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Copywriting – flip the FAB to make sales conversion a ‘no brainer’

August 7, 2018 | Posted in: Articles & News, Marketing pow wow

Copywriting_Flip FAB to BAFAnyone who has ever done any formal sales training would be familiar with the acronym FAB as part of the sales process. Features, advantages and benefits. Traditionally this was taught in a logical sequence, by starting with a description of product or service features, followed by the advantages those features delivered and finishing with the benefit (to the customer). Whilst this might work in some settings, it is not ideal for ‘engaging’ prospective customers who are having an online experience with your brand because you won’t have grabbed their attention by answering their number one question of “what’s in it for me?” You need to “cut to the chase” as quickly as possible, in other words flip the FAB…BAF is the way to go and should be kept top of mind whilst copywriting!

So, why am I discussing a sales technique as part of a marketing article? Because essentially every piece of copywriting that is part of the customer conversion process on a website or similar customer communication channel uses these techniques, either overtly or subtly. Underpinning well-constructed copy is usually a strategy that defines the goals of that communication piece. If the reader is overwhelmed with product/service features before they have even had a chance to establish whether there is any potential benefit in it for them, they will bolt before the door has even been opened.

Typically purchasing decisions are made on an emotive level first and foremost – therefore, you can address their need for logic to ‘rationalise’ their emotive decision deeper into your copy.

So, in practice, how would this work if you were selling a mattress for example? Well, you would structure your copy in this order (obviously using more than just bullet points – below is just to give you an idea of copy outline!) …

BENEFITS

  • A better night’s sleep

ADVANTAGES

  • More sleep results in better health (e.g. back up with any research into reduction in depression, back problems, weight gain and how it improves mood, concentration etc.)
  • Less disturbance to partner sharing bed with results in better relationships etc.
  • Loads more, ideally relating to the features below that are unique so that you can also highlight advantages relative to competition!

FEATURES

  • Mattress is constructed in two parts allowing for different comfort levels customised for each person
  • No metal springs – these are bad because of XY and Z
  • Only natural materials because these hold heat more effectively than synthetic
  • Loads more, ideally including plenty of unique points that set yours apart from competitors!

Hopefully you can see how FAB, should in fact be BAF (which ironically, has nothing to do with the other thing that acronym is conversely known for “Bored as F***!”).

You might be interested to read this article that discusses flipping the FAB and the inverted pyramid of information and data – some great points on the same topic!

How do you know what benefits are of importance to your prospective customers if you are not interacting with them in person? You need to transfer your offline learning to your marketing online. This means, getting to know and understand your target audience through real, human interactions (where possible). This will put you in a better position to be highlighting the right benefits, that are of real value to them in your online or digital interactions.

Remember, it is possible to employ some of the tactics salespeople use to refine the process online – for example, a good sales person would ask a lot of questions to understand customer ‘needs’. Online, you need to expediate a path for them to follow so that they can get through to the “call to action” as effortlessly and seamlessly as possible. Putting your “what questions will a customer ask?” hat on, will help you with this.

Using the shopping for a mattress example above…what are the typical questions a consumer asks as part of the buying process. Do you sell mattresses? (might be an obvious one, however some companies make the purpose/nature of their business really hard to “get” in a glance). Do you offer the type of mattress I am after (e.g. for adults, large, firm)? Are your products and services aligned with my own values (e.g. I never buy from companies that don’t engage in fair trade practices or I try to support New Zealand made businesses or I prefer organic products, or I want something high tech). Is the company local to me so that I can visit a showroom? All of these questions are great indicators of what keywords should be used either within the metadata or copy itself, resulting in better search engine optimisation. It is highly likely a customer with particular values or in a certain location will include some of those keywords in their search engine query (e.g. NZ made mattresses, Auckland bed shops, latex mattresses, organic mattresses, futons etc.). A well-organised website and well-placed links that allow the visitor to follow their chosen path to information that is relevant and of interest to them plays an enormous role in the customer conversion process.

Sometimes business owners or operators get too close to their product or service and the role Flex Marketing can play is to help them take a step back and look at things with a fresh set of eyes. Whether this is considering the psychology of the customer conversion process or looking at things through from a customer’s perspective better, there is plenty to be gained from involving someone who will ask the right questions. The “benefits” to the customer are not always obvious to owner/operators and this can simply be because their business has evolved, and they have been so busy they haven’t had the opportunity to “take stock” of their current situation and recalibrate. If you would like a chat about how Flex Marketing can help, get in touch.

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