Even if “everyone” needs your product or service, you can’t effectively market to “everyone” with one generic offer.

The key to writing unique and effective copy is to focus on a very specific prospect with a very specific emotional need.

It can be a challenge for a professional service provider to stand out in a crowded marketplace. When you have the same basic menu of services as your competition, it can be especially difficult to come up with a promotional idea that hasn’t already been done. Another challenge with professional service providers is their desire to market to “everyone,” which—though well-intentioned—is the opposite of effective when it comes to designing a marketing campaign.

And from my side of the keyboard, how does a copywriter come up with totally unique sales copy for five different dentists (or Realtors or HVAC companies or plumbers) who offer the same services? How do you keep from repeating yourself?

The key is to stop focusing on who’s selling, and focus on who’s buying. For a copywriter, this means you identify a niche audience, and sell the benefits of your offer to that audience instead of selling the same tired menu of products or services as everyone else in your niche.

People naturally do business with people they know, like and trust. That’s the concept behind a tripwire—an inexpensive, low-commitment “teaser” product or service used to turn an ideal prospect into a paying customer. Recently a dentist asked for ideas on creating a tripwire for his marketing funnel, but he bemoaned the fact that every dentist in his market seemed to offer the same tripwires: a free exam and x-ray, or a discount on Zoom whitening. Yawn. (I can hear all the dentists saying, “But Kathleen! Everyone needs a dental exam twice a year! Everyone wants white teeth!” True, and immaterial.)

Your prospective patient is hit with hundreds of marketing messages a day. We all learn to tune them out in self-defense, lest our brains explode. Generic marketing messages are the easiest to tune out. Don’t believe me? When you went to the mailbox yesterday, which envelope did you open first—one addressed with your full name and a real stamp, or a piece of bulk mail addressed to “Occupant”?

The key to creating unique and compelling marketing messages is to focus on benefits, not features.

Virtually every cosmetic dentist offers Zoom Whitening. The Zoom treatment is standardized, so every other provider in your field is offering the same thing. You may think that clean, white teeth are the benefit of Zoom whitening—but I’d say white teeth are the feature, not the benefit. White teeth are what it does, not what it means.

The service is generic, but every patient is unique, and white teeth can mean very different things to different people at different times in their lives. As a dentist, the key to marketing this service effectively is discovering what clean, white teeth mean to a target audience. What are the benefits of clean, white teeth to that particular patient?

Here’s a brainstorming exercise I developed for my copywriting students. It can help you uncover the unique benefits of your service or product to a particular target audience.

Start with your product or service, then look at it from as many different customer perspectives as you can, to exercise your “benefit muscle.” Focusing on benefits is the key to writing uniquely effective, emotional copy.

  • What will gleaming white teeth mean to the 41-year-old single mom of a kid about to have their graduation pictures taken before going off to college? What kind of emotions does that thought inspire? What does it mean to that mom? What is she proud of, or afraid of?
  • What would a cleaning and whitening mean for a 32-year-old female libertarian life coach who hasn’t been able to go to the dentist since Obamacare killed her dental plan?
  • What would a sparkling smile mean to a 63-year-old man who stopped smoking a few weeks ago for his upcoming high school reunion, where he hopes to run into his high school sweetheart?
  • What would white teeth mean for a 55-year-old man whose divorce was just finalized? How is that different from what sparkling white teeth mean to a 25-year-old woman who is getting married in 2 weeks?
  • What would a dazzling, bright smile mean to a 36-year-old former sales executive who has just graduated from the rehab where he overcame his meth addiction?
  • What would a dazzling, bright smile mean to a 48-year-old breast cancer survivor who has finally been declared cancer-free after a year of chemo that damaged her teeth?

Imagine the unique and compelling tripwires you could create for each of these audiences! Imagine: would a newly-diagnosed cancer patient be interested in an educational webinar or free booklet on oral care for people receiving chemotherapy? Would her oncologist or cancer support group be likely to send her to that webinar if you shared the registration details? Would she be likely to become your patient or refer friends and family (and other cancer patients) to you after you demonstrated your expertise, caring and compassion for cancer patients during the webinar?

How do you make your dental practice stand out? Focus your marketing campaign on ONE customer and find out what clean, white teeth mean to them on a deep level (the benefit). Then dig even deeper until you discover what I call “the benefit of the benefit.”

Then you’ll know exactly what kind of lead magnet, tripwire, or even in-person event will have the most meaning for them…and you’ll know exactly what to say when presenting that offer.

Kathleen Hanover, “The Benefit Whisperer,” is a marketing conversion expert and Certified Go-Giver™ Speaker. Are you struggling to uncover the benefits of your service to your ideal customer? Frustrated by expensive ad campaigns that get ignored? Get in touch today if you’re ready to get an expert’s eyes on your lead generation or conversion issue.

Kathleen Hanover
Certified Go-Giver Speaker and Copywriting Trainer
Kathleen Hanover helps entrepreneurs tell their story, attract their ideal audiences, and persuasively communicate their value. As a highly-regarded marketing copywriting trainer, she teaches persuasion psychology and the magic words that build rapport and sales. And as Ohio's first Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Kathleen shares the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success from the international best-seller, "The Go-Giver," by Bob Burg and John David Mann, with business and community audiences alike.
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