Don’t skip steps.
The steps you set up for yourself are very important. Each one is a building block in the process to creating a quality product, whatever your product or service is.
I mention this because I realized this week that I had skipped a very important step in my writing process. I didn’t go through and list out features and benefits for a client’s project I was working on.
Those features and benefits really lay out the foundation of much of my writing, so skipping them was a big mistake. Once I took the time to do this very simple exercise, I was much happier with what I wrote as a first draft for the client in question.
I’ll talk more about this process later in this post.
For now, I want to talk about creating quality products.
Your Product is a Reflection of Your Business
Whether you’re a freelancer or a business owner, your product or service is pretty much your livelihood. If you don’t create a quality product or give excellent service, you’re doomed to fail.
Yes, some folks get away with providing shoddy service or a sub-par product and survive for years. But that’s not a great business model. Don’t be that person.
Instead, make sure you create a process that ensures you provide the best product or service possible, and stick to that process. Don’t cut corners.
Give that extra little bit of effort that will make your customers think, “Hey, I really got my money’s worth here.” Or, “Hey, that person was wonderful to work with. They went the extra mile to make sure I was happy and got what I wanted.”
Why do I say this?
Because I’ve seen what happens when you cut corners, from both sides of the equation.
As a customer, I’ve experienced what happens when I’m not happy with a product or service. I never do business with that company again, and in some cases, I’m unwilling to do business with any companies that seem similar to the one I was burned by.
I also don’t recommend that company to anyone. If my experience is really bad, I’ll tell people about that experience to warn them off from having the same problems. Companies that give bad service or create bad products get bad reputations.
As a freelancer, I’ve seen how upset customers get when they feel I haven’t done right by them, whether it was accidental or just part of the process. It’s not pretty, and it can do a lot of damage to your reputation, and to your business.
Your best advertising is through word of mouth. You need to protect your reputation whenever and wherever possible.
So don’t skip steps. Go through every step in your process. Do it right and do it well. I can’t guarantee that every single customer will be happy with what you’ve done. It is impossible to please absolutely everyone.
But generally speaking, if you follow my advice, you’ll satisfy the majority of your customers.
Those you don’t satisfy, you may not want as customers. That happens.
So long as you have done your best and you do everything you can to rectify the problem, including offering a refund, you can walk away from a bad customer relationship with your head held high. Most people will respect this. Those that don’t, you probably don’t want them as customers either.
Okay, stepping off my soap box now.
Here’s the step I realized I skipped. I went back and ran through this exercise and my writing went much more smoothly.
Features vs. Benefits
Every copywriter knows about the whole “features vs benefits” issue. It’s not enough to just talk about the features of a product. You have to talk about how a customer will benefit from that feature to convince them the product is worth their money and time. Basically, you have to answer the question your customer is asking, “What’s in it for me?”
A feature is something that is true about the product.
A benefit is something the product does to make a customer’s life better, easier or more enjoyable.
To show you how to compare the two, I’m going to use duct tape. It’s easy and everyone knows what it is.
- Feature: Duct tape is made of fabric.
- Benefit: That makes it more flexible and easier to apply to odd shapes or surfaces.
- Feature: Duct tape sticks to pretty much anything.
- Benefit: You can use duct tape repair almost everything. (Ironically, according to a report I heard on NPR years ago, the thing duct tape is not so great at: repairing ducts.)
That’s the easy part of the exercise. Here’s the part that is a bit harder, but gives that extra something so I deliver a quality product.
Ask the Question, “So What?”
This is a great exercise and I highly recommend using it in all of your marketing efforts.
What you’re doing here is finding that deeper benefit. The concern or desire that will really strike home with your prospective customer.
Marketing isn’t about selling logic, it’s about selling emotions. So instead of trying to rationalize your product’s benefit, you touch a deeper chord and present your product as the solution.
Again, I’ll use duct tape as my example.
Feature: Duct tape can be used to repair almost anything.
Benefit: If you have a roll of duct tape on hand, you can make a quick repair to your car and keep driving.
Deeper Benefit: If your car blows a hose in the middle of nowhere, you can fix the problem with duct tape. Then you can drive yourself to your destination, or to a repair shop, where you are safe and sound.
The emotion I appealed to here is the need to feel safe. I presented duct tape as the solution to the problem.
You can do this exercise with any product or service, and you should. It will make your copywriting better and your offer more appealing.
To learn more about the “So What?” method of finding deeper benefits, download your free guide by clicking the button below.
So, like I said earlier, don’t skip steps.
Make sure you’re giving your customer the best possible product at all times. Everyone will benefit, especially you.
What are the important steps in your process that you never skip? Tell me about them in the comments below.