Target Pain Points to Make the Sale

Hold on to your butts, because today we’re kicking off a special blog series.

Do you have your copy of 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts? You can get it for free. FREE! Just for signing up for my email newsletter. Go ahead.  Sign up now. My newsletters are fun, useful, and not too frequent. You’ll like them.

Now that you’ve grabbed that, this blog series will be doing a deep dive into each item on the checklist.

leaping white dog, with text overlay

 


We start with research. All the data you ferret out now will go directly into writing your killer web and sales copy.

Identify Customer Needs and Pains. Target Pain Points to Make a Sale.

We’ve reached the first stop on our website copy checklist train.

Needs are pretty simple. That’s stuff that your ideal customer needs to have. Or thinks they need.

Got it.

Pains are a little more complex. You can think of them as a problem that that your product can solve.

So, what does that look like applied?

For the sake of this blog post, let’s say you’re a cat photographer. You specialize in boudoir cat photography. JUST KIDDING. You’re a cat portrait photographer.

How do you find out what your clients want and need, and how do you communicate your ability to solve their problems?

How do you suss out their pain points, and then communicate how you’ll make all those pains fade away?

Instead of telling them what you do, tell them how you can enrich their lives.

Instead of being too to the point:

Cat and dog, with title "Photos of your cat"

You can sell by getting to the pain point:

Let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Step One: Research, baby.

You could guess what your client base’s problems are. That would be a lot less work, but it’s not going to be as effective.

Talk (and listen) to your clients.

Talk to them. Easy as pie, right? All you need is a little time.

What do you mean you don’t have any time? I know. It’ll be worth it.

Talking, and listening, should be at the core of your business communications.

That looks like sitting down for coffee and having a long conversation with a past client.  “Social listening” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Gritting your teeth and reading Yelp reviews.

Ask your Facebook fans questions, and pay attention to the answers.

Create a survey.

Surveys can be incredibly powerful… if you can get anyone to respond.

Make your survey short and easy to complete, and give your customers a reason to spend the time. A chance to win a $20 gift card is not worth 20 minutes of my time, people. Five minutes for a chance win a $100 gift card? Now we’re talking.

If you’ve never written a survey before, start simple. Nedra at Blue Deer Forest has some good advice. I’d also recommend giving a test survey to a few friends or a beta group in your network. Sometimes you don’t realize how your questions will be interpreted until the answers start coming back.

The wonderful thing about creating polls and surveys is that you can mirror the responses right back to your client base. We’ll talk about that a bit more below.

More research

Almost there! Just need to gather a little more intel.

Chat with your front line customer service staff.

If you have them, they’re a great resource for what your clients are wanting or not wanting.

Chat with other people in your network.

People who do exactly the same thing as you—your competition.

People in the same niche or industry—your network.

People who might hire other people with your skills—your potential clientele.

Go to a few networking events and get down on some shop talk.

Pay attention to complaints.

A handful of people are in a bad mood, like to complain about everything, and will not be happy until they get your product or service at 80% off.

However. Real talk, here.

If you hear the same complaint over and over, the common thread is you. Set aside your ego and figure out a solution.

(Often, if the common complaint is price, the solution is targeting your ideal client who will pay your prices. NOT lowering them. You’re worth it, you capable unicorn of professionalism.)

Ask the question at least three times.

What do my customers need?

  • They need photos of their cats. Why?
  • They want to have photos to remember how cute they are. Why?
  • Because animals are only in our lives for a short time, and they’re dearly loved. Why?
  • Because they love us unconditionally and add peace and joy to our lives.

See what happens when you dig a little deeper? Use that language in your copy. Instead of: “Obtain a professional photograph of your cat,” you might say, “Your cat adds peace and joy to your life. Capture your love today!


Whew! You’ve talked to your customers, completed a survey, and talked to your front line staff and other key players in your network. Now you have the information about what your customer wants, and why. Maybe you even know some of the reasons that keep them from buying.

You have so much info, friend. And information is power.

Now comes the next step: distilling that information into compelling copy that gets your customers to buy what you’re selling.

