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Selling Through Words: Why Demonstrating Is Better than Describing


Selling Through Words: Why Demonstrating Is Better than Describing

As a marketer writing copy, it’s easy to get obsessed with word choice.

Most copywriters I’ve met are fanatics about grammar, spelling, and words. And the hiring process for copywriters is usually heavily bent on these skill-sets. Make a punctuation error on your application and it’ll surely get tossed.

Great writing, however, is very different from great marketing. Focus too much on words and you may end up forgetting the most important thing – results.

Plain and simple, your copywriting is aimed at one thing: getting a person from point A to point B.

Words are the path we use to guide our audience to our destination. Words themselves, however, are just tools.

But it’s not the words themselves that are helping us reach our business results. It’s the packages these words deliver to readers that we rely on.

Let me explain…

The fact is, we do not think in words. Look at any object around you and a series of thoughts will immediately get triggered in your mind.

As I look at the snake plant on my desk, for example, images of the outdoors, nature, the south, fresh soil, Native American pueblos, and numerous other memories come to mind. Dozens more thoughts are unconscious, beneath my recollection.

This all happens instantaneously. It took me infinitely longer to type and explain everything than how fast it went on through my mind.

We think immediately.

These thoughts are comprised of the way we humans experience life. Images. Sounds. Aromas. Feelings.

This is how we think – via experiences.

Then, and only after we’ve relived experiences in our minds, do we take everything that went on in our thoughts and convert them into tiny little boxes of information.

These boxes are called words.

Words are merely a way of communicating with others our experiences – both in the past, present, and future.

The copywriters job is not to write fancy, nice, professional sounding words.

The copywriters job is to communicate a series of experiences that make your reader more interested in your product or service.

Use the right words that elicit the right thoughts (which elicit the right images, sounds, feelings, etc) and readers will crave the experience you depict. Use the wrong words and no matter how long, short, or fancy you write, it’ll do nothing.

Let me illustrate…

Not sure how effective your ads will be?

As a quick start, this Digital Copywriting Success Guide at the Den outlines a few key points to ensure your ad is optimized for results.

Let’s say you’re selling security surveillance systems for small businesses with three to five employees.

You could say something like “XYZ Security Systems. Protection. Comfort. No more fear.”

That’s pretty basic though.

When you look at it, each of these words could mean so many different things to different people. This type of writing imposes very little control over the mental thoughts someone will have after reading it.

Telling someone they’ll feel comfortable and protected is expecting the reader to come up with their own ideas on what comfort and protection mean.

Tell 100 people this description and you’ll likely get 100 different interpretations.

Of course, it’s inevitable that every person has their own interpretation. When writing copy, however, we must try our hardest to create a specific experience – a specific brand image. This gives us more control over our user’s experience and allows us to augment this with other ideas, thoughts, and images.

We do this most effectively through:

  • Stories
  • Metaphors
  • Illustrations
  • Demonstrations

When writing copy, do not focus on words. Focus on experiences. Use words merely to describe these experiences.

Demonstrate your product, do not describe your product. Do not just say your product keeps you secure, bring the process to life.

With all this said, I urge you to do this when you write… 

Don’t think about what words you should write to sell. Think about the senses that tie best into the product. Then, and only then, figure out the right words to package these experiences and deliver to readers.

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