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Month: February 2017

The Bullet Point: The Holy Grail of Copywriting

The Bullet Point: The Holy Grail of Copywriting

If there is one element of direct response copywriting that has the potential to get people to click that “Buy Now” button, it’s the mighty bullet point.

A well-written bullet point, or set of bullet points, has the potential to close the deal faster than almost any other element in your marketing copy.

Why?

Well, because a bullet point is a tool that is quick to read, mentions the pain your ideal client is in, and your solution, all in one neat and tidy package.

Now, let’s talk about the “how” – how do you write a rockin’, take-no-prisoners bullet point?


So you probably know the difference between features and benefits, but just in case: a feature is an attribute of your product or service. A benefit is the “what’s in it for me” of that attribute.

Here’s the key: people buy benefits.

If you buy a book on copywriting, it’s not because you simply want to add to your book collection. So even though you’re buying a book, you’re not actually buying the book. Right? What you’re actually purchasing is the knowledge you will gain from reading the book, which will strengthen your copywriting skills … which will lead to more sales.

Therefore, when it comes to copywriting, it’s important to spend more time describing benefits than features.

The bullet point is the perfect place to make those benefits shine.

Now, before we take a deep dive into bullet points, let’s get really clear on the difference between features and benefits.

Features are the “what you get.” They’re the deliverables.

So let’s take the example above: a book about copywriting. The book itself is a feature. It’s what you get.

If you’re selling a car, the features may include a leather interior, a big engine, and a stereo.

If you’re selling an online program, the features may include weekly video trainings, a downloadable workbook, recordings of every session, and access to a private online forum.

A benefit, on the other hand, is the answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question. (Or, in your case, “what’s in it for the reader or potential buyer.”)

So going back to the car example, the benefit of leather interior is that it resists stains. A big engine means you get where you’re going, fast. And a nice stereo system means you can listen to awesome tunes as a soundtrack to your life.

As I mentioned above, the benefit of buying a book about copywriting is new knowledge that leads to more sales.

If you’re selling that coaching program, think about the benefits of each feature I listed:

  • Weekly video trainings provide information and accountability, so the client stays on track and receives support in implementing what he’s learning.
  • A downloadable workbook allows the client to personalize the new information so he can actually use it to create positive change.
  • Recordings of every session mean the client can access this new information any time, whether it’s relevant now or in the future.
  • The private online forum gives the client a sense of community, as well as access to support, advice and feedback, so he can get his questions answered and continue moving forward.

For every feature you list, you must also list a benefit. I like to find the benefit by asking, “So what?”

Let’s revisit that copywriting book example. The feature is a book. Sixty pages of information. So what? So that you can improve your writing skills and make more sales.

So, let’s get back to the bullet point.

Each bullet point should include a single benefit, and should either move your prospect toward pleasure or away from pain (I recommend a 70/30 ratio of toward pleasure to away from pain bullets).

If right now you’re cringing, because you’re thinking “But Michele! I’m conscious/mission driven/heart-centered! I don’t want to mention my prospects’ pain!” keep reading.

It is actually a disservice to your potential clients to ignore their pain. When you lightly touch on it, you can remind them that they have a choice about whether to remain in pain, or move away from it. (If you want to learn more about how to do this the love-based way, you can check out last week’s article, here. And if you want to learn more about the love-based copy philosophy, go here.)

Below are some examples of benefit-driven bullet points, from my “Why Isn’t My Website Making Me Any Money” sales letter. The benefits are in bold.

* An easy and effective way to transform yourself into an expert (so people will be more likely to buy from you)

[Increasing the likelihood that people will buy is moving the prospect toward pleasure.]

* 7 simple, 5-minute tweaks that add credibility to your site, so people will be more comfortable handing over their credit card and other personal information

[Making people more comfortable handing over information moves the prospect toward pleasure.]

* The one sentence you MUST add to your site if you want anyone to purchase anything from you

[People purchasing moves the prospect toward pleasure.]

* A common, VERY costly mistake you’ve probably made (or are considering making), which leads to your website not making sales (and how to avoid it)

[Making mistakes is painful! So this bullet point shows a feature that moves prospects away from pain.]

Once you’ve mastered the art of the bullet point, you’ll find that your copywriting is more effective, and you’re better able to make your biggest impact.

If this topic resonates with you, you may be interested in the second book in my Love-Based Copywriting series, “Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires, and Invites,” where I take this information on writing powerful bullet points even deeper. Get the book here to discover a new approach to direct response copywriting that feels good to you and to your prospects!

A New Perspective on Direct Response Copywriting: How to Sell More with Love

A New Perspective on Direct Response Copywriting: How to Sell More with Love

You’ve undoubtedly heard that direct response copywriting is, hands-down, the best way to make more sales online.

But …

If you’re among the conscious/mission-driven entrepreneurs of the world, then the thought of using direct response copy in your business may make you feel “icky.”

