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The #1 question your copy should answer – what's in it for me?

All effective copy needs to answer the one simple question your readers will ask themselves. That is, ‘Why should I care about what you’re offering?’ Or in other words…

What’s in it for me?

If you fail to answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question right up front and before your readers have had a chance to be distracted by the hundreds of other things that are screaming for their attention you simply won’t achieve your aims. In fact, your reader probably won’t get past the headline. That’s borne out by the fact that headlines which spell out benefits score higher conversion rates that any other type.

Don’t confuse benefits with features

When you’re close to a product or service, it’s easy to get immersed in the detail. And it’s tempting to start believing that all you need to do to make a sale is to tell customers what’s different or unique about what you offer, especially if it’s well designed. But for your reader, that’s just information. It feels as though it has little to do with them. They won’t start to think about whether they could use what you’re offering until it feels more personal. And it won’t feel personal until they can see the way in which it will enhance their own lives.A feature doesn’t answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question.

Features should act as supporting evidence to benefits

So telling a consumer how fast the spin cycle on your new high-tech washing machine is won’t impress them, however long your engineers spent developing it. Telling them that your spin cycle cuts drying time, so that they can put their feet up, will. Once they understand how your product or service can improve their lives, you need to describe features as a way of proving that what your product or service will actually do what you say it will. But only to build credibility and inspire confidence.

Sadly, it’s not about you

So, its not about your company or your products, how hard you work, or how diligent you are. It’s not about how cool or how green you are. It’s not about how you strive to keep prices down and quality up. All these things are great, and you’re probably justifiably proud of them. And so it’s tempting to fill your website and brochure with all these details. But, delightful as they are, they’re not the words that will ultimately sway your prospective customers. That’s because they’re not interested in you and how you work. Ultimately what your customers are interested in is how your product or service can help them fulfil their needs. Even if sometimes, that’s a need to avoid something e.g. debt, or being stranded if their car breaks down. To find out what their needs are, you have to understand your market. And that’s the way it should be, because there’s nothing more attractive to a consumer than the feeling that you understand them and what they want, rather than the other way around.

If you’d like our senior copywriter to let your staff in on the secrets of good copywriting, give Oxygen a call on 0845 2606 255. Or drop in to our Devon and Somerset offices. Our door is always open.


Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.

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