As a freelance copywriter, I am keenly aware that my work will often be the first impression many people have of my client and my client’s product or service.

As in all areas of life, preparation divides the winners from the rest of the pack. But how can a freelance copywriter lay the groundwork to write great, compelling copy that produces new customers, new sales and new profits?

It comes down to two things: (1) Know your customer; and (2) Know your product.

Knowing Your Customer.

  • Why would a customer buy this product? What need does it appeal to? What reason motivates a customer to buy something like your product? If you cannot find the need you are appealing to, all the rest of your work will fall flat. I have explored this whole topic in another article called Freelance Copywriter Secrets: How to Tap Into Your Readers' Deepest Needs, which you might want to check out.
  • What problem does your customer need to solve? What changes do your customers want to bring about? These solutions and changes are the benefits they are looking for that you can highlight.
  • What motivates your customers to buy NOW? What cretes urgency? What events can trigger a decision to seek out this type of product or service?
  • When considering a product like yours, what is a your buyer’s main concern? Is it price, selection, performance, reliability, how long the product will last, customer or technical support after the sale, the warranty and guarantee, the seller’s reputation or how quickly it can be delivered? All these are common factors that go into a buyer’s decision, but you must know what they are before you begin to write.
  • What demographic type of person is a buyer for your product and how can this demographic type be targeted and reached? In other words, how will you choose the media to advertise in or the list to buy for direct mail?

Knowing Your Product.

  • Know the differences between the product’s features and benefits. Familiarity with a product can sometimes be a handicap because features can come to be “buzzwords” for what the product will do for a customer. For example, for insiders in the auto industry, ABS braking systems are synonymous with safety and skid protection on slippery roads. But don’t assume your reader makes the same mental connection.
  • What problems does the product solve? This is one of my main techniques to help me distinguish features from benefits. Solutions are benefits. The things that aid in bringing about the solution are the features.
  • Find out what tasks or work the product or service makes easier and faster.
  • What does your product do better than anyone else’s product? What is its edge over the competition? If your product does not stand for something unique, it will get lost in the marketplace. If this is difficult for you to distinguish, try reading my article called, Freelance Copywriter Secrets: 10 Steps to Writing a Powerful USP. Just click on this link to find out more.
  • Describe the quality control methods used in developing, producing and supporting the product.
  • Why does your product cost more that its competitors (if applicable)? You MUST have an answer to this question if you sell a premium product.
  • If the product is part of an entire product line, what makes this model different from the models you make that are ranked above and below it?
  • How is this product positioned in the marketplace? Again this has to do with the product’s unique selling proposition (USP) mentioned above. Your goal is for your product to be the big fish in its own pond, rather than having to compete for dominance in someone else’s pond. To have a strong USP, you must OWN your category.
  • What are the economics of using this product? Does long term savings justify a premium price?
  • Is the product guaranteed? If yes, describe how your company stands behind the product.
  • What support is available after the sale?
  • How does the product work?
  • How reliable is it? How long will it last? Is headache-free ownership one of your selling points?

As you can see, laying a thorough groundwork is difficult and very intensive. But in the end, it not only makes a freelance copywriter’s job easier, it will also help produce compelling copy.

And can you think of any area in life where you can ever be too prepared?

COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown


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