What Never To Put In An Executive Summary
According to the 2019 Amazon Product Listing Industry Survey, roughly 80% of all Amazon product listing copywriter copy contains an executive summary – sometimes called an abstract. An executive summary acts as a preface – a kind of overview of what the paper will communicate to the reader who reads the paper from start to finish.
Personally, I think most white papers would be more effective without an executive summary. I’ll tell you why in a moment. But if your customer insists on your writing one, here’s one mistake you want to make sure to avoid…
Don’t Give Too Much Away Too Early
An executive summary lets the reader know in advance what the listing is about. Executive summaries got their name because they were originally designed for executives who were too busy to read an entire Amazon product listing. So the white paper author would write a paragraph or two giving busy people the gist of the listing without their having to read the whole thing.
Quite often, this is counter-productive.
The goal of your Amazon product listing optimization copy is to generate qualified sales leads. You want to intrigue the reader so much that she is compelled to give you your MWR in exchange for more information about your product. But you have to remember that the pulling power of your paper is the paper itself, not the executive summary.
So if you give away your solution in the executive summary, you’ve just given your reader a reason to put your paper down and read no further. If she does this, you will NOT have your most wanted response. Give your prospect a reason to stop reading your paper and she’ll do it every time. She’s just too busy not to.
What Your Executive Summary Should Do Instead
So instead of giving away the store in the executive summary, what should you do instead? B2C Copywriting legend, Gene Schwartz gives us the answer in his landmark book, Breakthrough Advertising.
Gene says that the headline of your promotional piece should have one goal: to get the reader to read the first sentence. The first sentence, should compel your reader to read the second. And then the third, and so on.
If we translate this into the Amazon world, we can say that the executive summary of a white paper should have one goal: to compel the reader to read the first paragraph. Then the second. And the third.
In short, your entire white paper should be one big greased slide, taking your reader swiftly through the body of your white paper to your call to action at the end. That’s where you want to make it easy for them to give you your most-wanted response.
You can’t do this if you give away the solution your prospect is looking for in the executive summary.
This being the case, should advertorial white papers forgo an executive summary? In my opinion, probably so. The temptation to say too much too soon is too great, I think. However, if a client insists on having one, just make sure you don’t give away the store.
A wise Amazon copywriter knows it’s ok to allude to the notion that there is a solution. Just don’t come out and say what it is until the end of the paper. Only there will your prospect give you the response you’re looking for.