Not a day goes by without new knowledge finding its way into my thick skull.

Here's a case in point: I just did a Google search with my name and the word "copywriter" and found something very interesting. Most of the hits I found were from two sources, online articles I've written and comments I've posted to other people's blogs. Now I didn't go through all the pages Google came up with, but the blog comments seemed to be running slightly ahead of the online articles.

I already knew that writing online articles is a wonderful way to get the word out about your expertise. Not only do other sites pick up your articles and publish them (with links pointing back to your site) but these online articles are very effective ways to improve your search engine rankings.

But what really surprised me was how much benefit I was getting from commenting on other blogs. Blogging is a worldwide community effort. There are many wonderful bloggers out there doing great work in any field. Sharing and exchanging ideas is what the whole blogging phenom is about. But I still had no idea how effective it was for my search engine rankings to simply make useful, appropriate comments on other peoples' blogs.

The blogosphere has been described as "collective intelligence," in which the minds and ideas of all sorts of individuals from all over the world are pooled together to solve certain problems or advance the knowledge in a given field.

If you have ideas and knowledge to offer others in your field, don't keep them to yourself. Find those bloggers who are already putting out good stuff on their blogs.

Don't regard these other bloggers as your competitors, but instead think of them as colleagues and peers. Put links to their sites on your blog or website and post useful, informative and non-self serving comments on their blogs and you will benefit as well.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Imagine a friend has set you up on a blind date with a person your friend just raves will be the person of your dreams (can you see disaster coming?), and after much cajoling, you finally agree to meet this “wonderful” person for dinner.

Now imagine this person spends the entire evening talking about himself or herself. About his/her career, hobbies, dog, exploits, travels, etc. On and on this evening goes as you mentally plot the ideal way to murder your now ex-friend.

Unfortunately, most websites, advertisements and company brochures I see take the same approach as this obnoxious date. These ads/websites/marketing materials talk about the company, the product, the service, how long the company has been in business, vain and unsubstantiated claims, pictures of top executives’ smiling faces, or laundry lists of services offered. Blah, blah, blah.

I call this approach to copywriting, “push communication,” because these writers feel compelled to thrust their agendas on the hapless readers. The one glaring difference between culprits of push communication and the obnoxious date, is that it’s hard to gracefully escape the obnoxious date, whereas the reader can flip the page away from a self-centered ad, click away from a boring web site or throw a useless brochure into the trash.

Now let’s contrast this to what I call “pull communication.”

“Pull communication” is dictated by what the reader wants and what interests the reader. The reader’s interests “pull” the dialogue forward. Every word written on an ad, website or marketing materials is written with the intent to solve the reader’s problems or help the reader achieve a goal.

I am reading a very interesting book called, “Your Attention Please” written by Paul B. Brown (no relation to me) and Alison Davis, that talks about this very point. To cure the problem of “me” focused communications, Brown and Davis suggest taking a close look at an industry that does a remarkably good job of writing to address readers’ needs and wants: service magazines.

These magazines, like Better Homes and Gardens, Men’s Health, Money, Self, Family Circle or Prevention, craft every single article to show readers what they want to learn. Articles in these magazines are on topics like how to lose weight, how to raise emotionally secure kids, how to get the most out of a fifteen minute workout, how to grow a flower garden, how to attract the ideal mate, or how to prevent a serious illness.

All these topics are examples of “pull communication,” because the spotlight is on the reader and it is what the reader wants. The reader dictates what is said, not what the writer wants to say.

So if you find your website, advertisements or marketing materials are starting to take on a, “Hello, this is who we are and this is what we do,” character, pick up a stack of magazines and see if they will give you ideas that will improve your “pull communications” skills.

And also, pick up a copy of “Your Attention Please.” It will be money well spent.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Just like a road trip, a website n must have a specific destination in mind before you start out. When visitors arrives at your site, if you have not painted them a “yellow brink road” to lead them to where you want them to go, they are apt to go just anywhere.

If your website is for business, there are only four possible destinations. Each and every word of content must be written with any or all of these destinations in mind. Your goal must be to lead every qualified visitor to take one of these actions:

  1. To get the visitor to buy right now. If you are selling merchandise, you should have very clear offers, order forms and promises that lead your visitors to pull out their credit cards right now.

  2. To get visitors to contact your company to do business or to find out more with doing business in mind. Have your contact information visible on every page (an all too often violated rule) and give visitors REASONS to contact you. What I usually see is content so lacking in tangible benefits, the visitor only thinks, “I’m glad I know about these guys now, if I ever need them, now I know where they are.”