(Not sure what direct response copywriting is? Direct response copy is any copy designed to get readers to take action — such as a click on a link or purchase a product. You may have seen it in those long sales letters where you scroll down forever looking for the price, or emails you receive when you’re on someone’s email list.)

All the “gurus” say you need direct response copywriting if you want to build your online business.

But when you sit down to write it, you feel inauthentic. Arm-twisty. Sales-y. Like you need to take a shower.

Sound familiar?

Have you ever stopped to think about why you feel that way when it comes to sales?

It’s because a lot of traditional direct response copy is based on tapping into fear-based emotions, like fear, guilt, scarcity, and shame.

You see, the only way you can compel someone to take action is to tap into his or her emotions. It doesn’t matter if you’re making an offer to a potential client or trying to get your kids to go to bed at a reasonable hour. It all comes down to emotions.

And, all emotions fall under either fear or love — so you have a choice if you want to use fear to persuade or love. (You can learn more about the love-based copy and marketing philosophy here.)

If you’re here, I have a feeling you don’t want to use fear, guilt, scarcity, and shame to sell your products and services.

And the good news is that you don’t have to!

You’re probably wondering how.

To create effective marketing copy based in love rather than fear, you must understand the truth about pain.

Wait, what?

You read that right; pain IS part of the love-based copy writing approach.

I’ll explain.

Conscious entrepreneurs are often sensitive to talking about prospective clients’ pain. You’re in business to alleviate pain, right? So the last thing you want to do is remind your clients about the very thing you want to heal.

While I agree—you don’t want to twist that knife—I want you to understand that talking about pain is actually an important part of the healing (and buying) process.

Here are some considerations to make:

Pain Versus Suffering

Pain is real — there is a problem in people’s lives and they have pain around it.

Not only that, but pain is a necessary part of life. It’s an indicator that something is going wrong.

Suffering is a whole different animal.

Suffering typically happens when we magnify existing pain using fear, shame, guilt or something else.

Pain is a part of life. Suffering doesn’t have to be.

So when it comes to copywriting, it’s actually critical to remind people of their pain and then offer them a solution—and give them the opportunity to make a choice about whether to use that solution.

If they’re done experiencing the pain, they may be ready for your product or services. If not, they’re probably not an ideal client yet.

On the other hand, it’s unnecessary (and can feel slimy!) to twist the knife and use your copywriting to cause suffering. Yes, a lot of traditional direct response copywriting has roots in twisting the knife (which is also known as agitating the pain). And that’s one of the reasons why using pain in marketing and copy has gotten such a bad rap .

It’s a fine line, but a crucial one.

The Importance of Pain

Like I mentioned above, pain is an indicator that something is wrong, or that something could be better.

As a business owner, pain you experience may indicate an opportunity for growth.

So take this as an opportunity to get comfortable with pain. Consider the following:

* Pain adds urgency. You would never call your dentist in the middle of the night and say “Oh my God, I missed my cleaning, can you get me in now?” But if you broke a tooth? Or a jaw? Yeah you may be waking your dentist (or doctor) up.

So, let’s bring that back to marketing:

If you don’t remind your ideal clients about their pain, they may say things like, “Oh, what you do sounds great! I’ll definitely have to work with you one day.” But as you know, in so many cases “one day” never comes.

And that pain doesn’t go away. In fact, it may even devolve into suffering because they don’t take you up on working together, which may alleviate the pain.

* People remain in the status quo … unless something compels them to change. Unless you actually remind someone that she’s in pain, she’ll be likely to resist making a change. Only by reminding her are you giving her the opportunity to CHOOSE change. Does they really want to stay there? Or is she ready to move forward?

* I believe the sales process should mirror the transformation your products or services create. If you are a transformative teacher, healer, or coach, you already know transformation includes pain. If you don’t give prospects the gift of going through their pain in your marketing or selling process, they may decide in the middle of working with you—when they do experience pain—that they’re not ready to move forward … and that’s when people disappear, drop out, or even ask for refunds (and none of us want those things to happen).

* Neglecting to talk about pain is neglecting the opportunity to allow your clients to put two and two together: that your offering may actually be a solution to their pain. In today’s busy world, people may not go so far as to draw the connection between their pain and your offering, if you don’t make it perfectly clear. (Plus, it’s also disrespectful. Your ideal clients are truly in pain — not addressing it can feel disrespectful.)

* As soon as you master love-based copywriting – using pain in your marketing materials – it feels so good! You can stand in your power as a confident successful entrepreneur because your copy will attract the people who most need the work you do. You’ll be attracting and landing clients whose lives you can transform. Not only will you grow your business but you’ll also make a bigger impact.

* Learning how to use pain in a love-based way gives YOU the opportunity to grow and heal.

This could be exactly what you need to do to take your business to the next level. Getting uncomfortable is part of being an entrepreneur. That’s why I’m challenging you today to try using pain in a love-based marketing way to stretch yourself, personally and professionally.

You can use this article as an example of how to use pain in a love-based way. Did you notice how I wove in pain without twisting the knife? I educated you on pain without causing suffering.

