I will be upfront about this – I have several of Andy’s books and I do like them a lot (from WRITE TO SELL, to PERSUASIVE COPYWRITING, and WRITE COPY, MAKE MONEY) so this review might be a teeny bit biased, and I make no apologies for that.
This book is for copywriters who work in every industry, and specifically Andy doesn’t really give you the exact medium in many of the ideas that they are meant for – so they can be bent to your own use, which is useful.
I have picked out four from the hundred that are my personal favourites, but this list could have easily been my top 10… they are, in no particular order of preference:
1. Is Your Copy FAB?
2. Another Headline Idea: True or False
3. I Object
4. Tap Into People’s Aspirations
- Is Your Copy FAB? (That’s “Is your copy highlighting the ‘Features, Advantages and Benefits’?)
This is a prospect’s self-interest or F.A.B. (Thunderbirds references aside):
Features are what things are.
Advantages are how those features make a product better than a competitor’s.
Benefits answer the customer’s questions, “What’s in it for me?”
I like what Andy says about this, “If you can hear your customers saying, ‘So what?,’ you’re not talking benefits.”
In radio we are often told that this trio in any Ad copy will help to sell – personally I thing that you should focus on the BENEFITS only – but I like how Andy breaks this down in the book – and if you are new to copy – it’s worth buying just for this ONE idea alone.
2. Another Headline Idea: True or False (A question that you ask your listeners)
We all know that writing that first line of your copy along with writing a headline is tough. And although not directly referencing writing radio copy – Andy acknowledges that “Writing good headlines is tougher”.
So following on from my train of thought, writing the first line of your radio ad should be, and is, tougher than what you might think to write and grab a listeners attention. AND writing one that is unexpected – now THAT is, and can be, a real challenge.
Andy’s solution – ask a true or false question – and when I am truly stuck – I do this in my script copy.
Simply ask a question and then give the potential listener the benefits in the rest of the ad.
For example, for a weight loss product, “You can lose weight without giving up cream cakes, true or false?” Then, in the rest of your script copy, follow up with your reasoning for the answer you want.
AND, If the first line is all that a listener hears, then they are still likely to remember the answer that you want them to – so should you do it? Yes, you should.
3. I Object (or how to make them take action)
Because listeners can be sceptical by nature, you have to either raise—and overcome—objections that prevent them from taking action, or sell them on the benefits alone. The simplest in a short 30 second ad is to address one objection alone, rather than do a shopping list of benefits – which you won’t have time to cover.
So Andy suggests that while objections may vary from industry to industry and from product to service. There are three objections, though, that are more common than others, which Maslen addresses in his book.
First, there’s “It’s too expensive” If a listener says this, you need to demonstrate the value of your product by showing how much they will save or make, compared to the cost.
Second, there’s “I need to talk to someone else.” If heard, Maslen urges you to show the prospect what they could lose by hanging back and waiting, so share testimonials to show people using the product or service to win them over.
Third, and this one is not really useful for radio copy, but could be a great starting point for an ad if done right – there’s “I’m not sure I really need this.” If you hear this objection, it’s for one reason: you haven’t sold well enough. Maybe your benefits aren’t strong enough. Maybe it’s the wrong product for the wrong prospect. Whatever the reason, update and improve your copy until it’s no longer a concern.
4. Finally there’s Tap Into People’s Aspirations
Andy gives the example from the UK that HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) at the end of each financial year, taxpayers received a letter reminding them to return their declarations on time. Yet, despite penalties for late returns, few returned their declarations on time.
To reduce delays, the HMRC contacted the authors of the book (interesting that a Government department would do this, but read on) after hearing about an experiment that helped hotels reduce towel usages. The results were remarkable. When the authors added an additional sentence in the letter referring to the large number of people living in the same postcode paid their taxes on time, tax returns increased by 12 percent.
To quote the author, “The more similar the person giving [a] testimonial is to the new target audience, the more persuasive the message becomes.”
You can apply a similar technique when writing ad copy to sell luxury goods. Andy suggests focusing more on who is already benefiting from your product, and what they are saying or doing as a result of using the product or service.
As you can see with these 4 ideas alone in a book of 100 – they can all be bent to radio if you think about twisting them a little. Sometimes the ideas are enough to not only start your copy, but also build a whole campaign around.
Buy a copy and have it on your desk – it’s a very useful book, amongst the many that Andy Maslen has written.