The unpleasant layoffs are behind you and the marketing writer (whom you never liked anyhow) is finally out the door. The bad news? You’re the only one left to write that one pager for next week’s event. Shouldn’t take too long, should it? Here are a few tips to get you started, increasing the chances that your prospects read beyond the first paragraph…
1-What’s the problem?
Your reader/prospect couldn’t care less about your sophisticated technology, ‘end-to-end’ solution, ‘groundbreaking paradigm’, or ‘revolutionary’ feature. The reader only cares about one thing, and one thing only – his/her problem, and how can you solve it. Always begin the first paragraph stating the clear benefits your product/service offers. e.g., what’s the problem you are solving, and how/why will it make the life of the reader better/easier? The focus of the first paragraph, then, is not your product, but your customer.
- BAD – “XYZ is a web-based, multidisciplinary, sophisticated, and adaptive software platform that integrates state of the art sensors and services in order to cover both patients and healthcare professional’s needs.”
- Good – “Take control of your retail sales channel with real-time brand and product publishing capabilities from XYZ.”
2 – You talkin’ to me?
With the less formal online marketing, try first person (“you/we”) rather than third person (“product xyz”). Except for a few opening paragraphs in which you introduce the offering/product/company, try to addresses the customer in a personal voice, which is more effective.
3 – What’s your point?
If I’m in the telco business, I already know that churn and customer retention are major challenges; If I’m in IT, I’m aware that TCO is important; and if I’m in the ASIC business, I’ve already learned that managing an ASIC supply chain is complex. So what’s the point? Tell me (quickly) something new. Engage your reader and get quickly to the point. If you start your pitch at 30,000 feet, describing the state of the union, your reader will not stay till the 5th paragraph where you reach the point.
So here’s a ‘BAD’ example for you. I’m sure you’ll write the good one.
- BAD – “The telecommunications industry is in a constant state of transition – always moving forward with greater technological discoveries. As network operators bundle multiple services into easy-to-activate commercial packages, the individual customer begins to represent an increasingly complex and important revenue stream that needs to be protected by the operator.”
4 – Why You?
Regardless of your industry, your prospect always has alternatives to your offering. I mean, if there are none, then there’s probably no market… So, make sure your copy highlights the key differentiator(s) and advantages that will cause a potential customer to choose you over competitors. Particularly if you’re a small player competing against large, well-known companies. Here’s how to test it. Can you place your copy also on your 3 competitor sites and it would still work? If so, something’s wrong. Now, hopefully, all the segmentation, competitive analysis, positioning, messaging and that good stuff has been clearly defined long time ago. I’ve heard, though, that this is not always the case…
5 – Less is more
Long, unending sentences with multiple adjectives violate human rights, and mean nothing to the reader. Use simple sentence structure, and make sure you can still identify the subject of your sentence when you reach the period. What this basically means is that you’ll have to get rid of some of the adjectives (does ‘next-generation’, or ‘groundbreaking’ ring a bell?). For a nice list of buzzwords you can get rid of, see this great post by Mashable editor, Ben Parr – “The List of Buzzwords You Should Never Use In a Pitch”
photo credit: gregoryhogan« Back to Blog