Three Ways to Get What You Want—by Giving People What They Want....
I call it "finding the customer's pain." Find it, and you're half way to making the sale (or getting the donation or....).
Successful marketing hinges on connecting your product, service or cause to one of a dozen or so innate human pain points (optimists would call these desires).
When that's done — when you’ve convinced people that you can satisfy their longings (the deeper, the better) — then people will not only fall in love with, and buy, your products, they will become unstoppable evangelists as well.
So how do we go about finding the pain points?
1. CHOOSE THE MOST POWERFUL DESIRE
Every mass desire has three components: Degree of Urgency, Duration and Scope.
- Urgency: Selling the fact that your new automotive headlight cleaner will make our car look new again may stroke some egos, but does not address the deepest pain. Selling headlight restoration as a way to prevent disaster because of our inability to see far enough ahead in the road to prevent hitting something - or someone - strikes us at a much deeper level, and will make many more of us become customers. The greater the degree of urgency, intensity or demand you can channel into your product, the stronger the desire will be to obtain it.
- Duration: Once your customer restores his headlights, he really has no need for your product again - though he might become an evangelist for it. However, changing our car's oil is an ongoing need. And as our car's get older, the need for higher quality oil, or oil with special additives in it, becomes more important (or so the oil products manufacturers tell us). Do we want to risk destroying a $4,000 engine because we didn't want to pay $30 for an oil change? Being able to offer a product or service that has an ongoing ability to ease our pain will increase your success rate. Sometimes, it's finding different use cases for the same product that will help you meet this criteria (think Arm & Hammer baking soda).
- Scope: How many people share this pain? More is not always better. It depends on what you're selling. A major donor may be all you need to help a cause succeed. A niche product doesn't need the entire population to want it. Know what you're selling and know how much you need to sell to be profitable. Then go after that market - not the entire universe of consumers.
Whatever you're selling should appeal to each of these components. But only one should dominate. Only one can become your "headline" - whether an actual ad, an initial meeting, a first impression at an event or trade show - you get the picture. Only one can unlock the full profit potential of your promotion.
Which desire you choose is the most important step. Get it wrong, and even the greatest copy won’t matter. Get it right, however, and the world will beat a path to your door.
2. SATISFY THAT DESIRE IN YOUR "HEADLINE"
Your "headline" is the catalyst that pushes your customer to your product. If you're fortunate enough to have a well-known brand, your headline should just cut to the chase. No need to waste precious time pumping up your brand. Let us know what you're offering that will change our lives. But a powerful brand is not what most of us have.
If your customer doesn’t know about your specific product, but only of the pain itself, your "headline" should be about the pain. Your prospect already knows the pain is something that needs to be eliminated - they just don't know how to do it. Your "headline" shows them you can provide the solution.
Finally, if your customer doesn’t even know the pain is there, your "headline" should identify the pain above all else. Once your prospect is convinced the pain is real, you can then lead them to your solution.
3. SHOW HOW YOUR PRODUCT ELIMINATES THE PAIN
Once you’ve determined the strongest desire, your next step is to figure out which product performance best satisfies that desire. Remember, people don't buy products or services - they buy solutions to their pain. Advertising 101 speaks of "Features and Benefits." But a Feature means nothing if no Benefit is attached to it. Features help differentiate you from your competition, but they don't bring the customer into the store in the first place. Never start with Features. Let your prospect fully comprehend their own pain, show them how your product or service can eliminate that pain. Then, if there are other solutions available, pull up your Feature set to show how you stand up next to your competitors.
If you begin with the premise that you are not selling a product or a service, but a solution to a prospect's pain, your "headlines" and your followup copy will become more powerful and more efficient.
Now, get out there and provide some pain relief!