I recently helped a technology client write copy for their new home projector product. The company had invested considerable resources in the product marketing. The product photos, graphic design, and website were top notch.
The last step was the website copy, so the client gave me 12 product features to cover.
I looked at the list of 12 features and struggled to get excited about the product. A product manager or cinephile may get riled up over a list of features. But for the average busy person, a list of features is like looking at a complicated Tokyo subway map.
The problem is our brains can’t easily digest 12 features, at least not at first. Features are boring. They are numbers and jargon and most people lose interest. A select group will read them but features don’t tell us how a product can improve our lives.
Many a marketing campaign has fallen on deaf ears and bored eyes with a “features and benefits” campaign. The hard work and money that goes into product design, innovation, and marketing is at risk of going to waste if people can’t understand within seconds (or less) why your product is going to improve their lives.
Instead, get people to fall in love at first sight by communicating the product’s “reason to buy” — a single way that your product can improve someone’s life. It may be difficult to narrow down one reason to buy if your product has a dozen cool features. Just follow the two step process below, and to get your audience to fall in love with your product within seconds without a list of numbers and jargon.
Before writing your product’s copy, it’s important to narrow down one key feature that customers care about as it relates to your product. Most marketers may not have time to conduct a survey or do extensive marketing research. But there’s a much easier way to find this one feature.
In my case, looking at the list of 12 projector features, I initially wanted to focus on the top three. How can I narrow it down to just one among all the other bells and whistles?
But reading it over, it still felt like three features was a lot for non-technical people. There can only be one.
If you write your marketing copy as it pertains to a single way your product helps with survival and thriving, you can cut through the noise and get your audience to pay attention and buy. Because you’re no longer “marketing”. You’re helping someone survive.
Throughout human existence we’ve counted on a few instincts for survival: instincts for staying fed, being part of a community, avoiding danger, finding love, and then protecting our loved ones. Our evolutionary instincts guide our buying decisions.
The average customer doesn’t want to buy a product. She only wants the result from the product, a result that helps her survive and thrive. Donald Miller from StoryBrand fame says it best in his bestselling book How to Build a Story Brand.
Before social media and the ubiquitous sponsored ad, companies used to advertise on billboards. A billboard looking down on a passing driver gives a brand 1.5 seconds to tell a customer why they should buy a product.
If there were 12 product features on a billboard, our driver would end up in a ditch on the side of the road. In today’s increasingly noisy world, 1.5 seconds is about how long our attention spans are.
Give your product a headline that can work on a billboard using survival and thriving as your guide. Remove any part of the copy that doesn’t matter. This last part is critical.
Let’s go back to my projector and add a survival aspect to the copy as a headline: “Bring loved ones together for 4K cinematic experiences, anywhere.”
Bringing people together is the survival aspect because survival is easier in a community. A projector is great for building community. The main feature is the 4K resolution. Combined, this is a powerful message of building your community via 4K UHD projection in any space.
Throw on a movie, a sports game, a video game tournament, or Netflix. Then invite five friends, acquaintances or coworkers over. That’s instant community building. In a nutshell, a projector helps our customer survive through building community, so we should communicate this front and center
A community helps us fight loneliness, makes it easier to find a job, or get a ride to the airport. It all starts with a Breaking Bad marathon on that new 4K UHD projector. Now that’s a product that makes me say “shut up and take my money.”
When you write your product copy, consider ways it helps your customer survive and thrive and narrow it down to a single sentence to guide your product copy.
This sentence can be both your headline and your products’ “north star” that guides your copy throughout multiple marketing channels. Use the “reason to buy” as a reference or guide for all other copy for social media, packaging, and product pages.
When you focus down your product’s message to a single reason to buy based on survival, your customer doesn’t need to expend energy or effort learning about features and benefits. He knows right away why he should buy, because it helps him survive. Keep the features and benefits secondary to give customers a love at first sight feeling and make a buying decision instantly.
After all, it’s only their survival at stake.