  3. To get visitors to leave their contact information. This is the heart and soul of permission marketing. Offer visitors something of value like free information, as an ethical bribe to get them to provide their names and email addresses. This destination is to generate leads that you can follow up with future contacts.

  4. To get visitors to come back to your site. This destination leads them to bookmark your site or subscribe to your feed so they are updated whenever you post new material.

None of this is easy, but if you set up a website aimlessly without purpose, these goals are impossible. As I said before, once you know where you want to lead visitors, write every word of content toward leading them to take these actions.

What are your ideas on this? I’d love to hear any of your examples and insights into this.

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

I'll be taking a break for a few days to celebrate Christmas with my family and I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season as well. I finally got the last of my shopping done yesterday (please, no man jokes. I've heard them all).

Anyway, I have a number of ideas ready for after Christmas and into January, so I'm looking forward to getting back with you soon.

As Tiny Tim would say, "God Bless us everyone."

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

This is the third, final, and perhaps the most important, article in a series on the topic of features vs. benefits. It will deal with the emotional reasons people buy any product or service.

This series was inspired by the many ads, websites and marketing materials I’ve seen recently that seem to offer little or no benefits to the would-be customer. Hints, yes. Vague references to something better, yes. But very, very few strong benefit statements that boldly tell the customer how this product or service will change their lives, solve their problems or open up new opportunities for them.

So now let’s get started on the all-important emotional benefits.

Emotions outsell logic and facts 10 to 1. There’s an old but true saying that goes, “people buy on emotion and justify with logic.” Even for corporate customers, your material must convince a human buyer who makes decisions in part based on how these decisions will further her career or cast her in a bad light with others in the company. Leaving out the emotional element can, and often is, fatal to your efforts.

Emotional benefits go right to the heart (literally) of why people make decisions. Often called “psychological triggers,” these reasons are the needs that operate like software in our brains.

Take, for example, home exercise equipment. The logical benefits behind making such a purchase might be to lose weight, to be healthier or to have more energy. All valid reasons that should be included in your copy if you are selling such a product.

But the emotional benefits might be to look good to members of the opposite sex, to enhance your own confidence, to help your career because you look better, to be accepted by others or to be able to wear certain clothing in the summer. All of these reasons might sound slightly shallow, but they are a part of all our psychological makeup.

According to John Caples in his book, Tested Advertising Methods (Fifth Edition) a partial list of these psychological triggers (which he calls appeals) is:

  • Make more money
  • Save money
  • Retirement security
  • Better health now
  • Health care security
  • Security in old age
  • Career advancement
  • Sex, acceptance by the opposite sex, love or affection
  • Greed, including all the things that money can buy
  • Fear of loss, fear of failure or fear of losing
  • Duty/Honor/Professionalism, which means our altruistic motives of doing what’s right or best for others or simply doing our jobs well, or doing what’s right for our employer or organization
  • Desire to avoid embarrassment or rejection
  • Desire for acceptance or popularity(or as Caples puts it, the desire to be one of the “in” group)
  • Competitiveness (which might include the desire to own a better car than your neighbor)

As you look over this list of psychological triggers (which is by no means a complete list of the emotional reasons people make decisions) you will notice that sometimes different triggers can be used to sell the same product or service.

For example, going back to that corporate buyer mentioned earlier, she might be motivated by her professionalism to do what was right for her company, her desire for career advancement, her fear of hurting her career by making a bad decision (back in the 60s, 70s and 80s a common business proverb advised that no one ever lost their job for choosing IBM), fear of making a bad decision which might turn out to be an embarrassment

With all this said, I’d like to mention a very good method for making all these emotional reasons and psychological triggers very real to the reader of your material. In her bookWeb Copy That Sells, Maria Veloso uses a device she calls the emotional scenario to paint a vivid picture for the reader.

What Veloso’s emotional scenario does is create a story-like scene in which the reader can see and feel the emotional cost of the problem they now face. Then she puts the reader right inside another scene to contrast that problem scene, which show how they could feel if the problems were resolved. This second scene allows the reader to experience the ownership of your product and assumes that the sale has already been made.

It works like this (we’ll go back to using the home exercise equipment mentioned earlier):
It’s 2:00 in the afternoon and you find that you are having to tuck your shirt back in again because your “spare tire” keeps your clothing from fitting right. You’ve been trying to catch the new woman’s eye for weeks now, but you think she doesn’t pay any attention to you because you look out of shape and over weight. On top of all that, you are getting tired and listless and don’t know how you’ll have the energy to make it until the end of the day.

