Writing copy that kills is difficult. At least, it would be if you were on your own. Luckily, you’re not. Here at Websites 24-7 we’ve put in the man hours so you don’t have to. This blog piece shows you a winning structure from the granddaddy of copywriting himself, Bob Stone, along with examples from one of the fastest growing, loudest brands out there – Brewdog.
As a marketer, if you want to build a multi-national, ass-kicking craft beer company you have to execute like one. Simply put, you need to produce something excellent, and present it excellently.
If you haven’t quite figured out how to do that, Bob Stone did the legwork to help you…
Bob Stone’s Gem: The 7-Step Formula for Writing Copy That Sells.
Bob Stone was the first marketing guru, transforming the discipline from direct mail, mail order and late-night TV adverts into a sophisticated discipline with a distinct set of rules. He managed to sell everything from surgical dressings to business club memberships.
He developed a flexible, 7-step formula that hooked readers with the opening words, and enticed them to keep reading until the last line, at which point they had already bought the product in their mind.
“Bob Stone’s Marketing Gem” has been proven in the last few years to be effective almost any marketing platform, from websites and blogs, to the backing label of a beer bottle. Try it yourself and see your response rates soar.
Just North of Aberdeen, there’s a famous brewery called Brewdog. Starting in 2007 with just 2 men and a dog, by the end of 2016 Brewdog boasted over 1,000 employees, 55,000 shareholders and 46 bars. And a dog. Impressive for any company, but particularly impressive for a company in a market as competitive as beer. How can beer be that good? Surprisingly, it’s not just the beer.
Brewdog thrives on something we all share, appreciate and admire, but rarely act upon. Rebellion.
Whilst marketing stunts such as projecting naked pictures of themselves onto parliament, brewing at the bottom of the ocean and driving a tank down Camden High Street certainly helped to raise their profile, the copy they use across the brand is certainly the reason why “craft beer crusaders” choose to drink Brewdog.
Pick up a bottle of their flagship beer, Punk IPA, and you’re told it has “become a byword for craft beer rebellion; synonymous with the insurgency against mass-produced, lowest common denominator beer.” Buy shares in the company and you become an “Equity Punk”. Look up the growth strategy on the Brewdog website and you’ll see they’re “breaking into international markets like a shark on steroids.”
1. Begin with your strongest benefit.
Features tell, benefits sell. Bob Stone’s opener forces marketers to highlight the benefits of their product or service. Features have their place in any promotion you create, but they aren’t what are going to sell your customer.
This is why figuring out who your target audience is, and equally importantly, is not is vital. Know the audience, know the benefits.
In the below example, Brewdog appeal to their rebellious-not-so-rebellious craft beer loving, young professional targets. He’s focused and career driven, but loves an opportunity to stick it to the man (as long as there’s no lasting consequences, of course).
“Drink Brewdog, and join the beer revolution.”
2. Expand on the most important benefit.
Plant the seed. Tell your target why the strongest benefit will change their life. What will he gain by buying your product and aligning with your brand?
“A revolution that is synonymous with the insurgency against mass produced, lowest common denominator beer.”
3. Explain exactly (and in detail) what the target will get.
Water the seed. Start dropping features, but do it in a way that tells a story. Have your target visualise and ruminate on the life he will enjoy with your product. Just make sure to leave room for your target’s imagination.
“Punk IPA is layered with new world hops to create an explosion of tropical fruit and an all-out riot of grapefruit, pineapple and lychee before a spiky bitter finish. This is transatlantic fusion running at the fences of lost empires.”
4. Back up your statements with proof.
Stats, testimonials, anecdotes. Your target has given you his valuable time and attention, but he’s not your gullible average Joe. He needs proof.
Lend credibility to your claims.
“We opened nine new bars from Berlin to York, welcomed 6,000 Equity Punks to our AGM and turned the world of spirits upside down with the announcement of Lone Wolf.”
5. Tell them what they’ll lose if they don’t act.
Avoidance of pain is more powerful than attraction to pleasure. It’s a law of nature, and one Bob Stone knew and utilised well. This is when negativity is important and appropriate to your copy.
“The world of industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales you’re used to are tried and tested. But do you want to be the person who said no to the revolution?”
6. Sum up the most important benefits.
You’ve shown them the pain of existing without you; now remind them they don’t have to. Remind them of why they kept reading in the first place.
This is your last opportunity to highlight the value you’re bringing to your target’s life. To push him over the edge and sell your product or service to your target, you need to make it personal, and emotional, to him.
“When enjoyed at home, or in bar, Brewdog is changing the world. We want you to come along for the ride. Open your mind to the revolution, and stop putting up with mediocre, soulless beer.”
7. Present your call-to-action.
Your reader is smart, calculating and very easily distracted. No call-to-action means no sale. You can be Bob Stone himself, but without a call-to-action your pitch will fail.
Keep it simple, direct and to the point. He’s a busy man, don’t force him to think.
“Drink Brewdog. Join the revolution. Book a table and come hang or eat at www.brewdog.com/bars/uk”
This copy is not for everyone, but it’s not designed to be. The target is specific, as is the copy.
Words are important, but defining your target audience and keeping your aim and message as simply as possible is vital. Remember, consumers build brands. Their perceptions and expectations of your company will define how it’s viewed. Do this for each piece of content you produce and it will put you on the track for success.
It may sell, it may not. Nothing is certain. But by using Bob Stone’s Gem you certainly don’t hurt your chances.
For some more specific, technical copywriting tips look out for next week’s post.