If you hate writing advertising because you feel that you need a special skill to be persuasive, you don't.
You just need to be clear on the difference between a feature and a benefit.
Always emphasize the benefits.
People buy on emotion, and the product's benefits - what the product will do for the buyer, produce emotion.
Even if you're writing for a technical audience, where buyers really do want to know the features are so that they can compare products, you should still include benefits.
Not clear on benefits? Read different publications and assess the ads to get a feel for what benefits are and how and why they're used.
It's an education to go through a stack of magazines, and check out the ads. You'll find many ads are benefit-free zones. This makes them very weak as sales tools. This is because the advertising was written by someone in the company placing the ad, or by a graphic designer, not by a copywriter.
If you're a freelance copywriter, this should cheer you up. More work for you. Go through a stack of newspapers and magazines, find weak benefit-less ads, and send off a few proposals to the companies involved. Try this technique - it works.
I've just picked out a glossy health magazine from my stack of old magazines and opened it at random. It's opened on a full-page ad for a liquid herbal iron extract. Scanning the ad, I see that it is indeed a benefit-free zone. Not a single benefit in the entire ad.
The full-page ad includes a third of a page of copy (two-thirds of the page is taken up with an image of a bottle of the extract) without mentioning any benefits of the extract at all, not even why iron is beneficial.
The ad tells me that iron is difficult for the body to absorb, and the liquid herbal iron extract “can be of assistance". It also says that “it is well known that iron supplementation during pregnancy is highly recommended. Product X provides a natural, easily absorbed form of iron balanced with a range of Vitamins Bs and C as well as other nutri-rich herbs".
Poor grammar and spelling aside, the advertiser could have saved money by just running a picture of the bottle of extract with the headline: “Buy this. You'll feel better". At least that would have given readers a benefit, instead of a mile of features which mean nothing.
Here are some examples of how to sell using benefits in your advertising:
You're not selling a German Shepherd puppy, you're selling an intelligent, loyal companion and family protector.
You're not selling a car, you're selling travelling comfort, prestige, and a sure-fire babe-magnet.
You're not selling a book, you're selling the adventure of a lifetime, love, romance, and sex.
To get a handle on this, take a sheet of paper and briefly list the features of your product or service on the left.
Then beside each feature, write the corresponding benefit that the feature provides.
Emphasize the benefits, and you'll KNOW that you can write persuasive, selling ads.
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