Businesses have been boring people with their sales copy since the stock photo was invented. Probably longer.
Which is fine. There is a place for that. Keep your brochures. Keep your 45-minute PowerPoint presentation. Explain to me every aspect of your product or service… your mission statement, history, every feature and benefit, that picture of your founder with his arms folded.
That stuff is great… but don’t bring that shiz to social media. You see, I’m on social media to STOP thinking. I’m there to feel. Do you have anything that makes me feel something about your business or the problem you solve in my life?
No? Ok, let’s work on that.
If you’ve been hanging out around DigitalMarketer for any length of time, you’ve heard someone mention Desmond Morris and the 12 Stages of Human Intimacy, and about how every interaction is human to human. Not B2C or B2B. It don’t matter what you’re sellin’.
Great copy hits folks at a real, human level. It doesn’t ask for something right off the bat. If you make me FEEL something, then I’ll give myself permission to start THINKING about what you sell.
Easier said than done, amiright? It’s tough!
Here are some tips to get out of your spreadsheet and start thinking about your product or service like an actual human who might buy it.
Numero Uno: Focus on Stage Five of the Customer Value Journey (Excite)
Listen, if you’re not familiar with the Customer Value Journey, stop reading this article and go here right now.
Are you up to speed? Excellent.
As a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, we’ve had the opportunity of building out many Customer Value Journeys for our clients. Stage five is the Excite phase. It tends to be difficult for some businesses to explain why people get excited about them.
Kinda sad, right?
They know why they are excited but have a hard time articulating why their customer might be.
This is all about the “A-Ha Moment”. It’s your secret sauce, it’s the thing that turns your product/service from a “nice to have” to a “must-have.”
You must know what this is for your business. And if you say “we’re the best” I will reach through this screen and slap you. To quote Sally Hogshead “Different is Better Than Better.”
Once you understand this key element of your business – you will be free from trying to explain everything right off the bat. You will have focus. And most importantly, you will have the power to make people EXCITED (that’s a feeling!).
Once they’re excited, you have their attention, and you can hand them a brochure and fold your arms in a power pose. Just kidding. Power poses are for boy bands. Don’t do that. Unless you’re in a boy band. Or a doctor. Why do doctors love to fold their arms in photos?
Numero Dos: Understand That the Hero is Not You
It seems like if you have to sell something you have to talk about yourself, right?
NO, you jerk – you’re so self-centered, geez.
You eventually do have to talk about yourself to sell your stuff. But you need to position yourself as the GUIDE. You are Yoda. You are Gandalf. And I am a nerd.
Your customer is the hero, and they have a villain: a problem in their life which you get to show them how to defeat. Your product is their Excalibur. It’s way more exciting than your brochure.
Keep this in mind in the imagery that you use on your website, social channels, or anywhere else. The customer is the focus. And it is usually more effective to focus on the desired after-state at the end of the journey than the miserable before-state they find themselves in right now.
In the movie poster, it’s them in the foreground holding Excalibur (your product) triumphantly over their head, and you are in the background smiling like a proud parent (arms folded of course).
Story is a powerful tool to make someone feel something. Humans are drawn to stories.
If you want to know more about learning how to tell a story around your business, Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand is required reading.
Here’s a picture of Donald Miller from a Forbes article. (ahem… arms)
Numero Tres: Your Customers Are Your Best Writers (cheat code)
So if your customer is the hero and you want to write copy that sounds more like your hero… to find more heroes… look no further than your reviews. They are a Gold Mine.
Spend some time reading every review that you can. You’ll not only learn what is important to your customers (great hints here for some A-Ha Moments), but you’ll learn how to talk like them.
And since reviews are public and pretty much fair game – you can just use their actual words in your copy. Emojis and all. It’s like cheating.
Our agency creates video ads. We write scripts and hire a lot of smart funny people. But the best words we use and most effective sales copy often come straight from reviews.
So press up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, and then start using reviews in your marketing! You’re now INVINCIBLE!
Numero Cuatro: Heighten Reality
Good content informs or entertains. Great content does both. But remember, make them feel something first (as a human) so they give themselves permission to think about you.
While it may not be appropriate for every audience, most businesses can stand to bring a little levity, a little magic, a few giggles to their content.
As I said, we make video ads and we’ve found that the easiest way to do that is with cheap laughs. You know, stuff that worked on the playground. I’m talking toots. I’m talking about falling down the stairs. That kind of stuff.
Sophisticated advice, no?
Any other marketing blogs tell you to use more toots?
Here’s the kicker – it has to support the sale. Your jokes have to make sense within the world of your hero, their villain, and you, the wise guide with the plan for victory.
As long as everything is in the context of your sales message – don’t be shy. Make your characters zany. Use costumes, special effects, make everything in the world you are creating just a little “bigger” than it would be in the real world. The smell is worse. The cowboy hat is taller. The accent is more exaggerated.
You can also personify abstract things. Like All-State did with Mayhem, or like we did with Pain
Numero Cinco: Hire Funny People
By this point in the article, you either think I’m mildly amusing or a complete idiot. Both are true.
When this fact dawned on me, I realized that we needed to hire some people that were both funnier and smarter than me to help write scripts for our video ads.
It’s the best thing we ever did.
You likely have people on your team that are very good at sales and marketing, but you probably don’t have anyone that can write comedy.
Guess which one is easier to teach?
Hire some freelance comedians and host a Writer’s Retreat. They are a game-changer.
Here’s how we run ours:
- Get an Airbnb for a couple of days.
- All the writers stay on site.
- Provide lots of food and drinks, treat them well.
- On Day 1, go over the critical sales messages and value propositions.
- That night, without influencing each other, each writer comes up with an original concept.
- The next day is spent with everyone collaborating to make one script the best it can be.
- Choosing a script to work on is hard, but you walk away with a bunch of other concepts you can use later.
Comedians are often able to bring a fresh and unexpected perspective that can grab attention. They aren’t as close to it as we are, and frankly, they don’t care as much about how many sales the video will generate. That’s an asset for this type of work – they can focus on the more human, story-driven aspects.
Another game-changer for us: hire improv actors for your video. They just approach things differently and will add another layer to your script that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
We’ve come a long way together. I hope this article has helped you see some ways that your business can put a more human face on your messaging. If you want to talk more about it, we’d love to. Check us out at GravityDigital.com
I’ll leave you with a photo of our beloved founder Casey.
As a Digital Marketer Certified Partner and Creative Director at Gravity Digital, Matt Brannon helps create funny, stuff-selling videos for direct to consumer brands.