Harry wrote an ad:
Dollhouse for sale.
He got two calls, both of which ended very abruptly when he told them the price. So he wrote another. And when that one failed, another. And four more. Ten more.
He’d heard of split testing, so he mixed it up a bit:
Teak dollhouse for sale.
Hand-crafted dollhouse for sale. 15 rooms. Furnished.
Dollhouse, 1 metre x 0.8 metres. For sale.
For sale, well-made dollhouse with fittings.
Et cetera. Et cetera.
Eventually, Harry admitted to himself that while he was a champ at building dollhouses, he was pretty crap at talking about them.
So he hired Tara, a copywriter. Tara came over to his house to look at the dollhouse.
Tara’s mouth stayed open for the entire forty minutes she spent with the dollhouse. Tara told Harry to get some professional photography done, and she’d get the ad written. As she left, Tara said, “Thank you for letting me play with it.”
The final ad started like this:
This is the dollhouse you dreamed of when you were young, the one that only seemed to exist in Hollywood. It is incredible.
All fifteen rooms are furnished, with small-scale versions of the real thing. Tiny woven rugs, a tiny bath with tiny taps that produce warm water – use the tiny bottle of bubble bath, if you like. Perfectly carved wardrobes full of hand-stitched clothes for the residents, with a tiny clothes brush in case they get dirty playing with the chests of fascinating junk in the attic. A hundred tiny books in the tiny library, every one of them readable if you have a magnifying glass.
You can claim you’re buying this for your children if you like. But no-one would dare say that it’s inappropriate to play with this dollhouse. This place is the purest source of delight and wonder you will find this side of heaven.
Look, the tiny doorknobs turn!
The moral of the story
It doesn’t matter how magnificent you make something if you don’t market it competently. Because no-one will know, and so no-one will care.
That’s horrible, you say. Tell me how I can avoid this trap!
Talk about abstract products in concrete language, and concrete products in abstract language.
When I’m working with service providers (especially coaches) I make them describe their benefits as if someone was trailing the client with a video camera. So instead of saying, “They feel more confident,” – ‘cos the camera can’t see that – they describe the results as, “They offer their opinion more readily and without apologising. They stand up straighter and make better eye contact. They initiate conversations with strangers.”
And when I’m working with crafters, copywriters, web designers and artists – all of whom produce a physical result; electrons count – I get them to talk about their results in terms of feeling and meaning. So instead of describing their work by saying, “It’s a 17″ x 11″ oil painting of two girls swimming” they describe the piece as “It’s that perfect moment with a friend that you don’t think is important at the time, but it becomes the way you think of them for the rest of your life.”
Of course, what everyone ends up with is a bit of both. And that’s the point! I want to know precisely what I’m buying (three hour-long consulting sessions/a home page redesign with two revisions) AND I need to know why I care (I will quit smoking for real/I will have the feeling of power and possibility that comes from a great-looking website).
Is your description entirely abstract, entirely concrete, or both? Tell me in the comments!
Want more nifty tricks to better sell your dollhouse? Check out I Love Sales Pages.