Fascinate, Tease & Shoot to Kill! How to Use Bullets for Better Results

by 4 08/20/2013

Think about the last time you read some copy and bought the product. It likely had a headline, an offer, a call to action, plus some body copy.

And if it was effective copy, it also likely had bullets.

Bullets are simply short, bite-sized pieces of copy that focus the reader’s attention on key features and benefits. They break up dense chunks of copy so it’s easier to read and digest the copy. After the headline and the subheads, they can be the next part of the copy that people read…so they’re especially important to your conversion rate.

In any form of copy, you can use bullets for the following:

  • A list of problems your product or service solves.
  • A summary of benefits right underneath the main headline in what’s called “the deck.”
  • The qualifications of an author or expert.
  • Product details—exactly what you’re getting.
  • Testimonials.
  • A statement of interesting facts at the beginning of the copy in order to draw the reader into reading the sales pitch.
  • Details of a warranty or guarantee.

Let’s review some powerhouse examples of bullets, tips for using bullets to tease and fascinate your own users, and seven specific types of bullets.

Examples of bullets that get results

Here’s an example from Dan Kennedy’s home page. Simple bullets lined up in two rows:

dan kennedy bullets

Sure, he could have put that information into paragraphs. But copy that’s ALL paragraphs and sentences is too dense. Some readers don’t want to read the dense copy and so their attention will go straight to the bullets—which is why they can be so vital to conversion.

Listing your features can be an effective way to break up long, dense copy. This represents a good start but the impact of bullets can be increased by following these techniques:

  1. Before writing the copy, make a list of all the features the product or service provides.
  2. Turn these features into benefits. For example, if a feature on a car is a diesel engine, the benefit is up to 500 miles between visits to the gas station.
  3. Put the bullets in order of importance…with the most important and revealing at the top. Save one powerful benefit for underneath the list.

In this page for Gary Bencivenga’s copywriting seminar, notice how he stacks the bullets underneath the headline.

bullets in a headline

How to Align Your Bullets with Your Offer

Make sure your bullets are “in tune” with the call to action. For example, if you’re selling an information product about how to market yourself as a cosmetic surgeon, then your bullets need to “tease” a little (or a lot) in order to persuade the surgeon to buy the information product.

Let’s say you’re selling a 3-DVD series titled “Marketing Essentials for Cosmetic Surgeons.”

In the copy for DVD #3, you might include these bullets:

  • 3 facts you MUST understand about SEO so you’re always on top of the search engine rankings.
  • How to find and hire Google AdWords specialists who actually know how to produce results. No more wasted time and money on “fake” consultants.
  • 10 keys to a powerful website that persuades potential patients to pick up the phone and eagerly request an appointment.

The goal with these bullets is to tease readers. You’re ready to reveal the information—provided the surgeon pulls a credit card out of his wallet and buys the DVDs!

However, let’s say you’re a marketing consultant who specializes in helping cosmetic surgeons with their marketing on a “done for you” model. Your firm sets up the website plus handles all the day-to-day marketing for the practice.

In a proposal, or on your website, you’re going straight toward the benefits with NO teasing.

Your bullets might look like this:

  1. Complete “done for you” marketing services so you never have to hire an in-house marketing specialist or spend hours doing the work yourself.
  2. A compensation model based on the actual results our programs achieve—so we’re fully accountable.
  3. No long-term contracts. If our services work, which they will, you’ll continue to use us. If they don’t, you can leave at any time.

Bullets need variety, and the language needs to be especially vivid. Many copywriters call bullets “fascinations” which means they want the bullets to be so fascinating that they keep the reader reading—and eventually buying.

Remember that just ONE of these bullets can motivate the reader to buy. That’s why you see long lists of bullets in long-form sales copy.

Don’t go overboard, though. Copy that’s ALL bullets looks too much like a grocery list.

7 Powerful Types of Bullets

Use these bullet formats when you write bullets.

  1. The Secret Bullet. “The secret to growing petunias in almost any weather.”
  2. The How-To Bullet. “How to save at least 20% on your next office lease.”
  3. The Number Bullet. “5 ways to find great deals at even the most expensive ski resorts.”
  4. The Key Bullet. “The key to getting a great night’s sleep…every night.”
  5. The Warning Bullet. “WARNING: Corporate bonds are about to implode but you can make astounding profits if you understand this market.”
  6. The Between-the-Eyes Benefit. “Lose 5 pounds this week by focusing on just 2 foods.”
  7. The Easiest Button. “We can now reveal the easiest way to pay less than dealer invoice for any car.”

Finally, be creative when crafting your bullets.

Replace the typical “blob” with a check-mark or logo. Use copy doodles like arrows and stars. I like to bold the first 3-7 words of each bullet.

To make any copy more readable, breaking up dense chunks of copy into bullets is an excellent idea.

However, when you want to maximize conversion, shoot to kill. Make your bullets really sing by spending extra time on the copy and look of your bullets.

About 

Scott Martin is a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has also written or edited 18 books including The Book of Caddyshack: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Greatest Movie Ever Made. Scott provides free resources for marketers including direct response checklists.

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4 COMMENTS

Ashley @ madlemmings

Who would have thought you could write a whole post on bullets!! Great job Scott. They an underrated beast for sure. I try to make my writing as web-reader friendly as I can (as this helpful website states – in how to guest post). People are not always up for reading paragraphs and masses of text. But the next level is indeed to split it even further, even more readable and bite-sized – the bullet point. And so many examples and ideas. Thanks

August 20, 2013 Reply

    Scott Martin

    Thank you, Ashley for the kind comments. Bullets are extremely important and often overlooked.

    August 20, 2013 Reply

John Gibb

hi Scott

Dan and Gary are two of my favorite copywriters… Jay Abraham is another one…

By the way, last year I’ve seen a membership site selling access to a hundred or so copy doodles (and more to be added on a regular basis…) – cannot recall the site – maybe you guys have seen it around before?

August 21, 2013 Reply


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