Many affiliate marketers fastidiously create copy for their websites and blogs. They describe their products in utmost detail. They publish tables upon tables of specs, and charts filled with detailed information.
And yet, these same marketers still scratch their heads as to why all this content doesn’t increase conversions or make sales.
Are they doing something wrong?
Not necessarily. It’s important to have product specs and information readily available to the customer so she understands what she’s buying. However, this kind of technical information is not going to sway a potential customer, and especially a customer who is “just browsing,” to buy.
It’s about consumer psychology
The reason why consumers buy or don’t buy is largely based on psychology. Consumers make purchases for one or both of the following reasons:
There is a need.
A consumer will purchase a gallon of milk because he is out of milk and wants to have cereal for breakfast. Needs are simple to decipher and seem finite in scope. However, the savvy marketer not only convinces a consumer that he needs a gallon of milk, but extra cereal too. And juice. And waffles.
There is a problem.
A consumer will purchase a new tire because her current one has a nail in it and has gone flat. When problems arise, marketers have a golden opportunity to convince consumers that they have the perfect solution to their dilemma.
How do you address needs and solve problems?
It seems intuitive that defining how a product works and/or listing its specifications should answer any question a consumer has about how this product will help him satisfy a need or solve a problem.
But it’s not.
Needs are relative. Obviously, we all need food- but what sort of food? We can live on bread and water, if pressed. Or, we can be persuaded that we ‘need’ to eat lobster and steak in order to survive.
Likewise, problems are relative. Even if my car is sluggish, it still runs, so why would I want to buy a new one? Even if I have a family of eight, I don’t necessarily have an issue with having one bathroom in the house.
The job of the affiliate marketer is to write copy that focuses on needs and problems by focusing on product benefits, not features. In this way, needs and problems are pointed out and emphasized. This in turn creates a desire in the consumer to address the needs and rectify the problems.
How do benefits differ from features?
Benefits answer subjective questions like “What’s in it for me?” and “How does this product/service help me?” Features, meanwhile, answer technical questions like “How much does this product weigh?” or “How fast does this item charge?”
While features are a vital part of product/service descriptions, they don’t convey why they are useful or advantageous to the customer. Furthermore, many affiliate marketers become so caught up with the technical jargon and lingo of their products that they forget that their customers have no idea why these features are so good.
In the following example, a cell phone camera is first described in terms of its features and then its benefits:
Features: Our phone has a 16 MP rear-facing and a 5 MP front-facing, wide-angle camera.
Benefits: Our phone enables you to include more of your friends in your shots, and to take great shots anywhere.
As you can see, features get into the nitty gritty of this phone’s specs, while benefits gloss over those details and tell you why you want this camera.
Of course, not all benefits will be attractive to all customers. To get people excited about certain benefits, you must also find your target customers. Such target customers will “get” what you’re trying to sell to them, and they are also the ones who will buy your products/services. How do you locate these customers?
It’s all about the analytics
Even if your current customers are few and far between, you should always be analyzing them and figuring out who they are. To this end, there are free tools like Google Analytics and Webmasters Tools. By using such tools regularly, you can figure out who your average customer is and how your benefits copy can be tailored to her.
For example, consider how you would describe your product’s benefits to someone who is in her 20’s versus someone who is in her 60’s. Or perhaps, someone who lives in a warmer climate versus a colder one.
By learning more and more about your target customer, you can better appeal to him and his lifestyle, environment, etc.
A note about the copy
When writing your copy, follow these cardinal rules:
Create a great headline. To grab your customer’s attention, generate an attention-grabbing headline that highlights one or two benefits of your product/service. Keep the language simple and to the point.
Keep the text simple. Don’t create long paragraphs or chunks of text that require a lot of time and effort to read. Instead, divide your copy into bite-size pieces that aren’t more than 2-3 sentences. Use bullet points and spaces so that the content can be scanned quickly.
Pretend you’re talking. This is not the time to be writing a novel. Create copy that flows like an easy conversation between two friends. Don’t use a lot of extraneous or big words. Write like you were actually speaking to someone.
Provide an offer. The best way to get your target customer excited about your product/service is to include a unique offer or proposition within your copy.
The Bottom Line
You can create copy that compels your customers to purchase from you. The key to doing so is to emphasize a need and/or problem that they may have, then generate benefits-focused content that addresses it. As a final touch, you should create copy that is eye-catching, concise and conversational- and which entices a purchase through an irresistible offer.