Now imagine it’s just four weeks after buying your new Super Ab Cruncher. Your clothes fit great and you feel more lean and muscular than you have in years. You feel like a bundle of energy and your boss has complimented you twice this week on the productivity level you have been performing at. On top of that, the new woman just asked you out for drinks after work.

Ok that would definitely need more work before I would ever put that on an ad or website, but as rough as it is you still get the idea of to put the reader, as the main character, into an emotional scene.

Remember that your customers and clients are first of all people, not analytical machines. It takes more than facts and logic to persuade any human to make a decision or take action. If your ads, website or marketing materials fail to take into account the emotional nature of the people you are writing to, you will never see the results you are looking for.

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

Sorry folks for the delay in getting new material posted for the last few days. It's been a combination of the Christmas season (yes I am a guy, and yes I still have a few presents to buy) and some technical glitch with Blogger's system. I have been unable to log into my Blogger account for two days.

Anyway, I hope to get the new material posted later today.

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out Brian Clark’s site, you are missing out on an excellent resource for anyone who uses a blog to bring in business. Like myself, Brian Clark is a recovering attorney turned blogger/copywriter, but I’m sure none of you will hold that against him (or me).

Just a few samples of the excellent and useful stuff Brian has on his site are:

  • 5 Simple Ways To Open Your Blog Post With A Bang. Sometimes just starting a blog post, or any article for that matter, is difficult. Your thoughts have either already raced ahead into the meat of what you want to say or you can’t get them started until you have the beginning worked out. Regardless, this article by Brian can be a great help with this often frustrating part of writing.

  • 10 Sure Fire Headline Formulas That Work. We are all probably guilty of working the list and how to formats to death on our blogs. In this very helpful article, Brian shows us ten other ways to provide valuable information to our readers without using the same tired old formulas. This article alone is what prompted me to devote today’s blog post to Brian’s work.

  • 21 Traffic Triggers For Social Media Marketing. This is a superb article by Brian about how addressing the emotional needs people have can result in high traffic volume to your site. This is a great article with a lot of insights.

  • If you want a really thought provoking article to sing your teeth into, check out Telling People A Story They Want To Hear. I won’t spoil this one for you by giving too much away, but it is definitely worth your time.

  • Another of Brian’s series on “Magnetic Headlines” is 7 More Sure-Fire Headlines Templates That Work. It is a follow up on the 10 Sure Fire Headline article mentioned above and it contains more ideas for writing great headlines.

  • Anyone with a website or blog wants attention, traffic and readers. Brian’s article How To Write A Killer How To Post That Gets Attention provides a lot of material to get you moving in that direction. More great stuff from a guy who keeps coming up with more.

To say I am a fan of Brian Clark and his blog is an understatement. I thought it was high time to give him the credit he is due by letting you know about him as well.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

The year after winning the Super Bowl, Vince Lambardi began the next season’s pre season practices with drills on blocking and tackling. In other words, even as world champions, he felt his great Green Bay Packers needed to keep learning and relearning the basics of the game.

In marketing and copywriting, the basics of our game are features and benefits.

Every day I see this need to relearn the basics of features and benefits. Daily I run across full-page magazine ads or web sites that leave me entertained, or even make me think, but do not give me or any other reader a compelling REASON to buy.

I am convinced that tremendous amounts are money are wasted each year by businesses that create advertisements, marketing materials and web content, which fail to give buyers compelling REASONS to buy from these companies.

Not only is money wasted as a result of the poor returns on investments these advertisements et al. generate; the failure to capture new customers and new sales, is likely an even bigger, although unseen, cost to these businesses.

“REASONS” to buy, of course is just another way to say “BENEFITS.” This article is part two of a series on one of the basics of our field, how to distinguish features from benefits. It is an attempt for all of us to go back to drilling on the "blocking and tackling" aspects of our game of marketing and copywriting.

So let's begin:

Why do you and I buy things? Why do we spend our money, whether it is our own money or money spent on behalf of our company, to acquire goods and services?

These questions get to the heart of what distinguishes a real benefit from a mere feature that looks and smells kinda like a benefit. With all that in mind, let’s look at four basics to our game of marketing and copywriting, when it comes to creating reasons and benefits:

  1. Change. I once read an over-hyped direct mail piece that began with the words, “This Product Will Change Your Life!” Now I don’t recommend using such extreme hyperbole to start your copy, but sometimes I write a similar statement at the top of my legal pad when I start working on a new copywriting project. My statement reads: ”How Can This Product (or Service) Change Someone’s Life (or business, or whatever)?”

