This is probably one of the MOST IMPORTANT messages in the Effortless Marketing programme!
Do you like reading? I love reading. I devour books. I can’t wait to get immersed in a story or article and let my imagination roam. It’s an escape and, unlike radio or television, it’s a medium in which I control the pace and flow of the experience. I decide how the characters look, how they speak, how they move. For me, becoming immersed in a story is a hypnotic experience. And I have always been fascinated by the ways in which writers capture the imagination and create such compelling reading.
Of course, I doubt I will ever be a bestselling novelist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t master the art of ‘hypnotic writing’ – and so can you.
So what makes something irresistable to read? What are those ‘magic’ words and phrases that get people excited enough to want more – and to act immediately!
Most business manuals will suggest using the AIDA technique – it stands for:
ATTENTION – grab the reader’s attention
INTEREST – raise their interest levels in your product or service
DEMAND – make them ‘want’ your product or service
ACTION – compel them to take action to get it
This is an ideal structure for any kind of business writing, whether simple letter, brochure, website or report. It is the natural way in which people take in information and respond. But it’s just a structure – it doesn’t help with the words themselves!
SIT UP AND LISTEN – THIS IS IMPORTANT
Grabbing the reader’s attention from the very start is vital if you want them to read on. A strong headline must be suggestive without giving away the story. It must be bold, direct and to the point. Keep it simple – just one idea – even of you have many things to say.
For example: ‘Hypnotise Your Customers’ probably had you thinking about devilish ways of seducing your customers with ‘secret’ words and phrases. If I had put ‘How to write better brochures’ would you have felt the same tingle of anticipation? Probably not.
Your headline doesn’t need to mention your product, or company or any benefits – it just has to stand out. Be unusual, be challenging, be inventive, be mysterious. Be DIFFERENT. Look at what I put immediately after my headline. Did that work for you?
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
People read business literature because they want something. It is vital that in your first paragraph or two you reflect this need back to the reader. You must state and confirm their needs BEFORE you offer any kind of solution. This generates the ‘interest’ part of the AIDA model. This can be done in several ways:
- Ask questions – just as I do in my messages. “Have you ever…?”, “Do you need…?”, “Are you ready…?”
- Tells someone else’s story – describe another customer’s situation so the reader thinks ‘yes, I have the same problem.’
- Appeal to the reader’s lifestyle needs – open your piece by focussing on the personal needs of the reader before mentioning your product. “Time is important, and there’s never enough.”, “It’s hard enough running a business without having to worry about…”, “Make life simpler.” These kind of phrases appeal to the reader’s personal needs first and lets them know that you care about them.
This classic list describes most of the emotional reasons why people buy things. Where does your product or service fit in?
To make money.
To save money.
To save time.
To avoid effort.
To get more comfort.
To achieve greater cleanliness.
To attain fuller health.
To escape physical pain.
To gain praise.
To be popular.
To attract the opposite sex.
To conserve possessions.
To increase enjoyment.
To gratify curiosity.
To protect family.
To be in style.
To have or hold beautiful possessions.
To satisfy appetite.
To emulate others.
To avoid trouble.
To avoid criticism.
To be individual.
To protect reputation.
To take advantage of opportunities.
To have safety.
To make work easier.
AN URGENT APPEAL
Now you have ‘set the scene’ you can begin to describe your product or service. Every product is different but there are some common writing elements which should be used to maintain the reader’s interest level.
- State the benefits – you’ve probably heard this many times and yet, almost daily, I read literature which fails to identify the benefits to the customer. It is worth getting into the habit of always asking WHY before you write. You may have the latest, greatest, most effective or most exclusive item in the land, but that will not be enough for your customers to buy it. They need to know why.
- Stress the difference – if you can, highlight the ONE, KEY reason why you are different from all your competitors. Just one, no more. If your reader just happens to compare you with another supplier you want them the remember that ONE reason why they should choose you.
- Create some urgency – if something is going to help people lead better lives or be more successful, then it’s important that they act quickly. Words and phrases which stress the need to act soon will lead the reader into the final part of your piece. Use phrases like “Available now…”, “Don’t wait…”, “The very latest in…”
Having spent time building up the excitement and creating the urgency, your final call to your reader must be to take action. They MUST make some positive, physical move towards your product. Without action, the words will soon be forgotten and the interest gone. “Call now…”, “Visit us today…”, “Respond now…”
If your business is such that an immediate purchase is not possible then create a mechanism which gives the reader some cause to act, such as calling for a sample, visiting a website, registering for advanced information, or making a provisional appointment. By taking action, the customer has confirmed in his or her mind that they WANT your product and they are ready to take the next step towards a purchase.
Words are indeed magical. Not only do they give us information, but they touch us emotionally. Some words do both. These are the kinds of words you should use in all your writing.
TESTIMONIALS – stories from other customers create sympathy and trust. It worked for them so it will work for me.
QUOTATIONS – wise words from others will inspire your reader
TALKING WORDS – most people ‘talk’ in their minds whilst reading. Try reading your piece out loud and see how it sounds. Is it clumsy or difficult to say?
ENTHUSE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT – say what you believe and let your enthusiasm shine through. If it’s AMAZING, say so!
SENSORY STIMULATORS – people do more than just think. They feel, see, touch and taste. Use sensory allusions in your writing to stimulate these feelings. “Feel the difference…” “Do you see how this might…” “Imagine what would happen…” “I have felt this myself…”
MAKE IT PERSONAL – create rapport with your reader by describing your feelings too. And write as if you were talking to one person, using phrases like “I can help you…”, “This is just for you…”, “You will soon be able to…”
THIS YOU MUST DO
Re-read this article and see how I have applied the principles of ‘hypnotic writing’ to this message. Look for the triggers that compelled you to read. See how it is structured to lead you to the conclusion. And ask if it fired your imagination, why?
I could probably write for hours about this fascinating subject. But instead, I suggest that you do! Mastering the art of writing does require practice so make a habit of writing regularly, and reviewing your work a day or two later.