NOTE: To celebrate my good friend and mentor Ted Nicholas returning to Australia to speak at my Masters of Conversion Super Conference in October, I’ve decided to publish this newsletter article and share it with everyone.
Marketing is all about perception. It’s about how your product is perceived by the marketplace. It’s not about coming out and saying you’ve got the best product. Who cares if you’ve got the best product?
It’s not always the best product that gets the most sales! Let me explain…
It’s the product that is perceived by the marketplace to be the best; that’s the real winner. And if you can “get” this statement, if you can fully understand and comprehend its meaning, then you’re well on your way to positioning your product for maximum sales.
And even when you study this stuff on a daily basis, as I do, it’s still hard to get it right. It’s still hard to find that unique “angle” in which to lay the platform for all your marketing. It’s still difficult to craft a Unique Selling Proposition that absolutely blows your prospects away, makes them pay attention, and moves a ton of product. It ain’t easy my friend. You’ve gotta think!
But I have discovered one method over the years that can make a huge difference to your bottom line. It has the potential to skyrocket your sales. In a minute you’ll see an example of this method in action, in an actual ad. You can see for yourself just how powerful it is!
But first, understand this…
With so much competition in the marketplace, and what I call “plain vanilla” advertising, all claiming the same thing, the only difference being price, it’s vitally important that you position your product as being unique.
And please understand it doesn’t matter if your product is much the same as the rest of them. That’s NOT the point. You must find a way to differentiate your product, to set it apart from, and elevated above, the other products being marketed to your prospects.
Because your product IS different no matter how similar it is to others. There’s a story there. How’s it’s made, who made it, the story of its discovery and so on. And you’ve got to find it!
So it’s vitally important that you get this right. The future profitability of your business depends on it.
The Hidden Benefit
The great Ted Nicholas coined this term and when I first come across it 7 or so years ago it completely changed the way I was writing copy. It’s like Ted flipped a switch inside my mind and I got it. Wow! What a day that was! I still remember it!
In his book: “Magic Words That Bring You Riches,” this Direct Marketer Extra-ordinaire reveals a technique that can transform an ordinary run-of-the-mill product, and turn it into an extraordinary success. Out of all the things I have studied, practiced and learned in copywriting and marketing over the past dozen years, this IS in my top 5… no doubt about it. And no doubt I won’t do the subject justice as Ted did in his Magic Words book, but it’s vitally important for me to let you in on it. (Go buy Ted’s book Magic Words and devour the info he shares and see for yourself!)
Anyway, it’s called the “hidden benefit technique” … and don’t take my word for it, here’s what Ted said in his book…
“The hidden benefit technique, properly applied, is the most powerful marketing strategy in the world bar none. You stand a good chance of increasing sales so much that you’ll experience unwanted shipping delays. Be sure you can promptly fulfil the extra orders you are bound to generate!”
The Hidden Benefit Explained
To fully explain hidden benefits, let’s begin by looking at the obvious benefits of a product. For example, if you sell a diet supplement product, then the obvious benefit to your prospects is weight loss. They take your product and they lose weight. Simple. Many products base their advertising around the obvious benefit. Most of the headlines you see in advertising use the obvious benefit technique.
And there is nothing wrong with doing so. Some of the most powerful headlines I’ve come across use the obvious benefit to the prospect as the main selling point. So it does work and you may find yourself using this technique to sell your product. However, there is another way to craft your message.
In the diet supplement example above, we could use a headline like the one below to showcase the obvious benefit…
“Lose 5 kg in 30 days … guaranteed!”
Now that’s not a bad headline. But we could try something different. We could uncover the hidden benefit and use that instead. For example…
“I can’t believe it … me in a size 8!”
“Imagine Me At the Beach In The Middle Of Summer…
Wearing Only My Bikinis!”
Can you see the difference?
The hidden benefit is more subtle and may not have anything directly to do with the product itself. Often it’s intangible. It’s that secret yearning of your prospect, the secret desire they want that your product can give them.
How to Uncover The Hidden Benefit
First, you’ve got to uncover all of the obvious benefits. And this will take some work. It means analysing and studying your product to bring out every benefit that it offers.
A method I and many other copywriters use is to simply grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Then I make two headings up top. On the left write features, on the right put down benefits. You then write down all the features of your product in the left-hand column. Even if the features seem unimportant just get them down. Now’s not the time to pick and choose … just get ‘em all down and sort them out later. Then you turn each feature into a benefit.
For example, your e-book may have only 50 pages. Now that’s a feature. Your job is to turn it into a benefit. So what’s the benefit of having fewer pages? Well the reader gets the information fast … no need to wade through 300 pages of 10-point type trying to find the answers.
See the difference?
(But you’ve still got to mention the features so your prospect knows exactly what he’s getting. You’ve still got to tell him it’s only 50 pages. But you tell him in a benefit-filled emotional way like this: “And at just 50 pages, there’s no fluff or filling… just 50 concise pages that reveal the secrets to doubling your income within the next 30 days.” See how it’s done?)
