If you ever want to be really good at copywriting – in other words, really good at using language to provoke profitable reader response – you need to be able to forge emotional connections with your reader. Understanding the basic emotions that cause people to take action is one thing. Writing to evoke those emotions and subsequent action is another.
Most people do not like hype because it’s an obvious and crude attempt to evoke emotion of one kind or another. People feel as if they’re ‘being sold’ and there’s nothing the average person dislikes more. If your copy is considered to be ‘hyped’, especially in certain markets such as the Canadian and British, you’ll immediately find a resistance. Not only to a particular pitch, but to anything you produce thereafter.
At the same time, dramatization is often necessary to forge the emotional connection necessary for a prospect to become a customer. We think in pictures not words. We relate to stories not facts. Stories, by their very nature are full of dramatization. That’s why we love TV so much and why in ancient times it was the storytellers, the bards and the traveling musicians who were revered.
If you want to tap into your reader’s emotions you need to be perceived as sincere, honest, well-meaning. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to be ‘transparent’.
Being transparent involves letting the reader into your own personal world. What I mean by that is that make the reader privy to your own personal struggles, discoveries, triumphs etc.
For instance. If I were writing copy for pinhole spectacles, I might begin like this:
“The day I realised that even in bright sunlight I could not read the headlines on a magazine on my coffee table, I realised I was about to lose my sight.
As a child I’d been able to read in the lowest light imaginable. I spent years reading novels by flashlight undert the covers at night so that my parents wouldn’t realise I was awake after ‘lights out’. But as I approached my mid-forties, suddenly things were not so clear.
I began with a low level set of reading glasses just to help me during client meetings. A year or so later, I could barely see even wearing them. Then one day I noticed I couldn’t read the headlines on a magazine cover. The magazine had been lying on the coffee table for a few weeks. Last week I could read them!
I felt myself go cold. I was scared. My sight was going and there was nothing I could do about it. How would I manage? How could I bear to live in darkness? My mind span out of control and I felt panic closing in.
The next day I went to a health store with my daughter who wanted some vitamins. While there I saw the oddest pair of glasses I’d ever seen. They looked like ugly sunglasses, except the lens was opaque black plastic perforated with pinholes. The clerk said they were to improve sight. She didn’t know how and wasn’t sure if they worked, but I was intrigued, and desperate to find a cure for my failing eyesight, I tried them on.
They were uncomfortable, but looking at the box I held in my hand, I was stunned. I could see every letter clearly. Tiny writing I would never have been able to see at the best of times, even with glasses on…”
I’ve just given the reader a glimpse into my own experience. By laying bare my own fears and emotions, I’ve shown the reader (who would be someone experiencing problems with their eyesight) that I truly understand their plight because I’ve gone through this myself. I feel their pain and I am uniquely qualified to provide them with a solution.
It’s much more powerful than simply touting a product’s benefits, even if they are amazing.
Relating to others who have the same problems, challenges, interests or needs is the basis of all support groups. People seek others who understand where they’re coming from. When writing sales copy, if you can strike that note by establishing a connection based on transparency, you’ll find your response will improve significantly.