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How to create an experience with words

Welcome to today’s issue of Conversion Alchemy Journal. If you received this from a friend and enjoy it, subscribe here.

There’s an economics concept called “experienced goods”. Experienced goods are products that cannot be fully evaluated before purchase and use. They need to be consumed to get a sense for their value.

This is different from “search goods”.

Search goods are things like books, electronics, clothing, furniture, and groceries. People can pick them up, feel them and quickly learn more about them. Experienced goods on the other hand, are food at restaurants, vacation packages, educational courses, subscription services. And yes, software.

If you’re in SaaS and working on messaging, you need to know the difference. It influences how your prospects make decisions and what information they look for.

When it comes to experienced goods like software, you might think that the UX and UI are what matters, that when people put their hands on it, they will “get it”. Or, most commonly that highlighting features and technical specs alone will persuade potential customers to go all-in.

You are forgetting one important factor: the intangibles of buying decisions.

Things like trust, perceived risk, and the outcome from using your product.

Good messaging becomes even more important when people cannot put their hands on it.

So how do you create a sense of experience with words? It comes down to a few key considerations…

Trust and credibility: Since customers can’t fully evaluate your product before use, they must rely on trust signals. Testimonials, case studies, industry certifications, and endorsements are proxies for the experience and help reduce perceived risk. 80% of website visitors read third party reviews.

What’s the immediate value? Focus on the immediate benefits you provide with adoption. This could mean emphasizing efficiency gains, cost savings, or productivity boosts.

Point them to your demos and trials: Allowing prospects to experience your product firsthand reduces uncertainty and lets them assess the value directly. Your copy should promote your demos and trials as risk-free ways to get their hands on the full thing. One of the best ways to do this has become interactive product demos. If you’re not using them, you’re missing out.

Use “day in the life” copy: In most cases, the product cannot be experienced beforehand. So, literally portray that experience with words. Enter their world and show readers that you know how it feels and what it looks like. Detailed descriptions of features, benefits, and potential use cases help the buyer visualize their future with your product.

Focus on solving problems: B2B buyers are often motivated by solving specific problems or improving processes. Any copy that explains how your solution addresses these pain points is more persuasive than going features only. Especially when you explain how you solve problems that involve different buyer personas and affect team dynamics.

Build community: Building a community around your product or showcasing how others in the industry are benefiting from your solution helps overcome skepticism. That’s why user-generated content can be compelling when mixed in with your copy.

Talk about progress: B2B buyers are looking to make progress in their business. Your copy should tell a story of transformation, showing how your service can move them from where they are to where they want to be. And don’t forget the personal side of things too. It’s not all about business.

Now, even when you do all of these well, don’t forget that…

…the resistance to change is real.

Switching means friction. It often involves adaptation, learning, new systems, processes and lots of work. If you don’t acknowledge it in your messaging (by digging into your onboarding and integration process for example) you’re missing out.

If you’re in SaaS, you don’t have the luxury of people trying on a dress, quickly scrolling through a book or meticulously inspecting a new kitchen counter before taking out their credit card.

When you think messaging and copy, don’t think “words”, think “experience”.

And then use words to create it.

📚 3 things to get better at copywriting

1. Build-a-box

I’ve learned about this from the guys at Olivine (who initially learned it from the book Gamestorming) . It’s such a fun exercise I might start offering as part of my message-market fit projects.

How it works: you sit down with your team you build a physical (YES) box for your product and add messaging to it. It works because it forces you to stay within specific constraints that the digital world might not have.

2. How to get better results from ChatGPT?

I hadn’t connected the dots, but Steven Johnson pointed out that:

The primary skill in getting a LLM to do something is command of clear, persuasive prose. Get the model to do something using convincing clear declerative sentences….Nobody saw that writing skills would be so important to get machines to function properly.

In other words, if you’re a copywriter, you have an unfair advantage at getting better results from ChatGPT and other LLMs. Another great reason to start using it, rather than shunning away from it.

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3. Read broadly, watch broadly, discuss broadly, learn broadly

When it comes to writing copy, lots of learning and research are parts of the job. And what you find is that the benefits of knowing how to learn, not just what, are immense.

Morgan Housel makes the distinction between active and passive learning and urges us to “Read broadly, watch broadly, discuss broadly, learn broadly.”

Few college history professors think, “If I watch South Park I’ll better understand the minds of who I’m teaching, and I’ll become a better teacher.” And few people watching South Park realize they’re actually learning how a big part of society thinks.


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✅ Don’t miss it

The Message-Market Fit podcast is live 🚀 You can find episode 1 here.

I talk to Amar Ghose, co-founder of ZenMaid, a niche B2B SaaS helping maid and cleaning service owners manage their businesses. We dive into things like:

  • Overcoming investment barriers
  • The importance of updating copy and messaging
  • Reconsidering positioning and adapting to market changes
  • The value of customer engagement and research
  • Staying connected with customers through social media
  • The human aspect of business and customer relationships
  • The role of team members in messaging and alignment

And more.

Listen to wherever you get podcasts and if you enjoy it, subscribe!

🤔 Thought of the week

“Strength and confidence are a privilege. If you’ve got it, use it with intention. Bring others up. Stand firm for things you believe in, and create the world you want to be a part of.” – Dr. Julie Gurner

Where you direct your energy is what you create more of. Be intentional about it.

Have a great weekend!

Chris Silvestri

Founder, Conversion Alchemy

🙌🏻 Let’s be friends (unless you’re a stalker)

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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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