Stretching kitten

Step two: Rethink your products and positioning

Eep! This seems like a step back. I know. But if you learn in your market research that what you’re offering isn’t exactly what people want to buy… well, isn’t it good to learn that sooner than later?

Maybe you thought people wanted formal portraits, but they really want candids. Start playing up the candids! You can still do the posed pillow portraits for anyone who asks about it, after all. You’re just highlighting the candids now.

Don’t be afraid to tweak your packages and products from time to time. Times change. You change, your interests change, and the demographics around you change, too. Your strategy and product mix has to move with fashion, technology, and the economy.

Yes, okay, you knew that already. Or you did on some level. Now’s the time to make sure that carries over to your website copy.

Got it?

Good. Let’s move on.

Cat reflected in glass

Step Three: Start Writing or Rewriting

All that work and we haven’t even deleted one word yet. That’s okay. No one said this would be easy.

Hiring someone to do it for you is much easier. Did I mention that? Wink.

Start a list of words and phrases to use.

Pull out words and phrases—the ones your customers have already given you in conversation, on Facebook, and in surveys—to use in your marketing and website copy.

Maybe a cat photographer wants to use word and phrases like:

  • Those delectable toe beans
  • Memories
  • Forever
  • Better holiday card than your ex-boyfriend
  • Love
  • Instagram famous

Keep a file of those words, and don’t worry about them too much on your first draft. Sprinkle them in on the rewrite.

Surprised cat with "record scratch" text overlay

“HOLD UP, Kelley. You want me to do TWO DRAFTS? This is like high school all over again! And not the good part!”

I know. This is why I started a writing business. So I can have fun doing it, and you can take pictures of cats.

Yes, you have to do several drafts, or hire someone to do it for you.

Remind your customer of the pain point.

And, of course, we’re keeping in mind those “pain points.” The problems you’re trying to solve.

You’ve seen a million ads that play this up.

SCRUBBING THE SHOWER… AGAIN?

Why, yes, I am tired of scrubbing my tub, and I hardly ever even do it! If only some product could help me out with that…

Tell them how you’ll relieve this particular pain.

Be clear about how your services scratch that particular itch. Do you have happy clients who cried when they saw their cat photos? Say so!

Do you have testimonials? Bring ’em on, and don’t save them for the testimonial page. (We’ll talk about this one in a later post for sure.)

You hear people say, “Show, don’t tell,” and that’s partially true. Proposed solutions to a client’s pain point should be super clear after a quick glance at your page. But once you have them hooked, try telling a story.

What’s more compelling:

“Hire me, because I have 53 years of experience.”

“Over 53 years of cat photography, it’s hard to choose a favorite client, but one memorable kitty was Chester the polydactyl lynx.”

Solve the client’s problem.

If clients keep telling you, “My kittens are growing so fast,” you say, “Your kittens are growing up fast. Get your portraits taken now, and preserve those memories forever!” “Our photographers know how to capture those quick kitten pounces.”

If they tell you, “My iPhone camera is actually great, but the background is always messy,” you say, “Your cat will lounge in luxury as she enjoys fresh tuna and a whisker stylist in our exclusive locations.”

Fluffy kitty


Need help with this? Let’s talk! I can walk you through some simple steps, or refer you to someone who does more in-depth marketing.

Craft your message today. 

 


Like this post? Check out the next installment of the series.

What the Heck Is Copywriting, Anyway?

There’s kind of a funny problem with copywriters.

Our job is to make communications as clear as possible, but it’s not clear to everyone what we actually do.

“I’m a copywriter.”

“So, you… create copyrights?”

Hmm, no, I’m not a copyright lawyer. Let’s try again.

“I’m a writer.”

“Oh, have you written anything I’ve read? I’ve always wanted to write a novel.”

“I write website copy for small businesses.”

“…Well, I’m sure you could write a novel if you wanted to.”

Besides, business owners outside industries like publishing and marketing rarely even use the term “copy.”  No wonder people get confused.

Resting spaniel head

Okay, so what the heck IS copy?

Writing! The word part!

“Copy” is used across different industries in different ways—a book publisher, a newspaper reporter, an advertising executive might be talking about slightly different aspects of the written word when they use the term.

