How copywriting can make your competitors irrelevant

Would you like to make your competitors irrelevant? With the right information, you can.

There are three things your clients can’t tell you themselves, which is a shame. Why? Because if you knew what those things were, it would make the competition disappear.

Fortunately, you can discover that information for yourself (as long as you know where to look) and use it to devastating effect (if you know what to do with it).

Copywriting insights you’ll discover in this video

  1. Why you must find out before your competitors what your clients can’t (but really want to) tell you
  2. How to discover that information for yourself
  3. How to use what you uncover to take your marketing to another level

3 things your clients can’t tell you that would make your competitors irrelevant

Video transcript

Copywriting has the power to make your competitors irrelevant if you know what you’re doing, so the first thing that you need to know is that copywriting and writing are not the same thing.

You can fill a webpage from top to bottom with words that sound great, that your English teacher would’ve loved, but it’s not copywriting.

Copywriting takes insights into human behaviour, into what your clients want, and then uses writing skills to persuade them to do whatever it is that you want them to do, normally to buy or to pick up the phone and give you a call.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean by that. I’ve taken an old ad here for a reason that will make sense in a minute. This is an ad obviously for soap. We all use soap, we all want to get clean, soap is soap, so from a copywriting point of view you have to tap into something different from just the feature of the product. This way they’ve gone for keeping your skin soft and smooth. That’s one more way to tap into the feature of the product, but a good copywriter will ask themselves what is something that somebody really wants from this product?

Now, bearing in mind this was the 1950s, this is what the copywriter came up with, “I love my husband far too much to risk getting dry, lifeless, middle-aged skin.” In 2019, that is a repugnant statement, okay? We don’t like that, we find it repulsive, and therefore, it jumps out at us. The copywriting in this instance jumps out at us because what sounded good presumably in 1953 does not sound great in 2019 and therefore, the layer is removed and you can see the copywriting at work. But normally copywriting is not that obvious. Normally when you’re reading something that you find persuasive, you think to yourself well yeah, of course that’s just the way it is and yeah, that’s right, of course they would say that.

But a good copywriter is saying those things deliberately because they have chosen things that to you, the ideal client, will sound right and will sound persuasive, so how do you get to the level of understanding what it is that’s going on a little bit deeper with your clients? There are three things that you need to know but that your clients can’t tell you themselves even though they’d really quite like to. Those three things are what they truly desire in life, the group they want to belong to, and the results they really hope for.

Putting that in context, let’s take a very expensive Mercedes. This is a car that would cost you over $100,000 to buy. Now if you just want to go to the shop, so you want to go to work or you want to take a trip at the weekend, you can do all of that in a $7,000 second-hand tiny car. If you want a bit more legroom, a bit more comfort, few more safety features, you could spend $30,000 on a car. But the leap from spending $30,000 on a car to more than $100,000 on a car has nothing to do with transportation, it has to do with what that car says about what you desire in life, what group you want to belong to, and the results that you’re really hoping for from the product.

Let’s take an example and I’ll show you how as a copywriter we make those things work. This is a company called Westbourne College, they’re an Australian organization. They teach people diploma level skills. Their target market are people coming out of uniform who need formal qualifications that are recognized in the civilian world.

Where as a copywriter do you start trying to work out what’s important to this group of people? It does start with a lot of research. Copywriting is 80% research, 20% writing.

In this instance, the first thing we did was talk to the client because he actually came out of the police himself so he has a real insight into this target market and he explained to me that there’s nothing more ex than being ex-military or ex-police.

How he explained that to me was let’s say you’re in the Navy, you come out of the Navy, your ship sets sail, they’re gone for three months. You literally cannot have a drink with these guys. You literally cannot hang out with them. They are somewhere else.

But even if you were in the police and everyone had stayed in the same place, when they go out to drink in the evening they want to talk about work and they can’t talk to you about work anymore because you’re not in, you’re not in the police, you’re out. There’s a real sense of suddenly losing your group.

Other things that we saw were this comment online said we went to forums and places where military and ex-military people are talking to each other.

