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Bullet points don’t sell


We have become a bullet-point society. Blame it on USA Today if you want. A headline, some bullet points or, better yet, a chart, and voila – you’ve told a story. Experts tell us that attention spans have shortened, and we can’t expect people to read more than a synopsis.

Couple that assumption with shrinking budgets, smaller ads, short web copy and an economy that has everyone trying to cram as much as they can into their marketing materials, and the situation is ripe for a bullet-point frenzy.

No wonder print ads, brochures, websites and other sales collateral have followed suit. I am not saying bullet points are bad. They have their place. But they don’t make for compelling marketing prose.

Bullet points tend to list the features of a product or service. Features are facts, primarily about you. As we’ve discussed here before, consumers don’t really care about you. They care about themselves and their problems. Now, if you can solve their problems, then you earn a spot on their radar screen. But if you are too busy talking about you, there’s no room for potential customers or their challenges.

Marketing copy should:

Be from the consumer’s perspective.

Tell a memorable story.

Solve a problem.

None of those are easily accomplished with a series of bullet points. Before you launch into your litany of features, be sure you tell a story that your consumers can relate to, and show them how you solve problems that matter to them.

After you’ve done that, sure, add some bullet points. But don’t expect them to do the job by themselves.

Drew McLellan is Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group and blogs at www.drewsmarketingminute.com. He can be reached at Drew@MclellanMarketing.com. © 2010 Drew McLellan

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