The other day, one of my readers asked me the following question, which I found rather interesting: “Why should the author of a product be included in their sales copy?”
Seems like a pretty redundant question, right? Especially to any veteran copywriter or marketer worth their salt.
But the question didn't stop there. The reader offered the following insight, which explains why this issue was such an important one to him, and why I felt compelled to answer:
“Specifically, why do my readers need to know who I am or what I bring to the table? How does telling them my qualifications increase the strength of my copy? My product solves a medical condition. But I am not a doctor and I have never had this condition myself. I've spent a year researching the best method to cure this condition. I have a list of 20,000 people with this condition and converse with them a lot. I know pretty much everything there is to know about this condition and have made it into an ebook.”
The answer is quite simple, actually. In fact, in his attempt to defend himself (i.e., that he's not a doctor but has lots of experience and specialized knowledge about his market), the reader answered his own question. Let me explain…
Why should people buy from you?
This is not some new concept. John E. Kennedy, a Canadian fireman back in 1905, was the person who coined the term “Reasons-Why Advertising” in a book of the same name. (He was also the person who coined the famous term “salesmanship-in-print.”)
I'm a big fan of reasons-why advertising.
I always try to add as many reasons as possible in my copy, such as why the offer is made, why the author is making it, and why it's important to the reader.
Good, successful copy tells the reader why right upfront because they always ask. If you don't tell them, the irony is they're left wondering why you left it out. It is almost always a direct advantage to tell your prospects why they should buy from you.
Additionally, people want to know five different types of reasons. They are:
- Why you (the reader)
- Why me (the author)
- Why this (the offer)
- Why now (the urgency)
- Why this price (the value)
1. Why You?
Your copy should qualify the reader for the product you're selling and the offer you're making. As part of this qualification process, it should address why the reader is targeted to, and suited for, them — including in reading the copy in the first place.
For example, why is this important to them? Why is this copy, product, or offer perfect for them? Who is it not appropriate for? In other words, who should not read the copy?
2. Why Me?
Credentialization is an important element in copy. Your credentials — as the author, seller, or provider — are immensely important to build credibility and lower buyer resistance, particularly in this day and age of scams, cynicism, and competitiveness.
Tell your readers why they should read what you have to say. Whether you're an accredited expert or not, the more reasons you give, then the more credible you are, the more believable your copy is, and the more apt people are to buy from you.
(This is the section to which the reader's question above relates, and I'll come back to this in a moment as it is important — especially as it pertains to the lack of credentials.)
3. Why This?
Are you selling this product just to make money? Perhaps. But whether making money is the main reason or not, either directly or indirectly, your product exists and your offer is made for specific reasons. So why not put them in your copy?
Don't assume your reader knows or doesn't care about them, no matter how trivial you may think they are. If you don't include them in your copy, left to their own devices your readers will be the ones making assumptions. (And they won't all be positive.)
4. Why Now?
Jim Rohn said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Whether it's direct (such as a deadline or limitation) or implied (such as missing out on something important), adding scarcity and reasons to act now is important.
But by itself, urgency is almost always suspect. So back it up with reasons why your readers should act now. Don't be shy in explaining why they must take advantage of the offer immediately, or what the consequences are if they don't.
5. Why This Price?
Why did you price your product or make the offer the way you did? Perhaps your price is based on industry averages. Or you're doing a clearance sale to make way for new stock. Maybe your product is new and you're offering an introductory price.
But do your readers know? Do they, really?
Don't be afraid to tell your readers why they should pay what you're asking for. Why is it valuable to them? At least compare your price to the ultimate cost of either buying an alternative (perhaps even competing) product, or not buying your product at all.
The bottom-line? The most important word in persuasion, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, is not “you” or “free.”
The most important word in persuasion is “because.”
Now, let me go back to the original question…
In this case, this person has quite a distinct selling point. They are what is referred to as the “anti-authority.” Non-experts. Lay people. And the fact that they are not a doctor, which means they are more like their readers, can be positioned as a major advantage.
They did all this research from a layperson's perspective. They did all the legwork for their readers, which not only saves them time but also is perceived as less biased.
They did all the searching for them. They analyzed all the data (from an outsider's vantage point) and cherrypicked the best answers. And they condensed and distilled their findings into one, easy-to-read, easy-to-find place.
Add to that the fact they conversed with over 20,000 people afflicted with this condition and know almost everything about it, makes them a lot more credible than some general practitioner who may have come across just a few hundred cases in their practice.
So this person is loaded with credentials, particularly unique ones, that definitely shouldn't be avoided or hidden from the reader. In fact, it should be not only communicated but also highlighted as a major benefit in the copy.
So, to the question “why you?” Because in the mind of the reader, you are the expert on this subject. Use your unique credibility and experience as a major selling point.
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.