help. Do the hard work so your prospects won’t have to. And you can both gleefully walk away from the sale, one more task crossed off that list.
Let me know your thoughts on how to help people choose your product . . .