Writing a Sales Letter to Get Your Phone Ringing

Sales letters reach people. Whether your company makes cleaning products or runs self-development retreats, a sales letter – especially a personalised one – can hit the mark like no other form of advertising can. But success, just like the devil, is in the details. That’s why we have compiled this simple guide to sales letters that’s sure to convert your words into new customers.

Introducing the Sales Letter

A sales letter is a form of advertising correspondence from one business to another. The aim of the sales letter is to make the quantum leap from being a piece of A4 on a busy person’s desk, to having that person contact the sender’s office. From that point on, the sale relies on the qualities of the product, and that of the sales rep.

Beginning a Sales Letter

If you know the surname of your hypothetical customer, excellent. If you don’t, try to find out. Personally-addressed letters are proven to have a much higher rate of response. To be clear: address the recipient by their surname only, E.G. ‘Dear Mr Jones,’ and never by their first name. ‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ is also inappropriate, as it is now considered antiquated, and far too formal.

In lieu of a name, your best bet is to create a headline that captures the essence of what you are offering them. For example, Get 80% Off Hospital Grade Disinfectant – Introductory Offer This Month Only. If the opening line is personally addressed, then the opening sentence must incorporate the headline; for example, ‘Dear Mr. Jones, how would you like 80% off our Hospital-Grade Disinfectant?’

The Body of The Sales Letter

There are two basic aspects to writing a successful sales letter: content and style. If the content is not relevant to your reader, there is no chance of a sale. Usually, however, the product is relevant to them and their business – it’s just that the writing fails to sufficiently flag this to the reader.

What you need to tell your client depends on what it is you have to offer. Just remember the golden rule: you are not selling the product, you’re selling what that product will do for them. Visualise yourself in the customer’s shoes. What problem will this solve for them? How will this product improve the way they conduct business, or make life better at their workplace?

Second only to content is style. To keep the reader reading the sales letter, you need to keep the writing as interesting and easy to digest as possible. Keeping it interesting can be challenging at times, depending on product, but you can certainly make it digestible. Just like a restaurant, it’s all in the presentation. Here are a few tips on this:
• Keep sentences and paragraphs short and concise. Use short-super short sentences occasionally, for extra punch (see my opening sentence in this article).
• Break things up with bullet-points and indented paragraphs.
• Sub-headings are effective for highlighting benefits.
• Use simple language that everyone will understand.
• A few less common words can help keep things interesting. I used ‘quantum leap’ to describe someone responding to your letter.

Ending the Sales Letter

Be sure to thank the reader and sign the sales letter by hand. You may reiterate the main points, such as prices, and deadlines on discounted items. Adding a post-script is always a good idea, as people tend to read them. This post-script may include a special incentive such as a gift, or a free trial. Include at the bottom all the contact details of your business.

Metaphors for Powerful Persuasive Writing and Speaking

If people were to think about metaphors at all – and they don’t – most would probably consider them a play on words, or a literary trick suitable only for poetry or novels. This is not only a gross misunderstanding of metaphors, it’s also a great pity. Metaphors are the simplest and yet sophisticated tool that we have for reaching people. And that is why metaphors apply to you, whether you wish to sell life insurance, win over a crowd with a speech, or feel more understood by friends and loved ones. So allow me now to formally introduce you to your new best friend: the metaphor.

Metaphors are a figure of speech, a word or a phrase that has a meaning other than the literal. Technically speaking, similes are also a type of metaphor, but for our purposes here they have been disqualified. To clarify the difference – a simile suggests similarity between two things (for example, ‘This cereal is like eating cardboard.’), whereas a metaphor essentially marries seemingly disparate ideas. Let’s take a familiar example from William Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It:

‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’

This line, in a handful of words, gives us an entire world view. This would not have been possible without the metaphor of the stage. It opens the door to many possibilities – for example, humanity (the actors), may be viewed as deliberately false or insincere. Another possibility is that the actors are given no choice but to act out ‘their parts,’ given to them by an almighty director. One is born to be the villain, another the victim. Entire theses could be written on the implications of this one sentence, and no doubt have been. That is one of the great powers of metaphors: they expand in the listener’s mind, and leave them with plenty to think about.

