Writer’s block makes copywriting the bane of many entrepreneurs’ existence. If you find yourself freezing at the keyboard, especially under the pressure of a looming deadline, try my favorite technique: Crafting a five-part, 250-word executive summary about the project.
I organize my executive summaries around Gary Bencivenga’s Persuasion Formula:
- Have an urgent problem.
- Make a unique promise.
- Use unquestionable proof.
- Offer a user-friendly proposition.
When writing your executive summary, start by asking, “What is the urgent problem?” Write down what you know about your prospects’ pet peeves, pains, predicaments, joys, admirations, and hopes. These details will build rapport and help prospects grasp that you understand their situation.
Next is the solution. Explain what is possible for your prospects so they can visualize how things will be once their problems are solved.
The third question to answer is, “Why are they stuck?” Explain to your readers why they are stuck with their problem and have not yet found a good enough solution.
You can simply say, “It’s not your fault. Others have been stuck with this same problem. They discovered that once they had the solution that I provide, they were able to solve their problem.”
Many people don’t ever talk about why their readers are stuck, which is a mistake. Talking about why your prospects are stuck is very empathetic. Just empathize, commiserate, and tell them, “I know why you’re stuck. I was there, too.”
I add a fourth element into my executive summaries that the Bencivenga Persuasion Principle doesn’t include: Process. In this section, discuss the fundamental steps that your prospects must take to resolve their problems if they want to do it themselves.
For example, as a conversion strategist and mentor, I would say, “First, you need about four to five years of direct marketing education. After two to three years of testing and tracking literally millions of emails and millions of online visits and exits, you’d come up with your own formulas to make it work. You can do this … or you can invest $2,800 to be coached by me personally for ten sessions.”
Because I’ve already been through the process, I’m an alternative to save my prospects time and, ultimately, money.
The fifth element is the call to action or user-friendly proposition. Bencivenga called is “a statement of who you are, what you do and how you can help, with an invitation for them to contact you or to buy from you.” Write down what your offer is and tell prospects what you want them to do next.
Write down about 50 words for each of these five elements, and writing your sales letter will become much easier. You see, it isn’t writing that’s difficult. What’s difficult is starting to write.
When you can see the problem, the solution, why your prospects are stuck, the process they have to go through without you, and the call to action in 250 words or less, starting becomes easier … and the rest of your copywriting flows more smoothly.
Do you use executive summaries when you’re writing? What results have you noticed? Share about your experience below! ~ Alex
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