Have you ever fallen for a slick sales pitch?
An offer so convincing – so persuasive – that you tossed over your cash like it was on fire?
Maybe it was that knife that can saw through steel-toed boots. Perhaps it was that space-age laser comb – the one that’s supposed to bring back your luscious locks (and, if the commercial was telling the truth, your self-esteem too!)
Or maybe it was a spontaneous late-night shopping spree brought on by a coupon code that showed up in your inbox from a brand you like. Next thing you know, three crates (!!!) of silk gym socks (???) show up at your door, and you can’t really explain why they felt like such a good idea at the time.
Here’s the ugly truth…
No matter how big your BS detector might be or how immune you think you are, in the right situation, every person on the planet is vulnerable to a clever bit of marketing.
My job as a copywriter is to help my clients sell things to people who arrived on the page, convincing them that whatever is being sold is the answer they’ve been looking for. The best copywriters in the business – legends like Carlton and Caples – had a way of positioning products that made them seem irresistible to the right audience.
But let’s pump the brakes for a second.
There’s this temptation in copywriting and conversion rate optimization to think about the customer/brand relationship as one of manipulation.
“How can we get more customers to fall for our sales pitch?”
And then, there are copywriters who sell their services like some sort of mind control; the ability manipulate hapless idiots into becoming paying customers. It becomes a bit of a propaganda war; a battle to force your leads’ hands and get them to take an action.
Frankly, I find that all a bit creepy – and if that’s the way you’re thinking about your copy, it’s no wonder it’s failing.
Because I do believe persuasive copy is about getting someone to take action, but I don’t believe in getting people to “fall for” my copy. It might seem like I’m splitting hairs over semantics, but there’s an important difference in mentality between those who want people to “fall for” their offer and those who want to be persuasive.
The best marketing – and the best copy – is not about duping the reader into believing something, but about amplifying their need, alleviating their fear and exciting them to action. So often we forget (or simply ignore) that a qualified lead arrives with an intention to make a decision.
What they lack is inertia – something that sets that desire into motion. THAT is what your copy needs to give them. You’re just accelerating desire.
They’re not a mind to be duped, tricked, coerced or undermined. Your copy’s job is not to subvert them to your will. It’s to help them realize that giving in will get them exactly what they’re already after.
Writing good copy is something you do FOR people – not TO them.
The most persuasive copy doesn’t involve hypnotism, hyperbole or slimy sales tactics.
And the best writers aren’t versed in the dark arts of mind control.
Effective copy makes clear the truths that a prospect needs to hear (the benefits and features and attainable outcomes) in a way that is both emotionally compelling (“I really like this!”) and rationally sound (no risk).
When you stop trying to fool people into buying and start selling them something they actually want, that’s when your copy comes alive. And when you can couple that with an irresistible reason to act on that desire immediately – not tomorrow, not a week from now, but right this second – that’s when you win.
It’s a simple thought, but one that might change your approach – if you’re willing to let it.
Your eyes are getting sleeeepy…. sleeeepy…. you want to leave a comment… must leave a comment… 😉