The Write Stuff, Pt. 1: Copywriting Tips for Selling Your Ideas
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You are selling ideas. It doesn’t matter if your stock and trade comes bubble wrapped or sits on a display shelf, or is a service you provide. Before anyone reaches into their wallet, ready to buy what you sell, you have to give them a reason for doing so. That’s why everyone who sells anything is, first and foremost, a merchant of ideas.
This series of blogs will share powerful techniques for selling ideas that you will want to employ even before you say a word about the features of your offerings. Sell someone on an idea, and the monetary transaction will follow.
Before we begin sharing tips, here are a few guiding principles to lay the groundwork.
- You’re selling an experience, not a product.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing their pitch on the details of their products or services, rather than on what they can do for a person’s life. Harley Davidson, among other successful companies, is a master at selling an emotional experience.
Take this classic, award-winning, ad for example. Notice how it does not speak to the engineering of their bikes, the newest model or any other detail of the product, except with a subtle nod to the power of the engine. The ad appeals to the deep soul longing of its target audience: Freedom from the grind. It contrasts the impotence of struggling with a plastic bag on a crowded airplane with the power and freedom of riding the open highway.
Somewhere on an Airplane a Man is Trying to Rip Open a Small Bag of Peanuts
Give us life at ground level, riding along the endless highway on a Harley-Davidson. 100% depressurized. Just sunlight on chrome. The voice of a V-Twin ripping the open air. And elbow room stretching all the way to the horizon. Maybe you too think this is the way life ought to be lived. Time to spread some wings.
Every professional commercial copywriter knows that the headline is the most crucial part of any ad, and typically spends most of their creative time on a campaign coming up with powerful headlines. The “Father of Advertising” and founder of the agency, Ogilvy and Mather, David Ogilvy, once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
We will expand upon writing powerful headlines that sell in a future blog.
- Every purchase is an emotional decision.
“Oh,” but you say, “Some people make purely logical choices based on product research.” There is no such thing as a purely logical decision. Even a research-based decision is based on the emotion of feeling secure in one’s decision.
Take this study, The role of emotion in decision-making: evidence from neurological patients with orbitofrontal damage (Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, Bechara A.) The abstract reads:
Most theories of choice assume that decisions derive from an assessment of the future outcomes of various options and alternatives through some type of cost-benefit analyses. The influence of emotions on decision-making is largely ignored. The studies of decision-making in neurological patients who can no longer process emotional information normally suggest that people make judgments not only by evaluating the consequences and their probability of occurring, but also and even sometimes primarily at a gut or emotional level. Lesions of the ventromedial (which includes the orbitofrontal) sector of the prefrontal cortex interfere with the normal processing of “somatic” or emotional signals, while sparing most basic cognitive functions. Such damage leads to impairments in the decision-making process, which seriously compromise the quality of decisions in daily life.
Human beings are essentially incapable of making purely cerebral decisions, as the “gut” constantly communicates with and informs cognition.
- Loyalty starts with likability.
People buy from people or brands they like, and liking someone starts with them liking us. Take the study entitled, Similarity versus liking as determinants of interpersonal attractiveness. This psychological study showed that, “Liking has a significant effect upon the Subject’s feelings for the other person—regardless of attitude similarity or dissimilarity.”
Connect with people in a way that makes them feel like you or your brand likes them and cares about what’s important to them, and you’re likely to gain brand loyalty.
Stay tuned for powerful tips and recommendations to help you use written content to sell like a pro!
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