    Why would you buy a new luxury car? I presume you already own a car, so your basic transportation needs are already met. You might buy a new Mercedes because you want to change the experience you get when you drive. Or you might buy a hybrid in order to get more fuel efficiency out of a new car.

    Why would a company lease new office space? Possibly because changing their office gives them more room or puts them in a better location to gain or service their customers.

  2. Make a Promise. A real benefit is always a promise. If you spend a lot of money on an ad that fails to make a clear, specific promise to your target customers, you are wasting their time and your money.

    What do you promise? Re-read step one. What kind of changes or improvements do your target customers want to make? I begin every copywriting project I take on by writing out a list of "I wants" as if I were the customer telling me what kinds of promises would appeal to him or her.

    Make your promises target that area between where they are right now and where they want to be.

  3. Offer a Solution. Next, a real benefit is usually a solution to a real problem. Now I tend to go off on tirades when I see the word, “solutions” bandied about like a buzzword. (See my recent article, "Solutions" is Not Just a Buzzword to see what I mean). A real solution is tied to a specific problem.

    Most, if not all benefits are actually solutions to an aggravating problem (see another previous article You're Really Just Selling Aspirin).

    If you can identify problems your potential clients face, you can craft solutions that help them relieve, escape or avoid the pain caused by those problems.

  4. Opportunity. In the few instances that you are selling a problem that does not solve a problem, it will probably open the door to an opportunity, even if the opportunity is just pleasurable.

    When you see an ad for a quaint country inn with a cozy fireplace and a spectacular view of a peaceful lake, that ad is presenting you with the opportunity to spend an enjoyable, romantic weekend.

    When you see an ad for a local MBA program that can be taken in the evening, that ad is presenting the opportunity to advance your career. When you see an ad for a charitable organization, that ad is giving you the opportunity to give to a worthy cause. If your ad shows how to help small companies become big companies, you are presenting an opportunity.

    All of these opportunities are benefits that must be spelled out clearly in your ad, marketing material, website etc.

Find out what motivates your prospective clients. Chances are their goals and ambitions will either be to solve a problem or seek out an opportunity (or both).

There is no excuse to fill your marketing materials with creative drivel that does not compel a reader to act. Real benefits show readers how to experience a change for the better, make a clear and definite promise, solve a problem or point the way to an opportunity.

Anything else is a waste of your marketing budget.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Sometimes it suddenly dawns on me that things that seem so easy to me are a real hurdle for others who are in different professions. That statement is actually a no-brainer when you think about it, but it still comes as a shock when it happens in reality.

For example, the whole “Features vs. Benefits” thing is a real challenge for most business people. It is hard, as an example, for many businesses to translate what they DO into language that means what they can DO FOR the client. The reason is that to an insider, features are code words for what these things do for the customer. A car maker, for example, automatically leaps the gap between "Anti-Lock Brakes" and "safety on wet or icy roads."

But to the consumer, "Anti-Lock Brakes" may sound like just one more gizmo on that new car. Because of this, it is always necessary to run descriptions of your product or service through the “what’s in it for me” filter and think about it from the point of view of your customer.

With all this in mind, I am going to devote the next several days to writing about how to translate all the facts and information about a product or service into benefit statements that can be used on your website, advertisements, white papers, direct mail, etc.

So let’s launch this series of articles off by recycling an article I wrote on October 16 of this year called, ”Pile On The Benefits Until They Can’t Say No.”

What happens when you read a sales letter that contains a long list of bullet point benefit statements? What happens to me is all my resistance just crumbles away under this machine-gun fire of reasons why I must buy this service or product.

When a copywriter writes copy that lists one benefit after another in bullet point form, my mind simply cannot come up with objections or reasons not to buy fast enough to keep up with the copywriter.

As a freelance copywriter myself, I can appreciate the kind of work that went into writing this kind of copy. Many writers barely seem to be able to come up with one or two benefit statements, let alone an entire list. So I know this isn’t a writer who just sat down and quickly slapped down some copy.

