Creating Better Marketing Messages

How to create and evaluate effective messages

Styles and market needs  are always changing, but there are proven principles for messages that work. Too few marketing professionals seem to understand them.   As a result, much promotion is based on gut reaction, intuition and personal preferences.

Message and Presentation

The key to successful messages is:  Successful messages come in only one language – BENEFITS!

“What’s in it for me?” (W.I.I.F.M.?)

“What do I get out of it?”

“What will it do for me and my family?”

“What will it do for my business?”

Prospects can’t get more sell out of a promotional message than what you put in!


People spend their money to get benefits for themselves or those important to them. (derived benefits or derived satisfaction)

A benefit is an advantage or satisfaction the prospect will gain – or the loss avoided – from the item, proposition or service you sell.

Don’t leave it to the prospect to discover the benefits he or she will gain from the offer.  Spell it out, as simply as possible.


Promotion must balance stated benefits with component realities (features).  They provide the rational reason why the service will work and help create conviction.    Benefits must be supportable.

The more key benefits there are in a promotional message – supported by product points – the more selling power there will be.

CREATE INTEREST AND DESIRE by stressing benefits of using your service or owning the resultant thing (good).

DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE of your particular product by detailing benefits and features.

MAKE IT SELL FOR YOU ALONE by stressing reasons for buying from your company, not others.

Make your message fit the character of your business. Put it in line with your strategy of differentiation and positioning

BETTER COPY –Starts with a great opening

Use one of the great proven opening ingredients, to attract interest

(1)  Promise benefits – (W.I.I.F.M.)

(2)  Promote the “new” or “news” aspects.

(3)  Appeal to the (direct) interests of the prospect.

(4)  Appeal to curiosity.

Better Openings

(1) Involve the reader.  Address him/her directly.

(2) Put direct suggestion or question.

(3)  Use words that stimulate

(4)  Appeal to pride and self interest

(5) Appeal to current or local issues.

(6) Beware overly clever language and technical terms.

Seven Rules for Making Copy Easy to Read

1.         Use short, common words.  Do not try to impress with your extended vocabulary.  Fewer syllables sell more.

2.         Use short sentences.  Sentences that are thirty words long contain too many ideas or  equivocations.  It makes the key idea difficult to understand.

3.         Use short paragraphs.  Each paragraph should contain one idea.  It is OK. to use 1 sentence  paragraphs.

4.         Make sure you use the word “YOU” at least twice as much as the word “I”.

5.         Write as if you are writing or talking to one specific and important person.

6.         Use words that have warmth and involve emotional responses.

7.         Avoid too much logic and sterility.  Create images with your words.

8.         Use action verbs instead of nouns.

Developing effective, that is selling, copy is a specialised art.  It is one that requires knowledge of the theory and practical, current, experience.

Present your proposition quickly and clearly

Once you’ve gained the prospect’s attention with your opening, give your selling proposition quickly and clearly.

The  proposition is the core of your promotional message. Tell the prospect,  fast.   Get your offer across early, boldly, right near the opening.


A sale is made at the exact moment the prospect decides he wants the benefits to be gained from your product (goods and services) is more than the investment (money, time risk) cost.   It is your objective to have your message accomplish this as soon as practical.  You are the expert with the information a prospect wants.  As the expert in this communication, it is your responsibility to present it effectively so that the prospect may become a client.

Keep selling with sub-points

Prospects should be able to get the essentials of the message form the opening and the sub-headings.

There are two kinds of sub-headings:

(1)  Those immediately following your main opening.

(2)  Those used in the copy.

Sub-headings amplify and broaden the opening theme or promise.   They act as directions in the body of information

They help push the selling message forward.  They make it possible for the reader to get the gist of your story quickly, without reading all the copy.   They also break up long blocks of solid type or information.

How to create conviction  and make your words BELIEVABLE:-

(1) Present the main idea at least three times during your message

(2)  Tell of popularity (use testimonials, and quote authorities.)

(3) Convey value. Demonstrate the benefits are worth more than the cost.

(4) Give assurances and proof.  Overcome objections.  Guarantee satisfaction when you can.

2 thoughts on “Creating Better Marketing Messages

  1. I can’t argue with a single point you’ve made. But here comes the big “HOWEVER”. Let’s not forget that visual images are also an important consideration in crafting the right message.

    Getting the message right is critical. But getting the benefit message across doesn’t always require a lot of words. The use of the right visuals/images can be just as important. Some of the most powerful marketing messages combine images with sparse copy. Some even get the point across with no words at all.

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