How to Write Marketing Copy: 4 Steps to Communicate Your Edge

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Ready, Fire, Aim" by Michael Masterson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have an excellent product that deserves excellent marketing copy? What’s the best way to capture your product’s essence in words?

To succeed in business, you must effectively market and sell your product or service. Not only must you refine what your product or service is, but you must also refine how you present it. In Ready, Fire, Aim, Michael Masterson provides a four-step strategy to do that.

Read more to learn how to write marketing copy in four simple steps.

How to Write Marketing Copy

Once you have a few variations of your product or service, create marketing copy for each one. Masterson shows how to write marketing copy with a four-part process.

Step #1: Identify Your Company’s Edge

First, list all of the ways your business is unique, noting how your business is better than others in your industry.

(Shortform note: According to William M. Luther (The Marketing Plan), emphasizing what your business does better than your competitors helps differentiate both your product and your business in a way that appeals to customers. To achieve this, consider how you want customers to perceive your business and what will influence them to choose you over competitors. For example, brands that target eco-conscious customers emphasize how much they donate to environmental programs. This implies that they’re more environmentally friendly than other businesses and care more about what matters to customers.)

Step #2: Identify Your Product’s Benefits

Next, pick one of your potential products or services, and list all of the ways it will benefit customers.

(Shortform note: Brian Tracy (The Psychology of Selling) offers advice for defining the benefits of your offer: Focus on what the product does rather than what it is. He explains that customers don’t care about product features or technical specifications. Rather, they only care about the end result—what advantages they’ll enjoy after buying the product. For example, a laptop with a high-speed processor (a feature) benefits customers by increasing their productivity and enabling seamless multitasking.)

Step #3: Identify Your Combined Advantage

The third step is to choose one unique business quality and one product or service benefit from the above lists that you think will appeal most to potential customers. Create marketing copy that emphasizes exactly why customers should care about these two points.

(Shortform note: Eugene M. Schwartz (Breakthrough Advertising) suggests that you can convince customers to care about your offer by provoking a feeling of dissatisfaction. Achieve this by following a three-step process. First, consider who your customers aspire to be. Second, convince them that they’re currently very unlike this. Finally, show them how your offer will help them become their aspirational self. For example, for customers who aspire to be eco-friendly, include statements such as, “Tired of compromising on your values when buying toys for your children?” and, “With these plushies, you’ll feel good knowing that you’re positively impacting the environment and your child’s health.”)

Step #4: Provide Testimonials

Last, provide testimonials or endorsements to prove your claims.

Example: If your business sells plush toys, your unique quality may be that you’re the only business manufacturing toys solely from organic materials. Customers should care about this because other toys expose their children to harmful toxins. Your toys will benefit children by promoting healthy playtime and improving well-being. You back up your claim by providing three satisfied customer testimonials confirming the positive effects of your toys on their children’s health and behavior.

(Shortform note: Marketing experts confirm that testimonials and endorsements are an effective way to establish customer trust and increase sales. They explain that effective endorsements hinge on two factors. First, an endorsement’s success depends on how well you know your potential customers’ interests—this guides your decisions about what type of expert or endorser to look for. For example, if you know that your customers care about the environment, you’ll look for someone who has already expressed an interest in similar issues. Second, an effective endorsement depends on how authentic the endorsement seems—the easier it is for people to believe that the endorser actually uses your product or service, the more appealing it will be.)

How to Write Marketing Copy: 4 Steps to Communicate Your Edge

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  • The four stages of development every successful business goes through
  • How to structure your management team to handle business operations
  • How to effectively market your first product or service

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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