When you have completed your list of obvious benefits, it’s now time to uncover what’s hidden behind your list.
Here’s how Ted Nicholas reveals how to create the hidden benefit in his Magic Words That Bring You Riches book … this is the question he asks…
“If I had unlimited God-like power, what would be the single most compelling benefit my prospects would like to gain from my product?’
Now that’s powerful and I want you to re-read it to fully “get” it.
Listen, most marketers don’t even mention this technique when it comes to positioning your product. Maybe they don’t know it? But Ted does and now you do too! That’s why I want you to think about how you can apply this technique to your product.
It’s damn powerful and the results can be overwhelming. To illustrate just how important this technique is I want to give you an example of real-world advertising that takes advantage of, and cashes in with, the hidden benefit technique.
A Powerful Example of the Hidden Benefit Technique
Here’s just one of the many examples Ted reveals on the hidden benefit technique in his book: “Magic Words That Bring You Riches.” If I recall correctly, the target market for this product was anyone who has to speak or communicate effectively on a daily basis. This headline was used in display ads.
“How to Get Enthusiastic Applause
-Even a Standing Ovation-
Every Time You Speak!”
Directly below this headline was a photograph with a crowd standing and clapping enthusiastically. Now, remember what a hidden benefit is? It’s the most compelling benefit your prospect gains from your product. So just think about Ted’s example.
Let’s pretend for a minute that your career depends on your ability to speak in public. Now, isn’t “enthusiastic applause” and “even a standing ovation” what you secretly desire? Wouldn’t that be just fantastic? Instead of getting up there in front of your peers with sweaty palms and a mind that refuses to focus, you’re up there getting a standing ovation for your auditory skills!
Can you see just how dynamic that headline really is?
You can? See how Ted uses the hidden instead of the obvious? Sure Ted could have used an obvious headline like the one below (this is a book title by Dale Carnegie)…
“The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking.”
That’s an obvious benefit and Ted could have gone down this path and he would have got orders. But see how much more effective Ted’s example is? How it appeals directly to the prospect’s secret desires? And this is what separates the good copywriters from the greats like Ted. This ability to look beyond the obvious and come up with something extraordinary!
So now you know this technique and it’s up to you to see if you can use it on your product. And the only way to be sure is to test. Choose a headline with an obvious benefit and one with a hidden benefit. Then test the headlines against each other and find out which works the best.
You’ll soon discover that one headline will outperform the other. My bet is if you have done your homework effectively … the hidden benefit headline will be the winner!
Here’s another way to uncover the hidden benefits.
Okay, your turn features into benefits right? Then I take it a step further and turn those benefits into the feelings the prospect experiences once he or she gets those benefits.
How will she feel about those benefits?
What do those benefits mean to her?
What can she now do now she has those benefits?
What dreams and fantasies will these benefits give her?
All these questions and more should be thoroughly thought through… this is where the breakthroughs happen.
That’s how to come up with a headline like this…
“Imagine Me At the Beach In The Middle Of Summer…
Wearing Only My Bikinis!”
See how that’s the hidden benefit? It’s what she really wants to do… go to the beach and enjoy herself… without feeling self-conscious. She wants be in her bikinis looking good and looking hot and feeling confident! That’s what she really wants. It’s damn powerful.
Okay, what about if you were targeting gardeners… something ordinary like that?
Well what about…
“My Friends Laughed When I Bought Fertiliser Through The Mail…
But When I Won Best Garden Competition…”
(Students of Direct Marketing will instantly see this is based on the famous John Caples headline.)
See how the above headline hits the hidden benefit of the fertiliser? Sure, these gardeners want the benefits, bigger more colourful gardens, that’s a given. But take it a step further. What they really want is to show off to their neighbours right! Right! It’s just one of the many hidden benefits you could use. I’ll give you one more example so you really get this. Okay, let’s do a cooking product that targets busy working mums. Here’s what could be a headline…
“Mum, Can We Have Seconds?”
“Mum, Is There Any More?”
It’s the hidden benefit again weaving its magic. Every Mum wants their kids to love her cooking. (Dad’s too… my kids love my cooking!) And this is what is promised in the headline.
So now, think about how you can apply this info. If you’ve got an obvious benefit headline, test it against the old hidden benefit. And whatever you do, make sure you grab Ted Nicholas’s book “Magic Words That Bring You Riches” and see how the legend himself describes this technique!
POST SCRIPT: You’ll be receiving details about the Masters of Conversion Super Conference in the coming weeks. The good news is Ted will be making time for book signings and photograph opportunities as well as speaking at the event. This WILL be special!
- How To Turn Boring Facts Into Exciting Benefits
- What Are You Really Selling?
- So, you wanna write your own copy do ya?
- You Need Your Own Dynamic Story
- When Long Copy Sucks!
Pete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook