Free Tips for Successful Copywriting

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Secret Force That Drives YOUR Online Sales, and Makes YOU a Kick Ass Marketer!

Why do your prospects buy from you?

I often ask my consulting clients this very question. And the first answers I get usually look something like this
  • Because we’re the most affordable

  • Because we offer the best service

  • Because our product offers the best value

  • Because we have a superior reputation in the marketplace
What do you think of these answers? All of these reasons are putting the cart before the horse, don’t you think?

They can afford it. Great! They’ll never think of whether they can afford it or not until you get them emotionally involved in wanting it!

And who cares if you offer the best service, or the best value, or if your firm has the best reputation, if they don’t want it?

Most often I’ll get several logical reasons why people buy, before I get a single reason that even smells remotely like an emotional one. But that’s not what I’m getting at here.

Today’s article goes beyond the idea that people buy for emotional reasons, and then back up their decisions with logic.

It cuts straight to the core of what gets those emotional wheels turning between your prospect’s ears in the first place, and reveals the real reason people buy.

The Real Reason Your Prospects Whip Out Their Plastic and BUY NOW!

Your prospects buy from you, when they sense doing so will extend or enhance their self-image in some way. Your product is a vehicle through which your prospect envisions a greater self.

The more you can help your prospects to visualize and savor that expanded sense of self worth on your landing pages, the more sales you’ll make. It’s that simple.

All of the sound, logical reasons why your product is better, and unique, are only important in context to that golden defining moment.

You see, while we may not realize it, all of us cart around a mental blueprint, or picture of ourselves in our mind’s eye. It may be hazy and non descript when we try to become aware of it. We may in fact remain totally oblivious to it our entire lives. But it is there, in living color, right down to the last detail.

This “self-image” is our opinion of the kind of person we are. It has been built up from our own beliefs about ourselves. Most of these beliefs have been formed from past experiences… our successes and failures, our humiliations and triumphs… but most of all by how other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood.

All of this mental goulash comes together to form a “picture of self”. And once an idea or belief connects itself to this picture, it becomes true, as far we’re concerned. From that point forward, we ACT in a fashion that is consistent with that picture until something comes along to change it.

What You Must Do with Your Landing Pages to Turn Visitors into Buyers …

So the most important thing you can do with your landing pages and your copy is to create vivid images of your prospect enjoying the expanded sense of self worth he or she can acquire through your product. The images you create are like seeds that lead the prospect to create more images that are far more powerful than any you can create.

Pictures are great for setting this critical process in motion. I like to use images that are unusual, and symbolic. Since you’re on this list, you may have seen some of my landing pages featuring images of an easy riding biker copywriter, or an M16 toting marketing commando. Actually, I got this idea of using fantasy-laden imagery from David Ogilvy.

One of his most famous ads was for Hathaway shirts. The headline read “The man with the Hathaway shirt”. The picture over the headline was, as you’d expect, a man wearing a white shirt and tie. But there was something unusual about him.

Over his right eye, the man with the Hathaway shirt wore an eye patch. The ads appeared in magazines and newspapers and the patch grabbed people’s attention, and made them curious to find out the story behind the man. But even more importantly, these remarkable ads created a new development in the self-image of many of the men who saw them.

The patch symbolized adventure and worldliness, and a certain suave sophistication. Even a little bit of a bad boy pirate image, the kind women find attractive. And as a result, these ads sold Hathaway shirts by the boxcar load for years. Despite the fact the only people who wore eye patches in the 1950s, were people with facial disfigurements.

The patch had about as much to do with shirts, as a Harley does with copywriting, or weapons have to do with marketing, but these kind of dissonant images instantly grab attention, and generate curiosity. Even more importantly, they create an unconscious self-image extending fantasy in the mind of many readers, which you can then carry forward as a theme throughout your copy.

How Your Own Self-image is Both Your Secret Copywriting Weapon, and Your Marketing Achilles Heel …

One of the pioneers of self-image psychology was a plastic surgeon by the name of Maxwell Maltz. (Maltz recorded his incredible observations in the 1960 classic “Psycho-Cypernetics”, which I recommend you read.) When Maltz first began the practice of plastic surgery, he was amazed by the sudden and dramatic changes in personality that often resulted when a facial defect was corrected.

Changing the physical image in many cases seemed to create an entirely new person. In case after case, Dr. Maltz’ scalpel became a magic wand that not only transformed his patient’s appearance, but their entire lives. The shy and retiring became bold and courageous.

A “stupid”, “moronic” boy changed into an alert, bright youngster who went on in life to become a prominent executive. A salesman who had lost his touch… and his faith in himself… became a consummate closer. Literally dozens of remarkable life transformations were recorded.

It’s relatively easy to understand how the correction of a facial disfigurement could alter a person’s entire outlook and attitude toward life, their feelings about themselves, and their ability to function successfully in society. But what about the exceptions who didn’t change?

What about the duchess who all her life had been terribly shy and self-conscious because of a tremendous hump on her nose? Maltz gave her a classic schnoz and made her drop dead gorgeous, but still she behaved like the ugly duckling.

If the scalpel was magic, why didn’t it give the now beautiful duchess a befitting poise and confidence, and what about the others who acquired new faces but went on wearing the same old wounded personalities?

The answer to this question holds the key to achievement, in copywriting, in salesmanship, in life!

One of the earliest and most convincing experiments Maltz draws upon in Psycho Cybernetics was conducted by Prescott Lecky, one of the pioneers of self-image psychology. Lecky defined the personality as a “system of ideas”, all of which must seem to be consistent with one another.

Ideas that are inconsistent with this system, are “not believed”, and not ACTED UPON. Ideas which seem consistent with the system are. At the very center of this system of ideas is the “ego ideal”, or “self image”, on which all of the ideas within the system hinge.

Lecky was a schoolteacher, and tested his ideas on thousands of children. He discovered that if a child was having difficulty performing a particular task, it was often because (from the child’s point of view) it was simply inconsistent with his or her self-image. The child simply couldn’t imagine successfully completing the task.

Lecky’s response was to fortify his instruction with a healthy regimen of encouragement and praise, thereby changing the child’s self-concept. As soon as the child’s “self image” became consistent with the performance of the task at hand, the difficulty mysteriously vanished.

The lesson here is deceptively simple. Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right!

The same selling psychology you use to build up the self image of your prospects, through the copy and images you use on your landing pages, applies to YOU as you write your copy, every single day.

The juice that gets your copy written is exactly the same juice that gets people to take action on your landing pages. You are motivated by exactly the same principle. You desperately crave, want, and need to expand your own self-image. When you believe that’s what you’re doing, you’re empowered, and you ACT! When you don’t, you’re a blubbering blob of weakness and indecision.

How to Supercharge Your Creativity, Making Your Writing Time Infinitely More Productive …

Did you know that on average, you speak 5,000 words a day, and 4,000 of them are to yourself? The funny thing is, you’re unaware of the vast majority of it. If you take the time to become aware of this self-talk, you might be surprised by what you hear.

If you find yourself creatively blocked… if you’re procrastinating… if you’re frustrated with what you’re able to accomplish… there’s a good chance you’re running your brain on low octane fuel. The images you’re creating in your mind are inconsistent with your desires, and they’re stifling you.

From here on in, here’s what I want you to do. Take Lecky’s lead. When you’re working on those landing pages of yours … take conscious control of the images that run through your head. Crowd out the negative self-defeating ones with empowering, positive ones.

Keep your eye on the prize! Fantasize about how you’ll feel when your copy hits the streets and starts slamming money directly into your merchant account…

If you’re writing for others, picture the elation on their faces, and the mammoth checks they send you. Imagine the looks on the teller’s faces, when the bank manager can’t even authorize your check, and has to call downtown to a VP to get it approved.

Visualize the positive impact your words will have on your prospects… inspiring them to go for a better life, and empowering them to act on their dreams by buying your product.

Revel in these feelings while you craft your campaigns, and before long you’ll be amazed at how much more creative, productive, and wealthy you’ll become as a copywriter and marketer.

Until next time, Good Selling!

Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant & direct response copywriter based in Toronto, Canada and publisher of the world famous copywriting anthology “Masters of Copywriting” featuring the marketing wisdom of 44 of the world’s greatest copywriters, including Clayton Makepeace, Joe Sugarman, Joe Vitale, Bob Bly and dozens more! For a FREE excerpt visit the link

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