Which brings us neatly to the commercial applications of metaphors. And where better to start than with the story of Ben Feldman, a life insurance salesman whose masterly use of metaphors not only made him rich, but a legend in his field. During the 1970s and 1980s, Feldman alone sold more life insurance than 1,500 New York Life Insurance agencies combined. In 1992, after Feldman had a cerebral haemorrhage, New York Life held a sales contest in his honour. And the winner of that competition was: Feldman. Making calls from his hospital bed, he closed more than $15 million in contracts that month. What could possibly power such success? You guessed it: a metaphor.

Death not being a popular subject with customers, Feldman required another phrase. What he came up with was ‘walking out of life’. This phrase suggested a breach in responsibility to loved ones upon dying, which required immediate redress. Insurance, as Feldman presented it, was the only solution. ‘When you walk out, your insurance money walks in,’ he’d say. The implied moral responsibility here is clever enough, but there is more: when we hear the phrase ‘walk out,’ we can actually see ourselves walking out the door. Here is the true magic of metaphor. When a metaphor involves an action (such as walking out), or one of the five senses, we experience the words as if we were truly there. This is that makes metaphors the closest thing we have to virtual reality in language. Now you can use metaphors to put people in your shoes.

For more information on figures of speech, visit our Language of Leadership post. We also cover this topic in our book, Speech Power: The Leader’s Guide to Creating Powerful Speeches and Presentations.

Persuasive Writing — Simple Tips to Make Your Writing More Persuasive

Want to make your writing more persuasive?  Taking a few final steps after drafting your persuasive writing will make a big difference in how effective it is. Apply these simple tips to make your writing more persuasive – whether you are writing a brochure, website copy, a speech or an email.

  1. Persuasive writing is simple and easy to understand.

Using complicated words, technical jargon and corporate buzzwords will make your persuasive writing more difficult to read. As a result, fewer people will want to read what you have written and those who do read it might not be able to understand it. In order to make your persuasive writing more effective, start by using the simplest words possible, remove technical jargon, if your target readers won’t understand it, and get rid of corporate buzzwords. For more details, read our post on Using Simple Words.

  1. Persuasive writing contains short and simple sentences.

Research shows that long and complicated sentences are more difficult to read and understand. If your persuasive writing includes many sentences longer than 35 words, edit them to make them shorter. An effective way to begin shortening your sentences is to look for conjunctions — such as ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘however’, ‘yet’ and ‘so’. Often, a good point to break up a sentence in your persuasive writing to make it smaller is when you use a conjunction. For more information and examples, go to Copywriting Basics – Aim for a Short Average Sentence Length. 

  1. Persuasive writing focuses on your readers.

Persuasive writing involves getting your readers involved, so ‘speak’ to them directly by using the word ‘you’. Let’s look at the following two contrasting examples:

We ensure our clients get the most competitive carrier costs along with cutting-edge service levels. As Australia’s first wholly integrated carrier management service, Freightworks gets our clients’ freight delivered better, faster and cheaper.

We ensure you get the most competitive carrier costs along with cutting-edge service levels. As Australia’s first wholly integrated carrier management service, Freightworks gets your freight delivered better, faster and cheaper.

Changing ‘our clients’ to ‘you’ and ‘your’ addresses the reader directly and makes your writing more persuasive. To learn more about customer-focused copy, go to What Many Advertising Agencies Don’t Know about Copywriting.

This persuasive writing tip applies to websites, brochures and other formats that directly address your readers.  However, it would not apply to writing proposals, reports or other formal business documents.

  1. Persuasive writing is free from grammatical and typographical errors.

A key element of persuasive writing is building trust and credibility. It’s a simple fact that spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will lower your image in the eyes of your readers. As a result, your writing won’t be a persuasive. For example, UK entrepreneur Charles Duncomb found that his online sales per site visitor doubled after correcting spelling mistakes. His experience was published in a BBC article.

Similarly, other research showed that 59% of online shoppers said they would not purchase from a website with poor spelling and grammar.

Regardless of the type of business you are in, persuasive writing can play an important role in building your credibility and making more sales. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can boost the effectiveness of your writing.

Michael Gladkoff

Writing an Event Promotion that Gets Results

Are you organising a business event and want to get as many people to attend it as possible? Writing an effective event promotion is the key to filling the room to make the event a success. Here are a few tips to make the event promotion – whether it takes the form of an email or hard copy – an effective marketing tool to get more event bookings.

Shows a speaker at the front of an audience. Event promotion is an important part of organising a successful event.

