Think back to the last time you spent over 500 dollars on a product online.
Can you remember what the product was?
If so, I want you to do a little experiment for me. Try to write down the three attributes that made you want to buy this product. It doesn’t matter exactly what these three elements are, as long as you actually had them in mind when you decided to put your hard earned money down on the table to make a purchase.
When you’re done writing, look at what you have written, and answer me one question. Are the three elements you mentioned general (color, shape, size), or are they specific (blue, round, 10 feet)?
I’m not a gambling man, but I’d be willing to bet that whatever if was that made you want to spend over $500 on a product was probably something pretty specific. Whether you focused on features (aspects of the product) or benefits (advantages you get from owning the product), you probably had something specific in mind when you decided to part with that large an amount of money.
The reason I’m so confident in saying this is because I have experience in sales. I have seen the way people act before making purchases, and I can say from experience that the more money people need to spend to get something, the more they want to know that whatever they’re buying is going to offer them some kind of specific benefit. It’s just human nature to want to know what you’re getting before you invest a significant amount of resources, financial or otherwise.
Yet in spite of this, so many businesses make the mistake of being vague and nondescript in their sales pages, newsletters and press releases. Not only have I had clients come to me with copy samples littered with generalities and cliches, I have also been in the position of a would-be customer who couldn’t go through with a purchase simply because a business’ site offered tons of hype but no real specifics about their products. Obviously, it’s a huge mistake to let this happen.
Losing business because of unnecessarily vague copy is not only a mistake, it’s an easily avoided mistake. You can avoid vagueness in writing being doing one simple thing: whenever you make a claim, make sure you describe any whos, whats, wheres, whens and whys pertaining to the claim. If you say that you’re “the best” at something, mention WHY you’re the best at it. If you say that you are ranked best in the world at something, mention WHO ranked you the best in the world.
Just as an example, imagine that you’re the owner of an information marketing business, and you’re selling a book on how to make money. If you wanted to tell your readers how much money you made using the tactics described in the book, would you say “I made a fortune using these tactics,” or would you say something like, “using the tactics described in this book, I was able to make $10,548 in the month of May?” If you chose the latter option, you may know a thing or two about copywriting. Not only do specific answers give your readers an idea of what’s in it for them, they also build trust, because they show you’re willing to stake your reputation with a verifiable claim.
Solid copy evokes images and speaks to the reader’s imagination, but it is never subjective to the point that specific facts are left out. A key challenge in copywriting is making sure that anything your customers read strikes a balance between vivid imagery and factual accuracy. Once you hit that sweet spot, you’re ready to go.