Imagine this – you walk into a shop to buy something. You have a need (let’s say, for milk), but you’ve never walked into this shop before, and you don’t really know much about the different options.
There’s no one in the shop to greet you.
You have to find the milk fridge yourself, without any signs, and when you do there are 15 different types. You can only read the type of milk (Full Cream, Lite Milk, A2…), the nutritional info and the price. You don’t know where any of the milk has come from, which is ‘home brand’ and which is from your local farmer, and which is part of a huge overseas conglomerate.
Making a decision is difficult - you’re left feeling unsure about which milk you really want. And, when you need more milk, it’s hard to remember which one you picked last time, so you feel no ‘brand loyalty’.
Is this really that big a deal? I mean, after all, it’s only milk.
In 2016, Australian Dairy farmers suffered a huge financial setback when the two major dairy companies slashed their farm gate prices to claw back profits – profits which had been falling in part due to the major supermarket’s milk price war.
So, local ‘branded’ milk fought back, and newly informed consumers made the leap away from supermarket branded milk. Australian dairy farmers were pulled back from the brink as people began making conscious milk buying choices.
The descriptions and information that’s written on the milk bottles lets us know where the milk comes from, the farmers approach to humane treatment of animals, and who we’re supporting when we buy their products.
Now apply this to your own business.
Imagine your customers have a need, and you know that you can fulfil it.
They need milk, you have lots.
They need to be cooler, you have air-conditioning systems.
They need a new home, and you’re a builder.
You know you can do the job and make them happy, but do they know that too?
And if they do know that you sell milk/air conditioning units/new homes, it’s unlikely that you’re the only one who can help, so do they know why they should pick your offer over someone else’s?
You have to tell them.
You have to tell them in a way that’s relatable and easy to understand. Plus, you need to get and hold their attention. It’s not actually difficult to do (you’re probably already doing it), but your success in business of any kind is directly measurable to the strength of your message.
To summarise, build a strong message and you’ll find it easier to attract customers and keep them.
Here’s my 3 top tips for building a strong message:
1. Tell them WHAT you do and WHY it will help them. Going back to our milk scenario, tell them you have farm-fresh local milk that’s better for tummies, and your cows are happy and healthy so their milk tastes delicious and creamy.
I’ll break it down:
a. Where it comes from - farm-fresh local milk
b. Why they’ll like it – it’s better for their tummy (than milk that’s heavily processed or had additives mixed in), and it tastes delicious and creamy
c. Your ethical approach – happy and healthy cows
The result – consumers can clearly see why your milk is a good choice, because they can easily find all the benefits they’re looking for when they make decisions about milk.
2. Make it clear, error-free and easy to read – you want to aim your message at someone who’s busy, distracted, rushed and not all that interested. It’s also wise to aim anything you write at a level that suits your audience, if you’re selling milk you need to appeal to everyone, while if you’re selling to a team of accountants then speak using terms they’re likely to understand (while keeping the overall message simple).
Don’t forget to proofread as well – I feel like I’m constantly saying this, but you can’t let even the smallest mistake slip through without having an impact on your professional appearance. Recently I’ve seen major banks, global car companies and world leaders make basic, entry-level, proof-reading errors that instantly erodes their legitimacy.
3. Get their attention – let’s assume that you’re passionate about your business. Even if you’re simply selling something like milk or air conditioning units, you most probably know a lot about your field, and get excited when a new brand hits the market. What you need to realise is that your consumer is most likely much less excited about your product. They simply have a problem that you can solve, so you need to grab their attention and show them how you can solve it with writing that appeals to them, not to an air conditioning enthusiast.
My tip - Keep to the basics, and offer to tell them more info in a phone consultation, or when they download a product PDF. Don’t just list the benefits of whatever you’re selling, tell them how and why it will make their lives easier, or solve their problem, and don’t forget to point out how you stand out from your competitors.
Any questions? Shoot me a line at email@example.com
Rob the Copywriter
P.S. Want to find out more about the milk crisis? Here’s some good articles with all the basics: