MSP Copywriting – Part 9

As a quick recap last time, we looked at several ways for increasing the desirability of your sales copy, such as controversy, the 8 main emotions to leverage, and presuppositions. Presuppositions are pretty similar to linguistic binds.

Linguistic binds are another covert and sneaky way of getting your point across and accepted ‘under the radar’. They’re similar to presuppositions, although my understanding is that they’re more geared towards highlighting the first part of the sentence around something which your prospect is already doing, such as using a phone or holding a laptop or something where they’re physically involved.

Once again, the trick is to set something up in the first part of a sentence which is clearly true and then introduce an idea in the second part of the sentence which will more likely then be accepted as true. For example : “As you’re staring at the screen of your laptop, you’ll appreciate how important investing in a quality display is for your long-term eyesight”.

Again, the undeniable logic and truth of the first part of the sentence (i.e. looking at the screen) then conveys a sense of validity to the second part of the sentence, such as the importance of investing in superior laptops with high quality screens.

Now, we’ll continue with some more diabolical devices you can use to help you sell more managed services!

You Before I Makes More People Buy”
I’ll start off by talking about the power of  “You”. Generally speaking, the reader cares about themselves significantly more than the writer. So write in terms of them.

 In much the same way that successful conversationalists are the ones that listen properly and limit talking about themselves, successful (sales) copy should be about the prospect. Using “I” conveys that the copy was written by a person and is therefore personal. Using “you” forces the reader to take notice.  “You” and “I” are more powerful than “we” and “us”. Strictly limit going on about “our products”, ”the company’s” reputation/history/staff etc as it is indulgent.

Try and remember to always use “you” when you are telling readers about your benefits. Remember to use radio station WII-FM i.e. “What’s In It For Me”. When you come to revise your copy, try and take out all instances of “I” and replace it with “you”. If you like, you can remember this rule as “You before I, makes more people buy”.

Here’s a quick example. Most people might write an email with something like “Dear Mr Smith, I’m writing to you to let you know that there’s a new antivirus which we offer for an introductory price.”
This could be changed to something like “Dear Mr Smith, You’re receiving this email because you may be interested to know that there’s a new antivirus available which you’re entitled to have for an introductory price.” That example needs some work but it certainly doesn’t contain any “I’s”.

Feature Fascinating Facts.

You may already have heard  the famous (and exceptionally successful) advert that the advertising legend David Olgivy wrote for Rolls-Royce. The headline was:  “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.” That headline didn’t happen by magic, it took work and research. David went right through the technical manual to come up with this one.

Whatever your product, service or practice, there will be something that has journalistic value and can be presented in an interesting way. This really is the key to making your sales and sales-copy interesting and once again, it’s why stories are so powerful.

Didn’t You Know – The Brain Can’t Process a Negative?

As an example of using interesting facts, here’s a good one for you. There appears to be some controversy about this and frankly I don’t know who’s right or wrong but according to some sources, the human mind can’t process a negative. That concept has huge ramifications in not only your sales and sales copy but in all of your communications as well. Obviously, the concept of negation must exist otherwise you can’t function. However, once you have put an idea onto someone’s head, they have to have some kind of mental model of that idea in order to process the information, whether it’s either positive or negative.

For example, if I say “Don’t think of a yellow banana”, you must think of a banana, albeit briefly, to negate it. Similarly, imagine  saying something like “This new mobile-phone can get a signal anywhere because it has an extra powerful transmitter which studies have shown has negligible instances  of causing cancer”. Obviously, that’s a rather extreme example to prove a point which is that your brain focuses on the word “cancer” and not much else.

If you had to say something, it’d be far better to say something like “This new mobile-phone can get a signal anywhere because it has an extra powerful transmitter. Studies have shown that using even the most powerful phone for 12 hours is far safer than standing outside in daylight for ten minutes”. I’ve just made that up so please don’t quote me on it. However, in this example, you’re framing the exposure in terms of safety rather than in terms of risk.

Another example might include saying that a website hosting has “99.5% uptime” rather than saying it only has a 0.5% downtime. Same numbers, very different perspective.

My take on this is that for the call to action, rather than saying something like “Don’t Delay”, you should say “Act Now”. Rather than saying “You Won’t Regret This Decision”, try saying “You’ll be Glad You Made This Decision”

As an aside, whenever you say a sentence with the word “But” in the middle of it, you negate the first part of the sentence. For example, saying “This laptop is excellent but it is rather expensive” means that the benefits of the first part of the sentence are negated. Similarly, if someone says to you something along the lines of “I think your company is great but …”, you’ll only listen to the bit after the “But” … !

Use the word “And” instead, it’s far more constructive.

Embedded Commands.

If you’ve ever seen hypnotists like Derren Brown in action then you’ll be taking this seriously. As an aside, Joe Vitale has a book that you might want to read about hypnotic copywriting.

 Essentially, the trick is to suggest something i.e. a ‘command’ and then embed the command within a sentence in such a way that it sneaks past the critical thinking radar.

For example, take the sentence “I wouldn’t tell you to buy this particular laptop, that’s your decision.” The command here is “buy this laptop, that’s your decision.”  When spoken, the embedded command needs to be spoken in a different tonality (or speed i.e. slower) to emphasise it. In text, it needs to be emphasized in another way, perhaps highlighting or using underlining or italics.  Clearly, all this needs to be done carefully so as not to give the game away.

Making People Move Increases Memory & Compliance

Further to embedded commands, in general when it comes to sales and copywriting and influence in general, you’re trying to build compliance. If you can get your subject or your audience into a compliant state, they’ll be more likely to do what you want them to do, such as buying from you.

In a personal meeting, you could ask someone to write something down, or make a notes. Ideally, asking someone to hold something (i.e. the item you want them to buy) is a great way of gaining compliance and also involving them in the product, which has more psychological impact than you might think.

This can explain why, when you’re sat in a seminar hall and the speaker asks you to stand up and breathe deeply to get oxygen or shake yourself to unstiffen muscles, you’re actually complying. There are other factors occur here too such as simply staying awake, changing mood/state etc although I digress.

In your sales copy, gaining compliance by movement could be something like asking your prospect to close their eyes and listen to the sound of their laptop or click on something to reveal some kind of information.

This last instance is a part of creating engagement devices and I’ll be exploring a lot more of that in another episode.


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Mike Knight