Choosing the Right Type of Benefits

dangling carrot benefitsExplaining the benefits of your product or service is a copywriting fundamental. But one of the biggest copywriting mistakes people make is not categorizing their benefits.

There are two categories of benefits: “moving away” and “moving toward.” They appeal to two different types of prospects.

Some people are more attracted to benefits that promise to move them toward pleasure, like dangling a carrot in front a donkey. Others are motivated by “sticks” — that is, they want to move away from pain.

It’s important to know which type of benefits to stress in your marketing copy, because you want to do everything in your power to tip the scales in your favor to get someone to say “yes” or at least give you a “shy” yes. You are responsible for knowing who you are writing to.

Start by writing a comprehensive list of benefits that your product or service offers. Don’t worry about stringing them together to make sense. Just write them down.  This process may take a few days. It usually takes me about a week.

Next, review your benefits and ask, “Is this a benefit that is moving away from pain or moving toward pleasure?” Try to create an equal mix of moving toward and moving away.

Finally, think about your audience. Ask, “Is this more of a ‘moving away from’ person or a ‘moving toward’ person?”

Some professionals, like dentists, find that their prospects respond very well to moving away. Almost everyone, except for clients seeking aesthetic dentistry, goes to a dentist to remove pain. So, they are dealing with pain all day. Doctors are the same thing.

A plastic surgeon is different. That profession is about gaining pleasure. They don’t want to talk about pain. They don’t want to talk about what that rhinoplasty is going to feel like the first day after surgery. They are going to talk about the beautification of what happens a month or two months later.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • “Practically eliminates menopause discomfort.” Eliminate is a moving away from benefit.
  • “Puts more money in your wallet.” That’s moving toward, right? Moving toward more cash.
  • “Success secrets of the world’s top coaches.” You’re gaining the secrets of top coaches. That’s moving toward.
  • “Seven tips to avoid the common cold.” That’s a moving away from – avoid is the tip off.
  • “Converts your website traffic into cash.”  Converts is an action word that moves you toward cash.
  • “Tax secrets to keep more net income.” Keep is moving toward.

Words like eliminate, avoid and prevent are moving away benefits – they move you away from pain.  Secrets to, get more and acquire are moving toward.

Once you have your benefits categorized, think about who you are writing to. Let’s say that you’re writing to a woman who is struggling with menopause.

You’re providing her with benefits that are moving away from hot flashes, hormone replacement therapies and all the other things that menopausal women must deal with. The poor woman, many times, doesn’t even know she is going through menopause. Her husband doesn’t know she is going through menopause. Once they find out, they are just trying to move away from that situation the best they can.

I’ve written three menopause sites, and many women whom I have interviewed, never think it is going to end. That’s a “moving away from” type of client.

However, an opportunity seeker, especially in network marketing, is a “moving toward” type of client. You are going to make more money. You are going to walk the beaches of the world. That is moving toward. The best copy shows that.

Do you use the distinction of “moving toward” vs. “moving away” when writing your benefits? How does it influence your copywriting and results? Share your thoughts below! ~ Alex

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