Today we’re talking about the power of contrast in your copywriting.
So, painting a bleak picture of what your customer’s life looks like without your product, and the rainbow and unicorn universe they can live in with your product.
Of course I’m kidding.
However there are some specific areas where the power of contrast can sell the value of what you have.
Contrast makes it easier for your customer to decide…
Contrast makes it easier for your customer to make a decision. For example. If I asked you what your favourite film was, you might struggle to choose out of the hundreds you’ve seen in your lifetime.
However if I said to you, which did you like better, Die Hard or Jaws? It’s so much easier because you only have 2 to contrast.
And it works the other way.
when you present one option on its own, it can be hard to evaluate its value and how much you want it. For example if I said to you would you like to watch Die Hard tonight, you might not feel swayed either way. But if I said to you the options were watching Die Hard or Jaws, you evaluate each one based on the merits of the other and making a decision is much easier.
One: Before and after, with and without
What does your customer’s life look like before you got there and what will it look like after? You can approach this directly in your copy by establishing the points and pains they’re struggling with now and then what things look like after you’ve been in their life.
For example, say you’re a web designer who optimises sites to improve leads and conversions.
Before: your customer’s life had embarassment about their website, slow traffic, no leads or poor-quality leads.
After (with your expertise): More conversions from the same traffic, more leads, a better-quality of client because the site looks so good.
With and without
Another way you can do this is to talk about something your customer wants to do and what that looks like with or without your product.
There’s a subtle difference because your customer might not be suffering from a problems now.
Say someone is planning a birthday party and you are a professional birthday party planner. You might have a grid on your sales page with two columns:
- Planning a birthday without me
- Planning a birthday with me.
- Lots of time spent calling suppliers
- Having to chase invites
- Spending days reviewing venues.
- Review the top suppliers from my shortlist, in just minutes
- I handle all rsvps so you don’t have to
- I’ll give you video tours of the best venues so you can review them without leaving your front room
They key to using contrast in this fashion is obviously to make sure your customer’s life looks better with you in it.
Two: Comparative value
I want you to think about the results your product gets, not what your product IS.
So does it get your customer more leads, does it find them the perfect home, does it make them love their body?
Now I want you to think about what else COULD get those results. But here’s the thing. Ideally this other thing should not be as easy to use as what you offer.
For example, my friend Rachael who was on the show a few weeks back, she runs bridea and sells boxes of samples to brides. Her tagline is: “Like the best wedding-fayre delivered to your door.”
Brides-to-be love the fact that Rachael spends so much time trawling through and selecting the best samples of favours and decorations for their wedding so they don’t have to.
Let’s say you run Facebook advertising campaigns and you know you can get a high number of targeted traffic and exposure to your customers. What might get similar results? For example:
- A billboard advert in Times Square?
- A feature on a late night talk show?
- A full page advert in a national newspaper?
Obviously you can’t mislead your audience, you have to be able to promise similar results, but looking for these ‘hooks’ can be a fun and creative way to come up with marketing content that really sticks out.
To make this work you want to make sure your product is cheaper or easier to use than the other solutions.
Three: Other products
Now this might seem counter-intuitive, why would you want to talk about your competition when you really want to market your own product?
Well customers don’t make decisions in a vacuum these days. There’s too much available information out there.
So if your customers are shopping around and you’re hoping they just DON’T spot your competitor, well it’s unlikely, so why not take control of the contrast?
This is NOT about bashing the competition. Don’t just put your products side by side and say yours is better. What you want to do, is point out the strengths of each product based on your target market.
Let’s say you use hosting software and a competitor deals with medium to big businesses while you deal with solopreneurs or small businesses. You can go through the features and show how yours performs better for a smaller business. Maybe it’s easier to get through on the phone to you, maybe the support is faster because you’re smaller and maybe it’s a more cost-effective service because you don’t have features that small businesses don’t need.
You don’t have to name a specific competitor, you can explain that larger hosting companies often offer this, or do this etc and here’s how we are different BECAUSE that’s what’s best for your customers
What about you? Do you already use contrast to show the value of your offer? What could you compare your product to? Let me know in the comments. Want to master this and more copywriting techniques? Visit: Write With Influence.
Nima Salke says
I am new to your website, but so far I love it. Your videos are hilarious and I actually just shared one with my Digital Marketing class.
Question for you. I am starting a business in the incorporate.com space with a focus on entrepreneurs ages 25-35. The assumption we plan to test out using UnBounce is that our segment reacts more favorably to brands and messaging that is more edgy, charming, and a bit funny. I think that we can potentially incorporate your contrast strategy with a video showing how long it takes to start a business without us compared to with us…the idea is to make it funny and relatable and take out some of the scariness in starting a business entity. Our challenge is conveying enough credibility with the landing page, since our website is not yet live.
Any tips, thoughts, or ideas around our situation? Thanks!
Amy Harrison says
Thanks for watching and commenting. So, in your position I would say case studies would be very powerful. If you can prove that you have shortened the length of time taken to start a business, that would be compelling info for your landing page. This also helps build empathy with your target market if they can see that you have helped people like them, overcome their hurdles.
I would think the contrast copywriting approach would be an ideal scenario for your company – do let me know how you get on and good luck!
I like your idea of using contrast in your marketing. Contrast really allows you to focus in on what you’re looking for in a product or service.
For example, when I go to buy a shirt, having another shirt to compare it to really helps in deciding what I want. Too many items spoil the effectiveness of the contrast though.
Amy Harrison says
Exactly Terrence, too many options and you feel like making a decision means you’re missing out on so many more possibilities. I’m like that if a restaurant has too many items on the menu, as a food lover it just feels like I’m turning down too many great dishes. 🙂