Eight Copy Glitches that Dry-Gulch Results
5. FAILING TO SELL PROSPECTS ON READING THE ADVERTISING. Copywriters have two missions. The major one is to generate response. The second one is to convince prospects about the value of the advertising itself. In other words, provide an answer to the question: “Why should I bother reading this? What’s in it for me?” Failure to accomplish this mission is not a failure to attract attention. This glitch occurs after gaining attention, and is a much deeper problem. In classic direct mail, if the envelope serves as the attention-getter, it is the content of the Johnson box or first paragraph that tells prospects why they should be interested enough to read on.
6. BURYING THE DIFFERENTIAL ADVANTAGE. One step above the writers in the “this widget has 23 bevels, 114 screws” school are those who have learned that it’s a good thing to turn features into user benefits. But they haven’t learned that it serves no purpose to throw 50 benefits at the prospect at once, not that all benefits are not equal. Even writers who know to look for primary and secondary benefits unfortunately have not learned (or don’t and never will have the instincts) to distinguish between primary and secondary.
7. USING TESTIMONIALS IN THE WRONG WAY OR TO THE WRONG AUDIENCE. It was Milt Pierce who first suggested adding “C” (for credibility) to the old “AIDA” formula. A classic way to do that is with testimonials. But be careful how you use them. Don’t replace your selling thrust with testimonials; use them to augment your thrust. Don’t use the ones that read as if they were written by you; use real ones, ones that are believable to your particular audience. “Pioneers” are not often influenced by other people’s opinions and might resent that kind of approach. If your prospects are “emulators,” however, testimonials can be extremely effective.