Now it’s time for you to decide: Do you want to keep doing what you’ve always done, writing marketing copy that feels icky? Or are you ready to change how your market to your ideal clients?

Bottom line: it’s really a disservice to your ideal prospects NOT mention their pain.  Because if you don’t, they’re not going to buy. And if they don’t buy, you won’t make the difference you long to make, your ideal clients will remain stuck in their pain, and you may never become the person and entrepreneur you’re meant to become.

What I’ve covered here is truly just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more, definitely check out my best-selling book “Love-Based Copywriting – The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites Your Ideal Prospects to Become Ideal Clients.”

Why Good Self-Care Equals Good Business

Why Good Self-Care Equals Good Business

If you’re anything like I once was, you’ve got your nose to the grindstone as you work to reach the goals you’ve set for 2017, which also likely means your self-care has ended up right at the bottom of the to-do list.

Again.

The “old me” would be right there with you. I always pushed myself to the brink of exhaustion (and sometimes right over that edge). Rather than giving myself a break or a bit of relaxation over a weekend, for example, I’d squeeze in as much as I could during those two days when most other people were relaxing.

But the “new me” has realized that there’s always a price to pay. I can put in those extra hours, push myself extra hard, but I can do that for only so long before it backfires.

Not only did this kind of nonstop work affect my health, but I also found that my efficiency decreased. Then, I’d end up being forced to work nights and weekends just to get five days’ worth of work done.

When I did this, I found myself hating my business. I dreaded work. It felt draining.

But then I had an epiphany.

I realized that if I put boundaries around my time, work normal hours, and make time for self-care and other things in life that feed my well-being—relationships, physical health, relaxation—then I feel better, I get more done in less time, and my relationship with my business improves.

It’s so simple, but incredible in how it can change everything.

So if you’re still running full-speed in the aftermath of the New Year excitement, then I encourage you to do one thing: take a pause. Then, assess whether you’re taking care of yourself.

Here are some simple, effective self-care habits and ways you can take care of yourself:

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthy
  • Take baths
  • Spend time with people you enjoy
  • Take breaks

And if you do put in extra hours or work extra hard, reward yourself!

Make it a habit to love yourself so you can love your business. In fact, begin tomorrow. It’s Valentine’s Day, after all, and I think you deserve a little love. Treat yourself!

If this information resonated with you, then you may want to check out my book, How to Start a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s designed to give you all the tools you need to start a business you love – one with which you can have a wild love affair! Click here to learn more.

Fall in Love with Your Business – and Make More Money!

Fall in Love with Your Business – and Make More Money!

Here’s an important question for all of you entrepreneurs who are busy building a business: How do you feel – how do you really feel – about your business?

Actually, this question is so important, I’m going to ask you to look at it this way, too:

If you were in a relationship with your business, what would that relationship look like?

Is it a relationship you take for granted? Do you wake up next to your business every morning with no real sense of excitement? Do you expect it to be sitting at its rightful spot at the dinner table every evening? Are you spending all of this time and energy building a business while secretly wishing you could be doing something else instead?

Or is it a relationship filled with passion and excitement? Can you not wait to say good-morning to it? Do you sneak away during the day to check your business email, and think about it all. The. Time? Do you prioritize it, spending quality time with it?

Take a minute to really think about it, right now.

Here’s why:

About a year ago, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” It’s all about how to live our most creative lives, balancing soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism. In it, she talks about how she decided to have a “wild love affair” with her writing.

As a creative person—and especially as someone who has recently rediscovered my passion for writing fiction—I can get on board with the idea of having a wild love affair with your art!

But what about having a wild love affair with your business?

Imagine with me now …

Every morning, you’d practically jump out of bed because you couldn’t wait to see your business. You would spend every spare moment with your business, and maybe you’d even sneak away to check on it when you’re “supposed” to be doing something else, like dishes. At night, you’d go to bed thinking about it, and it may even show up in your dreams.

How would that feel?

Now, I’m not saying that in reality, you should spend 24/7 on or with your business. But what if you could capture that feeling, that energy, excitement, and passion?

Imagine everything that would flow back to you in terms of clients, opportunities, and money. After all, money follows passion, right?

It sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

If you don’t feel this way about your business right now, know first and foremost that that’s okay! There is a way to build a business you love, and that loves you back. (More on that in a moment.)

Second, take a few moments to think about WHY you don’t love your business – and I mean love it passionately. In fact, I invite you to take this process even deeper, by having an actual conversation with your business.

Action Step: Imagine your business is a person, sitting across from you, and talk to him or her. Ask her what happened! What has gone wrong, and why? You may be surprised at the answers that pop up.

Look, if you’re going to spend all of that time and energy building a business, wouldn’t you want to feel like you’re having a passionate affair with it?

If this post resonated with you, you may want to check out my book, “How to Start a Business You Love AND That Loves You Back.” It’s designed to give you all the tools you need to start a business you love – one with which you can have that ‘wild love affair’! Click here to learn more.