What Do You Do When Your Product Isn’t Different?

What Do You Do When Your Product Isn’t Different?

Differentiating your product or service from the competition gives you the upper hand.

It piques interest.

It helps you win business.

But what do you do when you know – in your heart of hearts – that your business does not have a strong differentiator?

That’s where great messaging comes in.

Great messaging creates a niche.

     Example: You get rid of pain so fast you’ll fast-track through life.

Weak messaging sounds as if it could belong to any product or service – and doesn’t create a product distinction.

     Example: Our product relieves muscle cramps, joint pain, and headaches.

Great messaging needs no further explanation. It’s informal, original, and sets your product apart from your competition.

In the example above our product becomes the “fast-track pain reliever” – a memorable claim no other pain reliever uses.



See what great messaging can do for your business.

If you want to make more money, we will help you find your niche – and then help you fill it with Words that Sell.

Call now for a complimentary consultation. 917-670-3554.

Crafting Your Integrated Messaging Strategy

Crafting Your Integrated Messaging Strategy

What is an integrated messaging strategy?

It’s pretty simple, really.

It means that all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together so that they work in harmony across all media platforms. In other words, your brand’s main message is consistently communicated every time a prospect or customer sees or hears from you, and your unique differentiator is at the core of every message. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing ideas that help you get clarity around your messaging, as well as simple and cost effective ideas for integrating consistent messaging across all marketing platforms – website, social media, email, print, blogs, etc. 

Today, we’ll talk about features vs. benefits. 

This is the best explanation of features vs benefits I’ve ever seen. Nobody really cares if Coke is low in calories. What we care about is knowing that if we drink Diet Coke as opposed to a sugary drink, we won’t gain weight, and we’ll look better in our clothes. 

Look for the Coke message for your brand. What do you do for your customer? How does your service make them feel, look, act? Does it help them become more successful in business, save money, or make money? That is your story – and you need to stick to it, across every media platform. This will ensure that your readers can always rely upon a consistent, authentic message about your brand.  

What’s Wrong with Giving Good Service?

What’s Wrong with Giving Good Service?

There’s nothing wrong with good old fashioned excellent service.

After all, American commerce is built upon it.

But when you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you have to find something else.

You need something bigger, better, more unique.

We’ve spent the last decade helping clients find their unique differentiators, which we then use as their messaging base.

And I want to share what we share with them.

Find Your Competitive Edge

– Write down all of your clients’ pain points
– Next to each, list how you solve their problems
– In the third column, note which ones competitors say they solve – and how
– Now review the lists.
– Whatever you solve (and your competitors do not) is your unique differentiator.
– Promote it.
– Advertise it.
– Lead with it.

P.S. What are your pain points? I’d love to hear from you.

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

Do You Know What Keeps Your Customers Up at Night?

When it comes to connecting with prospects, we all face the same problem. Even the greatest, most innovative products can sit on the shelf if prospects don’t trust the seller.

Acknowledging What Keeps Your Prospects Up at Night Is Your Best Sales Opportunity

In order to build trust, always, always, always address your prospects greatest pain points or problem areas first. Then – later – offer your unique solution.

This assures prospects of two things:

– You understand them and their business problems
– You may very well have the right solution, and they probably will be willing to listen to you. 

Too often I see home pages totally devoted to product features and claims. Sure you’re letting readers know what business you’re in, but there is nothing really to resonate with readers, to grab and maintain reader interest. 

It’s important that your website first convey your understanding of the needs of your target market. It should not be all about you, your company, or what you are selling.

There are opportunities to “sell” your products or services on your website. Just do it respectfully, within the context of benefiting the reader. 

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I Get Criticized for this ALL the Time

I interrupt people. I know. It’s a horrible habit – which I’ve tried to break. And I’ve apologized over and over.

There is one time, however, that interrupting is a good thing – and that is in business writing. It’s a professional copywriter’s technique called pattern interrupt. And it will dramatically increase the chances of getting your sales letters and proposals read all the way to the end.

