Tips & Bits #48: The Four Bases of Homerun Copy
Whether you want to make a sale, get an opt-in for your email list, sign up a new subscriber for your blog, or just motivate readers to support an issue, the Four Bases will help you hit home runs when it comes to creating copy that prompts action.
It’s such a simple system, you won’t have to have it tattooed on your arm to remember it to have all the bases covered.
Here’s the game plan:
First Base: What you’re offering your reader.
Second Base: How it’ll benefit your reader.
Third Base: Introduce yourself to your reader.
Home Plate: Tell your reader what to do.
First Base–The What:
It seems obvious, but it is regularly overlooked – let your reader know what it is you’re selling or presenting. Is it a product or a service? What’s it called? What does it do? Who is it for?
Begin with the broad-brush stroke version of the description. No too much fine detail. Just an overview that hints at more to come.
A complete music system that allows you to store hundreds of hours of your favorites and listen to them easily without ever disturbing those around you.
Second Base—The Benefits:
Now you can tell your reader all of the benefits your product or service will provide. Share the details of how their lives will be improved – the money they’ll save, the pleasure they’ll enjoy, the pounds they’ll lose—whatever the results of using your product or service will be.
Describe the state the reader will be in as a result of using the item you’re selling. Let them feel how much better life will be. Connect on an emotional level.
Compact and lightweight, you’ll slip it into your pocket and enjoy hours of music without worrying about carrying a bulky inconvenient package.
Features & Benefits – The dynamic duo that helps you sell.
There are the features of your product or service. They’re important, because they are usually the tangible part of your offer. The allow you to compare your offer to another competing offer. And they open the door to a discussion of the benefits.
The benefits are the real reason people will buy what you are selling. This is the results that your reader can expect to enjoy after they have purchased and begin using your product or service.
The features and benefits work together. The features help you explain how the benefits are born. The features add credibility to your pitch. They help soothe a nervous buyer who yearns for the benefits but needs a more rational reason to write a check or swipe that plastic card.
One of the best ways to present your features and benefits is in a list of bullet points.
- Internal 320 GB Hard Drive lets you store hundreds of hours of music
- Rechargeable battery lets you save money because it never needs replacing
- Ergonomically shaped control buttons let you operate it by touch
Always pair a benefit to every feature. Bullet points are like batting singles because they let you make your point in a quick, easy to digest way, and they catch the eye of the reader.
Third Base—The Who Are You:
People prefer buying something from someone they know and are comfortable with. There needs to be a level of trust. An established relationship that makes the buyer feel confident that the seller won’t run off to The Cayman Islands with the funds.
A great way to do this is to include a photo in the layout of the page. A personal note that accompanies the picture will be even more effective in establishing credibility.
There is a great deal in the power of your reader relating to the person in the photograph. The picture is there to bring to life the promise of what you are selling.
Home Plate—The Call to Action
Your reader needs to know specifically what to do next. Step-by-step instructions are an excellent way to close the sale. Put big numbers beside each step, too.
Tell the reader exactly how to order. Invite your reader to click on the link. To order now. To get started. Don’t ask – tell.
Here are two extra helpers: they’re like secret signals from the coach!
Rarity and a Deadline. Limited supplies make people do it now. No one wants to miss out on an offer they could have had. Deadlines help make procrastinators make a commitment. Don’t leave too much time for the decision process.
One way to do this is to explain that due to rising materials costs, the price of the item will be increasing by a set dollar amount or a percentage in just two weeks!
Every time you encounter a sales pitch, make note of the Four Bases. You’ll see it in infomercials, catalog copy, sales letters, and online. Make sure you find them in all of the copy you create and you’ll see more winning campaigns and profits that soar out of the park!