How to “pre-empt” objections in web copy

    Posted on October 16, 2020

     

    Whenever you write web copy, you need to put yourself in the position of the reader. What question or objections might they have about your product or service? Ideally, it’s best if you can answer them in the copy itself rather than as a follow-up question.

    Anticipating objections, or “pre-empting” them as it is widely called, is an important part of selling yourself online, and you’ll no doubt already know what some of the most common objections are about what you do. It might be that it’s expensive, that it takes a lot time to see the results, or that only young or old people use it. It’s likely that you already have a way to respond to such concerns in mind, so what we’re discussing here is how to filter that into your copy so that you can avoid the objection being raised in the first place.

    There are good and bad ways to do it, and here are some suggestions:

    Don’t overdo the objection

    While it’s important to address an objection, don’t make so much of it as to come across as defensive and put yourself on the back foot. There’s also a danger you may plant an objection in the mind of the reader that they didn’t already have.

    Most of your copy should remain focused on the positives and the benefits your service brings, so don’t turn it into a list of every objection you’ve ever heard about what you do, along with your spluttering response to them. You don’t want to come across as having an inferiority complex!

    Make the objection weak, and your response strong

    Some techniques end up basically acknowledging that the objection is correct, and give only a faint reason to use your service despite this.

    For example, lets imagine that you’re selling catalogue printing services, and a common objection you’re hearing is “aren’t all catalogues online these days?” This would be a bad way to handle that objection:

    “A lot of people say that print is dead and that we should do everything online these days, but there are still people out there who like the old-fashioned quaintness of a printed catalogue.”

    The problem with this is that the objection is stronger than the response. You’ve all but accepted that online catalogues are the more widely used and convenient option, and painted printed catalogues as a quirky, niche product. Are businesses going to be tempted to put in catalogue printing orders just to reach the odd technophobe?

    A better way to address the concern would be:

    “Although many businesses list their catalogues online, complementing this with a printed version remains a valuable strategy. The advantages of printed catalogues are that they can reach customers directly in their homes, be kept for reference and contain product codes that tie in with your online catalogue.”

    This makes more of the mainstream benefits of printed catalogues. You’ve also acknowledged that online and printed catalogues don’t have to be mutually exclusive and the two can complement one another.

    Suggest alternative ways around the objection

    Sometimes, the objection may be something unavoidable. Here’s where you can offer options that provide the customer with several ways to make that objection less of an obstacle.

    The most obvious example of this is cost. For example, let’s say that you’re offering antivirus software for businesses that costs £960 a year. You hear people complain that that’s a lot of money to pay out in a lump sum every year, so what can you do? Here are some suggestions:

    • Cut the price down to £900 if they pay up front
    • Offer a 12-month payment package at £80 per month to break down the cost, or even a weekly fee of around £18.50
    • Offer a longer-term package that offers better value, such as £4,500 for five years, meaning the customer is getting the software for a cheaper £900 a year and can forget about paying again until 2025

    Obviously, stressing the potential cost of not buying your product or service is important too. Businesses have been known to shut down due to cyberattacks, or pay out huge sums to recover, so you can stress that £960 is a small price to pay for the reassurance of protection.

    Pre-empting objections is a balancing act, and at Engage Web, we can work with you to identify what reservations your potential customers might have and put together content that reassures them. To learn more about our content development services, speak to us today.

    John Murray

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