The Math Behind the Message (Part 2): How to Use Math to Write Copy that COMMUNICATES With Your Audience
Christa Nichols Tuesday, January 29, 2019
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Part of the reason I became a writer is because there’s no math in writing. Imagine my horror, then, when I discovered that math is actually an integral part of writing good copy. I won’t lie. The realization felt a little bit like Dorothy opening the door and stepping out of her drab, post-cyclone Kansas house and into technicolored Munchkin Land . . .
. . . IF Dorothy had suffered from motion sickness on her wild ride to Oz. Yes, I did feel like my world was slightly off-kilter, but as I began to testing and framing my copy with consistent mathematical principles, I found that not only did my copy get better, but it became easier to write. In fact, I realized there was a simple formula I could apply to all my copy that worked for me, no matter what kind of copy I was writing.
Connection + Communication = Conversion
Yes, there are more in-depth, psychological strategies behind good copy, and I use them regularly. Yes, it helps to have a solid background in writing, and my degree in journalism and mass communications certainly doesn’t hurt. But this simple formula provides a solid foundation for anyone’s copy, whether it be for funnels, ad campaigns, emails or social media.
A Quick Recap
In Part One of this series, I talked about the first step of the copy equation above - Connection - and broke down how you can connect with your target audience on three levels: the Base, the Math, and the Words. This article is Part Two in the Math Behind the Message series and addresses Communication, the second step of the equation. I’m going to break down how you can write strong copy that communicates well with your audience by using the same strategies behind the Base, Math and Words levels I used in step one.
Step Two: Communicating With Your Target Audience
In Step One, Connection, I showed you how to grab the attention of your target audience by studying them and really knowing who they are and what they want so you can connect with them on a personal level. And now that you have their attention, it’s time to move into the next stage, which is Communication.
Connection + COMMUNICATION = Conversion
Here’s the thing. You can connect, connect, connect with people all day long and build a huge following full of tons of devoted fans . . . but unless you take the next step and add clear, direct communication, the target audience will never progress through the funnel. In fact, it’s like they hit a dead end and have no idea where to go or what to do next.
How can that be Christa? I mean, my followers know what I’m about. We’ve been hanging out a LONG time!
Okay, but they do not mind readers. If you don’t tell them what you offer and what you want them to do about it, it’s like you’ve left them wandering around on the backroads. They may be having a good old time, but they don’t have a clear sense of direction, a feeling of urgency, or a final goal in mind.
Don’t leave your audience in limbo. Good copy is POWERFUL when it clearly communicates specific, targeted information. You can build the kind of powerful copy that really helps your target audience through the sales process. Let’s start from the bottom up by making sure you have a solid base for your communication.
The Base. As covered in part one of this series, the base for the Connection step of the copy equation is the target audience. In order to connect, you have to know and understand who you’re connecting with so you can reach them in a way that will grab their attention and keep it.
The Communication step, however, requires a completely different base - the product or offer you’re selling. If you can’t clearly communicate WHAT is being sold, you won’t be able to communicate why the audience can’t live without it. So before you get started writing, ask yourself these two important questions:
■ What, specifically, is being offered?
■ Why does the target audience want and need it?
The answer to these questions will help you give the audience the information they need to know in order to make a purchase decision. To do that, YOU need to know everything about the offer - and why it’s what your audiences want and needs.
The Math. Time to start adding and subtracting so your communication about your products and offers is clear, straightforward, and direct. There are two questions to ask yourself during the math step of the copy equation:
■ What do I need to add to my knowledge base in order to write effectively?
■ What do I need to remove?
Add Product or Offer Research. You can’t effectively write about what you don’t know. If you’re writing about your own offers or products, this question will be answered a bit easier because most likely you live and breathe it.
If you’re writing for a client’s product or offer, however, you want fully immerse yourself into research. You’re going to want to know everything about:
What’s being sold
Why the audience should care
How the product or offer will improve or impact their lives
This means you’ll be deep-diving into your client’s content. Watch the webinars, read the lead magnets, study their social media content, sign up for their email sequences. You need to be able to describe the offer or product in your sleep, and you need to be able to describe it in a way that appeals clearly and specifically to the target market.
Subtract Your Client or Yourself. One of the biggest obstacles to sales I see on a regular basis is, well, the client themselves. When it comes to communicating about their offer or products, oftentimes they’re so close to it they struggle to present the offer or product in a way that resonates with what the audience needs.
If you’re writing for your own products or offers, this can be pretty challenging. You know why your audience wants or needs this, but they may not - not yet. It’s your job to step back and do your best to separate yourself from what YOU want them to know and find out what THEY want and need to know in order to buy.
What are their main pain points surrounding the offer or product?
Where are they at in the buyer’s journey RIGHT NOW in regards to what you’re selling?
What is the direct result they get from purchasing?
If you’re writing for a client, communicating the offer effectively can be a bit easier. You’re not inside the client’s head, so you don’t have to step out before putting yourself into the heads of the target audience and how the offer or product needs to be presented.
The Words. The Connection step of the copy equation hooks readers at the headline and opening statement or paragraph of the copy. Now that you have their attention, it’s time for Communication to step in and take over in the body of the copy.
If you’ve made it this far without jumping into writing the actual body of the copy, GOOD JOB! The temptation for any copywriter is to just start typing away. But I promise your copy will be SO much better AFTER doing the deep dive into your client’s offers or products and determining what research or information you need and where you can step back and remove the client’s presuppositions about what the target audience wants. As you begin to write, do so with these two final questions in mind:
■ Am I giving my audience the information they want and need in order to make a purchase decision?
■ Am I communicating in a way my audience understands and resonates with?
The Goal of Communication in Sales Copy. Communication informs and educates, and those are very important factors when it comes to interacting with your target audience. Good sales copy goes one step further uses words to educate and inform in order to achieve the number one goal of communication.
That goal is to create a desire for the product or offer. How? By giving the audience the information they want and need in order to make a purchase decision in a way the audience understands and resonates with. (Yes, see the two questions above. They’re so important I mentioned them twice.)
If you give them the info they want and need in a way that makes sense to who they are and where they’re at emotionally, physically, mentally, their response will be overwhelmingly positive. You’ll have them saying, “You GET me. I want to hear more!”
Here are some of my favorite ways to use words get to this point with your audience:
Incorporate Storytelling. Make your audience part of the sales journey by giving a little product or offer backstory, including an illustration or example, or using a story to engage them and draw them in.
Focus on the Features. Now is the time to make your product or offer shine brightly by writing a glowing description of everything that’s being offered, dialing down on the specific features that are going to enhance and improve their lives.
Emphasize the Result. Your coaching program offers 150 hours of top-trainings, a private Facebook group, and all the resources and printable PDFs they could ever ask for . . . so what? I know that sounds harsh, but there are hundreds of others out there offering similar products or programs. The thing that will make yours stand out and sell are the RESULTS the buyer will receive when they invest.
You might think the results are obvious. You might think the list of features makes it plain. It doesn’t. If you don’t describe the results they can expect, your audience is likely to bounce before they click.
Although it’s important to describe the features so the reader can make a well-informed decision, that’s not what people really want. They don’t buy for features. People buy for the RESULT. Make sure you give it to them.
When you walk through the steps of the copy equation, you’re not just using math with your words. You’re paving the road to sales by keeping the audience engaged (Connection) and informed (Communication).
There’s one more part to this equation though, and it’s the piece you’re probably the most interested in - Conversion. In Part Three of this series, I’ll be breaking down the final step of the equation and addressing how to deal with sales objections, what you can include that will make people jump out of their seats to buy, and how to craft a compelling call to action that’s impossible to turn down.
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