February 4, 2016

How To Avoid Weak Statements That Leave People Cold and Get Readers to Care About Your Writing

machine-writing-1035292_1280You’ve tried everything to write effective, persuasive copy.

Maybe not truly everything, but it sure feels like it.

However, your copy is still weaker than wet toilet paper.

This is a problem.

Sadly, people will leave if they don’t care for what you have to say.

There is no tolerance for boredom and, as you know, there are many distractions.

You start to worry that maybe you don’t have what it takes to write effective copy.

And you know what? I don’t blame you. It ain’t easy to write for business.

You might already understand that you have to tell potential customers what your product or service can do for them. That’s a good start.

You just don’t feel like what you say is powerful enough to convince someone to take action.

But what if I told you that it is possible to check every statement you make on weakness – by applying a simple test?

Most copywriters use a whole inventory of tactics and strategies to make their writing more effective. Know the rules, apply them correctly and you’ll quickly see your conversion rate improve.

Back to what I was saying, let’s fire away and reveal what this simple little test is….

So What? 

Yes, that’s it. Shocking ain’t it? But you need to ask yourself this question.

Let’s be honest here, ain’t it what’s going through YOUR mind whenever you come across bland business writing?

The only way to counter this thought is by answering it yourself through your copy.

So bear with me, because I’m going to show examples of how to put this test in action when writing

LSolid_Stateet’s say you make this statement:

This laptop has a 512 GB SSD instead of an HDD. 

So what?

An SSD is about 2.5 times as fast compared to an HDD. 

So what?

It means your boot up time will be just a couple of seconds and you’ll be able to run heavy programs instantly, saving you precious time.

This is the point where you get to the juicy information. All you want to know is: “Why should I care?”. 

You’re right, too. There’s not enough time to read bad copy that doesn’t make you warm or cold.

That’s why it’s your responsibility as a copywriter to keep a reader interested, getting to the information that really matters to them.

You’re not going to let them figure out all by themselves, right?

Don’t risk letting them go through the copy of your competitors to see if there’s something more interesting there.

Sometimes you’ll have to dig deep, other times you won’t have to ask yourself this question as much.

Let’s take this SSD disk a bit further…

An SSD has no moving parts. 

So what?

An SSD has no moving parts, making them superior for protecting your precious data compared to an HDD. 

Do you get the idea? It’s not hard, you just have to answer that question before your reader gets the chance to. That’s all selling is, anyway. Countering objections and adding positives so the scale tips in your favor.

But beware: if you don’t pass this simple test, your copy is almost guaranteed to fail.

It doesn’t stir any emotion, get them excited, or even get on their nerves. They just don’t care at all.

The copy below is from the Apple website. You’ll find some technical terms, that’s fine. But it’s also brilliant copy. Why? Because it continuously explains why these features benefit you, the reader.

If you’re interested to read all of the copy and do the test, click on the link above to go to the landing page.

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Another way to give the benefits to your reader in a powerful way is by using…

The Bullet List

As an example, let’s take the copy for Crazy Egg. It’s a service that allows you to “find out by seeing how users click and scroll through your website”.

They have this neat little bullet list on their website:

Any hardcore online marketer would drool over this list. Which marketer wouldn’t want to….

  • Be able to please his boss?
  • Achieve more conversions?

I don’t see any raised hands, and you’re smart, so I’ll assume you agree with me :-).

As you can see, a bullet list can compile all the most important benefits for your reader in a very efficient way.

Now imagine this scenario with me for a second:

A potential customer is “reading” your ad. Well, the thing is…he’s not really reading your ad. He’s scanning, looking for all the important bits of information. Do you think a bullet list would stop him?

Yes, my friend. It sure will.

I’m no exception. When I see a bullet list, I stop dead in my tracks and read every single one. Why? I know I’ll find information that’s important to me. 

So remember: bullet lists are for benefits.

When you list benefits, you always pass the “so what?”  test.

Don’t assume your reader cares so much for you, that he’ll put up with jargon, features and bland copy.

Your reader is not interested in you. He’s interested in what the product or service can do for him.

Conclusion

I know. It’s just a simple test. But don’t be deceived by its simplicity. Using this knowledge can transform your copy. Get rid of everything that doesn’t pass this test, and replace it with copy that does. The difference will be like night and day.

At the end of the day, readers aren’t truly selfish. They just can’t afford to read every single sales letter from top to bottom. We don’t read ads for fun. We seek solutions to our problems.

Whew..I sure am glad you made it all the way down here 🙂 I hope you enjoyed and learned something new!

Do you like this copywriting test? Or better yet, have you applied it yourself and achieved some fantastic results? Let me know in the comments! 