But writing a long list of benefit statements is not as difficult as it first appears. There are several ways to organize your thoughts in order to write out a long list of benefit statements:

  1. Write out every possible problem your product or service solves for the customer.

  2. Write out consequences of not doing business with you or the consequences of delaying action.

  3. Think of every emotional reward your product or service can give your reader.

  4. Now also write down the logical rewards your product or service offers.

  5. List every reason why your reader should do business with you.

  6. Look at your product or service from your potential customers’ point of view. List their wants. You are brainstorming here, putting yourself into the mindset of your potential clients.

  7. Write out a list of what they don’t want. Put down on paper every hassle, problem, pain or aggravation you can think of.

  8. Go back over the last two lists and write out why your clients want or don’t want these things. Probe into reasons and motives. Again, you are brainstorming here. Your goal is to try to understand the emotional benefits behind first level benefits.

  9. Go back over everything you’ve written and write benefit statements. Use action verbs and paint word pictures. Poke at the painful areas. Discover different ways to state the same benefit as a positive or a negative, what the customer gets and what she avoids. Try to write over a hundred benefit statements if you can. I guarantee nothing you come up with will be wasted.

The simple fact is that the more benefits you roll out, the fewer objections your reader can think of. As they read a long list like this, readers begin to run out of reasons not to do business with you.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Every several weeks or so, I find myself mentioning the name, “Marcia Yudkin.” The reason is because Marcia has had a big impact on my writing and even my decision to pursue writing professionally. Everything she writes is the real deal for those of us who are in a marketing or copywriting field.

One way to get a regular dose of her insights is to subscribe to her email newsletter, "Marketing Minute." Marketing Minute comes out every Wednesday and, as promised, takes no more than a minute to read. You can subscribe to Marketing Minute by going to

Here is a recent Marketing Minute that Marcia has kindly given me permission to reprint:

Eat your lima beans."

As kids, we hated to comply with commands like this. As
adults, we don't respond any better to pitches of products,
services or information that claim to be good for us.

If you notice "should" or "must" in your marketing copy, it
may indicate an evangelistic attitude that is sure to close
rather than open the minds of listeners.

You'll gain more converts if you set aside preaching and
instead, describe ways to reach a goal that you know your
target market wants. For instance:

"The Surprising Secret of Ageless Skin: Lima Beans"
"Add These to Your Soup for an All-Day Vitality Boost"
"Tantalize Your Taste Buds With the World's Most Unfairly
Scorned Vegetable"


BEFORE: Newly Promoted? The Top Three Mental Shifts You
Must Make in Your New Job
AFTER: Newly Promoted? Three Ways to Earn the Loyalty of
Direct Reports, Fast

BEFORE: Five Reasons Why You Shouldn't Use a Discount Broker
AFTER: Discount Broker or Full-Service Broker: How to

Eliminate commands, and let your customer decide that lima
beans might be the thing to try.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

freelance copywriter, ghost writer, web content writer, white papers

The other day a client read a short piece of copy I had written for her and called me a "Magician" (I am blushing). It is always great when a client praises your work, and I was pleased that what I did for her will help her promote a very needed product.

But, if the truth were told, what I did for her wasn't really magic at all.

Here's the process I went through when I wrote for her, and what I do with every other project I work on as well:

First, I sat down and wrote out a list of "I wants." I put myself in the minds of her prospective customers and just wrote what I perceived they would want from this product. Each line began with the words, "I want ____." By the time I started repeating myself, I had over 40 "I wants" on my list.

You've heard the story about the salesman who sold more drill bits than anyone else? When asked how he became so successful, he said he didn't talk about drill bits at all. He talked about the kind of holes his customers wanted.

In other words, his customers weren't interested in buying a new drill bit, they wanted holes. So instead of selling drill bits, he sold holes.

My "I want" list is how I sell holes. It is an exercise that forces me to look at a product or service through the eyes of the buyer. It also helps me tap into the emotional reasons they want these things. (Sometimes I also write a "why" list beside the first list so I can understand why they want what they want).

My method may seem touchy-feely to you (hey, it seems a little touchy-feely to me too, but it works). That's your choice. But if you are going to write really good copy, you asbolutely must find a way to get inside the heads of customers or clients.

If you can't do that, you will never write "magic" copy.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Recently one of the readers of this blog posted a comment about Grant Griffiths, a lawyer in Kansas who has abandoned advertising altogether in favor of writing his blog (thanks Whitney). See the article at Kansas Family & Divorce Lawyer. This is a great article for anyone who sells their knowledge, skill or expertise, because this attorney credits his blog for giving him a number one Google ranking under the keyword, "Kansas family law."

One of the reasons I tend to harp on the flaws I see in law firm advertising in this blog is because I used to practice law. As both a former private practice attorney and a copywriter, I can say that law firms have the worst marketing of any industry or profession I know of.

Whether you are looking at ads placed in the Wall Street Journal by 700 lawyer "blue chip" firms or the Yellow Page ads placed by small main street firms, the ads are almost always dismal. I swear these people wouldn't know a benefit if it came up and bit them on the nose.

And they all follow the same format: "we are a trusted name in admiralty law," "we can get you money if you are hurt in an automobile accident," "we handle cases in elder law, personal injury, corporate law, mergers and aquisitions, DUI defense, etc."

The ads are either empty boasts or laundry lists of the areas of law they practice. (And by the way, you probably won't find the same firm practicing admiralty law, mergers and aquisitions and DUI defense).

So how CAN a law firm market itself effectively without diminishing its professionalism? Easy, write and give out free information pieces.

If you are a lawyer start saving all the memos and briefs you write. Also save your research notes and cases you find interesting as you prepare for court. With few exceptions, these materials can be rewritten for lay audiences and turned into white papers, tip sheets, brochures, articles for your website, or articles you can submit to trade magazines, etc.

You can also start a blog like our friend in Kansas. Write two to three paragraphs a day on your field of practice and in not too many months your site will have a very high number of visitors every day.

Frankly, I would like to see the day when I do at least two-thirds of my copywriting work for law firms. I know from personal experience that it is a wonderful profession when you are working with clients you like and doing the kind of work you believe in. But it is an extremely stressful way to make a living if you have to accept unpleasant clients or take on unpleasant cases just to keep the doors open.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

In the past month, I’ve worked with several new clients who’ve had real difficulties differentiating their businesses, products and services.

It should be no surprise that finding ways to differentiate ourselves is such a struggle. We are bred to conformity, both in life and in business. But without a clear way to show potential customers and clients how we are different and how those differences can benefit them, we are just one fish in the pond.

I have learned that I can probe my clients with questions and bounce ideas off of them, but only they can find their own ways to differentiate.

Nevertheless, it is a daunting task to be expected to write copy for someone who can’t tell me how to distinguish him or her from all their competitors (I’ve never felt good about turning in copy that just relies on cute phrases or basically says, “we’re the best”).

Here are some ideas to help you find ways to distinguish your business, service or product from all the others out there:

  1. What emotions do you want to appeal to? Fear and anxiety are always the strongest emotions to tap into, but greed, ambition, safety, financial security, love for family, etc. are always solid winners to be put on this list.

  2. If you are having difficulty differentiating yourself, think about how you would like to position your competitors. When M&Ms says they “melt in your mouth, not in your hands,” they are in effect saying that all other chocolate candies melt in your hands and leave a sticky mess. Think about how you would like your potential customers to think about your competitors and then show how you are different.

  3. What are your benefits? You had to know that any article on marketing had to get around to benefits eventually. List out your benefits and build on them. In all likelihood, at least one item on your list will trigger a chord with you. It may not matter that all your competitors also offer this benefit, as long as they aren’t building their message upon that benefit.

  4. What problems does your business, product or service solve? As you write out this list, you will probably find a lot of overlap with the benefits list, but don’t worry. Solutions are really just another way to look at benefits. But writing this list forces you to look at what you do from the customers’ point of view.

  5. Although claims that your product or service is “better” usually sounds hollow, sometimes it works anyway. But a “better” strategy will take a lot of work to sound convincing to your customers’ ears. If being better is really important to the people who buy what you sell, go for it.

    But if you go down this road, you had better have a lot of proof. Gather customer testimonies, industry data and independent third party endorsements to support your claim to being better.

    Reality check: If you are the new kid on the block, don’t even try to claim you are the best. If your business or your product or your service is new, you simply aren’t the best. You have no proof to offer and trying to make this claim when you are new will kill your credibility.

  6. Be new. I’m not contradicting the last item on this list when I say “be new,” I am saying to innovate. Invent a new product, invent a new way to use an existing product, invent a new solution to an old problem or find a way to serve a new type of customer with your existing product or service. If you can be cutting edge, you can create your own niche and everyone else will be scrambling to keep up.

Once you find a way to differentiate yourself from all the others out there, your message becomes much easier to convey. More to the point, it becomes easier for your potential customers to hear and understand.

Differentiation is how you can cut through all the noise and clutter that bombard your customers everyday.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown

Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds