Upgrade the Potency of Your Sales Copy

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Over the years I have done hundreds of seminars to tens of thousands of people both in and out of the golf business. One of the greatest lessons this has taught me is the value of telling people exactly what you want them to do. For example, stand in front of an audience and hold up a picture of another audience standing up and what do you think they do?

Stand?

No, they look at the picture and do nothing. Try it, you’ll see!

On the other hand, if you ask everyone to stand up, everyone, and I mean every- one, stands up!

I then ask them why they stood up.

To which they naturally reply, because you asked us to!

Here’s another very interesting example.

For years, when I spoke to audiences in the martial arts industry I was “hard sell,” meaning that while I gave a great deal of information in my talks, I also linked everything I had to say to whatever I was selling in the back of the room. Although eve- ryone agreed that what I had to say was very valuable, some people were turned off that I kept asking them to buy something. Some of my detractors even took to calling me “The Man in the Shark Skin Gi” (Gi, is the karate uniform) which I’m pretty sure wasn’t a comment designed to praise my martial arts skills.

As we grew into a large company my staff said, “Hey, Andrew, now that we are big and everyone know who you are, why don’t you tone it down a little. Be more pro- fessional, less brash, and more empathetic in your talks and articles.”

So I did. I bought some new suits, stopped picking on people in the audience, toned down my copy to be more politically correct and made a very short but professional reference to my products at the end of my speech, not mentioning them at all during the body of my talk.

You know what?

People liked the new more compassionate, professional, empathetic, un-sales like Andrew Wood. There was only one problem….

SALES PLUMMETED like the proverbial lead balloon.

I mean NOSE DIVED!

The experiment lasted just a few weeks. I simply could not afford to NOT ask for the sale and keep asking for it throughout my entire presentation. If that turned some people off, so be it. I had kids to feed and the difference in my income was staggering!

This taught me two very valuable lessons that I will now pass on to you, my valued reader… And, yes, the principles hold true for ANY type of market- ing you do, in any type of business, especially the golf business!

The golf business is so focused on being politically correct and non-sales orien- tated that it often forgets to even ask for a sale!

Never trust a picture to sell your prospects on what you want them to do! Words are what sell people on taking action; pictures merely attract attention.

Never assume you can make a sale, no matter how well known and great your course is, without asking for the sale multiple times in writing or in person!

If you heed these two simple pieces of advice, you will dramatically improve the results to any sales letter, brochure, ad, direct mail campaign, website, email or sales presentation.

Meanwhile back on your club’s website…

Improve the quality of your sales copy, and you will instantly improve your re- sponse from every page of your website and you don’t have to be a copy writing genius to do it!

The vast majority of copy on most golf websites is worthless from a sales perspec- tive. And that, my friends, is the ONLY perspective you should care about. I don’t care what you think about people wanting to read (that’s another discussion), good sales copy can increase the response from your website by 300-500%.

Most are just too lazy to do it…..!

  • Bullet points are not enough
  • Facts are not enough
  • Vague promises or service or serenity are not enough
  • You need a good story packed with customer-centric benefits

Re-Write Your Website Page by Page in Benefitize

It is critical that you write you website sales copy in the world’s most important language, Benefitize. Benefitize is the language that your readers will respond to, and no other language will do. All readers want to know: what is in it for them, and they will continue to ask this question from the very first time they glance at your copy un- til the very last word at the bottom of the page.

Great marketing is all about salesmanship in print. Getting the prospect to call, click, visit or buy!

Perhaps the most common mistake in all of marketing is to waste time, money and space telling the reader things that are of no importance to his or her actual buy- ing decision. In fact, most marketing wastes much of its space trying to sell the reader something that they can’t actually buy from the website.

What they SHOULD be using the space for, is trying to sell the reader on an ap- pointment, visit, call or click that might then lead to an actual sale!

THINK ABOUT THIS CAREFULLY

  • Readers don’t buy fairway homes from web- sites; they visit homes to see them first.
  • Travelers don’t book golf vacations from letters or brochures; they call an 800 number or visit a booking website.
  • Players don’t join a club by mail; they call to take a tour or visit and play the course.

These are important facts missed by most people writing copy.

Focus ALL of your attention on arousing enough interest for the initial call, visit or click!

Converting Features to Stimulating Benefits

Charles Revlon, the great cosmetics magnate, once said, “In the factories we make perfume; in the stores we sell hope!” Of course, you’d come up with some pretty clever stuff too, if you were sniffing perfume all day. But, the fact re- mains, that to sell anything, you must take basic facts and features and turn them into something wonderful, desirable and magical.

The basic building blocks of all marketing copy are your club’s benefits. These are the foundation of your copy. The first lesson, in almost every study of advertising,

starts and often ends with this point. You must list your business’s benefits, not just its features. And you MUST know the dif- ference between them.

Every copywriter worth anything has been plugging away for decades on this one principle. Yet, I am honestly shocked that more than 90% of the courses I see marketing still haven’t fig- ured out this simple step.

I have looked at hundreds of golf, resort and real estate ads, sales letters and websites where the writer still hasn’t figured out this simple principle.

Simply put, a feature is your product’s basic qualities. These are things such as your course’s par, course rating, and the fact that you have five sets of tees.

Benefits are prospect centered. Benefits are things such as telling customers and prospects that the five sets of tees are there so that they can decide how hard or easy they want the course to play for their
maximum enjoyment.

You have to make your advertising copy prospect-centered instead of product-centered. There are usually more benefits than you think and many of them are several levels deep.

For instance, playing golf is relaxing (to some people). But being relaxed may mean different things to different people. To some it might be spending more time away from the stress of work, to others it might mean spending more time away from the stress of family, while to a third group it might mean being with family. You see the point.

You can spend a long time listing multiple benefits, which may be subtle but more important than the obvious benefits.

What’s in This for Me?

Once you get in the habit of asking “What’s in this for me?”, you have half of the art of Legendary copywriting down pat (ME, being the prospect, of course). Every time a prospect looks at your copy, they are asking that question in their heads. If all you tell them are the course’s features, you’ll never maximize your marketing dollars. You’re better off asking those questions first. Then your copy will be ready to answer them when the prospect asks the same questions.

Your prospects couldn’t care less who you are or what you are selling unless there is something in it for them. Don’t make people search through your copy to find out what’s in it for them. Put it right up front. In the headline, in the opening para- graph, in the offer, throughout the bullets and all the way through the site — pack it full of benefits your prospects want and need.

Leave Nothing to Chance. Spell Out, ALL Your Benefits, in Detail

Provide wishy washy instructions and you’ll get a wishy washy response. Expect people to finish off your sentences for you and it won’t happen.

Assume your readers will take your features and turn them into benefits in their head as they speed on their way to the next sentence — it’s SIMPLY NOT going to hap- pen!

Lazy and incompetent copywriters use features and bullet points that do not spell out benefits in clear and simple language so there can be NO MISCONCEPTION!

Let’s take the feature: ”Our club is close to the freeway.”

What did the writer want that sentence to mean or to put it another way what im- age did the writer expect the reader to see in his head?

A)                 The club is noisy and smoggy because it’s close to the freeway. -or-

B)                 The club is a quiet refuge but with convenient freeway access, cutting down your travel time so you can spend more time playing, not driving.

That is exactly what happens when writers get lazy and fail to spell out exactly what they mean. Saying your club is close to the freeway is open to all kinds of inter- pretation, not necessarily the one you want.

Spelling out what you mean as in option B above, leaves absolutely no margin for error.

This is the way in which you must approach each feature, each fact and each benefit that you which to impart in the minds of your prospect.

Excellent fitness facilities

IS NOT THE SAME THING AS:

Excellent fitness facilities, with state of the art equipment, to help you stay in the best shape of your life!

The first assumes the reader knows what comes next; the other does not leave it to chance.

Gate-Guarded Community

IS NOT THE SAME THING AS;

A gate-guarded community, so private and serene that most residents rarely feel the need to lock their doors!

The second not only spells out the benefit but also adds to the general ambi- ence of the copy.

Feature

We have a chipping green.

Benefit

We have a chipping green, so you can practice those all-important stroke- savers before you tee off and enjoy a better round.

Can you really make every feature a compelling benefit?

Well, if you can’t, then don’t bother including it in your copy!

Let’s take the fairly mundane features of the club pool and see how we can pack benefits into describing it:

Our junior Olympic-sized pool provides you the luxury of a private pool with- out the upkeep and maintenance hassles. We offer poolside food and beverage service and our certified lifeguards insure a safe environment for your family. Plus you’ll find the pool is a great way for your kids to make new friends … and for you to meet fellow members and expand your social life!

So What?

If you do this one thing and nothing else, your investment in this product will be worth hundred times what you paid.

It’s my test for great copy and it’s simply this, after each benefit in your copy, ask the question, SO WHAT?

If the sentence you have just read does not answer that question, then re- write the benefit because it is not compelling enough to be included in your Legendary copy.

And you might well be shock how much of your copy does not comply with this very simple but effective test of sales worthiness!

Organizing Your Key Benefits

A great way to organize your thoughts in a logical manner to present to the reader is to write out all the key benefits of your company’s offer on index cards, one card per benefit. Then simply arrange the index cards in order of importance and you will have competent, ready-made marketing copy. You will add details to each card as you enhance the copy with the following concepts.

Make it LIVE, make it breathe, make it real!

  • What will it feel like to play golf with your son every evening when you buy a golf course home?
  • How will your wife feel after a day at the resort’s spa?
  • How do you describe the intense feelings of prestige and accomplishment at joining a top private club?
  • What will your buddies say when your game improves by ten shots after return- ing from a golf school?

All you have to do is go down a list of features and ask yourself one simple question: What does my customer gain from this feature?

Your Key Benefits

One of the most powerful exercises you can do for all your marketing is to sit down and list the ten most compelling reasons why people should do business with your club.

The first five are usually easy and will be the ones you will use in your headlines, subhead and leading bullet points, after that, it gets tougher. Oh, and please don’t tell me how great your service is or that you are committed to an excellent experience for your customers-that is neither compelling nor believable unless you are at the very pin- nacle of your field.

Improving Your Copy Can Increase Leads by 300-500%

Improving your headlines and copy is the single most cost effective thing you can do to increase your business other than sales training!!! Don’t try to do it all at once.

Commit to improving a page a day starting with your home page and then working on your key income-generation pages. Imagine you are in a contest with three other clubs get a new member or big event and the decision will be made solely on a written sales pitch without the prospect ever seeing your club!

What information would you want to impart to give you the edge with a buyer who knows nothing about your club? When all inspiration fails, simply list 5, 7 or 10 reasons why people should play your course, join your club, book an outing or sched- ule a wedding.

Write out the reason in a full sentence as a customer-centric benefit. That’s the sales pitch that can increase leads by 300% or more.


For more information on copywriting and increasing your club’s sales, please visit

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