MSP Copywriting – Part 7
As a quick recap, we were addressing the interest and desire parts of the ‘AIDA’ model last time and we’ll continue in this session and likely another one or two more sessions as well because there’s just so many helpful ideas you can use and I want to make sure I at least cover most of them off so you can store them in your sales and copywriting toolbox.
Making The Unfamiliar, Familiar.
In fact, the word toolbox that I just used is quite appropriate here because it conveys a useful meaning. The next time you have a sales meeting or write some copy about your managed services, you won’t literally be taking a physical box full of tools. It’s a metephor of course and what it serves to do is to take one concept and explain it with another, for the point of clarity.
In a similar vein, if you are selling a product or service that is new or has a degree of complexity which might take a while to comprehend (such as is often the case with IT), you’ll need to identify ways to draw similarities with well-established (and well trusted) concepts that your prospect will not only be familiar with but hopefully have an emotional association with too that lines up with what you’re trying to convey.
For example, let’s take the concept of “network security” which can be quite complex to people who know nothing about it.
A prospect could be asked to imagine their company’s network as a medieval castle. The castle houses precious treasures (their company data) that must be protected from thieves and invaders (hackers, viruses, malware).
You can extend the analogy with thick, strong castle walls to represent ‘firewalls’. In fact the word ‘firewall’ itself is an example of this. The moat could be another layer of defence, representing the anti-virus software: The water (i.e. software) is routinely checked to ensure it’s free of anything that could help invaders (i.e. regular updates and scans).
Of course, you can extend the concept to the drawbridge, the guards, the inner-keep and so forth. The point being is that most people have a strong mental image of the idea of a mediaeval castle and can get a sense for the security and these concepts convey strength and resilience. This is all part of ‘Easy-Going Language’ which is something we briefly covered in the sales framework we reviewed earlier.
As a quick caveat however, it’s important to match the complexity of the language and concepts you use to your audience, otherwise you could lose them. Obviously, if you’re selling services to engineers, then you’d probably be best advised to speak their language – although don’t assume anything – often people are secretly glad of being spoon fed stuff – that’s why the book series called “For Dummies” is so successful, such as “Networking … for Dummies”.
Tell a Story To Your Bring Copy Alive.
Stories are magic. They’re just begging to be told and for people listen to them. Stories get messages across under people’s critical ‘radar’ and people truly listen to them. When you tell stories and tell them well, people really want to know what happens next.
Where possible, bring the story to life by being in the story with your copy.
“ ‘Slam!’ The printer’s door was slammed shut for the tenth time after the boss had checked it yet again but it still cried out that there was paper jammed in it somewhere“. Lucy, the head of HR suggested asking her priest to exorcise the thing in case it was possessed by demons, yet nobody laughed, they were all just bored of it all by now.“
This is arguably more compelling than writing in the first person :
“The printer failed again and the boss the boss was frustrated”
Now, talking about printers and photocopiers and whatnot as we are, this reminds me of a social-experiment and it’s definitely worth knowing about because it can make your selling and copywriting and influence in general a whole lot more effective … with just one word.
A renowned psychologist called Ellen Langer conducted a classic study in the 1970s that revealed intriguing insights about human behaviour and the power of persuasive language, particularly focusing on the word “because.”
In the experiment, test-subjects were asked to cut in line at the queue for a busy office photocopy machine. They were tasked with using various phrasings to try and cut in line with. The first request was, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” This direct approach, without an explicit reason, resulted in 60% of people allowing the subject to cut in line.
The second request was, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” Here, by providing a reason for the urgency, compliance soared to 94%, indicating people were highly responsive to a reasoned request.
The final, most compelling part of the study involved the request, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” Despite the reason being completely unnecessary and obviously unecessary, 93% of the people in the queue still complied and let them cut in line. Think about that! Everyone had to make copies so saying “Because I have to make some copies” was completely redundant … yet it still worked like magic !
What this experiment showed was the astonishingly, people’s compliance remained high because of the mere presence of “because,” suggesting an automatic cognitive bias towards justifications.
So, in a nutshell, when you want to justify something, use the word because in your copywriting and sales. Why? Because it works!
Now, that last story illustrated how certain words can gain compliance in your prospects, even without logical reasons. But that’s not to say you should leave logical reasons out. In fact not only should you include all the reasons they should buy the thing that you’re looking to sell but you should include all the necessary details as well. Don’t be lazy. Tell your prospects specifically what they will get. Leave no stone unturned. You wouldn’t expect a salesperson to only tell half a story would you, so don’t skimp on your sales copy.
Go into intricate detail because some of your audience will only make their decision after they’ve got all the facts. That’s said, remember to offer the ‘two-path route’ we discussed earlier, so that people can skip through if the level of detail isn’t of interest to them and they’re more interested in the general overview.
If you want to understand what I mean, just listen to a trainspotter talking in excruciating detail about trains. Remember, less details fails sales.
Repetition & Saying Things More Than Once.
If you’re short on details, there’s no rule that states you can only say something once. In fact, repetition is often the key to making the sale . This is true of exposing your prospects to your message in the first place with adverts. It’s also true of delivering your main point within your message.
Very often if you use long copy, it’s wise to repeat the main benefits near the main call to action at the end. However, you can re-state the main benefit(s) several times over within your copy (especially long copy) in different ways, using different words and possibly triggering different emotions if appropriate.
If your message spans different web pages (e.g. if you’re selling online have a separate order page) there’s nothing stopping you repeating your main benefits on different pages – especially near the checkout.
Of course, you may or may not agree with what I’m saying and that’s not necessarily a bad thing and next time we’ll be looking at controversy.
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