It was only after I had read a few personal development books that I understood that when stripped down to the basics, the process of thinking is really just about asking yourself questions and then making a decision based on the answer your brain turfs back out.
“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.” E. E. Cummings
To illustrate this, lets use an everyday experience of crossing the road where there are several possible questions to ask and answer before you get to the other side…
“Shall I walk down to the crossing or try to cross here?” If you decide to walk down to the crossing, then: ” Shall I press the button on the crossing and or run across when there’s a gap? Shall I wave thanks to the car that stopped or not bother to take my hand out my pocket?”
You are probably not aware of all this internal questioning and turmoiling because the answers seem to pop up out of nowhere. And this is how it is for your reader when you ask them a question. What this means for you is that they are more likely to believe an idea seemingly conjured up by their own brain over a concept presented from the outside.
And this is the important thing – a question generates an answer, not an argument.
Consider these two headlines…
What if there was a way you could convert 25% of your website visitors into customers, how much money would you make?
Your website can convert 25% of your visitors into customers and make you a lot of money.
The second statement makes a claim that a reader may not believe and they can disagree with, but the question in the first headline introduces a possibility for the brain to draw its own conclusions and fire up the imagination. The questioning approach leads your reader towards their own vision of possibility to fit in with their particular circumstances. The chances of a delivered fact marrying one hundred percent with the readers own experience is negligible and so positively invites disagreement.
When you are writing direct response copy, there is no escaping getting intimate with the product, the producer and most definitely the customer. But the right questions can bring focus and organisation to the process.
If you answer just these five simple questions then you can write web copy for almost any product…
1. What is the problem?
Here you are identifying the pain, problem or predicament for your target audience. Your audience may not even realise they have a problem and your role as the copywriter is to ensure they recognise this.
2. Why Hasn’t The Problem Been Solved?
This question forces you to delve into the history of your reader’s predicament to identify supposed solutions which have already been tried and failed.
3. What Is Possible?
This is introducing the possibility thinking for your reader – setting the stage for what life could be like when the problem, pain or predicament is sorted. This is where you paint a picture of the way life will be from now on.
4. What Is Different Now?
Why will your remedy work while others have failed? What is different about your product or service? This is the Unique Selling Point (USP) for your product and your competative advantage.
5. What Should You Do Now?
Tell your reader what they have to do next – Sign Up, Telephone, Register, Buy Now – this is the call to action.
When you’ve dispatched these five questions you have the game plan for your copy. But you only have the touchdown when you answer this…
How Do I Inject Emotion Into My Copy?