The danger of using secondary benefits

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My week is 100% about copy writing.

During the week, a colleague of mine taught me an important lesson that applies to anything you write about your business:

Know the difference between a primary and a secondary benefit, and focus hard on primary benefits.

A primary benefit is the bottom line reason someone hires you. A secondary benefit is a softer ancillary benefit, one that often supports your primary benefit.

So, in the case of your business, what is the primary reason clients hire you? Chances are that, if your clients are businesses, there is a single reason:

– You help them make more money in less time

Then there are secondary benefits:

– You make them look better by improving their image

– You give them a new way to reach new prospects/clients

– You get things done quickly

– You make them feel better about the image their business conveys

– Don’t be left behind with a lousy web site or no web site at all

I’m NOT saying that the above are the only primary and secondary benefits. But you have to hone in on the fundamental, driving reason that people buy from you. Your marketing message flows from that. If you focus too much on secondary benefits (things you might care about but your clients don’t as much), you will not generate as much revenue as you could.

Let me give you an example. I asked a web designer why I should hire him. His response: “I can help make the design on your site use more curves and other elements that look better.” Now there is no way, I’m going to pay $50 or more per hour for curves and other elements. Would you? This designer, and many like him, need to come up with a primary reason for people to buy.

Depending on your target market and service offering, there are plenty of primary benefits. Take a stab by posting yours here, for critique and discussion.

Oh, and have a peaceful, joyous Christmas, for those who celebrate it!

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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