Writing To Overpower
Thackston © 2005
"We don't have
any competition. We're a truly a one-of-a-kind company." I've heard that
line from clients for years. I wish it were true, but it's simply not. In
fact, it wouldn't matter if you held a monopoly on your particular product
or service; you'd still have competition. How? Because your competition doesn't
come from a singular source.
There may be no other businesses that sell the product or service you sell,
but you still have competition. Once that's understood you have a greater
advantage when it comes to copywriting. You can recognize the other options
your customers have before them and can position yourself as the only logical
Know Who Your Competition Is
Competition comes from a variety of sources. Yes, there are those who sell
the same things you sell, but there competition comes in other forms, too.
The Same But Different
Charitable organizations are a good example of "same but different." Your
group may be the only one raising funds to save the purple spotted toad of
northern Antarctica but that doesn't mean you'll receive a flood of contributions
from everyone you call. Why? Because there are a million and a half other
charitable organizations out there all vying for the same money from the
None of these other groups is trying to raise funds to save the purple spotted
toad of northern Antarctica, but they are trying to get individuals to donate
to their causes. That makes them all your competition.
How do you get around this problem? Assuming your traffic generating efforts
or your mailing list is highly targeted, you'll want to make a strong case
for this little toad. In your copy, let the readers know why the purple spotted
toad is important to the environment (he's the only toad in existence that
carries antibodies that can cure cancer). Tell them why the world would be
a much sadder place without our bouncing little friend. (In addition to being
the only purple toad in the world, this guy is the only food the frosty wilder
beast will eat so he's vital to the food chain).
Just like with any other type of copywriting, list the benefits of the purple
spotted toad. Why is he important to nature, how will the ecology suffer
with his demise and what will happen to the rest of Antarctica if he becomes
extinct? All of these are vital to convincing your audience that they should
favor you with their contributions instead of some other organization.
Everyone In the Search Results
Go to your favorite search engine and type in "copywriting course" (without
the quotes). What do you see? There are a lot of options listed on the search
results page. Are all these products the same? By all means no!
Some are live workshops, others are e-courses, some focus strictly on one
type of copywriting leaving all others by the wayside, some are correspondence
courses while others are downloadable. But because they all appear in response
to the query "copywriting course," they all have the potential to take sales
away. Even if your site falls into the coveted #1 position, the others on
the page could potentially grab some of your sales.
So how do you get surfers to click on your site's listing? Your title and
description have to be first rate.
If your copywriting course has a specialty (sales letters, search engines,
catalogs, etc.) say so. Choose the most powerful benefit and a way to set
yourself apart (your USP) and use those in the tags for your search results
along with your keyphrases. Simply having keywords in your title and description
might get you ranked with the engine but it sure won't entice anybody to
click to your site.
There are options and substitutes for practically everything in the world.
If people don't want to pay for a computer and Internet access so they can
send email, they can write letters or call their friends and family. If customers
decide the cost of groceries is out of control, they can plant a garden and
eat a vegetarian diet. There are even alternatives to cars: taking a cab
(as most do in New York), bicycling (very popular in London) or walking (great
exercise). All of these alternatives can be competition for you.
To overcome the pull of other options, when you write copy be sure emphasize
why those other options really aren't viable. The sheer act of writing letters
takes time in and of itself. Then you have to mail the letter and wait. If
the person wants to respond, they have to get motivated enough to sit down
and write a reply and mail it. Then you wait again. The phone? Yes, people
could use the phone to talk like they always have, but what about when you
want to show the person you're talking with something? A picture of your
new grandchild or your new car can't be shown over the phone. You get the
Drop the egotistical viewpoint that you have no competition and take a good,
hard look around. Once you've realized that there is always an alternative
to buying what you offer, you'll be in a better mindset to write copy that
outlines why yours is the only option the prospect should consider.
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