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If Jesus Was A CopywriterNovember 24th, 2011 1 comment

I’d like to think Jesus was the greatest living marketer of all-time. His accolades are astonishing. After starting with only twelve, His customer base now reaches 1/3 of the world, His brand has lasted over 2,000 years and His book is the #1 best-seller of all time. What other brand can say that?

So naturally I wanted to learn from the best on how to write successful ad copy. I looked, and right there, buried in scripture, Jesus gives us the perfect model of copywriting.

“Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19

From this one verse we can learn the four core principles of successful copywriting:

1. Understand Your Audience. One of the secrets to writing great copy is using words that work with the people you’re trying to persuade. In this case Jesus approached two brothers that were fishermen. By identifying and understanding that, he says, “I will make you fishers of men.” You immediately gain credibility in your ad if your target audience can identify with your copy. They feel like you know them and/or your product was made specifically for them.

A common mistake brands make is not identifying a target audience because their product is “for everyone.” Perhaps everybody can use what you are selling, but the reality is only one group will most likely buy it. One way you can define your target audience is identifying the characteristic of your best customers. If you are a start-up, then it’s your ideal customer. Once you know your audience and their interests, you can personalize your advertisement to appeal to their specific affections. Tip: While writing, visualize you are writing to one person. This will help personalize the message.

Remember, you produce the biggest response when people believe you are talking to them.

2. State the Big Benefit. It is important that you answer the one question on the forefront of every customer’s mind, “What‘s In It For Me?” or “WIIFM”. Jesus states the “WIIFM” clearly. If you come with me, “I will make you” into a person with greater purpose. The rule to writing persuasive copy is to present the benefits, not features. How do you do this? Start by identifying the benefit that underlies each feature. Create a list of all the features of your product (i.e. cheap photo printing in less than an hour). In the next column, write down how it makes your customer’s life better (i.e. save time and money printing photos). Lastly, create your ad copy by adding dimension and emotion to make it as compelling as possible (i.e. Print photos of the ones you love for less time and money).

Use this technique on four or five product features then force rank to identify your top benefit. This is a good exercise to change the paradigm in your promotions. Use it until you and your team think like this naturally.

Don’t forget, features tell, benefits sell!

3. One Call to Action. “Follow Me,” Jesus said… and they did. The Bible says they “immediately left their nets and followed Him.” This is because they were given one simple action that they could act on immediately. He didn’t say go home, log onto my website, set up an account, register, take a survey, print out your results and bring it with you.

The key to creating a simple call to action is 1. Use active urgent language (i.e. call, buy, register, subscribe, donate) 2. Remove the obstacles between your product and your customers. If you have a 3-step process then ask yourself, “Can it be two, or even one?” If you have two equally important actions, then pick the one people can engage with the easiest. In other words, if they are online then use the online method. If they are right in front of you then use a method they can do now. Options can only paralyze action and the harder you make it to become a customer the more customers you send away.

4. Keep it Simple. In just ten words, Jesus changes the lives of two men forever. There is nothing worst than reading ad copy and beginning to think, “get to the point.”  If you want to frustrate your prospective customer, then don’t value their time. When writing compelling copy, keep it clear and concise. Don’t digress and don’t ramble. Stay focused and use simple language. No one will ever complain that your copy is too easy to understand.


Categorized Branding


One Comment

  1. As a professional copywriter, this message is my mantra. Thanks for such a good job at summarizing the four main points! 🙂

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