In part 2 I asked why shoehorned in “benefits as desires” fail. Part of the reason is because we never cared about our audience in the first place (most salespeople will sell anything to anyone given half a chance).
If you’re selling something that has no obvious benefit to the person you’re selling it to, you can try as much as you like to ‘shoehorn’ in some benefit, but you’ll probably only get laughed at in return (read the previous part of this mini series for some examples).
The people who succeed in this world care. They care about everything. Themselves, their products, their customers, and their audiences.
And because they do that, as Cialdini and many others have said, people will care back (reciprocity).
I was ill for 5 days last week. It came from nowhere. One minute I was healthy, then in just a few hours I was struck down by a chronic migraine (I’ve never had a migraine in my life as far as I know – the odd headache yes, but nothing like this – it was like being pounded in my right eye over and over again).
It debilitated me and got worse as the days passed. I found it hard to sleep, and eventually became so anxious I had to call the emergency helpline to find out what I could do.
Since then I’ve had various blood tests, I’m booked into a scan (two actually), I’ve seen two doctors and talked to two more, and in the end I had an eye test and got a prescription for reading glasses.
But it had one massive benefit. I lost 3kgs+ in weight (most of it during the final two days). Who’d have thought it? I’ve heard of just about every diet plan/weight loss program in existence (comes with the copywriting territory of course), but not a single one produced results this good.
How many copywriters have trouble losing weight? I mean, most of us are stuck indoors with our noses glued to the screen for hours and hours every day.
Occasionally we get up and boil the kettle. Sometimes we even walk somewhere (eg. to watch some TV or stroke the cat or dog).
We know this is not good for us. We probably all know we need to get some sun everyday too. And we know that crisps, cake, coke, chocolate [or any other favourite beverage beginning with C] isn’t the perfect choice for good health.
Yet we carry on until struck down by some indescribable and horrible disease. And then, and only then, do we take action. So, inspired by my newly found diet, I wrote a blind copy ad:
“I have discovered a perfect, 100% guaranteed weight loss program. Last week I used it to lose 3kg. Imagine how much weight I could lose if I kept this up for a month? I don’t have to imagine it though, because I’m doing it right now. This works for anyone. Fill in the reply paid coupon below for full details. PS. there’s no initial cost, and nothing else to buy (no supplements, lotions, pills, or special foods). Do it now, follow the plan, and I’ll see you on the thin side.”
It doesn’t matter how I spin something, unless you have a desire to lose weight, the above is pointless.
Let’s try to shoehorn this in by highlighting more than one desire and calling out the market:
“Copywriters rely on the ability to read just as much as they do on the ability to write (if we can’t read what we’ve written, we can’t edit it). And as copywriters, we are also notorious for sitting in front of computer screens hour after hour, day after day, ignoring our health. For me, that led to headaches followed by eye problems. At least it did, until I came across a new kind of diet. One that got me back to health super fast. Fill in the reply paid coupon below and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Interested? Perhaps. Interested enough to buy? Probably not. Unless you’ve been thinking about your health to any degree (weight, eyesight, exercise) you’ll still have no desire to change (and no amount of ranting or shoehorning from me is going to work).
I’ve brought a degree of caring to this second ad (by mentioning the audience – copywriters). This also adds another dimension of desire (I want the reader to become “interested” the second they read the word ‘copywriter’).
Do I really care about my audience? Yes. I wouldn’t bother writing a thing if I didn’t know you cared. Are you slightly more interested in keeping your eyesight healthy? Maybe. Are you interested in some new diet. Probably not (just like the first ad, you must have an initial desire to diet or you won’t be interested).
So is it possible to transform a desire for one thing into a desire for another (as hinted at in part 1)?