One of the easiest ways to improve your site immediately is to rewrite each article, post, or page and make your copy "double-barreled." Legendary ad man John Caples said in "How To Make Your Advertising Make Money" that each time you mention a feature of your product or service, you should detail how that feature benefits your customer. He said, "these sentences are like a double-barreled shotgun that fires not once but twice, and thus doubles the chances of hitting the target."

This will immediately make your copy sell better. And it will elevate you from your competition-I guesstimate that 95% or more business web sites get this wrong. Here is an example:

Standard Web Copy That You See Every Day:
Our company has been a leader in the veeblefetzer industry. Grandpa came out with our first Veeblefetzer-Matic in 1910. Later we introduced the VeebleFetzer-Matic 3000 which was lighter and faster. We are proud to announce the new Veeblefetzer-Matic X, a whole new redesign that is taking the world by storm.

Double-Barreled Version:
Our company has been a leader in the veeblefetzer industry for many years, giving our customers confidence that we back each sale with exceptional service. In 1910, Grandpa produced the first Veeblefetzer-Matic which featured a revolutionary handle that made it easy to carry around the kitchen. In the spring of 1945 we rolled out the Veeblefetzer-Matic 3000, renowned for the triple action blades which cut prep time in half, making meals easier and faster to get on the table. And now we are proud to announce the Veeblefetzer-Matic X, an exciting new design that not only cuts and chops the food, it puts it on the plate and flings the whole plate 35 feet in the air to the dinner table–no more walking back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room!

The benefit of this type of writing is that it injects some emotion in to the copy. People buy with emotion and justify with logic. Here in Los Angeles there are countless $75,000 cars. Does anyone really need a high end BMW to get to their yoga class? Probably not. Many of the owners of expensive cars will wax poetically about the "precise engineering" and "unsurpassed safety features." Which is all true. But they also bought the car to look good in front of their neighbors, to make others jealous, to look successful, to fill a life-long goal to "belong to the club" of similar car owners, and on and on.

In the case of the veeble-fetzer, the second paragraph has these benefits:

  • giving our customers confidence
  • easy to carry around the kitchen
  • cut prep time in half
  • easier and faster to get on the table
  • no walking back and forth

Take a look around the web right now. Stop in at any random 10 business sites. See if you can find benefit-oriented copy. I'd say 1 in 10 would be generous–more like only 5 out of 100 get it right. Most web sites are like that blowhard at the party that constantly talks about himself, "And then, after we climbed Mount Kilamanjaro, we skiied all the way down the other side of the mountain using penguins as skis, blah, blah, blah….."

Think of it this way–no one cares about you or your fantastic company. Or more accurately, they care as much as there is a benefit to them. Of course, you must talk about your company, your products and services. But you must tie it back to the customer over and over. They will not make the connection by themselves. You must show them how you will make their life better.

Picture these letters tattooed on their forehead as they look at your site:


What's In It For Me?

As long as you keep adding benefits to the features of your products and telling customers what's in it for them, your copy will come alive. Readers will feel at a deeper level how their life will improve by using your products. Your double-barreled sentences will hit the target twice, and you will start to sell much more. When you sell more, you'll have more dough available to buy that BMW you've had your eye on, making your dumb neighbor Howard even more jealous.

See what I did there?


Shotgun Photo Courtesy Wikipedia


Joe Ditzel is a copywriter, marketing consultant and award-winning public speaker. He is the founder of Vast Media Empire, a network of technology, business, information and entertainment websites. Contact Joe at or connect on: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter Google+

How to Improve Your Site Content with Double-Barreled Writing

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