Before you start writing your copy, you’ll need to determine your message. The following blueprint, developed by top copywriter Maria Veloso, works well to provide a framework.
Ask yourself these 5 questions:
- What is the Problem?
- Why Hasn’t the Problem Been Solved Yet?
- What is Possible?
- How Does Your Product/Service Make This Possible?
- What Should You Do Now?
Question 1: What is the Problem?
Identify the problem of your target audience and how it can be solved with your product or service. We’ll use this book and the problem we are trying to solve as an example.
Ecommerce is a highly profitable and growing field. However, it is also a field that requires commitment and a desire to learn and develop your skills. Without proper guidance many entrepreneurs could lose their savings or burn out before hitting profitability.
Existing guides offer tips and software reviews but do not offer a clear step-by-step framework that entrepreneurs can follow to take their sites from a tiny idea to a fully launched, profitable business that is geared for growth.
In addition, the field is changing and evolving so rapidly that people often have trouble keeping up with the pace of innovation and change. A $400 ecommerce manual you buy in September may be obsolete by December.
This is the problem we’re trying to solve.
Question 2: Why Hasn’t the Problem Been Solved Yet?
Why does this problem still exist? If the problem has been solved, you really have no point in selling your product or service online. Your copy must show why the problem still exists.
Think about why this problem is still a concern for your audience. Maybe existing solutions were too expensive, or not comprehensive enough, or hard-to-acquire. We found that many existing solutions to our problem were overpriced and over-promised. A $1,000 ecommerce seminar may motivate audience members, but won’t give them the step-by-step skills needed to take their businesses from launch to high-profitability.
In addition, many of the $400 ecommerce courses on the market that come in four 3-ring binders with recorded audio tapes are mostly hype – they contain a lot of useless padding but few real tips. And their nature as a printed physical product makes them obsolete very quickly.
Question 3: What is Possible?
What is possible now? Here you need to paint a picture of what life will be without the problem. Will customers be happier? Can they spend more time with their family? Will they be able to afford to travel more, acquire a bigger home, or send their children to better schools? Create a dream of what is possible once the problem is solved.
In our case, we want our audience to know that they can possess a comprehensive online guide that lists and organizes all the latest knowledge, tactics and tips they need to boost their site and trump their competition. This guide is updated several times per year.
You don’t need to fork out thousands of dollars to attend multiple ecommerce seminars or buy different guides from different gurus. Whatever you need to know is right here at your fingertips, summarized and organized for you to implement quickly.
Question 4: How Does Your Product/Service Make This Possible?
Here you describe what makes your product or service special and how it makes the picture you previously painted possible.
This is often called your product’s USP (unique selling proposition). What is a USP? A USP answers the question, “Why should I do business with you instead of your competitors?”
The USP clearly defines your competitive advantage and states what makes you better than your competitors. A powerful USP contains three parts:
- It makes a very clear proposition: If you buy this product, you will get this benefit.
- The proposition must be unique. Your competitors either can or cannot offer this benefit.
- The proposition must have value. The offer should be so compelling that it motivates people to buy.
For example, our USP is, “A personal, actionable, and constantly updated step-by-step ecommerce training system that rapidly transforms an average site into a site that sells. Guaranteed!”
Question 5: What Should You Do Now?
Once you’ve answered the 4 questions above you need to clearly state what you want your customers to do. Should they sign up to receive more information? Make a purchase? Pick up the phone and place the order?
This is called the “call to action.” Our call to action is to get customers to test us out by subscribing to receive free ecommerce tactics. Each tactic is then designed to impress customers sufficiently so that they decide to purchase the entire book.
Our entire site is designed to get customers to sign up. This is what we have determined to be the best call to action to generate sales.
Once you’ve answered these 5 questions you’re ready to turn your responses into a powerful piece of web copy.