MSP Copywriting – Part 17

MSP Copywriting - Part 17

Recap from Last Time

Last time we finished looking at the AIDA part of the URGENT-AIDA model.
We looked at providing guarantees and social proof to increase the conversion rate of the call to action.

On the basis that repetition is the workhorse of marketing and training, let’s remind ourselves of those letters again in URGENT AIDA.

Urgency, Reciprocity, Guarantees, Easy-Going, Negatives, Testimonials and then AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

We’ve looked at R – Reciprocity – i.e. giving value up-front so that our prospects feel like returning the favour, hopefully by trying or buying our services. Guarantees were covered last time.
E – Easy-Going Language – is all about using the right style, pace and wording that will resonate with your target market.

N – Negatives. This means ensuring that you either directly or indirectly cover all the potential negative issues around your product or service so that your prospect isn’t left wondering about them. This is all part of ‘objection handling’ – you have to meet this head-on and not hide from it, so make sure you can counter all the negatives and reframe them in whichever way is most appropriate.

T – was for Testimonials. This includes providing all the necessary social proof from buyers, suppliers and peers to show that the product your prospects are buying is good and you also need to show that your company as a whole is credible.

AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire and Action – this is the natural flow of the sales letter where everything leads up to the call to action at the bottom and now we need to create a reason why people need to act sooner rather than later because delay and hesitation usually kill sales. This brings us on to Urgency.

There’s a whole world of psychological reasons about why we’re hardwired to respond to something that is scarce. Scarcity of something is what underpins our entire monetary and value system if you think about it. For example, gold only really has a high (relative) value because it’s much more scarce than say copper or iron – not necessarily because it’s significantly more useful.

If you’re trying to get home from a foreign country and there’s an issue like an airline strike then all of a sudden any available alternative tickets that can get people home immediately become much more expensive! All of this scarcity and value hinges on the principle of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Multiple studies in both the academic world and business world have shown that FOMO can dramatically increase perceived value and action taken. The increases are not trivial either, some of the studies reported uplifts in the order of 3 or 4 times more of the number of signups or sales than the control version.

However, a word of caution – I personally dislike the over-usage of scarcity and I’m not alone. Both commercial and academic evidence demonstrate that obviously manufactured scarcity can actually harm trust in your brand, so it needs to be used with caution.

In general, there are two types of scarcity – time scarcity and product scarcity. As the name suggests, time scarcity is effective when you’re running an offer which expires shortly past a deadline. An obviously contrived way to do this can be seen when you visit a landing page with an offer saying the offer will expire in 2 hours (or somesuch). When the deadline is obviously arbitrary (i.e. the vendor has put the deadline there just for the sake of it), I find I become annoyed and less inclined to trust or buy from that person.

However, if there is a legitimate time constraint (perhaps they’re closing down a shop or a key date in the Calendar is approaching), then clearly it has value. There’s no point in selling tickets to a football match after the game has been played for example, in this case, the time deadline is real. For MSPs – this could mean using an event of some kind, which is yet another reason I personally like events within marketing so much.

Secondly – there is product scarcity. Again, for a football match, there are only so many tickets available, which the ticket-touts make full use of! For an MSP, you may only have so many licences available for a certain price. Or so many particular laptops in stock, or so many seats available at an event that’s coming up.

As an aside, urgency not only works on the sales copy and landing pages and so on but it also works very well on any adverts to get people to the sales letter or landing pages too. I saw one study by Marcus Taylor that showed his click-through rate went from 0.77% to 3.94% (which is over 5 times the conversion rate) just by adding the word “Today” in his advert’s headline.

Also, studies have shown that using certain urgency colours on your landing page can also increase conversions. They have been cited as red, orange and royal blue.

Adding counters and ticking clocks and similar devices to your landing pages can help – I’ve certainly noticed increased conversions whenever I’ve used Eventbrite for marketing events because they show the number of remaining tickets.

Given that our brains receive 90% of their information visually, using visual elements to create a sense of urgency is highly effective and it’s worth mentioning that visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times quicker than text, making them a powerful tool for prompting immediate action. Again, you’ll need to determine for yourself what might be a boost or an annoyance for your prospects. There’s a great book you can read about some of this called “Oversubscribed” – by Daniel Priestly – it’s well worth a read.

Lastly, on this subject of urgency, it’s important that there are clear instructions on what to do next. There’s a famous study where Howard Leventhal (a prominent psychologist known for his work in health psychology) conducted some research about communication around Tetanus in the 1960’s. In short, he disseminated two types of pamphlets about the dangers of tetanus. One set of pamphlets highlighted the risks of the disease whilst the other pamphlet highlighted the same information but also included instructions about where to get vaccinated – including a map with a red circle on it around the medical centre.

The result was that providing students with a map highlighting the health-centre and inquiring about a convenient time for students to visit it resulted in an increase in tetanus vaccination rates among students from 3.3% to 27.6% i.e. more than eightfold the vaccination uptake rate.
In short – keep your call to action very simple to implement and explain everything fully.

For one last tip (this doesn’t really sit neatly anywhere else in this series really), Kwan, Dai, and Wyer (2017) found in seven studies that messages were less convincing when presented with surrounding empty space. This suggests that it’s important to remove any unnecessary white-space around your main points and offers.

Well, I hope you find this URGENT AIDA mnemonic a useful framework and I’d recommend revising this entire 17-part series into Copywriting for MSPs, ideally at least a couple of times to really take on board what we’ve covered because the concepts outlined here often transcend all forms of marketing.

This concludes this section and our review of the URGENT AIDA model concludes our work – for the moment at least – on Copywriting for MSPs.


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Mike Knight