Insightful copywriting shows you understand your customer by revealing a new level of depth in an issue they might not be able to see clearly.
I was listening to the Kim Komando show today and this guy called in with a complaint. He was looking for a solution for his school district, and all his IT people were scratching their heads because they couldn’t solve it within a certain budget.
Kim’s answer was pretty simple. First she sympathized with the prices, and then explained how she also always gets sticker shock when her IT people at the show reveal a solution that seems over the top. She says, “How can personal laptops do all this stuff for consumers, but then when the show needs it on a larger scale, we can’t just buy 10 laptops and string them up together and make them pull their weight?” I’m paraphrasing, but she ended with this: “Well, they can’t. That’s just not how it works. This stuff is expensive.”
See, the caller was comparing the solution to the wrong thing, He couldn’t accept the price because he was comparing the solution to a consumer’s price, not a B2B/institution price. He was frustrated because in his mind he framed the problem incorrectly.
After reading Robbins’ Ultimate Power a couple of months ago, I keep thinking how our minds hold us back from success by filling our consciousness with generalities and premises that are off-the-mark to begin with. If it weren’t for all the vacuous, preconceived, and non specific ideas tumbling around up there, just imagine how productive we could be and how quickly we could come up with answers to our problems!
People simply don’t have the time or space to be less than their best if they think about problems in specific, accurate terms. This is where copywriting comes in, so consider these concepts from a marketer’s standpoint and you’ll see why I’m telling you about it.
[As a work at home mama with a business to run, compound this concept with kiddos on summer vacation and you’ve got a recipe for a woman on a mission to fix things. By the way, remember when you were a kid and whined, “There’s nothing to do!” If your parents were anything like mine, they gave you a list of specific things you could do…and they all involved a broom or a dust rag! Talk about injecting some specifics into a situation!]
Hang on, because I have some ideas for you today — ideas that can improve the way you put into words how your products and services help your customers.
Here’s the thing. For most people, when something is bugging us, and especially when we haven’t quite decided to do something about it yet, we tend to linger around the problem like we’re lost in a cloud. It’s almost as if we enjoy being there!
What do you notice when that voice in your head starts talking negative about some problem you perceive? How does that manipulative voice phrase things? Certainly not in specific solution-oriented ways! No, it says things like:
- I always get within 10 pounds of my goal weight, then stop losing. Why try?
- I have no time for that project.
- How can I be so forgetful?
- Every time I attend that meeting, I end up frustrated.
- That class is too expensive.
- Exercising is hard.
- I can never hire the right person for the job.
Can you see the relationship between all these phrases? At their core they hold no power because they are nebulous by nature. When you find yourself thinking about problems in this vague way, inspect them more closely to find the real hooks inside the issue.
To show you can really serve your customer — and relay that with your copywriting, let’s rephrase each of the above complaints with a specific clause. Where, exactly, does the person get snagged up?
- I always get within 10 pounds of my goal weight, then stop losing. Why try? When I reach 125 pounds, I start adding old friends like chips and ice cream to my diet. How can I stay on target and resist those things?
- I have no time for that project. I would need to drop this other thing from my schedule if I were to work on that. Or I really don’t want to make time for that project, but maybe I can find someone who can help.
- How can I be so forgetful? I’m great about remembering to-do items for projects, so why do I forget the names of the clients at that company? How do I retain them?
- Every time I attend that meeting, I end up frustrated. Who or what is it about that meeting that frustrates me? Can I avoid feeling frustrated by doing or saying something different?
- That class is too expensive. That class is expensive compared to this other one. What is the added value I would get from it?
- Exercising is hard. I find it difficult to stick to an exercise schedule. Once I get to the gym I’m ok, so how do I get myself there regularly?
- I can never hire the right person for the job. Either my ads are attracting the wrong candidates or we don’t have an interview process that screens people well. Where can I get information about that?
Now think about some of the common problems of your customers. Are people coming to you with a perceived problem that is unsolvable in their minds? It could be because the wording is intrinsically formatted in “loser” terms. I’m not saying that out of disrespect. You must show empathy by listening and repeating the things that are bugging them. That means making yourself available on social media to engage in a real conversation.
But as you begin to move toward ways you can help, you’ll need to assign specifics to those problems.
Specific terminology — rather than general fog — gives the problem genuine teeth so you can get in there and fix it.
What’s the hardest part about finding the root of your customer’s nebulous problem? Share your ideas on my wall and we can all benefit!