However.

For small business owners, these distinctions aren’t so important. Think of it as the messaging that will help you move product or fill your dance card.

The words in your Facebook ads.

The words on your website.

Your tagline.

All the written words you put out into the world to persuade people to exchange their hard-earned money for your goods and/or services.

Great.

Copywriters have the magic combination of experience and know-how to make those words on the actual (virtual) page.

 

Content & Copy

I use the phrase “Content and Copy” because it’s both broad and narrow enough to talk about what I do: I write and edit for small businesses for the internet. Right now, I’m focused on website rewrites and revamps. Hey, you should hire me to do that!

Your blog posts? That’s usually considered content. You might hire a copywriter to write that, or get a content marketer on board. Or do it yourself. But then you actually have to do it. (If you have a blog, that is. It’s not required.)

Content & copy go hand in hand. They don’t need to be written by the same person, but they should be informed by the same marketing plan.

What’s content marketing, then?

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”—Content Marketing Institute

In plain speak:

That’s a plan to create content (blog posts, social media, email newsletters, etc.) that drives customers to you, and keeps them engaged. All in a strategic way that ends with you diving into a pool of money, Uncle Scrooge-style.

Copy might be somewhat static—you can keep your website “About” page the same for years with no detriment to your sales—but fresh content like your blog posts and social media should also be a part of your marketing plan.


What the heck do copywriters do once you hire them, anyway?

We don’t just write.

Well, okay, if you want to split hairs, we write. We make words appear on the page. That’s what’s hard for most people, and it’s what we wake up wanting to do.

But we can’t pull it all out of thin air, friends! Usually, copywriting involves information-gathering, a little journalism, a good dash of marketing, and a large glug of interviewing, messaging, and massaging. After you sign a contract with your writer, they’ll want to download your brain once or twice. It’s likely that they’ll want to talk to other stakeholders as well, like your customers, constituents, or team members.

Two brown dogs and quote "Teamwork makes the dream work"

On a personal note, I’m always happy to talk to you about referrals if I don’t do what you need. I have a little cabal of writers, marketers, proofreaders, and designers at the ready for any kind of project.

Break it break it down

Writing marketing copy for the web means:

  • Keeping up with online marketing and content marketing strategies
  • Nurturing a productive relationship with the client with stellar communication
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Writing and editing copy that helps the business reach its goals
  • Delivering clean (proofread) copy

It sometimes means:

  • Testing headlines
  • A/B testing for newsletters and other sales copy
  • Writing longform sales pages
  • SEO writing
  • Placing copy on the website itself

It does not mean:

  • Coming up with all the ideas
  • Steamrolling business owners into a direction they’re not comfortable with
  • Playing fast and loose with deadlines because of “creativity”

For a better idea of the full range of what copywriters do, grab my free checklist: 18 Must-Haves for Website Copy That Converts.

More Questions?

Now, to answer a couple of questions I got from my Facebook page:

“What is copywriting, and how does it apply to being an entrepreneur and in biz?”

See above.

If it’s good, you will sell more. If it’s bad, you’ll lose customers. That sounds scary, but it’s something you can control.

There’s anecdotal evidence of a change of copy increasing sales 19.5x. Not percent. Almost 20 TIMES. That’s an extreme case, but 19.5% actually sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

“What is an expected range of costs I would expect to pay for copywriting? Say for a website?”

Depending on who you’re working with, a writer might charge by the hour, the word, or by the project. By FAR, the most common way to charge is by project. It’s the best deal for the writer and for you as the business owner—with no surprises when the bill comes.

As a general rule, most writers charge $150 and up per page. That’s one web page, in the 300-800 word range.

Some charge thousands of dollars for sales pages. If they’ve gotten to that point, it’s because they have a history of being worth it. Or they’re just cocky, so do your due diligence, please.

If someone is quoting you $20 an hour, run! (I don’t know anyone who can freelance on $20 an hour, which is probably like getting paid $5 an hour by an employer, but that’s a different blog post.)


Do you have any other questions about copy or content writing? Toss ’em in the comments, or drop a line!

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