In Marketing

Show me your granite countertops.

Imagine for a moment you’re a prospective homebuyer. Which of these descriptions sounds more appealing?

1) Fantastic, spacious kitchen!

2) Gourmet kitchen with granite countertops.

The second one, right? Do you know why?

“Fantastic” is a matter of opinion. “Granite countertops” aren’t.

What words to use in real-estate copywriting.

If you’re a fan of Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt’s book Freakonomics, you may remember an excerpt from Chapter 2 in which the authors list a number of words commonly associated with real-estate ads. They are: fantastic, granite, spacious, state-of-the-art, “!,” corian, charming, maple, great neighborhood, and gourmet. The authors then pose a simple question: which of these words do you think are correlated to a higher sales price, and which to a lower?

The five words most commonly associated with lower sales prices are: fantastic, spacious, charming, great neighborhood, and “!”. These are all wiggle words. They’re vague. They avoid the truth.

On the other hand, words like “maple,” “state-of-the-art,” and “corian” conjure specific images. Even if you aren’t the sort of homebuyer who gets excited by the mention of “maple wainscoting,” someone else sure is.

Be specific.

Specificity in marketing is an important but anxiety-inducing exercise. When you pin yourself down to an exact product or service you inevitably lose prospects who aren’t interested in your offer. But when you don’t narrow your focus you risk becoming generic, bland, and unappealing. Something vaguely but indefinably “fantastic” with an insecure “!” tacked on the end out of sheer desperation.

Don’t be afraid to get picky about your target market. Prospects who want your product will be more likely to choose you once they make a connection to your unique offer. Because marketing isn’t about pleasing everybody—it’s about finding and pleasing your people.

It’s about providing them with something they can really grab hold of.

It’s about showing them your granite countertops.

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