Do you need to educate before you sell?
What do you do?
Okay, what does that actually entail on a daily basis?
And how would you explain your value?
If you answered ‘Pilot’ – most people would assume that you fly aeroplanes and that the value you provide is in getting people from A to B in the air, which is faster than ground and sea travel.
If you answered ‘Market Analyst’ – most people would have no clue what you do.
So, unless you are marketing to other Market Analysts, you would need to educate your target audience on both what you do and why it is of value to them before you begin other marketing functions.
If what you do is not a mainstream or widely understood profession, you must first clearly and succinctly explain it, before explaining your value-add.
Knowing whether this needs to form a key part of your core messaging, in the beginning, will assist in developing the strategy.
For example, I met with a new friend who studied as a Psychotherapist in London. He asked for advice about why his website was not converting any therapy patients in Melbourne. I realised that a Psychotherapist in London is what we call a Counsellor in Australia. They are slightly different according to the World Wide Web; Psychotherapy being a longer term solution, but that only becomes relevant later on. Because under all the layers of titles and degrees, the core message is that he really listens to people facing various issues in order to help them cope, build resilience and craft a better life.
The website had three sections of copywriting on it: ‘about me’, ‘psychotherapy’ and ‘counselling’. It covered why he personally got into psychotherapy, what psychotherapy is and what problems he deals with in his counselling sessions.
There was no layman’s explanation of psychotherapy, and the word ‘psycho’ has negative connotations of its own, so we changed it to ‘therapist’.
Here’s an example of copywriting in plain English:
What does a therapist do?
A therapist helps to reshape a patient’s perceptions and behaviours in a desired way to help them overcome negative thoughts, consuming addictions and improve their overall mental and emotional wellbeing.
How does a therapist do this?
Through a series of sessions, a therapist works with the patient to uncover any concerns or underlying issues causing undesired behaviours. In most cases, the therapist will also provide the patient with practical tools to put positive thought into action.
The website also had no focus on the consumer or even a hint of ‘solution’. And if his target audience could only be defined as ‘someone dealing with a problem’, we needed to offer them a solution. Here’s a more compelling brand narrative:
Have you been struggling with something recently and you can’t pinpoint the problem or the solution?
[Appealing to someone’s emotional decision-making is what psychologists refer to as achieving ‘limbic resonance’, it compels them to have an emotional connection with your messaging. Start with limbic resonance.]
Well, it’s unsurprising if you feel overwhelmed and anxious sometimes, we’re all human and it can be difficult to gain a clear answer when you’re feeling bogged down by it all.
[Create a sense of empathy. Connect with the reader by sharing and understanding a form of pain.]
I’ve been trained to help you overcome these hurdles, to help you step above the messiness and gain a better picture of your circumstance and where you want to be directing your life.
[This is where the solution comes in.]
We do this through sessions of uncovering and healing in a safe space. This is intended to be an ongoing opportunity to build resilience so you can better cope with the rise and fall of everyday life, and step into the future with a greater sense of personal power. I’ll even give you practical tips on how to implement this so you can drive noticeable improvements.
[This is how.]
We should all have the opportunity to be truly heard, truly seen and truly guided to our best selves. If you’d like me to help you on that journey, I’d love to hear from you.
[End on a call to action]
This form of copywriting is significantly more powerful than listing off a text book explanation of what any specialist does, and then expecting the consumer to ‘put the pieces together’.The education can happen separate from your brand narrative as a supplementary piece of content, but it’s nice if you can include enough of an ‘explanation’ in your overarching storytelling.