Hello and welcome to Copy Tuesday!
Today’s topic is the most controversial topic I’ll be sharing and going deep on at my workshop next month. And for those of you who are new to my emails, the registrations are now closed and you’ve missed out on attending live (which is how truly transformative experiences happen) though it will be recorded. More on that after the workshop.
For today’s issue were going to dive into the dark side of persuasion.
This topic makes a lot of copywriters squeamish — especially those who are new to copywriting and selling.
And I understand why.
After all, in most Western culture we’re raised to focus on the good, the just, the light.
And we’re encouraged to run away from anything that’s dark or negative. We get uncomfortable when we talk about sex, money, or politics — even when talking about differing religious views.
But here’s a little secret about the dark side of human nature…
Just because you run away from it, hide from it, or ignore it doesn’t mean it goes away.
In fact, if you repress things like anger, resentment, shame, and spite, it’s like a pressure cooker. They keep building pressure and building pressure until you explode.
I think this is why some of the darkest atrocities in human history have been committed in the name of religion. And I’m not picking on any religion in particular — any religion that’s been around long enough seems to go through some really dark days.
Religions often focus so exclusively on the light that the darkness is allowed to build up uncontrolled in the background until it takes over (if only for fleeting moments).
Not every religious person will have this experience, but it’s common and there’s a reason why.
In Jungian psychology, this is called the “Shadow.”
Incidentally, you may be familiar with the old-time radio program called “The Shadow.”
The tag line for the show… “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! Mwa ha ha ha ha!”
If you’re not familiar, think of Batman but with the power to be invisible instead of a costume, cape, and gadgets. Wealthy young man about town by day, secret crime fighter by night. And nobody knew they were the same person. In fact, I saw a documentary about comics and culture recently that explained how Batman was actually created using The Shadow as an archetype.
The psychological Shadow is the dark side of human nature. Both conscious and unconscious. It’s our anger and pain, feelings of oppression, fear, and insecurity. Everything that gets your blood boiling and leaves you feeling hot under the collar. As well as everything that makes you feel cold and lifeless, small, weak, and afraid. It’s the emptiness of the darkness and the monsters that lurk there.
It’s a core part of our shared human experience.
And it’s the most powerful motivating force in existence when it comes time to persuade someone to do something.
You may have heard the saying that “you can’t sell prevention…”
People don’t tend to act to avoid future pain and agony. That’s why it’s so hard to get preventative products to sell.
However, there are countless very real pains and reasons for suffering that everybody is feeling every day.
It could be money worries. Health problems. Fights with their lover. An inability to get a lover. Personal insecurities. Struggles at work or with their boss.
And they’re always imagining… “If only…”
“If only I could make an extra $1,000 every month…”
“If only I could stop having to worry so much about every little thing I eat…”
“If only for one day I could feel like we’re stopping the march toward divorce…”
“If only I could talk to her, she’d see what a good guy I am…”
“If only my boss would just pay attention to all the good things I’m doing everyday…”
“If only I hadn’t made that one stupid decision…”
These are very real pains.
The type of things that gnaw at you day and night.
And the type of things that can generate marketing response WHEN YOU HAVE A SOLUTION…
Your role then as the marketer and copywriter is to dig into these feelings and bring them up.
Use stories, images, and sometimes straight talk to bring the emotions to the forefront.
And don’t be afraid of digging deep.
Don’t be afraid of creating too much drama.
It’s likely that the moment you think you’ve created too much drama, you’re just now starting to create enough.
Show the problem and the pain, and then pour a little salt in the wound.
Show them their own Shadow.
And once that is crystal clear, then you can bring it back around to the solution.
That’s when you make your offer.
“Those dark emotions that you’re feeling right now… I have your solution.”
If you feel like your copy just isn’t hitting hard enough… If it isn’t generating enough sales…
It’s likely that you’re trying to avoid, hide, or run away from these negative emotions.
Spend some time taking them head on.
Try it with your next big project — IF appropriate, if you can make it work.
I’ll bet the response blows you away.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets