“Copywriting: the art and science of writing copy (words used on web pages, ads, promotional materials, etc.) that sells your product or service and convinces prospective customers to take action.”
Some days ago, I went to a seminar called “The Wealth Strategies Event” with lofty expectations. The topics announced were interesting: strategies for young professionals to invest in the stock and Forex market. The speakers seem successful people, full of expertise and results.
However, the event turned out to be a sales pitch with little educative content, so I took it as a lesson on copywriting. Since I’m in the process of learning this skill, the experience was interesting.
On this post, let’s have a look at the pitch from two different angles: as a potential buyer and as a marketer. The communication was oral instead of written, so technically it was not copywriting, but they were still using words to sell, so all the copywriting principles were applied.
CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS
The speakers started with personal, emotional stories touching core feelings and values, directly targeting the type of people in the room: young adults desiring financial freedom.
Speaker 1: A young speaker told us his personal story. Some years ago, his mum got diagnosed with cancer. He was a musician back then and his job was going on tours across the country all the time. As this was the only income in the family, he could never stop working for being with his mum. After this episode, he changed his life by learning alternative ways to make money. He started to invest and focus on building passive income. Today he is free.
Speaker 2: The second speaker, a similar story. He was once an entrepreneur consumed by his business 24 hours, 7 days a week. He had no time for family. Her wife was always sad and lonely. At some point, he started to face health issues because of stress, until he learned to create automated business systems to generate passive income.
Speaker 3: Then the last guy also told us his story. He got fired when he needed a week off on his son’s birth. With no additional source of income, the family went through tough times. They spent most of their savings and then he decided to invest in education to learn to create business systems. Today he is financially free thanks to passive income.
All the stories were intentionally emotional and well told, so much so that I don’t remember what these guys’ investments were. The emotional connection to the idea of not having freedom in our lives, not even to be there for our beloved ones, got me so immersed that they didn’t need to mention their actual investments. Or maybe they did mention them, but my brain didn´t retain that “insignificant detail”.
Copywriting in action:
- Tapping into emotions. We are more controlled by our emotions than we think. Suffering in our family is a powerful concept that resonates with everybody. If you’re selling the need for passive income, the idea of reducing suffering in the family is way more effective than the idea of buying a nice car or travelling the world.
- Each group of customers has different hopes, fears, dreams, and expectations. Speakers reflected different profiles in their stories: a musician (non-conventional job), an entrepreneur (his own boss), a regular employee (9 to 5). All of them with the same problem. Everyone in the room related to some story.
- Creating a common enemy that your product or service can help to beat. The speakers once had an enemy, the same one we were struggling with now: being dependent on work to live. They won the battle, we can too!
DETAILING AND ACCENTUATING PEOPLE’S PROBLEM
At this point, they explicit summarized the bottom line of the first part. The general idea was that if we’re always working, then we can’t dedicate enough time to the important things in life. We’ll have pain and sadness in our lives and our family will also suffer because of this.
The antidote: passive income.
Then Speaker 3 went on explaining the quirks and complexities of the Stock and Forex markets, which are popular but difficult avenues to build passive income. He alluded to how emotions betray us when it comes to make money in these markets. He illustrated how hard the process can be by detailing scenarios where people lose money. Some people in the room had already been in some of these scenarios; they were assenting as the speaker explained.
Copywriting in action:
- Focus on pain or pleasure. People generally buy for one of two reasons — to increase their pleasure or to minimize pain. The speaker here was focusing not only on the pain we’ll have without passive income sources, but also on the pain of building this sources by our own.
- Hacking people’s trust by describing their problem in detail: if somebody can perfectly describe our problem, we automatically credit that person as a valid solution provider. As they pictured our feelings and real scenarios that we were living, we gave them authority. This is a natural human mechanism, the same that fortune tellers use to gain our trust.
OPENING A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY IN PEOPLE’S MINDS
After igniting people’s emotions, describing our common enemy and gaining authority, the audience was ready for THE QUESTION:
“What if all of you can start generating passive income today, automatically, without all the complexities?”
A powerful question that went directly to our exposed emotional brain, bypassing the rational engine.
Copywriting in action:
- Speaking to the inner voice in human head, to the subconscious person that plays the most part in decision making. Even if you know you’re being sold as part of a planned script, you still feel a great impulse and desire when presented with a well sold, big opportunity. “I want that!” – says your inner voice. This is powerful because the desire comes from deep inside you.
PRESENTING THE PRODUCT: ANTIDOTE FOR OUR BIG PROBLEM.
The salesman grabbed a box, pulled out a laptop, turned it on, and there it was on the screen…
They were selling a software that automatically trades in the FOREX market, generating passive income for us, every day, in auto-pilot. This was the real purpose of the event.
From this point on we had the things we all know in a sales pitch:
- Nice features to solve all the difficulties they pointed out when describing the problem.
- Sense of urgency: they had only a limited number of units at the current price (30,000 USD). Later this price was going up to an insane number.
- Testimonials. They presented about ten people that were already using the software with impressive results.
- Payment plans, easy setup, customer support.
FINALLY, THE CALL TO ACTION
After reinforcing again what this software could do for us – generating passive income with no pain, building freedom in auto-pilot, doing nothing ourselves except for this smart investment-, they proceeded to the call to action.
“Now please join us in the tables at the back of the room to show you this fantastic tool in action. There, you can talk and sign immediately with one our agents to lock your unit at this limited-time price.”
The agents turned out to be beautiful, sexy women that could easily make you forget about the fortune you were paying out. On the tables, they had contract forms ready to be filled up.
I’m not sure if somebody signed. I didn’t get to see anybody doing it while I was there. In any case, that was only the first attempt to convert sales. Now they keep working on it with follow-up emails.
SOME WORDS ON COPYWRITING FROM AN APPRENTICE
I’m an apprentice, just starting to enter this world, but it’s beautiful when we can recognize and apply new knowledge in real life. I’m seeing these techniques everywhere now: ads, commercials, promotional emails. It’s cool to be aware of this powerful connection that copywriting establishes between products and emotions.
Copywriting is both art and science. Marketers might sometimes be deceitful or annoying, but they are also admirable. It’s fascinating the way they get our attention, lead us through their arguments, ignite our emotions and convert us in sales.
Copywriting is an important skill to have if we operate on the right side of the Cashflow Quadrant. As business owners, we’ll need to sell something and to persuade people to follow our brand.
Humans are emotional creatures. We like to think we are rational and logical, but our actions are mostly driven by emotions. Good copywriters know and use this fact for selling.
Next time you open a salesy email or you see some ad or you listen to a salesman, put on your copywriter hat and have some fun unravelling his script. In the meanwhile, you can practice with this ad that I saw today near home. What emotions is this ad targeting? Who do you think will be more sensitive to this message?
RESOURCES ON COPYWRITING
- Internet Jetset course, Copywriting module. This is a paid course that teaches you how to set up your own affiliate marketing business. It has a module on Copywriting by guest instructor Ronnie Sandlin, who is a super affiliate highly specialized in this skill. The module covers the basics but it’s a good starting point. Check my review and the course’s fact page to know more.
- Copywriting: The #1 Skill that Guarantees I’ll Never Be Poor, by Anik Singal. Excellent article on Anik’s blog. His exact copywriting formula clearly explained.
- The definitive guide to copywriting, by Neil Patel. This is a free online guide that covers the most important aspects with actionable cheat sheets. Another good starting point.
- CopyBlogger.com. Great posts on the topic of copywriting.