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How to Position Your Product For Maximum Success

by Pete Godfrey · 27 comments

How to Position Your Product For Maximum Success

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!”

OR

“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?”

OR…

“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!

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About The Author

Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete 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

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Kurt Johansen July 1, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hi Pete, I love this strategy. I wrote this the other day, “She smiled like the Cheshire Cat when she realised she was getting her husband back.” IT when on… “She could see the happy life they once shared was about to return. She could visualise the kids jumping on the back of Daddy again going for a horsie ride like they used to.”

The contents of the email was about my business coaching but the hidden benefit was the wife could see her husband would stop working the 14 hour days he was because he decided to take me on as a coach. Luv ya work mate and Ted’s. Love his book too. PS: Where’s yours ! Cheers Kurt

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:24 am

Hey Kurt: two things.

First, yes, future pacing is an important aspect of all sales presentations…got to have it and you were smart to use it.

Second, yes the book. Meeting up with Darren Stephens next weekend on the Gold Coast and he’ll be putting some shit on me I tell you. That’s because I was supposed to give him a first draft of my book to look at… and frankly, the only thing I’ve written so far is the outline.

So basically, the only thing to do is make the book a priority in my life and then it’ll get done… simple as that. After talking with Darren, I’ll just have to make it a priority.

By the way Kurt, July’s newsletter is already written… did a stick count of the words, over 7,400 words, got it done in 2 days… and just this morning, I did a word count on all the copy I did this week inclduing sales letters, emails and so on… 12,000 words. So this tells me I’m in a productive phase with my writing. So the fact the first draft of my book won’t be delivered to Darren next weekend has nothing to do with productivity, but priorities.

But mate, I can start to feel the urge to write the book… and after seeing Darren I know I’ll be pumped… and then I’ll have no excuses but to park my bum in this chair and write the damn thing. Thanks for the reminder.

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Renee July 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

LOVE IT Pete, I have been in the obvious arena and your post just resonated with me and I just “got” it. YAY I’m so excited I can’t wait to try it.

Thank you
RX

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

Renee, you are welcome. And the fact you’re gonna do something with it gives me the buzz to keep writing these posts.

What’s even better, you now ‘get’ it. The light has been switched on and nothing can ever turn it back off. You get the real reasons folks buy. You get the real benefits they get… and always remember to ask, “What am I really selling?” This will lead to the hidden benefit which will lead to more sales and a bigger bank account. Now, that’s gotta be a good thing right?!

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Michael July 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

What a huge gem, hopefully people grasp this when they read it, or keep reading till they find the “Hidden Benefit” of this post hidden in plain sight.

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

Ah, great stuff Michael!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved this bit: “or keep reading till they find the “Hidden Benefit” of this post hidden in plain sight”

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Daniel Munday July 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Fantastic Pete this is gold. Printing it out now. Thank you

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

Hey Daniel, you’re like me… much rather print it out than read on screen!

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Brian Cassingena April 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

Hey Daniel, I use Joliprint.com to print out blog posts, formats em nicely.

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Gary Hobley July 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Great stuff Pete,

It’s a powerful motivator looking into the crystal ball and seeing yourself living the benefits. It also goes to helping the prospect with his justification later after he has purchased. We all look for brag points don’t we? Or am I the only one!!!

And… I’m with Kurt. Where’s ya book?

I know, I know, you are writing it one blog and one newsletter at a time.

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

Gary, thanks for the reminder about the book. There are about a dozen of my newsletter members, and you’re one of them, that keep reminding me of the book… but I need that… see my comments to Kurt above and see why the old book just maybe a reality in the near future.

PS. Brag points are powerful… and few marketers really get the importance of the old “bragging rights” and “one-up-manship”… glad you get this Gary.

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Copywriter Kevin Francis July 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Pete,
Thanks for the reminder…this is one of the most powerful insights you’ve ever shared IMHO.
It’s also important to think about what the “hidden fear” might be and how the product deals with that. You’ve mentioned in the past how “negative” emotions can often be a more powerful motivator.
As an example, just been listening to a program where the knitting and crochet niche came up in discussion. Apparently, one of the biggest concerns for people is that after all their hard work, their loved ones won’t appreciate what they’ve made and it ends up neglected, tossed in the proverbial corner. Interesting, eh?
Thanks again!
Kevin Francis

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:45 am

Damn you Kevin!!!! I had to google to see what IMHO means! Seriously I did!

Anyway, great point on fear… and a lot of times mate, it can be the fear of embarrassment … they want to make the right decision and not look the fool. (Many folks are aware they make bad decisions, this makes it even harder as time goes by because they keep making bad decisions.)

Mmm, tossed away huh? What about:

“And it’s hard shopping for family isn’t it? And buying clothes for family members is even harder… you try to get them something they will like but you know the chances are slim… and you can tell when you give it to them it’s going to sit in the wardrobe and never see the light of day.

But you won’t have to worry about that now will you? Not when you know how to knit these great, fashionable jumpers…”

Okay that’s rough and I didn’t want to think much more (big week) but you could easily do something with this. Cheers Kevin!

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Monika Mundell July 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Another cracker of a post Pete. I’m reading Dan Kennedy’s “Making them Believe” about Dr Brinkley. Plenty of benefit-driven examples in that book for keeps too. “Magic Words” is next on my Kindle shopping list.

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

Great stuff Monika… and you’ll be meeting Ted Nicholas in October at the Masters of Conversions Super Conference. Ted will have some books there so grab a copy and get him to sign it!

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Andrew Huffer July 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

You deliver on practical, applicable content yet again Pete. Thanks – a great reminder and challenge for us to make our work really engaging. Cheers from WA, Andrew

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

Thanks for the feedback Andrew…

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Konrad July 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Awesome stuff Pete! Just finished writing the post out by hand,powerful hidden benefit just by doing as the late Gary Halbert and Dan Kennedy recommends.Not a easy task for me with my disability but I get there.I think I will be dreaming about it tonitght (Maybe a good thing) Amazing how they are just words on paper and only powerful when put to use and given power with emotion.
Mate you really are giving me the feeling I am in good hands learning to do the Magic with words on paper.
You inspire me greatly to struggle on and keep me on target to write some great copy with good results.
You have me really digging deep on how I can get the pennies together to meet you and Ted present on stage together.
Thanks again for sharing your in the trenches learned valuable education
Konrad.

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:48 am

Keep writing stuff out by hand Konrad and you’ll be a machine!

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Christina July 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Hello, I just love your posts, you could charge a million bucks for this stuf and it would still be worth it!

I read about a great headline from years ago that uses the hidden benefit technique stupendously well. The headline said:

“How to get your cooking bragged about”

I love that one 🙂

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Pete Godfrey July 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

Hey thanks Christina… and yeah I love that headline… and it was probably in the back of my mind when I wrote the “Mum Can We Have Seconds” headline… thanks for sharing that one it’s a brilliant example of the hidden benefit.

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Bruce Land July 3, 2011 at 12:29 pm

A newbie to your stuff, Peter. Great stuff. With my business launch function due in 10 days – all of 15 minutes I have been allocated – time to get into those hidden benefits and drive them home during the final pitch.

Many thanks
Bruce

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marc niemes July 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

short, filtered to the point and simply obvious but who will really apply it. Love your work. And I love that I now have a wall of post it notes because i couldn’t find a sheet of paper to write it down on. I know people buy from people i would be interested in the best way to build lists for B2B through people for campaigns.. 🙂

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marc niemes July 5, 2011 at 12:57 am

ps: what I meant by who iwll apply it is. that pople know they need to do it but won’t. Great job. and people still need to make the journey..

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Norman MacLaurin July 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

Awesome stuff Pete! Just finished writing the post out by hand,powerful hidden benefit just by doing as the late Gary Halbert and Dan Kennedy recommends.Not a easy task for me with my disability but I get there.I think I will be dreaming about it tonitght (Maybe a good thing) Amazing how they are just words on paper and only powerful when put to use and given power with emotion.Mate you really are giving me the feeling I am in good hands learning to do the Magic with words on paper.You inspire me greatly to struggle on and keep me on target to write some great copy with good results.You have me really digging deep on how I can get the pennies together to meet you and Ted present on stage together.Thanks again for sharing your in the trenches learned valuable educationKonrad.
+1

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Barry Heal September 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

The Gold Metal for copy writing goes to… Pete Godfrey. As always awesome, informative content.

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Barry Heal September 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Sorry about the typo, “Medal”

Reply

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