1. Start by writing an enticing headline for your event promotion.

Most business events will have one or more speakers covering a topic or related topics. Start with a headline that captures attention and addresses a challenge that your target audience can identify with. For example, if your event is about sales, your title might be Discover Keys to Boosting Your Sales with Less Stress or How to Increase Your Sales by 50% Without Working More.

For an event where I spoke about speech writing, the promotional headline included the questions: 

Are your speeches and presentations interesting and memorable?

Do you feel frustrated or anxious when you need to prepare a speech?

2. After the headline, write a general background about the challenges surrounding the topic.

The background can include questions and comments about the subject matter that gets readers thinking about the challenges they are facing.

For example, one event that focused on the future of an industry had the following copy:

Do you know which major trends will affect your business in the next few years? Do you have a strategy to deal with them? How can you possibly plan without knowing all the driving forces that are changing your industry?

For one of my presentations on speech writing, I included the following background information after the headline:

The 2008 US Presidential Election showed us that public speaking is an important way to motivate, persuade and inspire people. Too often, business speeches are not interesting or memorable. In The Art of the Great Speech you will learn simple techniques that will make it easier for you to create and deliver outstanding speeches.

For another event that focused on retail business in Australia, the background included:

Australia’s retail landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Online shopping, consumer expectations of discounting, workplace relations, consumer confidence and a range of other factors have created challenges and opportunities in the industry. Is your retail business keeping up with the rapid pace of change?

These introductions after the headlines provide a topic overview and bring up the challenges that are addressed during the event.

3. The benefits section shows the readers what they will get out of the presentation to improve an aspect of their business or career.

One technique that has worked well is expressing the benefits in bullet point form. Writing an event promotion this way makes the benefits stand out for readers who skim the copy.

Here is an example from an event promotion aimed at professional speakers:

In this information-packed event, Tom Jenkins — one of the Australia’s top professional speakers — will show you what’s required to create and maintain a successful speaking business.

Tom will share his insights, tools and systems that are essential for success in professional speaking.

During the lunch session, you will learn how to:

  • Plan your business to maximise your results
  • Find more clients
  • Get a steady flow of speaking engagements coming in
  • Contact buyers and audience members for additional business following conferences.

When promoting my speech writing presentation, I outlined the benefits as follows:

In this session you will discover how to:

  • Create a memorable speech in less time
  • Take the frustration and confusion out of preparing a speech
  • Employ ancient techniques, often used by business and political leaders, to influence your listeners and make a lasting impression
  • Open and conclude your speech with maximum impact.

In the introductory phrase and the bullet point items, try to use “you” as much as possible, without overdoing it, to speak directly to your readers.

4. Write your call to action. This is what you want the readers to do next.

For example:

Interest will be high and seats are limited, so please RSVP by Wednesday 28 April on to 0403 857 273 or email success@bestevents.com  to reserve your place at this event.


If you don’t have a game plan for 2015, the Speaking Business Kick-Off Lunch will help you get started on a winning year. 

Book now to reserve your place at this special event.

5. Write about the speaker to highlight their experience, knowledge and other positive attributes.  

This will help you build credibility and get the readers interested in hearing what the speaker has to say. Try to keep the speaker profile short so that the readers don’t have to wade through a lot of text to learn about the speaker.

For example:

Albert Cranston, Director of Operations at NEXUS

Albert manages NEXUS’s operations, including sales and marketing, in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific region.

A founder of NEXUS, Albert has been an IT professional since 1997 and received a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and IT from the University of Sydney. He is accredited by Microsoft and is a Certified Business Intelligence Professional.

Before establishing NEXUS, Albert led the Business Intelligence Team as Principal at Global Solutions Group in Melbourne and managed a team of consultants to implement a BI reporting system for the National Bank in the United Kingdom.  He was also an Associate Graduate at Datatech, where he worked with senior consultants.

Notable projects that were implemented under Albert’s guidance include a data management system for Allied International Insurance and an enterprise-wide budgeting, forecasting and reporting system for a major international bank.

One common mistake is to put the speaker profile at the beginning of the event promotion and  rely on the presenter’s bio to spark interest. This approach can work if the speaker is famous in their field. For a lesser-known speaker, however, it’s best to lead with the topic background and benefits of the presentation.

Writing an event promotion does not have to be a challenge. By following the steps outlined, you can create an effective promotion that gets results.

