Sing Your Own Praises

If you’re in marketing or advertising, this rule has undoubtedly already been tattooed onto your brain. For everyone else: you need to give people credible and compelling reasons to buy what you’re selling. And that means you have to think in terms of what’s in it for them.

WHAT IT MEANS: Every ad, brochure, e-mail, or direct mail is an opportunity to win customers and drive sales—but people don’t buy things to keep you in business, they buy what they think they need. Your challenge is to discover those needs and address them. To the extent that you can identify problems and position your products or services as solutions, your marketing messages will be more effective. Many business owners are so enamored with their offerings that they focus—to their disadvantage—on features.

For example, having an ergonomically designed shovel handle is a feature that provides the benefits of being able to work more comfortably and for a longer period without hand fatigue. Having the shovel zinc-plated means that it will never rust, which could mean that it’s the last shovel that you’ll ever have to buy. Let your benefits drive your ads, and your ads will drive more customers through your doors.

ACTION PLAN: Review all your ads and marketing materials. Are the benefits clearly stated? Could they be stated with more zing? Also, keep in mind that not all benefits have equal weight. Focus on the two or three main benefits for clarity and impact. You can include the others, but giving your readers too much information (at least when trying to spark initial interest) can dampen interest. You might very well have nine or ten great reasons to buy your product—but your prospects’ eyes are likely to glaze over before they get that far. Also, read a book on copywriting to gain a better sense of how the pros do it.

EVEN BETTER: Look for hidden product benefits—those that might never occur to you—by surveying or talking with customers. You can incorporate these newly found benefits into future ads, and you may even come away with some valuable and quotable customer testimonials!

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Sunday Tips”
Subscribe at and receive Rick’s “Million Dollar Rolodex”