Paint A Picture With Your Copy

fountainpen.jpgMany people ask me how they can write better copy for their sales letters. One of the first things that always come to mind is to be more descriptive. Now, I don’t necessarily mean that you need to do a better job describing your product. What I mean is you should try to paint a picture for your reader so they can visualize what their experience with your product or service is going to be like.

As I write this, I’ve got a newspaper ad in front of me. I have actually saved it as an example of great descriptive copy. It is out of USA Today from September, 2003. I was at a hotel speaking somewhere when I saw this ad for tempurpedic mattresses.

It has Dick Clark and his wife pictured in this ad, and it says,

“Ask Carrie and Dick Clark, they’ll tell you that tempurpedic’s high tech, weightless comfort bed provides remarkably relaxing and rejuvenating sleep.

The kind of re-energizing sleep all of us took for granted when we were very young. Tempurpedic’s amazing tempur sleep service uncannily molds itself to your every curve. Its visco-elastic thermal plasticity reacts selectively to your body shape, body weight, body heat and it actually defies gravity and neutralizes pressure points.

Our sleep technology is light years ahead of any other mattress manufacturer. The media gives us rave reviews and well over 25,000 medical professionals worldwide recommend our legendary weightless comfort bed to their patients. No wonder why more than nine out of ten enthusiastic owners also recommend tempurpedic to their family and friends.

One toll-free call brings you our free demonstration kit. It contains an actual lab sample of tempur-pressure relieving material, a better sleep video, a consumer guide book and low factory-direct prices.”

That’s the entire ad. I have saved it for years because of how well crafted this short message is. Where it says, “ask Carrie and Dick Clark, they’ll tell you that tempurpedic’s high tech, weightless comfort bed provides remarkably relaxing and rejuvenating sleep.” Notice how they describe the bed. They don’t just say their fantastic or amazing bed, but instead, “their high tech, weightless comfort bed provides remarkably relaxing and rejuvenating sleep.”

In reality, they’re just talking about a bed and that you’ll get a great night’s sleep in. If they had just told you that tempurpedic’s amazing bed allows you to have a deep sleep, it wouldn’t have the same impact as “a high tech, weightless comfort bed that provides remarkably relaxing and rejuvenating sleep.”

In fact, they go on to further describe sleep by saying, “the kind of re-energizing sleep all of us took for granted when we were very young.” In the next paragraph, they said, tempurpedic’s amazing tempur-sleep surface uncannily molds itself to your every curve.”

How about the words, “sleep surface uncannily.” I know what the word uncannily means, but I don’t see very many people use it. “It uncannily molds itself to your every curve.” What they’re doing is painting this visual that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. They are talking about a mattress, but they never say it. Instead, they say, “the amazing tempur-sleep surface.”

Then they use these big words, “visco-elastic thermal plasticity reacts selectively to your body shape, body weight and body heat.” I don’t know what that means, but it sounds pretty impressive when you’re reading. We can pretty much gather just by breaking down the words what it actually means — it’s a sponge for the most part.

“It actually defies gravity.” Not that, “when you put your hand down in it, it bounces back to its original form.” No. “It actually defies gravity and neutralizes your pressure points. Our sleep technology is light years ahead of any other mattress manufacturer. The media gives us rave reviews.”

Numbers help sell because it makes the ad more believable. In fact, I would have been more specific. It’s the only thing I would have changed in the entire ad. “Well over 25,000 medical professionals,” I would have said, “25,319 medical professionals worldwide recommend our legendary weightless comfort bed to their patients.” Again, a perfect use of the word legendary. “No wonder more than nine out of ten enthusiastic,” not just owners, but “enthusiastic owners also recommend tempurpedic to their family and friends.”

“One toll-free call brings you our free demonstration kit, which contains an actual lab sample.” Not just a sample, but “an actual lab sample.” Why did they go to extent of describing the sample? It’s because an actual lab sample sounds more official.

Why did I pull this ad out? It was not only to share it with you because I think it’s a fantastic and brilliant ad, but more so, it demonstrates one of the things that people are usually too lazy to actually do, and that is to go out and be more descriptive in their copy.

When you are writing your next piece of sales copy, ask yourself this question. “How can I be more descriptive in what I’m writing?” The answer is not just with the simple additions of adjectives. You need to use the appropriate word at the right time. It can make a world of difference to get our point across to people. When you have what you think is your finished copy, go back over it. You need to go back over your copy and paint a picture, a visual representation for your customer to experience.

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