Website Copywriter — Why Use a Professional?

Do you really need a professional website copywriter?

You might question if you need a professional website copywriter. It’s true that most people know how to write at some level, so they think they will be able to save money by writing their own content for their website. Some business owners also believe that they are best suited to write about their business because they are closely involved with it. But a website written by a professional website copywriter will be far more effective and generate more enquiries and sales than one written by an amateur.

Professional website copywriter working at his computer.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. A professional website copywriter will specialise in the persuasive aspects of writing. This includes knowing how to combine words effectively — using logic, emotion and authority — to build a strong case for the business and its products or services. It also includes knowing how to write for the web, where keeping the copy simple is vital to maintaining the interest of readers.
  2. A website copywriter will have an outside perspective and be able to see things that a person who works in the business might miss. Seeing the business from the inside and being too close to it can limit your perspective and the ability to explain the benefits of products and services to others. Writing your own copy is much like trying to cut your own hair. You might be able to do it, but you won’t be able to see whole picture and probably will end up with a poor result.

Although a professional website copywriter might not know the specifics of your business, they know how to conduct research and interviews to uncover elements that will build your credibility and sell more products and services. Also, it doesn’t matter if a website copywriter hasn’t written in your industry before. Most professional writers are flexible and know how to uncover the information that’s important, so it’s not necessary to find a copywriter who has experience in your industry.

3. For many of us, it’s been a long time since we have studied English grammar. Over the years, it’s easy to forget the subtle rules of grammar, such as when to use a comma or when to use a colon or semi-colon. A professional website copywriter works with grammar and punctuation every day and knows rules of good writing. By using a professional copywriter, you can prevent the embarrassment and loss of image that can result from bad writing on your website.

4. A professional website copywriter can save you time. An expert will be able to write your website in a fraction of the time it takes an amateur. This can be compared to doing your own mechanical work on your own car. A professional mechanic has been trained and has the equipment to get the job done quickly and efficiently, while the home mechanic can spend hours trying to put the pieces back together. In many cases, the repair that you thought would take a few hours ends up taking the whole weekend.

Using a professional website copywriter is like using a professional photographer

Similarly, using a professional website copywriter is much like using a professional photographer. While most people know how to use a camera, professional photographers know the intricacies of the craft, such as how to use lighting, equipment and technique to create superior results. Most people are aware of this and will hire a professional photographer for a wedding or other important event. Yet when it comes to writing website copy, some businesspeople try to cut corners and write it themselves — or try to find a cheap amateur to do it. Unfortunately, they end up with websites that are not as effective they could have been.

Choose your website copywriter carefully. You can find a cheap website copywriter on overseas and local service auction sites. The bad news is many of these writers are amateurs who don’t know what they’re doing or they write in their local English style that doesn’t work in Australia. When we’ve studied some of these websites, we have noticed that the profiles that these writers have created for themselves are poorly written and full of mistakes. Also, we’re often approached by business people who ask us to improve the copy written by these cheap amateur writers. Sometimes this cheap website copywriting is so bad, we have to start all over again. So when sourcing a website copywriter, the old maxim “You get what you pay for” holds true.

If you are setting up a new website or want to improve an existing one, we’ll be glad to discuss your website copywriting needs and provide a quotation.

Michael Gladkoff

Five Steps to Writing and Designing a Great Brochure

All businesses need a brochure of some form to promote products or services.  It’s important that this brochure hits the mark in its message. In order to ensure your message is the right one for your target audience, you first need to identify what your mark is.

First, follow the AIDA model, when creating any marketing material, including your brochure.

  • Attention – Grab their attention on the first page/section. These pictures and words should be about the problem the customer wants to solve or the outcome they are seeking so that you immediately build rapport with them.
  • Interest – The next page/section should build the audience’s interest in how you can help them achieve the results they desire.
  • Desire – In this section include why your product or service is the best they can buy and the reasons it is. Make sure you use words and language they would use and relate to.
  • Action – Finish with a “Call to Action” – What do you want them to do next? Tell them what to do and make it easy for them to do it. For example, look up your website, call your sales office or the go to the retail stores. Choose your words and the call to action at the end to meet your objective for the brochure.

With the AIDA model in mind, you can follow these 5 steps in designing and writing for a great brochure.

