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Product copy - dramatize the benefit
  • Nov 20, 2020
  • 2 minutes

Product copy - dramatize the benefit

Do you want your products to sell better? Then you need to look carefully at your product descriptions. Ideally, the product copy should achieve five goals:

  • Physically describe the product and technical specs, features, etc.
  • Describe the experience and benefits of using the product.
  • Build on and increase the perceived value of the product.
  • Differentiate the product from its competitors.
  • Slip in as many credibility builders as possible.

Of course, these aren't truly separate actions. Elucidating a benefit should also build perceived value, and describing the physical characteristics of an item often helps to substantiate the claimed performance features and benefits. For example, talking about the exotic high-carbon stainless steel of a higher-end kitchen knife, along with its forging process and so on, helps to substantiate the claimed superior edge-holding ability and ease of cutting, along with its presumably high price point. And yet, it helps to think of this itemized list as five separate goals simply because most product copy never gets past a brief description and bullet-pointed features.

And that's why I hype dramatized benefits so much. With the right, dramatic demonstration of your product, you can create instant credibility, express product benefits, and build perceived value all at the same time. Think of the moment you first saw the Ginsu knife slicing through that tin can and then gliding through that tomato like it was butter.

Think of the difference between saying that a suitcase is some-odd ounces lighter than its competitor and saying that it'll allow you to pack an extra suit jacket. Saying you can take two more pairs of pants is much more convincing than mentioning that it's better than heavier, bulkier competitors. Yes, this could be just another example of feature vs. benefit, but the difference lies in the specificity and staging of the comparison. Most copywriters are content to say "lighter weight luggage lets you pack more clothing" and think they've done their job at writing "benefit-laden" copy. But it's never enough merely to provide a benefit. You have to dramatize it. That means staging it as a scenario with concrete specifics. That means purposefully arranging for before and after or side-by-side comparison snapshots. That means showing off the moment of truth to full, dramatic effect.

Show the slimmer sides or more spacious interior of your luggage next to its heavier, bulkier rivals. Show their weights, and finally, show off the extra clothing on the trip with the other-luggage-toting passenger shelling out an extra $50 for checked baggage fees or overweight fees. Your benefit can't be a truly emotional benefit until you stage a scenario-based drama. So go ahead and let your inner infomercial shine. Think in terms of dramatic mental images, then translate them into words for your copy. And once you've written your own dramatic staging, then run down the five-item checklist and make sure you've covered most of your bases. Any left-over elements can be included in other parts of your copy.

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