Here’s The Idea

When was the last time you listened to the seat belt announcement on an airplane?

Most of us ignore it completely. Couldn’t tell you what was said. If you are used to seeing or reading something a certain way over and over again, you get trained to ignore it.

It’s the same thing in business writing. Readers expect paragraph after paragraph after paragraph. They get bored and go on autopilot. You don’t want that. You want reader’s attention. Break the pattern and insert things like testimonials, sidebars, and callouts throughout your narrative that temporarily interrupts the pattern. I promise it will help keep your readers attention all the way to the end.

P.S. When you’re looking to take the sales performance of your landing pages … squeeze pages … emails … sales letters … ads … websites … videos … content marketing … and other online and offline promotions to the next level … just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com. No obligation, of course.

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

5 Things to Look For When Hiring a Copywriter

The heart and soul of marketing is the sales copy.

Writing compelling, congruent, persuasive sales copy is a skill, hard-earned over time.

“Great copywriting gets readers focused on the message, and then
deftly carries them along on an emotional journey – cleverly disguised
as the presentation of facts – until it delivers them at the choice point (to buy, or not to buy), ready to make a commitment.”
-Entrepreneur Magazine

When it comes to great copywriting, it is better to hire a professional copywriter – unless you think you have the time, energy, and flair to give it a try yourself.

The question is, who do you hire and how do you know it will be a good fit and you’ll get your money’s worth?

So let’s cut to the chase.

Here are 5 top things you should look for – and some of this might surprise you.

  1. First of all, a great copywriter needs to have stellar SALES writing skills. They need to know how to write with a marketing twist. This is different than writing books, or articles, or white papers. Sales copywriting, sometimes called direct response copywriting, is a very specific specialty. You need to determine if the copywriter you’re considering has a marketing and sales orientation.
  2. A great copywriter needs to have excellent RESEARCH skills.
  3. They must be able to write with EMPATHY – to really be able to speak to the emotions of your buyer and demonstrate an understanding of the user experience.
  4. They need to be able to create something NEW and IMPACTFUL, even if it’s old news.
  5. Most of all, copywriters tell stories – your story, which requires CREATIVE MINDS and the ability to spin a narrative – even for the most technical business.

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project.
No obligation, of course.

It’s Come to This!

It’s Come to This!

We’re all marketing to goldfish.

The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.

Human beings lose interest after 8 seconds.

That’s right – the digital age has left us all with less focus than goldfish.

And every single minute there are:

  • 1400 new blog posts
  • 204 million emails
  • 2.5 million new social media shares
  • 277,000 tweets
  • 72 hours of new video on YouTube

How can you possibly compete? It is almost overwhelming to grab and keep reader attention for more than 8 seconds.

But it can be done – by following 5 simple steps:
Step 1: Grab attention with a splashy headline (punchy … provocative)
Step 2: Keep attention with a killer first paragraph
Step 3: Follow the 3-sentence rule (no more than 3 sentences in each paragraph)
Step 4: Use images and graphs
Step 5: Abide by the 3S’s – short sentences, short paragraphs, simple words

PS. And now congratulate yourself for concentrating long enough to make it through this article. ?

Not quite sure whether your copy is breaking through the constant barrage of content every minute?

My Copy Critique Service can help you eliminate mistakes, strengthen headlines and copy, and launch your campaign with greater confidence. Just call me at 917-670-3554 or email me the details to Claire@Clairestoddard.com for a free estimate. No obligation, of course.

When It’s Gone, That’s It! – Rule #6

When It’s Gone, That’s It! – Rule #6

It’s a quirk of human nature. Even when something has little appeal, it becomes more attractive when we think we might miss it.

6 weeks ago, I began a series on the concept of psychological triggers in human behavior that lead to predictable outcomes – remember my Mama Turkey example?

There are what we call the 6 Pillars of Persuasion (behavioral triggers) that bring people to ‘yes’ – a huge benefit when trying to convert prospects to your product.

