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It’s a harsh truth that nobody wants to hear, but it’s true, nobody cares that you’re a vegan. Nobody wants to listen to you drone on about the fact that you don’t eat anything with a face, or that animals are your friends and you don’t eat friends.

I totally understand, I eat two vegetarian meals a day right now, and I plan out a vegetarian dinner once a week. I don’t do it because of ethical reasons, I find that a mostly plant based diet makes me feel better. I’ve tried to convince my parents that they need to adopt a similar diet, but they’re not really interested. Now with that said, I honestly believe chickens wouldn’t exist if they didn’t provide us eggs…but I also don’t like factory farming conditions. However, I understand that without modern advances in agriculture, we wouldn’t be able to support our massively ballooning population.

WAIT!!!

Be honest. You totally scanned over that last paragraph didn’t you?

The reason you scanned over it is simple, you really don’t care WHY I choose to eat the way I choose to eat. I either had you, or lost you at the word “vegetarian”.

It’s the exact same with your business.

  • Nobody cares WHY you choose to sell sprockets*.
  • Nobody cares about the history of your sprocket sales.
  • Nobody cares what the ethical reasons for your sprocket manufacturing process is.
  • They want to know that your sprockets will solve a problem they have.
  • They want to know what pain points your sprockets fix in their business.
  • People care how your sprockets will make their lives better.

*NOTE: I don’t care if you sell artisanal platypus abodes, or high end consulting services, for the sake of this post, we’re calling all of it sprockets…WHAT you sell doesn’t matter.  HOW you sell it is what matters.

Big companies often sell you on their story, the “What we do” part of their vision with words like these (the name of the company was removed to protect the innocent).

At (COMPANY NAME), our mission is simple: help businesses attract, reach and retain their target customers. To this end, we combine our competencies through our different areas of activity – (INSERT SERVICES) – in order to provide a fully integrated product and service offering. We are proud to serve a wide array of customers who put their trust in us year after year.

What Would You Say You Do Here?

This is generic crap that doesn’t actually say anything. It’s all glad-handing and back slapping. “Look at us, look at all of the stuff we do!”  It isn’t actually saying anything. The only pain point they are addressing is that businesses need to find and keep their target customers.

Wow, that right there is insight!

So how do they do it?  Well, they secure their long chain end distribution services to create integrated enterprise level service methods that…OH WHO CARES?!?

One Second

You have less than one second to make an impact on a new reader. In one second, you need to say something that will make the person reading your message move on.

You see this done all of the time on sites like Buzzfeed “5 Ways Something is Better than Hot New Product” – in the headline you have everything you need.  5 things means it’s going to be a short read. It’s relevant because they do their listicles about items currently trending in the news. It’s interesting because these are BETTER…and who doesn’t want better?

Apple does an incredible job of this.

iPhone X
Our vision has always been to create an iPhone that is entirely screen. One so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience. And so intelligent it can respond to a tap, your voice and even a glance. With iPhone X, that vision is now a reality. Say hello to the future.

What will it do? It will respond to you in a tap, to your voice, and even at a glance. It’s so good that you won’t even know it’s there. Apple doesn’t have to come out and say “We’re smart”, it’s implied by the fact that they created this magical little device.

Apple’s paragraph starts with the benefit “so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience”, and then goes on to describe the features “respond to a tap, your voice, and even a glance”, then it leaves you with something aspirational “Say hello to the future.”

Tell me you don’t want that.

Now let’s be honest, that paragraph took a team of Apple Geniuses a week to come up with, but you can do the same thing.

Rule 1: Focus on Benefits

What pain point does your product or service solve for your target customer? Who is your target customer? How exactly does it benefit them?

“Our sprockets replace old worn out parts and get your machines back up and running better than they did off the manufacturer’s floor.”

Rule 2: Mention features, but don’t focus on them

You’ve got plenty of time to sell them on your features once they are in buying mode.  Right now you’re just trying to get them to raise their hand.

“We build our sprockets using the highest quality alloys with our patented sprocketizing process that makes a sprocket which will last 4 times longer than our competition.”

HEY, look at that, while mentioning a feature, I also gave a benefit (4x longer life).

Rule 3: Hit them where they live

What is the one benefit they will get out of your product or service?

“Our sprockets will keep your machines running, because a stopped machine costs you money every second that it’s not running.”

Rule 4: Review, simplify, reduce.

Look over your messaging, did you use a bunch of big words? Did you, at any point, use the words “integrated enterprise” or the phrase “best-in-class”?  If you did, rewrite, reduce, and simplify everything you just wrote.

This needs to be tight, light, and easy to comprehend.

Rule 5: Be provocative

Say something audacious. Apple says “Welcome to the Future”, but you can say something equally bold.

“Because we think broken sprockets are a bad thing.”

It takes no more time to craft a good message than it does a bad one.

You still have to go through all of the steps of approvals, and reviews, and everything else, but if you apply these rules, you will write copy that is much better than your competition.

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.