1. Using the strategic choices described in the previous blog post (see Writing a Brochure That Sells Your Products and Services), list the key points for your audience. Set it out in the order they will want to look at it. What are the main categories of information or aspects of your product or service that they want to know about?

This will set out the outline and structure of your brochure and the main headings or sections of information.

2. Select high quality photographs, pictures or graphs for your brochure that best represent what the target customer wants to see. Ensure they:

  • Set the style and the scene for the positioning
  • Show the product in the best possible usage or illustrate the service or image of it
  • Create the image of the outcomes the target customer is seeking

People are attracted to colour and pictures more than words. Use as many relevant images as you can. Make sure you have permission to use them.

3. Write your brochure copy or content in the language of your audience.

Use questions to encourage your audience to think about what they want. Questions also help build rapport with your audience. After you have written it, go through and remove all the extra words you can. Aim to keep the amount of words to a minimum. It is best to get a professional copywriter to write this for you.

4. Put your brochure together with the content and the photos.

Choose the size and format that suits the content and your objective. Use a graphic designer to layout the brochure for a very professional finish. Otherwise there are many templates available on the internet to help make it look the best you can. It might be a postcard, an A4 sheet, a two-sided tri-fold DL or a booklet, depending on how much information you want to include and how much you want to spend on the printing.

5. Print your brochure on the optimum paper for your design and budget.

If you follow these steps, you will have an amazing brochure that will attract your customer and hit the mark in motivating them to buy your product or service. Make it fun as you go through this process as that will come out in your brochure and people will want to read it more.

Writing a Brochure That Sells Your Products and Services

Handsome man with pipe writing a brochure at his typewriter.

Your brochure can be one of the most effective tools in your marketing tool kit. So before writing a brochure it’s critical to make strategic choices about what you put in it so that it differentiates your products or services for your market and against your competition.

The most important criteria when writing a brochure  is that it says what your target market wants to know, rather than all you want to tell them about how great you are. So you need to understand “What is the information your target customers want to know so they can make a decision?”

The following are the strategic choices you need to make before writing a brochure:

1.  Who is your target customer?

  • What outcomes are the seeking?
  • What problems do they want to solve that you can help with?
  • What is important to them?
  • What do they need to know to make a decision?

Really understanding your customer helps to write a brochure that is specific and targeted, rather than full of generalisations, and that will peak your audience’s interest. Ask your current customers and potential customers to get some feedback before you begin writing your brochure.

2. Who is your actual audience?

  • Who will read the brochure?
  • Who exactly will buy your product or service?
  • What is their role in the family or business?
  • What influences them?

This will help you with writing the brochure content that best suits your audience and provides what they need to know to make a decision. If you are selling to a business, you need to identify the decision maker and target them as your audience.

3. What is your objective in writing a brochure? What do you want it to do?

  • Educate the audience about the need for such a product or service?
  • Make them aware that your product/service exists so they want to find out more?
  • Give them information about your products or services as part of your service delivery?
  • Sell your product through the brochure?

The different objectives will change the writing and style of your brochure.

4.  Choose your positioning for your product or service. What makes it stand out from the crowd and what will you focus on when writing your brochure?

Is it:

  • High class, top of the range, high price?
  • The lowest price available on the market?
  • The best value-added services package?
  • The most number of options available?
  • Or many other options?

Choose what’s right for you.

The quality and focus of your brochure needs to illustrate your positioning. For example, high-class, top-of-the-range product needs a high-class, top-of-the-range brochure.

5. How do you stand out from the crowd when writing a brochure? Know your competition.

Questions you will want to ask when writing a brochure are:

  • How are your products or services better than those offered by your competition?
  • What do you offer that’s unique to you?
  • How does that match up with the outcomes your audience wants and what is important to them?

This is a critical step in identifying your core message before writing your brochure content. Align what your stand-out qualities with your target market research from Steps 1 and 2.

6. What is your budget for your brochure? Does it match your positioning and meet your objective?

Your budget will determine the layout and quality of your brochure. It will also determine your next steps.

Now all you have to do is start writing your brochure content — or get a professional copywriter to do the writing for you. This is followed by designing the layout and getting the brochure printed. The second blog in this series will help you do that.

These steps are a great process to go through every time you are writing any marketing content for your product or service. They’re based on a simple premise: the better you know your customers, the better you can serve them.

For Part 2 of this post, go to Writing and Designing a Great Brochure.


Copywriting — What Makes Copywriting Robotic?

What do we mean by robotic copywriting?  Simply put, robotic copywriting is not conversational and not customer focused, while it’s unnecessarily formal and complicated.

Here are four warning signs of robotic copywriting.

Shows a copywriting robot on computer outdoors in a field with grass and flowers. The message of the post is to avoid robotic copywriting.

1. Robotic copywriting doesn’t use personal pronouns.

One of the first signs of robotic copywriting is repetition of the company name. If you skim the text of many annual reports, for example, you will see the company name constantly repeated.  Maybe the copywriter thought it wasn’t appropriate to use ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ when referring to the company. But a key to effective copywriting is creating a conversational tone that includes personal pronouns.

Here’s a sample of how this was done in the Siemens 2006 Annual Report.

People Excellence: We’ve established a high-performance culture throughout our company. Based on clear performance goals, this culture enables our people to realize their full potential. To increase our global talent pool, we’re fostering talented young people worldwide. We’ve created new career tracks for experts and redesigned our management development program.

You will notice the copywriter used we and our instead of repeating the company name. In addition, the copywriter used contractions — we’ve and we’re — to give the copy a conversational feel.

Another way to avoid robotic copywriting is by being direct and using the word that’s most important to your readers — you.  The following examples show how much difference one word can make.


  • Our clients get a full spectrum of advertising related services.
  • Our clients get common sense advice that helps them grow their businesses.
  • Our clients receive strategic and creative leadership across a full array of marketing communications.


  • You get a full spectrum of advertising related services.
  • You get common sense advice that helps you grow your business.
  • You receive strategic and creative leadership across a full array of marketing communications.

One of the first rules in selling is to assume the sale. Writing our clients does not assume the sale but writing you does.

2. Robotic copywriting is focused on the product or company, not benefits to the customer.

In The Copywriter’s Handbook, Robert Bly provides excellent examples that show the difference between copywriting that focuses on the needs customers and copywriting that focuses on the company or product.

Product-focused copywriting: ‘BankPlan is the state-of-the-art in user-friendly, sophisticated financial software for small business accounts receivable, accounts payable, and general ledger applications.’

Customer-focused copywriting: ‘BankPlan helps you balance your books and manage your cash flow. It also keeps track of customers who haven’t paid their bills. Best of all, the program is easy to use — you don’t need special training.’

So focus on your customers and their needs to avoid robotic copywriting.

3. Robotic copywriting uses big words and more words than are needed to convey the message.

Robotic copywriting also tends to use big words when simpler equivalents will work. For example, ‘Utilising our new software will facilitate an optimal outcome’ can be changed to ‘Using our new software will help you create the best outcome.’

Examples of large words and phrases that can be reduced include:

  • accomplish → do
  • ascertain → find out
  • disseminate → send out, distribute
  • employ → use
  • endeavour → try
  • expedite → hasten, speed up
  • facilitate → make easier, help
  • facility → building, warehouse, etc.
  • locality → place
  • however → but
  • therefore → so.

4. Robotic copywriting uses jargon and corporate buzzwords.

Many of these overused words are vague and have lost any meaning. They often can be expressed in a better way.

Some examples include:

  • Best practice
  • Core competencies
  • Deliverables
  • Driver
  • Incentivise
  • Learnings
  • Mission-critical
  • Operationalise
  • Paradigm shift
  • Value proposition.

Do these types of terms have a clear meaning when used in copywriting to promote a company’s product or services? Usually not. For a humorous look at business buzzwords, go to the Corporate BS Generator.

If you write or edit copy, keep these four points in mind to avoid robotic copywriting.




Writing a Capability Statement to Win More Business

Having a capability statement is becoming increasingly important, especially if your business is seeking to win government contracts. But what is a capability statement? Some writers describe it as a resume for your business — others call it a marketing document. In reality, a capability statement (sometimes called a capabilities statement) is a bit of both.

A capability statement is a document that tells readers who you are and what you can do for them. Common elements of capability statements can include a summary of your business, your core competencies, past performance, important projects and key differentiators that set you apart. Shorter is better, so we recommend keeping it under 5 pages.

