In this week’s episode of AmyTV we’re looking at the problem of Umbrella Terms, how they creep into your copy to make your marketing bland and, more importantly, what you can do about it.
Watch the episode or read the article below:
What are Umbrella Terms?
Umbrella Terms are used by businesses in their marketing when they’re trying to sum up, in short snippets of content, the entire value of their offer.
You can often see them in bullet points trying to ‘sell’ the idea of a product or service. For example:
- Industry-leading company
These are examples of Umbrella Terms.
Since publishing this post, Urban Renstrom got in touch via Twitter to tell me of this little beautiful cluster of Umbrella Terms he’d recently heard.
Needless to say, you do not want your customers to respond like this to your copy
***END OF UPDATE***
Because the writer is trying to cover a variety of individual features in a short phrase (Click this link to jump to the explanation in the video).
One of the reasons customers love our kennels is because we go above and beyond for our customer’s dogs. Each dog has their own individual, heated kennel with a separate sleeping area and they get to play 3 times a day in 2-acre field. We have a vet on 24 hour call in case we do need something and each kennel is fitted with a camera so that they can log-in and see how their dog is doing. We also offer local collection and delivery for no extra charge. How do we sum all this up? I know, we’ll tell people it’s a premium service.
So what’s the problem with them?
On their own, these phrases lack impact.
As a customer reading the copy, how do I know it’s high-quality? What makes it a ‘premium’ service over other services?
Customers are cynical. They’re not just going to take your word for it, you have to show them the proof behind the promise.
- You’re not going to mention anything that resonates with your customer
- Your copy will sound bland – it could be describing anything
- You won’t stand out from the competition
The formula for solving copywriting Umbrella Terms:
The key is to give a little glimpse of a specific feature that warrants the ‘Umbrella Term’
Step 1: List a number of features that made you think of the Umbrella Term.
In the above example it might be: Vet on call, 2-acre play area, collection service.
Step 2: Use this formula:
X + Y (and perhaps) Z = Umbrella
Technical I know. Here’s the visual version:
Why it works
This works because you’re giving your customer something he can really hook into. Rather than using generic content, you’re giving him something that proves your claim, giving it more credibility.
Premium service: heated kennels, 2-acre playing field and collection service at no extra charge
You don’t have to add in 3 different features (sometimes there just won’t be space) but you should be striving to make each individual sentence or phrase work hard to sell what you do.
You deserve to be heard!
So my question to you is this: look at your landing pages, look at your home page, and track down any Umbrella Terms that might be putting an invisible cloak around you and your business.
What can you do to beef them up and bring them back to life?
Let me know in the comments below…