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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Create Direct Marketing Copy that Sells

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

If you want to create direct marketing copy that sells, then tap into emotions. Done correctly, you can make significant strides towards creating a sense of urgency (and action) among your prospects. Add segmentation and a compelling offer and you're sure to win over your prospects.

  1. Fear of Loss: Nothing is more powerful than the fear of loss. Would you work harder to keep something important to you or get more of it? Chances are, if something you hold dear is threatened, you'd fight to keep it. The same is true when promoting your products or services.

    A common example is insurance. When marketing insurance, marketers don't sell with probability tables, they tap into the fear of loss. "Who will pay your bills?", "What would happen to your house?" and so it goes. Stirring the potential of loss among your target market is the quickest way to get your prospect to take notice.
  2. Scarcity: Similar to the fear of loss is the fear of not having enough. This is why people have more than one credit card. Often one will do, but marketers are smart and play on the emotion of not having enough. You might often hear, "What happens if you reach your limit and you can't pay the bill?". This fear would motivate you to have more than one card in order to avoid the situation of running out of available credit.

    Also many offers are for a "limited time". The promise of scarcity drives action among prospects and creates a sense of urgency. No one wants to miss out on a 'free' or special price offered for a short period of time.
  3. Comfort: People like to make sound decisions. There's a certain comfort in knowing that the purchase you're about to make has already been made by others - who have been satisfied with their purchase. This minimizes an individual's overall risk by knowing that someone else has successfully made this purchase and had a positive result.

    To make individuals comfortable, before they buy, testimonials are often used. The most powerful direct marketing pieces include believable and complimentary testimonials from actual clients.
  4. Reciprocity: Give and you shall receive. Do you feel indebted once someone gives you something? Free books, clothing, etc. can create a sense of reciprocity. This form of marketing is often used by associations seeking to raise money. Chance are you've at one time or another received address labels, magnets, or other small token with an envelope asking for a donation. Tapping into emotions and creating a sense of obligation can drive action among your target audience.
  5. Validation: Listen to the experts. When you're faced with a situation or find yourself in an area that's slightly uncomfortable, you tend to seek out validation from a third party. This may come from someone who's more experienced, more senior, or from someone who you respect. Copywriters and Direct Marketers know that human being tend to seek external validation as well as internal validation. This is why you see famous actors, sports figures, and so on pushing products. Through association, marketers build trust and confidence in their products.

    One way to leverage the idea of validation is to use an expert to communicate the benefits of a particular product or service. This is especially effective when the expert has used the product him/herself and can speak about their experience first-hand. Experts don't have to be high paid athletes, they can simply be real people who have accomplished the outcome that your product or service promises.

Evoking an individual emotion or set of emotions can be accomplished through various means- effective headlines, select media, and/or compelling copy. Before putting pen to paper, think about the emotion that can generate the greatest sense of urgency among your prospects for your given product.

Focus on evoking the key emotion(s) you've identified and be sure to reinforce that throughout your communication. Additionally, focus on solutions that support a positive outcome. For example, if you're relying on fear to generate a need, deliver a solution that removes that fear or keeps it at bay (example: low-cost insurance).

Be creative with your approach but start with a fundamental understanding of what drives human behavior – emotion. This will definitely get you in the right mood to deliver an effective marketing message and get your prospects to respond to your marketing.


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