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SEO Copywriting in 2020

David Garfinkel's Copywriters Podcast 187

David Garfinkel is not only one of the best professional copywriters I've ever had the pleasure and honor of working with, but also he is known as the world's top copywriting coach. And for good reason.

Not many people, including copywriters, can distill the craft of writing persuasively into easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement concepts.

But David can.

I've known David for close to 20 years. We've shared the stage together, delivered seminars together, and even created products together.

And in the last few years, David has been hosting a podcast called the Copywriters Podcast. It's a must-listen if you're into copywriting or just want to learn how to be more compelling in your communications.

On his Copywriter's Podcast Episode 187, David had me on as his guest. We talked about SEO copywriting, how it's changed, and how it's just as important for conversion as it is for driving traffic.

Thanks, David, for the opportunity.

Transcript

David Garfinkel 0:10
Okay, so today I'm pleased to have an old friend on the show, friend who has branched out beyond direct response copywriting. In the early 2000s, Michel Fortin, also known as Michel Fortin was a living legend. And I mean that.

He wrote the first online sales letter that brought in over $1 million in one day for Traffic Secrets, I think it was. And I am forever grateful on a different note to Michael for being my presentation partner in my famous 2005 las vegas breakthrough copywriting seminar.

And both of us also took the stage a few years later at Harvey Becker's marketing event, which I think was called the greatest marketing seminar in the world, which I feel every seminar should be called just by virtue of the fact. You know, it's marketing.

And we sold somewhere in the nature of $100,000 worth of products from the stage during our presentation. After that, a number of things happened, and not all of them good for Michael, but he took his career in a different direction. today.

He's an expert and a certified expert in SEO copywriting, which means optimizing your copy for the search engines.

And you have to understand that regardless of what you think of SEO, copywriting, everything Michael is going to tell you today about SEO copywriting can make you a lot of money, if you act on and listen to what he says.

Now, I want to tell you something now, that's not gonna make you any money, but it could save you a lot of money, and time and even your personal freedom. And that is this copy is powerful, you're responsible for how you use what you hear on this podcast.

Most of the time, common sense is all you need. But if you make extreme claims, and or if you're writing copy for offers, in highly regulated industries, like health and finance and business opportunity, you may want to get a legal review after you write.

And before you start using your copy my larger clients do this all the time. Okay, let's get started with the good stuff. Michael, welcome. And thanks for doing this really good.

Michel Fortin 2:33
Thanks, David. It's It's an honor and and not only because we are we known each other for a long time, but I also listened to your podcast quite religiously. So it's a it's always a staple in the copywriting community, right?

David Garfinkel 2:46
Yeah. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. So let's, let's talk about your I don't know your trials of job, whatever you want to 15 or 20 years ago, you were a renowned direct response copywriters, I said, highly revered partner of mine, to presentations, which I mentioned in the intro, and you still are in my mind.

But let's fast forward to 2020. Today, over the past decade, fate took your career in a different direction. Could you tell us about that?

Michel Fortin 3:22
Sure. I trying to squeeze a long story into a very small amount of time as I possibly can. So I had a very turbulent turn of the last decade where I lost my mother, my father, my sister, my only sister, and of course my wife, who I owned up, and it will thank you.

And the thing is, we were together in business, we were speaking at seminars, we were selling courses, and I was doing copy. But after all of that happen, I just didn't feel I had the headspace or the motivation to stay in business.

So what I did is I took a job as a well, first of all, there's no such thing as a right, you know, Director of copywriting at a marketing agency digital mortgage, they were actually a Google premier partner agency. They primarily did SEO. And they hired me as their Director of Communications.

So I did everything from marketing, marketing communications to display ads to SEO and fast forward to now so basically what happened was, while I was there, I just discovered that I am chronically unemployable.

I've been a freelancer all my life so and when your side hustle where see the thing is I always kept clients clients kept hiring me for copy. And when that income kind of surpasses your full time income, I decided, you know what, I'm just gonna go back into business and I was always better by then.

And it was this is furious later. got remarried. And and this is where I'm at. And just to put everything in perspective, the fact that I knew about marketing and copywriting, whether it's for SEO, whether it's for ads, whether it's for brochures or direct mail, it's a, it's a very portable skill no matter where you go.

And so I was able to pivot my career easily because of that one skill. So there you have it.

David Garfinkel 5:25
Wow, that that's, that's quite a story. I mean, I don't know if I know anyone else personally, who's lost that many people in a period of time, but you seem like you're on your feet, and my heart goes out to you. I'm glad you're doing well now or better anyway.

