How to Write Stronger, More Effective Bullets That Your Clients and Readers Will Love
Copywriting bullet: Short lines of benefit-oriented copy that usually begin with a symbol such as a black dot, a checkmark, or arrow sign.
Have you ever written an ineffective, lacklustre bullet?
I know I have.
I call them “lazy bullets” because they are lacking in power and therefore aren’t doing their “job.”
Coming up with good (or great) bullets takes effort. But it's well worth the effort.
Whether you use them in an email, website, or online sales page, the quality of your bullets can play a major role in whether or not a reader makes it to the end of your copy.
Write subpar bullets, and your reader could very easily become distracted and lose interest in the message you're trying to convey.
Write a great string of bullets, and you'll keep the reader glued to the page and heighten their desire for the product or service you're promoting.
Online readers, who often skim more than they read, love bullets. They break up clumps of text and make the page easier to read. Plus, they quickly grab the readers' attention and give them key information they're looking for to help them make a decision.
To help you write a stronger, more effective series of bullets, I've put together 11 tips:
Keep them short – There are exceptions, but you should try to keep them short – no more than three or four lines max.
Vary the length of your bullets – Some can be one sentence or even a short phrase. Make others two, three, or four sentences in length.
Make them benefit-oriented – This might seem obvious, but I've read too many bullets that just list a feature – with no benefit in sight.
To help you flush out your product's benefits, try consultant Lee R. Van Vechten's "benefit-uncovering" formula: Because it has (FEATURE), you will be able to (ADVANTAGE). What that means to you is (BENEFIT).
Here's an example of this in action:
Because our voice-to-text transition software recognizes punctuation, you will be able to create documents similar in quality to those you type. What that means to you is you'll be able to create the same professional-level document in less time, increasing the speed of your writing so you have more time to focus on coming up with great ideas.
Whenever possible or appropriate, add facts and figures, and cite studies that give your bullets more credibility – The more proof you can insert into your bullets, the more your reader will believe them.
Add a testimonial – If it makes sense and is relevant, add a testimonial to some of your bullets. It adds credibility and tends to heighten your reader's desire for the solution you're providing.
Avoid "rounded" numbers – Don't say, "Make over $10,000 in the next three days." Use a non-rounded, more specific number: "Make over $11,750 in the next three days." Or instead, you could offer a number range: "Make between $8,000 and $12,000 in the next three days."
Find out what people are saying about similar products – A great idea to "ethically steal" ideas for bullet points for your copy comes from web writer Henry Bingaman. Henry suggests looking at the product reviews for similar products to the one you're promoting. When you come across a benefit, copy and paste the text into your word processing program, and then rephrase it into a bullet point.
Group bullets by categories – It's easier for the reader to sort things out in their minds if you group your bullets by topic or theme. Adding a subhead to your bullet group is also a good option.
Make some of your bullets questions – Asking your reader questions is a great way to get them involved in your copy. So every so often, ask a question in your bullets. Here is an example from AWAI's "Can You Write a Letter Like This One?" promo:
You’ll learn how to get on all the best industry mailing lists … so you’ll always know what’s “hot” in the mail … who’s hiring … and who the up-and-coming players are. (Will you be one of them?)
Tease to something that can only be answered or solved by buying the product – In his Monthly Copywriting Genius interview, copywriter and best-selling author Joe Vitale talked about a bullet-writing technique he uses …
"I will hint at the benefits by asking a question that cannot be answered without the customer having the product," Joe says.
He cites the following examples:
- What are three types of thinking, and which will give you the results you want?
- What are the secret payoffs you get from solving this problem?
Joe says this type of bullet is very hypnotic because "it opens the reader’s mind to all sorts of possibilities. And it then doesn’t close it because the answer isn’t given." To close it, they have to buy the product.
Write bullets that fascinate – If you've been studying copywriting for a while now, you know that the late copywriter Gene Schwartz was the master of the fascination bullet (and the fascination headline). The purpose of this type of bullet is to pique curiosity. To tease to something without giving away what you're talking about.
Here are some examples of Gene Schwartz's fascination bullets:
- On page 33, you discover a six-second motion with your mouth that instantly relaxes the over tense muscles of your chest, heart, and solar plexus – and drains hypertension out of your body like water running from a sieve
- Make anybody like you, from the very first moment they meet you.
- Flash-learn anything you wish, even absorb whole books in as little as thirty minutes!
- How to drink with a client (or friend) and never have him notice you're dieting. See page 164.
- The incredibly simple secret of making the same amount of food seem TWICE AS MUCH. See page 20.
The key to writing a good fascination bullet is highlighting something that piques your reader's curiosity and suggests a compelling benefit. How to get the benefit is not revealed in the bullet.
Bullets can have a huge impact on the level of success of your copy. A dull string of bullets can make even a reader who is desperate to believe that the product or service you're promoting works quickly lose interest and move on to something else.
Keep these tips close by, and together with the 4 U's, which I covered in this essay, and the 23 bullet-writing formulas, you’ll be writing stronger, more compelling and readable bullets in no time at all.
Discover more writing techniques to boost your productivity and performance.
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