Jasper Oldersom

Hey, I am Jasper and I am an authentic freelance (copy)writer and marketer. If you need time to focus on other parts of your business, while I write a quality article for your website - I'm your guy.

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Lisa - February 5, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper!
You gave some excellent examples of good copywriting! I like that you used techy computer jargon to show the example since that stuff is usually boring and a lot of content doesn’t get to the real point soon enough.

I see you are a fan of Neil Patel’s (Crazy Egg)! Bullet lists work so well for giving a reader information they can easily consume, and worded properly can entice a reader to actually stop and read it!

One of the biggest challenges online is capturing the attention of people. I land on so many websites only to leave them right away because the content is either editorial in nature – no real info, or it’s so feature-rich that I can’t figure out if it solves my problem! Digging through feature and technical stuff is not for the faint of heart.

Thanks for these great example of how to write in a way that captures the attention of the reader and helps them to easily see the benefits.

I am going to use these writing strategies in my next post!
Lisa
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    Jasper Oldersom - February 5, 2016 Reply

    Hey Lisa,

    Thanks for the compliment. I agree, techy business writing with a lot of jargon is like Chinese to readers. A copywriter’s job is to translate that into language that customers can understand.

    Neil Patel is a legend, that’s for sure. I admire his consistency and ability to put out high-quality content.

    Capturing and keeping the attention is absolutely one of the biggest challenges, if not THE biggest. When you only give features and technical information, you leave it up to the customer to make something out of it. That’s a poor start, especially when you have a maximum of 5 seconds to convince someone online!

    You’re so welcome Lisa, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this fantastic comment.

    Enjoy the rest of your day!

    – Jasper

Sunday William - February 8, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

I must remark this is a very important test you have dissected here. For those of us who are always seeking for ways to improve our copywriting skills, this is another powerful resource. There is no better way to teach than to use examples.

Its good to be reminded once again of the importance of the “so what?” question. Indeed, to make our copies stick, we must first of all put ourselves in the position of the reader.

I left this comment in kingged.com where this post was kingged as well.
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    Jasper Oldersom - February 8, 2016 Reply

    Hello Sunday,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Oh yes, it’s a very important test. I’m glad you recognize the value of such a simple tool to check your statements.

    I’m glad you liked the post 🙂

    Have a wonderful week, Sunday.

    – Jasper

Adrienne - February 10, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

That’s a cool test and I know so many people are thinking to themselves, oh crap. I know I am because if I were to look back over most of my content I probably wouldn’t pass those tests. I totally agree with you about the bullet points. I’ll read every single one of those too.

Grabbing people’s attention is key, definitely and if we’re not doing it someone else is and that’s never a good thing.

You’ve given me a lot to think about moving forward. Thank you for this advice and I love your examples. Oh and Crazy Egg does absolutely rock it’s content that’s for sure.

Great share my friend and thank you again. You enjoy what’s left of your week okay.

~Adrienne
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    Jasper Oldersom - February 10, 2016 Reply

    Hey Adrienne,

    I’m always amazed when I find a new way to write that improves my copy (and I still find new ways to write fairly often). It’s such an easy test, that you would almost overlook it. But things don’t always have to be hard. You just have to implement them.

    Attention is the currency of today’s online world…Its importance cannot be overstated.

    Well, I’m glad I got you thinking, my friend. I enjoy gathering these examples and putting some of them together myself. Oh yeah, Crazy Egg rocks. They are also not shy to hire some kick-ass copywriters, like Joanna from Copy Hackers.

    Thanks for your comment Adrienne, I appreciate you SO much :-).

    You too!

    – Jasper

Ravi Roshan Jaiswal - February 23, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper!
Nice meeting you here… 🙂

Awesome post indeed..Jasper.You know, I learnt many thing from this article.
Really great interesting and amazing article you have chosen Jasper.
This test is really very interesting.

And I agree with you that Bullet list are more important for writing in a proper way. It will really improve our writing style. I think it will help grow reader of our post.

Thanks a lot for sharing an awesome idea.. 🙂
Have a nice day ahead….

– Ravi.
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    Jasper Oldersom - February 26, 2016 Reply

    Hey Ravi,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    I’m glad you learned from this article.

    I agree, bullet lists definitely pack a punch.

    Have a great day!

    – Jasper

Brent Jones - March 1, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Nice topic and great examples.

Referring to your SSD example, that’s what we call “benefit statements” in sales. Customers care a lot less about the features and much more about the benefits.

In other words, ‘What’s in it for me?’

I need to read posts like this every so often to ground me… sometimes, I get carried away when writing and lose that central focus of keeping it all about the reader.

Noted. 🙂

Have an awesome day,

Brent
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    Jasper Oldersom - March 1, 2016 Reply

    Hey Brent,

    Thank you!

