People are completely swamped with marketing materials and don't want to be bothered anymore. If it isn't directly relevant to them, it goes in the trash.
What's more, even if you do grab their attention, you have to maintain their interest throughout, or they'll check out and never look back. Potentially losing you a perfectly good prospect forever.
So what can you do?
Using the second step in A.I.D.A., with “Interest” as your focus, you need to create materials that hold your prospect's hand and bring them on a journey. Getting them to soak in everything you say, so they make it to the most important part – taking action.
This week, I'm going to show you how to grab them by the lapels and never let go, with some simple copywriting tactics:
You'll learn why “sophistication” has made your prospects immune to marketing (and how you can overcome it)…
A simple acronym you must always consider when creating your materials…
And one technique to make your copy impossible to put down.
No matter where you live, there are billboards, posters, flyers, direct mail, emails, banner ads on web pages, and so on. You really can't escape it.
Because of this, people have put up sturdy walls against it. They are tired of being bombarded. Even as an Expertpreneur™ myself, I totally sympathize.
Eugene Schwartz emphasized this concept in his book “Breakthrough Advertising”, which I covered on my blog in October. He refers to a prospect's familiarity with your product and advertising as “sophistication”. Basically, how much they've seen and heard already.
He encourages marketers and copywriters to continuously assess and adapt their efforts based on this measure. If you are selling something completely new and different, you can take your time to explain what it is. You might even be able to make a big bold claim about it!
But, in this day and age, most everything has been said and done. People are tired of hype, and will not respond to overblown pitches.
Simply, big claims no longer work with a sophisticated market.
So what is a marketer to do? Isn't the soul of good copy a big, bold promise?
Well, yes, it is. But that promise has to directly relate to the audience you are speaking to. So they can “self-identify” with it.
You should already have an idea in your head of who your ideal prospect is. And you should also know as much about them as possible. That information will help you connect the biggest benefits of your product and service to their deepest fears, frustrations, problems, wants, desires, and aspirations.
Now, we've already discussed the importance of incorporating this into your headline to grab attention in last week's post. But you must weave it throughout your entire piece to maintain their interest.
In fact, there's a simple way to think about it: the sole purpose of the Headline is to get them to read the first sentence. The first sentence gets them to read the second. And so on…
Makes sense, right? But to ensure each sentence serves its purpose, you have to consider one important question the whole time you are writing…
The Big Question
“What's in it for me?”
Now, many will claim they are more selfless than that, and only think of others. But I challenge you to rethink that idea – even the most selfless act (i.e. giving time and money to the poor) is self-serving. You feel a sense of satisfaction and personal fulfillment when you do it.
It's not malicious or “selfish” to think that way; it's natural, and in many cases self-preserving. We want to make sure our decisions are always in our own best interest.
And you can be sure this thinking applies to making purchases, as well.
So when your prospect receives your marketing email or direct mail promo, there better be a darn good reason for them to read through it. Or they won't!
That's why making sure the headline, and every line after it, is directly related to their fears, frustrations, problems, wants, desires, or aspirations. It must always be about them.
However, even that isn't necessarily enough.
You see, hitting that emotional button throughout your piece is crucial. Yet if you don't give them reason to believe you are worth listening to early on, they will tune you out.
They need proof that you know what you are talking about. An affirmation of your credibility as an expert on this subject. And supplying this information can be more challenging than you think.
You can certainly introduce yourself and list your credentials right off the bat; that would be a way to prove your credibility.
But think about the last time someone spouted off their resume to you. Probably didn't impress you much, right? (And you probably thought the guy was full of himself!)
I would recommend you let others do the talking for you. Introduce yourself early, so they know your name, but let testimonials and quotes say the rest.
For example, after you get their attention with your big prospect-oriented headline, and then draw them in with a few sentences, you could say “Hi, my name is Sheryl, and over the past twenty years I have built several multi-million dollar businesses. As Sheila Aaldyk of Bensley said, ‘I’ve tried coaches before, but none compare to the advice and business insights that Sheryl provides.' And Karen Link of Critical Link Consulting said, ‘Sheryl's been there before and understands just what to do.'”
It might seem a little “braggy”, but it drives right through a lot of barriers. By giving quotes from other people, you eliminate the doubts that come with boasting about your own successes. And by using real names and their businesses, I'm showing (not telling) how I've worked with other coaches and consultants, and given them the results they wanted.
This could be made even stronger with some big numbers, like a percentage of increase in revenue after working with you, or some high praise from respected leaders in your field.
Regardless of what you use, remember that it has to relate to your prospect. They need to see that it's people just like them who have benefitted from listening to what you have to say.
A Short-Cut To The Heart
When you were a child, what was something you looked forward to every night with your parents? Story-time, of course!
Everyone has grown up with storytelling. Whether your parents read to you as a kid, your grandparents or someone in the neighborhood shared their childhood antics with you, or perhaps you just watched a lot of movies… you've heard a lot of stories.
And, regardless of who you are or where you're from, they always draw you in when told well.
If you want to grab someone's interest and hold onto it, the single best way to do so is by telling a compelling and relatable story. Something that reminds them of where they've been or, even better, where they are now. A tale that pulls their heartstrings.
A very sudden and surprising combination of events led me to creating Expert Elevation. And, whenever I give a presentation or write copy geared toward new prospects, I like to include that story.
Not to be manipulative or force sympathy, but to simply express the trepidation, fear, and ultimate clarity I experienced before starting this endeavor. Death, doubt, and desire encouraged me to transform my life, and my story relates to anyone who has experienced any or all of those things.
(By the way, if you want to hear my story, you can watch my video here)
Starting your copy with a strong, compelling, and relatable story trumps almost anything else you could do. You will naturally draw your reader along with you, line-by-line, until you reach the conclusion. And by that time, they will be hooked.
Interest Leads to Action
Although possibly the most challenging part of the A.I.D.A. formula, “Interest” is also arguably the most important. If you can't retain it, your copy will not be read.
And copy that isn't read doesn't do its job. Your prospects won't become engaged with you and your business, and certainly will not take any action.
Resulting in a lot of frustration for you.
But by continuously testing your copy, ensuring your business and product is relatable to your prospects and their deepest fears, frustrations, problems, wants, desires, or aspirations, you will get better results. And if finding that link is challenging, grab them with a story.
Either way you will get a much better reaction to your materials, and attract more clients who are perfect for your business. What's better than that?
Next week, we'll focus on the third letter in A.I.D.A. – Desire. By stirring your prospects' desire they will be primed and ready to buy by the end of your piece.
But only if you do one important thing… Stay tuned.