Read your copy and ask yourself this 2-word question after every sentence

When it comes to writing copy that grab people by the lapels and compels them to act, there are only three things you need to remember.

  1. You can’t bore someone into buying what you offer
  2. People don’t buy what they don’t understand
  3. People buy from people they trust (see point #2)

The thing is… writing boring or confusing copy is easy to do.

The curse of knowledge

You might know your product so well, you forget how to explain it to someone who knows nothing about your product.

So you skip explaining the basic stuff, or use abbreviations and jargon.

The result: a confused and/or bored audience.

Here’s how to avoid this ever happening to you and your copy.

Introducing the ‘So What?’ test

The ‘So What?’ test is what you do after every one of your sentences.

Let’s look at an example: Crazy Egg. This useful piece of software helps you understand how your website visitors behave when they’re browsing your pages. The idea is you can see what’s working, what needs changing and what needs moving.

'Understand the customer journey with snapshots, heatmaps and recordings'

This pic comes with the promise you’ll ‘Understand the customer journey with snapshots, heatmaps and recordings’. Words like ‘heatmap’ and ‘customer journey’ means they’re targeting marketers rather than general business owners

Here’s another of the ‘Egg value propositions:

“Crazy Egg is software that enables you track your online visitors’ behaviour. It shows you where they click. Where they scroll.”

This might sound interesting, but how do you persuade a website owner they need it? How do you get them from a “oh, that’s nice”, to “I NEED this software!”

Apply the “So What?” test

Crazy Egg tracks where people click and scroll. So what?

Well that means…

…you can see if people are clicking on the wrong thing – and do something about it. You can see which pages people are interested enough to scroll down.

You can see how the copy is highlighting the benefits of the software. There’s no droning desert-dry talk about code you need to add to your website.

Instead it’s all totally geared towards you, the prospect, and how it makes your life better.

Here’s another example.

‘We’re a friendly and reliable company.’

So what? As opposed to ‘unfriendly and unreliable’? Instead, inject some branding into it.

‘We’re friendly and reliable. Even Jim in the workshop. He rarely smiles, but that’s only because he’s a Spurs supporter.’

Of course, this totally depends on your audience. You might prefer to make Jim a serious type because he’s a perfectionist in his work. As long as you do something that makes you stand out.

bored man

Your brand is the easiest way to compete in a crowded market, so make sure your copy gets people sitting up and taking notice

How it works in practice

Go through every sentence you have. Read it. And ask yourself ‘So what?’ after each one.

So what if my product never fails?

So what if I offer free trials?

So what if customers can ring me 24/7 and get through to a real live human?

Always ask yourself: What does all this mean for the reader?

So what if my product never stops working? You never have to worry about it failing, so you can focus on other stuff.

So what if I offer free trials? That way there’s zero risk.

So what if you can ring me 24/7? You’re never alone with your problem.

Hang on… there’s more

There’s something else that makes the ‘So What’ test so powerful.

Let’s say you’ve run through each sentence in your sales email. You’ve got answers for every one of your sentences. Now go and compare your answers against your main competitors.

Your answers have got to match what your competition offers. At the bare minimum.

Ideally, your answers need to show a benefit that sets you above.

Take the previous example above:

So what if I offer free trials? That way there’s zero risk.

Sure, a reassuring reminder always helps. But when your competitors also offer free trials, you need something else.

Let’s say your software generates some sort of report. Often with freemium models, you can generate reports but can’t see all the data or download.

get free trial to see more results

This example is from Semrush but no doubt you’ve seen plenty of others

So take that pain away. Offer some sort of, ‘Hey, no hard feelings if you say no, just let it be see you later rather than good-bye’. Add an extra layer to the promise above:

So what if I offer free trials? That way there’s zero risk. What’s more, unlike most of our competitors, the reports you generate during your trial stay in our system – even when your trial ends. That way, you can pick up where you left off any time in the future.

Even better, offer a guarantee. You’ve got the standard ‘if you’re not satisfied, we’ll refund you 100%’ guarantees. They’re fine to reassure people, but they’re also a very negative way of framing a mighty good benefit.

Instead spin it so something like: ‘We guarantee you’ll be 100% satisfied, or your money back.’  See how it makes you sound so much more confident.

2 simple steps to ‘So What’ supremacy

Step 1: Go through every sentence, ask ‘So What?’ after each one, and make sure your answers highlight a benefit.

Step 2: Compare your list of benefits to your competitors – make sure yours are better.

Or… get in touch and I’ll do it for you.