I use them in my copywriting business all the time and the results are startling.

This is the 6th and final Pillar of Persuasion, and it is known as Gone.

The Fear Of Missing Out plays a large role in human decision-making. There is evidence that shows people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than gaining something.

Homeowners told how much money they could lose from inadequate insulation are more likely to insulate their homes than those told how much money they could save.

When creating your own Words that Sell, here are some trigger words that implant the idea in readers’ minds that they could miss out if they don’t act NOW:

  • When it’s gone, that’s it!
  • Limited number left
  • There is a deadline
  •  Limited availability
  • Call NOW
  • Pop-up sale only today
  • Don’t Wait

How many more can you name?

Previous Persuasion Pillars
1. Take and Give
2. Doubling Down
3. Social Proof
4. How Can I Get You to Like Me?
5. Authority

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project
No obligation, of course.

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #5: Authority

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #5: Authority

The 5th in a series on psychological triggers that bring people to ‘yes’ – a huge benefit when writing copy that converts. This week’s psychological trigger is called Authority.

Nothing triggers confidence quite like believing somebody knows what he or she is talking about. In fact, it can be downright liberating. To a certain extent, you can suspend disbelief.

Similarly, establishing your business as an authority in its field can get prospects to trust you and ultimately buy from you.

Writing expert content is a great way to:

  • Be seen as an authority
  • Build a brand
  • Stand out among competition
  • Influence prospects to try your product

Getting Started
It’s simple – and it’s not. You need to create content that is helpful to your target market, and appeals to their wants, needs, and challenges.

It’s simple because, as an expert, you can easily draw on the knowledge that you need to create content.

It’s not so simple because, to make an impact, you have to create a ton of content. And that is time consuming!

Nevertheless, it’s critical to establish your business as knowledgeable, innovative, and leading-edge.

As we look to 4th quarter 2018, why not choose one of the following authority-driven pieces of content, and resolve to create it by the end of the year?

1. Write a book
2. Publish articles, white papers, workbooks – and post them to your website
3. Send information-driven emails – weekly
4. Develop two or three signature speeches and speak – everywhere
5. Create a catchy tagline that claims your expertise

Previous Persuasion Pillars (triggers)
1. Take and Give
2. Doubling Down
3. Social Proof
4. How Can I Get You to Like Me?

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project
No obligation, of course.

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #4: Liking

Converting Readers to ‘Yes’ – Rule #4: Liking

How can I get you to like me when all we’ve ever done is email?

There is nothing more powerful in making a sale than liking the sales person.

Think about it. Don’t we all tend to give business to people we know and like? It’s human nature.

This is tough when it comes to sales writing. You don’t have the advantage of a firm handshake, eye-to-eye contact, your personality shining through.

This is the 4th in a series on psychological triggers that lead to predictable outcomes – and MORE SALES.

This week’s trigger is called Liking.

This is how it works: be somebody people would like to buy from. Simple? No. But not that hard either.

The thing is how do you get prospects to think of you as a friend when you are primarily communicating in writing? After all most sales meetings nowadays are by email or maybe online presentation.

One thing I know for sure – you have to stay in front of your customer with honest, helpful, friendly information – at least 3-4 times per month – and with far more free information than selling – roughly 80% free information / 20% sales.

Where do you get ideas for all that content? Here are a few things you might not have thought of:

1. A letter from you telling them how much you like and appreciate them
2. Customer spotlights
3. Feature stories that link your company to current events
4. Frequently asked questions about your industry – and answers
5. Interviews with thought-leaders and up-and-comers
6. Focus on employee or employees
7. Company volunteer projects
8. Holiday greetings
9. Photos from a recent business event
10. Tips that make their lives and jobs easier

Previous Persuasion Pillars
1. Take and Give
2. Doubling Down
3. Social Proof 

Why not schedule a 15-minute CLAIREty CALL with me?
Get a free estimate on your copywriting project
No obligation, of course.