They didn’t get the way the modern office is. The modern office is very different apparently from the office if you’re military or police. They said the stuff I experienced, all these pen pushers can only fantasize about. Many civilians have no common sense, civvies have no idea about being on time for appointments and meetings. I don’t interview very well but I’m smart and I’m fit. A 20-something HR person is getting in the way of me getting a job because they don’t understand my life and what I’ve done.

If we take that layer of the three things these clients can’t tell you themselves, we get to what do they truly desire in life? They want respect for their accomplishments. What’s the group they want to belong to? People in gainful, stable employment. And what do they really hope for? They want to feel wanted and useful again. Those are the three things we know in a sense we’re really selling when we sell Westbourne College and the formal education that they can provide.

How do you translate that in copying? You can’t just come out and say, “Hey, do you want to feel respected and useful again?” What you have to do is hint at it, to make somebody feel the way that you need them to feel before they’re going to give you a call. In this case we came up with a tagline, “Rewarding the courage to learn. Became an [inaudible 00:06:19], in demand candidate with the formal qualifications to tackle your next adventure.”

Those words were not chosen at random just because they sound nice, they were deliberately picked, courage, tackle, adventure. These are people who’ve chosen previously to join the military or the police, they are adventure seeking, courageous people. These are qualities that they’re going to respond to, they’re going to feel understood, even if they can’t put their finger on it when they look at the website. In demand, we identified that the group that these guys want to belong to is those in gainful employment. What they most desire from the product is to be wanted again, so in demand is a very carefully chosen phrase.

If you go to the copy on the site, you’ll see that the copy speaks in the language of the audience. Many of our students have lived a life, they’ve excelled at important work, they’ve led men and women in challenging circumstances, they’ve won against odds that their future colleagues won’t be able to imagine. With speaking their language, we’re saying you are part of a group and we are part of that group as well. We understand you. You’ve found a new group.

The bits in gold that are underlined there that you will see are pulled directly from the research. “They’ve won against odds that their future colleagues won’t be able to imagine.” There was that quotation that we found in the forums from somebody saying these pen pushers will never understand what I’ve done. They’re coming up against first line employment screeners who don’t understand the lives they’ve led or what they’ve achieved. Again, pulled directly from the research, “I’m being denied opportunities by a 20-year old HR first line screener who doesn’t get my career.” And what they’ve achieved, we know that they want respect for their achievements. These are people who have achieved something, just because it’s not understood in civilian life doesn’t mean it’s not a massive achievement.

This is the Westbourne College About Us page. I won’t read the whole thing out there but some things that I’ll pull out. The language that we’ve used, “Our team shares your ethos. Our instructors have served.” We are identifying ourselves very clearly as part of the same group because everybody who instructs at Westbourne College has served in uniform so they understand where you are now and they got to the other side, they speak your language, they’ll respect you enough to give it to you straight. We use words like rigorous, robust, power, unlock.

These are action-taking people that we’re talking to so we use action-focused language. The promise is that we will mentor you into a successful private sector career because that’s exactly what these instructors have done. They’ve been in, then they came out, and they’ve made a success of themselves in civilian life so you’re going to get someone who understands you, respects your accomplishments, and can move you into the same group as them, the one you want to be part of, successfully employed.

The way to make your competitors irrelevant is to tap into what your customers desire, the group they want to be part of and the result they really want because they will buy from the supplier who is selling those things even when everything else appears to be identical because you’re selling what they really want. You don’t just want the soap that gets you clean because all soap gets you clean. You want the soap that gives you the thing that you desire most.

I’m Steven Lewis and I own and operate Taleist, which is a copywriting agency here in Sydney. If you are looking for a high converting website, so you already are investing in getting traffic to your website but you are finding that your conversion rate is not what you want it to be, there is an excellent chance if you already have the right traffic that you don’t have the right message. The reason you don’t have the right message is that you haven’t gone deep enough into what your clients really, truly want from your product or service.

If you are not watching this video at our website, it’s and if you go to you can download video, you can download the transcript, and you can get the slides that went into making this presentation.

That’s and I’m Steven Lewis. It’s my agency and if you have any questions, you’re welcome to give us a call.