My client recently told me:
‘I showed your copy to our [external] web designer. After a few seconds she looked up to say “I learnt more about your company from this first sentence than I did from the whole of your old site”’.
I think it’s now my favourite testimonial. So, this blog will look at how I achieved that.
‘Our service benefits so many people in so many ways…’
The client was Vantage Referral who provide referral management services to the NHS. Or in layman’s terms, they help ensure patients are forwarded on to the right specialist.
As he stated, it has lots of benefits for everyone involved. It improves the whole process in various ways for the patients, GPs and commissioners.
It's a great service. Yet, it meant that they were having trouble presenting a clear idea of how they help.
Trying to cram in every aspect inevitably makes a mess of things, so we had to pick out the most important details.
Which of these will sign the cheque?
So, my first step was identifying exactly who the customer is. This is an application of the 'talk to one person' copywriting rules. By focusing on one person, you can concentrate on what matters most to them.
It sounds obvious in retrospect…but I realised that the website only needs to talk to the person making the buying decision.
In this case that meant the NHS commissioners.
Suddenly, we could disregard the majority of the benefits. Not because they weren’t true, but because they weren’t relevant to attracting the commissioner’s interest.
But...there there were still too many details we wanted to talk about.
What’s their #1 priority?
Vantage’s software has some great features. For example, the commissioner can get a realtime view of the patient demand and distribution.
This raised the question of how to tie it together into a pitch that flows.
To filter it down, we thought back to the commissioner’s top priority. Yes, they like the ability to track the demand, but that’s not what causes them to stare at the ceiling at 4am.
When talking it through we agreed that their key burning desire is to keep the ever growing costs under control without compromising on the standard of care. With NHS budgets under increasing strain, this outweighs everything else.
Pinpointing the key solution to their top pain
After deciding their issue, we could come up with the core way in which Vantage solves it.
The core way Vantage helps control costs is the best use of resources. Their system correctly sends more people to the underused (and cheaper) local specialists instead of to overloaded hospitals, therefore saving the commissioner money.
Suddenly, we had a tight filter for everything they do. We only had to include the details that relate to best use of resources.
The single aim of the website was for commissioner’s to ask for a meeting. Therefore we could focus the site on this resource management concept and leave any other secondary benefits to the meeting.
Finally, it’s on to writing the copy
The copy still didn’t quite ‘write itself’, but it became a hell of a lot simpler. The outline become:
- Introduce the key benefit (use of resources)
- Cover the how and why (overloaded hospitals)
- How Vantage solves it pt1 (assists GP decisions)
- How Vantage solves it pt2 (plugs into NHS software)
- How Vantage solves it pt3 (choose local specialist)
- Call to action (contact to discuss)
This approach created one core idea with supporting points, instead of bouncing around between benefits.
"If they didn't meet the resource allocation criteria, they were scrapped"
Surprisingly, it took a lot of discipline to stick to. There was still a big temptation to include the features we thought were particularly cool...but if they didn’t meet the ‘resource allocation’ criteria they were scrapped.
What’s your central benefit?
So, check whether you’ve done this yourself.
Make sure you’ve identified the reader you’re talking to. Try to be more specific than ‘business owners’ or some other broad statement.
If you’ve talked to them before, you probably know their core sleep-destroying concerns. Pick the way you relate to one of these issues.
From there, you can build your copy around this core idea.
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