Six questions about your offer

Let's dive into the six essential pieces of information you need to know about what you’re selling. By doing this, you’ll know more about your offer.

In my last post, I discussed three questions I ask about the physical requirements of a piece of copy.

But in this one, I’m going to dive into the six essential pieces of information you need to know about what you’re selling:

  • Who’s the company, and are they well known or unknown to your audience?
  • What is the actual product or service you’re selling?
  • How can people get it?
  • How do people know it’s safe to buy it?
  • What are the features and benefits?
  • What are you promising—why should people get it? 

Who’s the company?

This first question is the most obvious. Who is the company? What do you know about them? 

Are they well established or a start-up? Have they been on the scene for years? Do they have a good reputation or a bad one—or could they disappear tomorrow without anyone noticing? 

Questions like these will focus you on whether you’ll have to make “who we are” part of your copy. They’ll help you know whether you’ll need to build credibility, or whether an already-established relationship with the audience means you can skimp on details about who’s making the offer.

Are they pouring 100,000 dollars into this campaign, or do you need to make a difference with only $500 worth of copywriting? This question will help shape your approach—do you have enough budget to write a 10-email series, or do you have to be “one and done?”

Most importantly, is your audience familiar with the company—or will they be viewing your copy with a healthy dose of skepticism? In other words, how much trust will you have to try to create?

What is the actual product or service you’re selling?

Next, ask what’s for sale—precisely what’s for sale. 

Obviously, you’re going to know what the product or service is—a training course, or a round of CoolSculpting® treatments, for example. 

But even the best writers could benefit from clarity around features and options, colors and sizes, and the like. 

So if you’re not sure, start by collecting that information. How long is the course? How many modules? What’s the cost of the CoolSculpting, and how many times do you get to go, and so on.

How can people get it?

It might sound silly, but it helps to get crystal-clear on the physical mechanism of buying your product or service.

Is it a one-time payment, or can they pay with monthly installments? Do you accept credit cards? What happens if the buyer is dissatisfied?

These questions are going to be in your readers’ heads—so you’d do well to work the answers into your copy. (FAQ sections are great for this, by the way.)

How do people know it’s safe to buy it?

I’ve said before that readers need to be confident that buying is simple, sensible, and safe.

For this reason, you need to build a lot of proof into your offer.

Proof that it’s simple to get the value they want. Proof that your product or service “does what it says on the box,” and that buying it is a sensible thing to do. And finally, proof that it’s safe to take action.

You can build this proof with everything from testimonials to a rock-solid refund policy—but build it you must.

What are the features and benefits of your offer?

Features tell—benefits sell. 

In other words, even though your audience wants to know how your product or service “is“—its features—they also need to understand how those features will help them. 

In other words, they need to know your offer’s benefits.

Are you a chiropractor? You’re not selling adjustments. You’re selling pain relief in the near-term, and health and wellness over the long-term.

For another example, it’s not good enough to say that a pint of healthier ice cream is a low-calorie treat. Describe how your audience can enjoy dessert without guilt or gaining weight.

What are you promising—why should people get it? 

The promise your product or service makes is even more important than its features and benefits.  

Let’s imagine a tub of protein powder. That tub might be 32 ounces, which means it’ll last for a while. Vanilla-flavored, so it tastes good. Maybe it’s low-sugar, so it’s better for you. And it’s made with pea protein instead of whey, which means it’s vegan. 

But those are all just features and benefits. What does this tub promise? 

Bigger muscles. Less body fat.

Increased attractiveness. More confidence. 

Hell… More sex? 

Suddenly that tub of protein powder means so much more than “50 servings, suitable for vegans!” 

No, you’d never write a headline that said, “Buy our protein powder and get more action in the bedroom.” (Well, you might—but you shouldn’t.)

However, understanding that “more sex” is a significant part of your product’s psychological appeal could help you a lot when it comes time to write.

The takeaway

It’s simple—dive deep into these questions, and you’ll know more about your offer.

And that, of course, means you’ll write better copy.

More questions next time.

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