You Need to Ask this Question About Your Customers


I got a sales letter through the door this weekend. Here’s how it starts:


Don’t start your sales letters this way

And here’s the thing:

I don’t care that this company is delighted to assist me with marketing my property (if I wanted to, which I don’t).

I don’t care that they’d welcome the opportunity to provide me with a ‘dynamic marketing strategy’ (whatever that is).

And I don’t care that their offices are fabulous.

This estate agent has made a fundamental error – and unfortunately it’s all too common when it comes to business’ copy.

They think I care about them. I don’t. I care about me.

When your prospects read your copy, they subconsciously ask one question: ‘What’s in it for me?’

So when you’re writing copy, ask yourself this key question: ‘What’s in it for the customer?’

Then frame your copy around the answer.

Think of it this way. Imagine you’re at a party. A complete stranger walks up to you and immediately starts talking about himself. How long before you think, ‘I want to get away from this guy’?

Now imagine he comes up to you and says, ‘Hi! I hear you run an interesting business. Can you tell me about it?’ With that prompting, you’re more than happy to have a conversation.

When you start your copy like the estate agent above, you’re like the annoying party guest no one wants to talk to. (Only when it’s in an email, letter, web page, brochure or advert, all customers have to do is stop reading. You had seconds to capture their attention, and you failed.)

When you start your copy with what’s in it for the customer, you’re the party guest everyone thinks is a brilliant conversationalist and an empathetic listener.

Which would you rather be?

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I’m a Birmingham-based freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps companies achieve business goals. My previous experience includes copywriting and head of content roles at award-winning agencies. I'm also a member (and on the committee) of The Professional Copywriters' Network, and am inbound and HubSpot certified.

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