The 5 Questions You MUST Answer in Your Copy

In her continuing series, we welcome special guest, Stelter Editorial Director, Katie Parker.

Marketing is piquing interest, evoking emotion, triggering response. It’s about making something that you do relevant to them (better yet, it’s listening to their needs and answering them with your product).

At the core of marketing your service is compelling copy. Here are five critical questions that your content should answer: 

  1. What am I marketing?
  2. Who am I marketing to?
  3. Why am I marketing this now?
  4. What do I want my readers to do?
  5. Why does my reader care?

Let’s explore these for our planned giving prospects.

1. What am I marketing?
It’s tempting to answer, “I’m marketing a planned gift.” But you aren’t, really. You are marketing impact. You are presenting the opportunity to profoundly influence the future of your organization’s cause—the people, animals and/or places that your nonprofit cares for. The planned gift is merely the mechanism for change.

Spend your marketing copy focusing on how a donor can be part of transformation. And, P.S., a planned gift is a smart way to do so.

2. Who am I marketing to?

Ah, the infamous list. It’s critical that you have a clear audience that you’re speaking to and your marketing piece affirms that this is for them. Without a persona you may miss a critical age difference (copy on creating a will presented to those who likely already have one), a geographic nugget (captioning an image of a mountain to an audience living near the shore), a psychological difference (a childless home with copy about caring for your children’s future).

Some considerations:

  • What are their responsibilities?
  • What are their top obstacles?
  • Why haven’t they considered planned giving before?
  • How do other stakeholders weigh into their decision?

3. Why am I marketing this now?

Become a welcomed interruption by having a strategy, a point of view. Urgency is not a natural fit with planned giving, but a hook—an anniversary, a gift match, a new rate—can inspire quick action. Beyond timeliness, you should make the prospect feel that there’s a special reason that you contacted them today.

4. What do I want my readers to do?

All your copy should focus on a singular goal with multiple calls to action to gain traction. Do you want them to call you? Return a reply card? Download a brochure? Click a link? Request more information? Tell you their story?

Consider, too, how difficult the lift is for the prospect. Downloading a brochure is nearly frictionless—give your email address and you’re there. Calling a planned giving officer, on the other hand, implies that the prospect judge your working hours, get their questions organized, have a clear objective that they want to talk about, etc.

The harder the ask, the less response you’ll see. But the harder the ask, likely, the more qualified the response.

5. Why does my reader care?

Here you focus on the why—what matters to your prospects—not on the features. Sure there are new rates for CGAs, but why does your reader care? Because it offers them dependable income for life.

These five simple questions apply to direct mail, digital communications, even flyers at your events. Ensure that, like the old saying, the customer comes first.

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