Some of the points you might include when writing a capability statement are:

  • Business summary – a few paragraphs on who you are and what you do. This can include a brief history of your business.
  • Your capabilities — this is the core of a capability statement. Be sure to highlight what makes you stand out from other businesses. Begin with an introductory statement and list your capabilities in bullet point form so they stand out and are easy to read.
  • Projects and clients – when writing your capability statement, list your clients (if not confidential) and the important projects you have completed. If space permits, briefly describe project goals and how these were achieved. Be sure to include projects that are relevant to the work you are trying to win with the capability statement. It might be best to customise your capability statement to fit the requirements of each potential client.
  • Credentials and accreditation – these will be more important in professional service industries. Be sure to include awards your business has received for excellence in delivering its services.
  • Insurance, policies and procedures  – these can include the types of insurance held and levels of coverage, and risk management policies and procedures such as occupational health and safety.
  • Your company data – clearly include your contact information at the end of the capability statement so you can be reached easily. Other information can include your ABN, ACN, DUNS or other identification numbers.

Writing a capability statement does not have to be a difficult exercise. If you spend some time thinking about your business and gather the relevant information, you will be well on your way to writing a capability statement that will help you win more business.

Copywriting To Motivate Consumer Mindsets

Copywriting is not normally a term associated with psychology. But there is no doubt about it, copywriting is a powerful means to motivate and shape consumer mindsets. In this blog, we look at how you can leverage copywriting to activate readers’ unseen motivators. Getting them to think, buy and act upon your word.

The underlying psychology of copywriting
What really makes your consumers tick? Any copywriter who can answer this question holds the Midas touch. If you wish to profoundly influence your target market, you need to understand their psychological make-up. Only then can you pitch your copywriting in a way that resonates with their ‘hot buttons’ or hidden motivators. This is what we call ‘psychologically groomed’ copywriting. A tool that can help you:

  • ingrain brand loyalty upon your consumers’ psyche
  • break down sales resistance by appealing to reader emotions
  • understand what issues your readers face and seek to solve.

Sound good? Let’s look at how you can psychologically groom your copywriting.

It all begins with an understanding of your consumers’ decision-making process.

Emotion is your chief copywriting ally
The human brain functions on three basic levels — instinctive, emotional and rational.

Effective copywriting strategically appeals to all three.

Now, most of your customers would say that their purchasing decisions are rational. Driven by logical reasoning like: I need a new pair of shoes because my current pair have grown uncomfortable. Yet emotion primarily drives consumer decision-making. Your consumer may feel compelled to buy those new shoes because:

  • I feel embarrassed that my shoes are in last season’s style. Your consumer doesn’t want to feel out of date or fall behind the fashion flock.
  • All the other girls are wearing shoes in this new style. Theirs look much smarter than mine and I don’t want to be left out. Your consumer wants to fit in and be accepted.
  • I haven’t seen anyone else wearing this style of shoe…I could be the first. Your consumer is exhilarated at the notion of setting a new trend.

All these are examples of ‘hidden motivators’ your copywriting can play to. There are many more, like:

  • health
  • exclusivity
  • time
  • social or business advancement.

The key is to know the motivators of your particular target market, then tailor your copywriting to fit.

Use copywriting to ignite consumer instinct
Emotion arouses instinct, thus providing another powerful copywriting tool. Say you are pitching to new mothers. Their maternal love arouses an instinct to protect and nurture their baby. Or perhaps you are marketing income protection insurance to executives. Their instinct for self-preservation is aroused by fear of losing income and lifestyle.

Tap into those instincts which dominate your consumers’ action, then tailor your copywriting to fit. A great way to do this is through storytelling. Take readers on a journey where you arouse their instincts, engage emotions, then show them how much better their life will be with your product.

Roll out the rationale in copywriting
So what follows an emotional decision to act? Rational brain functioning! Your consumer employs logic to rationalise their decision. Psychologically groomed copywriting helps them in this process. Outline vividly how much better and easier life will be once they have taken the desired action.

Say you want to sell a designer handbag. Your copywriting should detail the quality of finest leather, intricate hand stitching and exquisite detailing. Outline the investment potential of the bag too. It complements any outfit, offers generous space with clever organisation. Plus with timeless style, your consumer can enjoy her bag all season and it will last her through many more.

Walk in your consumers’ shoes
Just as an actor immerses themselves into character, you must become your consumer. Psychologically groomed copywriting requires that you understand your consumer’s most heartfelt desires, needs and feelings. Then choose words that resonate with these, painting a picture of their ultimate satisfaction. This copywriting method is truly a force to be reckoned with.