Copywriting for MSPs – Part 16

MSP Copywriting - 18

Recap from Last Time

  • The Importance Of Being Specific in Your Case Studies & Testimonials.
  • Getting Google Reviews & Handling Complaints Professionally
  • Cialdini’s Law of Reciprocity, with Macro-gestures and Micro-Gestures

From that last point about reciprocity, we finished last time around including items of value within the envelope of your marketing piece, such as a voucher for goods or services, or an invitation to an exclusive event, or some other token which has a high perceived value.


We can now Jump Straight Into the ‘AIDA’ part of the URGEN|T AIDA model, which we’ve already covered in this series about MSP copywriting and which we now know stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. To quickly recap :

Attention : The headline of your sales letter should instantly grab someone’s attention and be as punchy as possible, inviting them to read more. Having stood next to someone selling newspapers on many occasions (when I used to work on street-markets), I can tell you that headlines make the biggest impact of all and with adverts, they can make up to 80% of the difference alone.

Once you’ve got past the headline, then the sub-head and the next section of the body-copy needs to maintain and develop the Interest. Facts, figures, quotes and indeed anything that is relevant, interesting and compelling and which can be used to draw the reader into the content. Think of the sales letter as a ‘greased slide’ where people are heading inexorably towards the call to action.

Before we get to the call to action, we need to build up desire. This means lots of emotion … lots of benefits … lots of examples and imagined futures where the prospect can really see how the product or service will work for them in a transformative way. The desire is where the magic happens. The headline will have attracted and the interest part of the story reels them in and the call to action is where they buy or download or whatever you need them to do … but the desire needs to be built up during this process and that’s the magic ingredient. Building desire is everything!

A’-Action. Next, we have the call to action and we’ve spent a bit of time looking at that in the last couple of sections so just remember to make sure you have a robust call to action and if necessary ask for the business multiple times and in different ways.

The ‘G’ of URGENT AIDA stands for Guarantees. When someone is looking at your call to action, they’ll be considering which risks they face. It’s easy to just think of the risks of taking an action will only be monetary. However, those risks could involve money, or time, or effort, or even just social risk.

In a typical sales letter, any guarantees you offer usually come just before the call to action. This structure is effective because presenting the guarantee before the call to action creates risk-reversal at the right time and helps to alleviate any potential concerns or hesitations the reader might have about your product or service. You might need to be a bit brave with your guarantee, however in my opinion, if you’re sure about yourself and your services and you are willing to stand by them then a guarantee telegraphs your confidence and definitely helps you win more business.

When someone is reading your sales letter, they want a degree of certainty that the benefits associated with your call to action outweigh any risks they may face as a consequence of taking that action. To repeat, it’s easy to think that they’re just worried about any financial risk but there are several other main considerations to bear in mind.

Firstly, there’s the product or service quality risk: There’s always a concern about whether the product or service will perform as promised. Poor quality or ineffective results can lead to dissatisfaction, waste of time, and additional costs for replacement or repair.

Then there’s time risk: Time invested in learning, setting up, or integrating a new product or service is significant. If your solution doesn’t deliver as expected, their time is lost and cannot be recovered.

That leads us on to Opportunity Cost: By choosing one product or service, individuals or businesses might be missing out on alternative solutions that could be more effective or valuable.

Reputational Risk: This is particularly relevant for businesses or professionals. If the product or service doesn’t meet expectations, it can harm the buyer’s reputation, especially if the purchase decision affects (or is visible to) clients, customers, peers or suppliers. Just think of the reputational cost of being hacked for a business owner!

That last point does of course bring us on to Legal and Compliance Risks: This is especially relevant in regulated industries such as finance. The purchaser must comply with legal standards and regulations, and failure to do so can result in legal consequences.

Something that often doesn’t get thought about is a potential Social Risk associated with a purchase or call to action. This can be especially true for referrals. Multiple times, I’ve seen instances where people did not go ahead with a purchase because the vendor was a friend of the buyer. Whilst this sounds counter-intuitive, there is the risk that if the sale goes sour, it will become socially awkward which is especially true in a services industry because the relationship occurs over time. Years ago, I’ve seen friendships get strained when someone paid their friend for SEO and their Google rankings actually got worse – it was pretty awkward.

We could on and on about various risks associated with a call to action but I would like to quickly mention about cultural or ethical risks. This can be especially true if a supplier is associated with certain political or idealogical beliefs. For instance, I’ve seen this with certain suppliers where the vendor was based in the Middle-East and the purchaser for the managed services was of a different religious background, causing the sale not to proceed. This type of risk could also include ecological issues or indeed any number of perceived risks for the vendor.

The point I’m trying to raise is that in each case, the perceived risk for the buyer needs to be addressed and very often this is overlooked. It’s all very well just reducing any financial risk by offering a financial money-back guarantee but this doesn’t help if someone gets hacked for example.

Regardless of which, for your guarantee to be effective, it needs to be something you can hang your hat on. As soon as people start seeing weasel-words in the guarantee, it negates all your hard work. Offering a strong guarantee and indeed any other risk-reversal strategies dramatically increases the conversion rate of a sales process. I’d like to remind you about the guarantee that Domino’s Pizza used when they were differentiating themselves (which was acutally their USP) – i.e. their promise was that the buyer would get delicious, hot, fresh pizza delivered to their door within half an hour or it was free … and that tagline made them famous … and rich.

Next time, we’ll look at one of the most powerful effects which will cause the Call to Action to be acted upon, which is establishing Urgency.


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Mike Knight