Are you trying to sell a product or service online and not having much success with your Internet business? Do you come from a technical background such as programming or engineering? Do you write sales pages that read like a spec sheet for a military grade bench grinder? And, do you sit there scratching your head wondering why no one ever buys anything? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, there are a lot of people just like you!
Guys like me like specs. I like to know that a Dodge Viper has 510 horsepower at 5,600 RPM and 525 pounds-feet of torque at 4,100 RPM. I like to know that the hard drive on my PC spins at 10,000 RPM and that my Processor runs at 3.0 GHz. But, most people don’t, I know it’s hard to comprehend, but it’s true, they just don’t care. Most people just know that they would like to drive a Dodge Viper because it’s a sleek sports car. It turns heads and everyone wants to have heads turning in their direction.
So how does a technical nerd start to write better marketing materials? It takes an effort. It takes time to learn to talk to your customer and not just describe your product and its capabilities.
In marketing courses and classes, you learn that there are basic human wants and needs that we all have. We all want easier ways to do the things we do (we’re lazy), we all want to be smarter (or seem smarter to others), we all want to look better, be more liked and loved, make more money, etc.
Show your prospective customer how your product will address one or more of these basic needs or wants, or how it can solve a problem that they have. Focus on the customer and what your product will do for them. Do not focus on your product.
Convenience vs. Quality:
Remember the Beta video cassette recorder. What? You’ve never heard of Beta? You’re not as old as I am then! It’s very important to this topic. Back when VCRs (Video cassette recorders) were first being marketed, there were two competing standards, Beta and VHS. Beta worked better and produced higher quality video. Yet VHS is the standard that won out. People who focus on the specifications and quality of a video signal simply can’t understand how Beta lost out. They tend to get really upset about it too! So what happened? It seems that regular people cared more about having a longer recording time (2 hours for VHS vs. 1 hour for Beta when introduced) and lower cost for VHS (also when introduced). They didn’t really care that the quality was not be quite as good or that the tape handling mechanisms may not be as good. Don’t forget the Beta VCR story, think about it often when writing copy and making sales presentations.
Always create a product that addresses the base needs people have. Remember that, for the most part, they don’t care about what’s in the black box, just what it does. If two products do similar things, people will generally purchase the one that addresses more of their base needs.
But What About Quality?
People desire quality, however, it’s not always the deciding factor in which product makes it in the market place. Take MP3 music for example. A real audiophile cringes at the thought of listening to a MP3. Why? Because compressing the audio into MP3 format causes quality to suffer. However, the public didn’t care. MP3 players and the MP3 format is a huge success.
Even though the songs may not sound quite as good as the original CDs, the average person is happy to have the ability to store all their favorite songs on a small, handheld device. The convenience of having all their songs outweighs the loss in quality. Taken a step farther, real audiophiles cringe at CDs and want to listen to old school vinyl records on Russian tube amplifiers and $5000 speakers!
Water tends to take the path of least resistance… and so do people. They are not going to go out of their way and by your product or service unless there’s some benefit in it for them. Focus on painting the picture of the benefit to them and you’ll find you sell more.