In Part 2 of The Problem Framework, I mentioned exploiting prospects’ wants and needs by understanding the relationship between the two. I used an example of the racing bike I wanted as a kid to demonstrate it (not any old bike – a racing bike – this is important). Start with part 1 if you’ve missed of this series: https://scienceofcopywriting.com/copywriting/the-problem-framework-part-1-copywriting-guides/).
Copywriting is part of Marketing and our job is to sell stuff through the written word, so it’s no wonder people get confused over the differences between Marketing and Sales. Some argue that marketing is about awareness (and they’re right). Some argue that it’s only salespeople who sell (and they’re wrong).
But there is one distinction, and that’s the difference between a salesperson and a copywriter. A salesperson sells in person. A copywriter sells remotely.
It’s far easier being a salesperson (assuming you know how to sell), but copywriting gives you more time. There is no confrontation with copywriting. The problem is you need to become both the salesperson AND the prospect.
You need to develop the ability to split your personality (if you have no empathy for people, you have no chance unless you’re a villain).
Speaking of villains, if you look at the average internet marketing style copywriter, you’ll find villainy written all over their work (most are not villains, they just don’t know any better – they’ve copied other people’s work or been taught that that’s what copywriters do – they’re wrong).
You’ll also recognise it as soon as you see it. Here are the steps: Make up any claim, amplify it through the roof, throw in a bunch of fake scarcity (like the 12 minute countdown clock I just saw on a Dan Kennedy landing page – “because we came across some old dusty inventory that needs to go” – what on a digital product? – do me a favour), chuck in a load of ‘bonuses’, add a bump on the shopping cart, then follow up with numerous upsells, downsells, and price based offers via segmented email sequences.
Very little of the above shows empathy for the prospect. They are done to take advantage of our many flaws (shortsighted, short on patience, easily led, and full of wants due to our various degrees of greediness, envy, and the desire for wealth).
How do I know all this stuff, because I’ve been there. It’s like an addiction. Once you’re introduced to it, it’s very hard to stop.
BTW, If this is what you want, that’s fine. No one is here to judge, it’s just useful to see how easily most of us can be exploited.
So how do you write copy without all the hype? Simple, you know your audience. You start by identifying a likely candidate for the offer and write explicitly to that one person. Every time a person who fits that description reads your copy, you make a sale. Why? Because you’re offering them exactly what they want right now.
Water it down by adding a whole bunch of other people, and it becomes harder to grab attention. However, there’s a trade-off between the one person and the many people scenario.
The trade off is the cost. The cost of finding a needle in a haystack is impossible to fathom (it might be 1 in 7 billion). On the other hand, the cost of finding everyone is simple to work out. It costs the Earth (all 7 billion of us).
The sweet spot is somewhere in between. We start with one person because without that, we have no idea of the problem we’re trying to solve (and whether anyone needs it solving).
With that one person in mind, we write our copy. We test it in the marketplace to see if there’s any traction, and we rewrite the copy from there (by either expanding it to include more people with similar traits, or making it even more pertinent if we get too many responses and not enough sales).
But there’s one more thing we need to know to complete the Problem Framework. Watch out tomorrow and also for this week’s Science of Copywriting Newsletter (delivered direct to your inbox every Sunday).