Paint a Picture to Sell: The Importance of Being Concrete

by Michelle Salater on March 9, 2012


In creative writing classes, students learn that details should be two things: concrete and significant. That’s because readers engage more quickly when they have a clear image in their mind and when they’re told the most important information upfront—and the same holds true for readers of marketing copy.

When you’re ready to increase the impact of your sales revenue, use these techniques to grab (and keep) your prospective clients’ attention.

Concrete Images & Claims

When your prospective clients first come across your marketing materials, they are completely “in the dark” about who you are and what you can do for them. When you provide concrete, significant claims or images in your marketing materials, you illuminate that dark, showing them where they are and how they can navigate that space.

For example, consider these two potential opening lines for a landing page:

  1. “Attention business owners looking to grow their revenue.”
  2. “Attention small- and micro-business owners interested in bringing in an extra $2K – $4K per month.”

The first example offers nothing concrete: “business owners” could apply to a lot of people, and “grow revenue” is totally abstract. In this example, the marketing copy provides almost no illumination for the dark room the reader finds him- or herself in.

The second example, on the other hand, gets concrete in two ways: first, it distinguishes what kinds of business owners are being targeted (small- and micro-), and second, it identifies a specific income range ($2K to $4K per month). In this example, the reader knows immediately whether or not he or she is in the right “room.”

The concreteness in the second example speaks directly to members of the target audience allowing them to self-identify and inducing them to stay.

How to Make Your Copy Concrete

Give your web copy an extra kick by adding concrete images and claims by trying these techniques:

  • Use numbers. Whenever possible, give realistic, concrete numerical figures (three days, $4K per month, 24 hours, etc.).
  • Get specific. You know who your target audience is, so create copy that speaks to that group’s specific wants and desires. A vague claim like “I will help you grow your business” is much weaker than a specific one like “I will help you double your email list in two months.”
  • Tell a story. Journalists often bring readers into a news piece by starting with an individual’s story. Try this in some of your marketing materials by telling your own story or using testimonials from your satisfied clients.
  • Focus on benefits. Tell your readers exactly what they’ll be able to do after hiring you or joining you for an event. Connecting an intangible investment to a tangible outcome helps prospective clients understand the value of what they’re paying for.

Concrete claims and images are important in marketing copy because, without them, such writing comes off as empty claims and fluff. Keep your claims defensible by keeping them concrete.

What types of concrete claims are most important to you as a consumer?

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If you like this post, you might also like:

  1. The Importance of Avoiding Negativity in Your Message
  2. The Importance of Proper Grammar and Punctuation in Your Web Copy
  3. The Importance of Telling a Story through Your Web Copy
  4. Just How Effective Are Video and Written Testimonials?
  5. It’s Not What You Say (It’s How You Say It)

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