Fill in the Blanks: A Framework Where Strategy and Copy Writes Itself

A blank screen or sheet of paper is daunting when starting to conceive a strategy or write copy. There are formulas abound for getting started. But the framework I’ve found most impactful, based on experience and results, is …

copy strategyA blank screen or sheet of paper is daunting when starting to conceive a copy strategy. There are formulas abound for getting started. But the framework I’ve found most impactful, based on experience and results, is one that I have personally conceived and refined over the past years.

I use a seven-step framework to create copy strategy that aligns with how people naturally process information, think and lead themselves to a place where they give themselves permission to inquire, buy or donate. This is detailed in my new book, Crack the Customer Mind Code.

I used this framework once again last week when an organization called me in to meet about a troubled direct mail and online marketing program. I walked the team through the framework, and we were quickly able to identify the disconnect between the approach they were using and what they should be communicating instead. In an hour, a succinct “road map” was created. It became apparent why their recent marketing campaigns weren’t working, and in the second hour of our meeting, we wasted no time in talking through the implementation of a new copy strategy.

I use this framework when writing a letter, video script or content — virtually any copy that requires getting my point across with a story. With client input, we discuss and fill in the blanks in the matrix. The result is a framework that enables faster copywriting and testing.

Most importantly: The seven steps lead to short-term memory, and often the desired long-term memory that serves as the tipping point when the prospect becomes a customer (read how this framework creates new memory in The 3 Levels of Memory: Marketing’s End Game).

Here’s how it works: I create a matrix like the one below (download the PDF). I ask questions, and fill in the answers. Fill in the blanks in the right column and your strategy will reveal itself. Then use the information to start writing copy, and your message practically writes itself.

7-Step Framework for Creating Copy Strategy (opens as a PDF)

Gary Hennerberg gives you the details of his “Seven Pathways from Head to Heart to YES!” in his book, Crack the Customer Mind Code, available from the DirectMarketingIQ Bookstore. For a free download with more detail about the seven pathways, and access to Gary’s videos where he presents them, go to CustomerMindCode.com

11 Proven B-to-B Copy Platforms

To motivate business buyers, especially in digital, it helps to base your message on powerful, proven B-to-B copy platforms that encapsulate the key benefit to the prospect. They answer the questions, “Why should I care?” and “What’s in it for me?”

Drawing Great Copy PlatformsTo motivate business buyers — especially in digital channels, where you have just a few seconds to catch their interest — it helps to base your message on powerful, proven copy platforms.

A copy platform encapsulates the key benefit to the prospect. It answers the questions, “Why should I care?” and “What’s in it for me?” Business people are people, but in their buying roles, they represent their companies. So marketers must appeal to them in terms that are meaningful to both the individual and the interests of their businesses.

I’ve been collecting effective B-to-B copy platforms over the years from such authoritative sources as Susan K. Jones, Nancy Harhut and Bob Hacker. You can use these to kick off your strategic messaging. They also make the basis of great email headlines and SEM ad copy. Here’s the list.

11 Proven B-to-B Copy Platforms

  1. Save time. Get to market quicker.
  2. Save money. Sell more. Spend less.
  3. Reduce risk. Stay out of regulatory trouble.
  4. Grow the business. Penetrate new markets.
  5. Find new customers. Sell them more.
  6. Job security. Help you look good in your job.
  7. Increase efficiency or productivity. Do more with less.
  8. Exclusivity. Be part of an elite group.
  9. Greed. Make money. Increase sales. Increase profits.
  10. Make your job easier. Avoid stress or hardship. Get the help you need.
  11. Fear of the unknown, or regulators, loss, or failure.

Any others to contribute?

A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.