    Exactly, these questions get to the benefits.

    There are 3 questions but they basically all get to the benefit: so what? who cares? what’s in it for me?

    In a book I read over a year ago from Joe Vitale he said to imagine Bart Simpson looking at you and asking you these questions. That’s pretty harsh, but it’s certainly useful. 🙂

    I know what you mean with getting carried away…It’s definitely a good idea to remind yourself of this lesson every so often.

    I’m so glad you stopped by and I look forward to checking out your episode with Alicia Rades!

    – Jasper

Andrew M. Warner - March 3, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

The “so what” test is s very important. And as you described in this post, it helps you really get t the meat of the pint you’re trying to make. The point that the reader REALLY cares about.

I need to try this some more because I’m sure there’s some statements or points I’ve made that readers have read and said, “So What?”

It’s a great way to really push yourself to write clearer and in more detail. Great stuff here.

– Andrew

Kathleen - March 9, 2016 Reply

Brilliance! I never thought to use Amazon reviews in such a fashion! But you are right – it is a fabulous way to gain insight into exactly what our niches are looking for and, at a minimum, provides a great basis for a post and the exact language/ideas to hit upon!
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Manidipa Bhaumik - March 10, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

It seems to be an easy test, but truly amazing for challenging your own content and come up with the better one.

Whether it’s a marketing pitch or to share your knowledge on anything, people doesn’t actually care about it until and unless they find the “what’s there in it for me” piece.

So whatever be the content is, it should display the benefit of the reader in a clear perspective.

Thank you for sharing such a tiny yet powerful test. Take care and have a great day ahead 🙂
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Jasper Oldersom - March 15, 2016 Reply

Hey Neo,

Good to hear this was inspirational for you! Hope you took away some great insights, sounds like you did 🙂

Have a great day!

– Jasper
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Linda March - March 23, 2016 Reply

Excellent article for those who want to refine the articles a little bit to keep users engaged. I know I have some articles that I’ve wrote in the past that would certainly benefit a rewrite.
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Anyikwa chinonso - March 23, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

I agree with you. The test seems amazing and simple but people do ignore such. the very point I loved you made clear is making sure you answer your own questions before readers does.

I know of most popular tech blogs that makes such mistake, leaving readers clueless sometimes. But i observed that some of them use it to attract questions via comment section.

Thanks for sharing this.. quite informative
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Psychic Nest - April 18, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

This article puts a smile on my face because this is exactly what I am doing with my articles and posts. From the expert I become the person who barely knows anything about the topic. When I am done writing I ask myself further questions so as to see if there is anything else that needs to be clarified. I believe the audience will stop reading when they realize that the post is only informative and it doesn’t apply to their daily lives.

Zaria
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Rachel - May 13, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

Great tips. I am a big fan of dot points. I too generally stop and take note when I see them. They come in all my work. They narrow down a particular subject. They can be cheeky as well. Like cheating, if you will. Repeated words to reiterate the previous point. Mind you I would not advise over doing that.

I’m certainly going to try out the ‘so what’. At first I was hesitant when I read it, it may very well crush me while writing. However I’m always a willing learner and wanting to improve. Especially for reader joy. Fingers crossed.

Rachel.

    Jasper Oldersom - May 14, 2016 Reply

    Hey Rachel,

    Yes, readers (including me) LOVE bullet lists. Also, great point about repetition. Repeatedly making a case for the same suggestion — without sounding like you are — is something that requires some skill. However, it’s very persuasive (and hypnotic)!

    Keep in mind that this test is merely a tool to help you, it’s not intended to crush writers. As a matter of fact, don’t think about it while writing at all. Apply it when you’re editing. That way you won’t let it influence the way you write.

    Hope that helps. Good luck! 🙂

    Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Rachel. I appreciate you.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    – Jasper

Raphael Udonna - May 15, 2016 Reply

Hello Jasper,

This happens to be one of the few articles that kept me reading from start to finish. I admire your style of writing.

I can see why i have failed so much in my writing, especially because i’m a tech blogger. I now understand that many readers do not understand the whole ‘Chinese’ which i put out there in form of specifications and features, i realize its up to me to explain the ‘so what?’ question even before they ask.

Keep up the great work Jasper.
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    Jasper Oldersom - May 17, 2016 Reply

    Hey Raphael,

    I’m glad you like my style of writing!

    You haven’t failed, Raphael. You’ve been learning and writing is better than not writing, don’t ya think? Now you also have this tool at your disposal, which can polish your writing even more. The amount of jargon you can use also depends on the knowledge base of your audience. If you have a very techy audience, that’s certainly the case.

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it!

    Enjoy your week.

    – Jasper
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