Three Questions Your Copy Must Answer to Succeed

Three Questions Your Copy Must Answer to Succeed

Reader Comments (34)

  1. Amen! This is one of the best articles on building trust and a sense of urgency I have seen. Trust takes time – but you can create an instant “Trust Connect” that you have described with these strategies that will at least start the process of building it. Great stuff.

  2. Brian? If you could be so kind as to edit the typo in section 1, paragraph four, I’d be in your debt. Less people will catch me with my pants down and the grammar nazis will be gentler.

    To those who did catch the typo, milles mercis (that’s a big thank you.) I wrote this post while ill, so I forgive myself. (Hey, I’m human!)

  3. Letting other people do the talking for you is another way to convince a client to go with you. A great client list or portfolio, client testimonials, comments, and a lively social media presence all speak volumes without you having to say a thing.

    Also, it’s worth noting that your second point has less to do with talent and much more to do with business, service, and marketing savvy than most people realize. One of the biggest complaints people have about freelancers is that they are unreliable. Be reliable and you have the edge over most of your competition.

    Another wonderful article, James! 🙂

  4. Thanks James, particularly for the point about why customers should buy now.

    And… Michael Martine makes a nice point about good word of mouth.

    As a freelancer I get most of my work via referrals. But thanks to Copyblogger and some other resources, I’ve re-worded a lot of the copy on my art website so that it’s “you” oriented, not so much me, me, me.

  5. Watch out, Brian.

    James’ stated goal is to take over Copyblogger one day. He keeps writing stuff like this and you keep publishing it, you might actually be in danger of losing your seat;)

    I especially like the third point – promoting the point of decision with your copy. There’s nothing that sells like a sense of urgency.

    Great stuff, James.

    Seriously, Brian. Hear me, bro.

  6. James,
    Nice twist on the tried and tested sales triumvirate: 1) build rapport 2) establish need 3) establish urgency.

    It does work!

    As far as telling a story to communicate your USP goes, I couldn’t agree more. One of my clients is an asphalt repair company, and when doing sales calls on his behalf, I often explain what “a lot of guys do”, then immediately contrast with “what we do differently and why that matters.”

    The story structure and the effective use of contrast works like a charm every single time (combined with a little rapport building and a limited-time discount to cover the other two bases.)


    Daniel Smith
    Smithereens Blog:
    Productivity, Persuasion & Prose

  7. Don’t worry Bob, because I’m not.

    James, what do you notice that’s different about the order of your three questions at publication? So close, grasshopper… 🙂

  8. About point 2 — As marketers, this is the key, because there are going to be times where our analysis of what we truly “are” will be contrary to our current positioning and management strategies. At this point, it’s a good idea to get one or two of the VP’s together (Sales and Marketing, ostensibly) and talk about if we’re really getting at the heart of the matter, or we’re simply regurgitating standard company dogma.

  9. “Discuss the domino effect of change: the good that will happen immediately, the nice stuff that might happen as a side effect and the change that might happen in the future.”

    Painting a picture, helping them see themselves there. I like this.

  10. James;

    A good post that answers the three marketing/sales questions, why, why you, and why now.

    I would like to expand on the why now part of this conversation. Now is very often related to a ‘Trigger Event’. These events fall into three categories:

    1) A bad experience: Usually caused by an upgrade/ modification in the product or service being sold, a change in the people dealing with the customer, or a material change in the supplier (like a merger)

    2) A change or transition: Usually a change in people on the customer side, a change in location, or a change in priorities

    3) Awareness: Usually a new awareness of a legal reason to change (statutory or regulatory), an awareness of a way to reduce risk, or a way to dramatic change in economics (productivity or expenses)

  11. Great post. David says that’s this is going to become his favorite blog. It is mine for the past few months.

    Another small typo I noticed :
    We like things just they way they are (the firtst ‘they’ should be ‘the’)

  12. It is a really interesting posting. However, I would say that it is not only for the copy, I would say that the entire objective of the communication with the customer will be focus on this.

    For example if you are developing a landing page, the design should reinforce this copy. I see all working as an integral solution, all the elements of the pages should answer your three key questions:

    1. Why Do I Really Need This?
    2. Why Should I Choose You?
    3. Why Should I Decide Now?

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