Messagecraft: Benefits Light the Path

If there’s one thing you can do to activate your brand image, it’s to improve your writing.

Better writing connects with your customers or prospects.

People feel connected if, when reading your copy, they feel like you have considered their desires, fears or needs.

And people who feel that way want more of what you’re selling. This goes for selling a plumbing service, getting people to read your annual report or attracting new members.

One thing that prevents this connection from happening is a focus on features, often masquerading as benefits.

A feature is usually a dry fact, while a benefit satisfies an emotion. (Follow the tips in this post about communicating features over benefits.)

In a brochure for a craft guild, the lackluster visual effort for a group of artisans surprised me. But it was the member benefits that caught my eye: Monthly Meetings, Publications, Library, Workshops, Events and Website. All features, whose descriptions even read like features instead of benefits.

The benefits of Monthly Meetings are gaining support and increasing skills when you gather with like minds. Should those benefits be obvious? Maybe. But people are busy, tired, confused and skeptical, and they have to sift through many such messages.

Your words should be a flashlight.

People need help to see in the dark. You know how your 10-year experience selling houses benefits your prospects; they don’t. Ten years are a feature. Your deep understanding of how scary it is to buy a house and why your clients can’t wait to buy another after working with you is a benefit.

Friend and author Jen Violi describes her upcoming writing workshop almost entirely in benefit-rich copy. She can do this, not because she’s a writer, but because she understands the motivations and fears behind writing a book. And she knows she’s more likely to attract attendees who feel understood.

Why benefit-rich copywriting better is easier than you think:

• You don’t need fancy words. You just need plain language.

• You don’t need to hire a marketing research company. You just need to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes.

• You don’t need to write more. You need to write less.

• You don’t need to cut features. You just need to change the focus.

• You don’t need to be dishonest. You just need to unearth the true benefits.

You should let a professional create a rich foundation (core elements of your brand) in which your marketing message can flourish. But times have changed; you craft your business message every day on blogs, in Facebook, on Twitter and the like. The ongoing messagecrafting is in your hands, right where it should be.

You can let people stumble on another business on the way to finding you. Or you can illuminate a direct path to your door.

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(Image credit: Flicker / Creative Commons / Hana Lara Lait)

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