So let's talk about SEO copywriting. What is it? What is it these days? And how does it work?

Michel Fortin 5:53
It's not like it used to be keep in mind that Google has gone through an amazing transformation in the last just the last five years. Since 2016 2017, new algorithms came about that change the way they look at websites, they look at copy or content, and they rank them.

As you know, Google has an artificial intelligence you know, I hate to call it AI because it's it's no we're talking Skynet.

David Garfinkel 6:28
You might be might come in and change.

Michel Fortin 6:32
But but they're, but their AI is actually called rankbrain. And what happens is, they look no longer at keywords, keywords is no longer the thing like it used to be. We, you know, we used to stuff, our content, and even some sometimes in the code or in the back end, with all these keywords.

It's no longer about that anymore. Now, it's about good quality content. And of course, you can write copy content that helps to get people to change their minds to buy into an idea or, of course, to buy a product or service. And as long as you serve your customer, which is really what Google is all about.

Now, it's we know you as a client, you as a website owner, or business owner, and Google share the same client, it's the user.

So they want to provide a great search experience to their user, you want to create a great search environment and learning environment for your client, your user, your client, and of course, a search a buying experience.

So SEO kind of sort of blends into two other aspects called CRM, conversion rate optimization, and UX, which is user experience optimization. Now, Google is kind of giving you brownie points, not just for having good content.

But by having a great experience. Having a website that's responsive, that's mobile, that is also what we call Voice Search enabled.

So when you know people nowadays, we use our phones to to ask Google or Siri or Alexa to do searches for us.

And, and to, to also create a great engagement with the user, the more engaged the user is on your website, which is why copy is so important, the more Google will actually rank you higher, because it says, Wow, people we sent it, we're sending people to the search result, this website.

And apparently it's a great result for the people, they're actually looking for that result, they're staying there, they're not bouncing back. And so you're going to get better rankings that way. So that's what really SEO copywriting kind of evolved to.

David Garfinkel 8:37
Okay, that's, that's really interesting. And this is the first time I've heard that, and it's great, great information.

So I'm a little curious about this, because I, I can understand how rankbrain can measure the amount of time someone spends on the site, they might even be able to tell how much they scroll, how many pages they go to all of those things.

How does a computer program evaluate good quality content? Or does it only evaluated by the results by the amount of time people are spending on the site? Are there other things?

Michel Fortin 9:16
There's there's a number of factors, there's actually over 300 ranking factors now. Before it was just keywords. And then it would be maybe the authority of a website? I mean, how long has it been in business? How long has it been on the internet?

And then there's links like people are linking to the website, meaning is it actually valuable content, but a lot of those things, people can hack and circumvent. You can buy links, you can do all this blackhat stuff.

So now Google is has evolved to look at other signals that would, that would increase that sites, like ability or relevancy. Actually in the search engines, and it does it through a myriad of different things.

For example, in the recent time, there is a new algorithm called at eat, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. You know, it's kind of funny, because there's a lot of jokes going around like, do you want to eat your rankings?

And, and the reason that is, is that Google will now pay more attention to your site, if it shows that you have expertise, you know, the subject matter. Your it's properly credentialed. There's actually proof. Do you fact check your stuff.

And in fact, when that came about, it was called the medic update, because the most websites that got affected by it was medical websites. But now we were realizing that it affected any website that deals with what we call your money or your life.

So anything about health, wealth, money, finances, and all that stuff. And then second thing that came around, which is actually just recently called BERT, now Burt's, Bert and Ernie and Bert, but it's actually an acronym that stands I was thinking of Frank Zappa song, my name is Bertrand.

Yeah. Only people like us will know that.

David Garfinkel 11:15
Maven, Maven is stone faced, not his generation, man.

Michel Fortin 11:20
But BERT stands for bidirectional encoding, representations and transformations. If I think I have that, right. And what that really means is that before you had a keyword, and then Google say, Oh, that's it, that's a signal. But now it's bi directional. So it says, okay, maybe you have a key word.

What's the context? It's not just about content, it's words around it, maybe images, maybe the code in the background, it's basically trying to understand the context behind the content. And so it uses something called No, we you know, we call it we call it NLP. But we know NLP stands for other things.

But it's called natural language processing, which is part of this rankbrain process. So basically, it looks at adjacent keywords before and after around it, images, what the images are saying. And all those things will help to determine what that content really is.

For example, if I look at keywords, soap, and I type in soap, well, does it mean soap opera? Does it mean dish soap, does it mean carwash soap, does it mean SAP the programming language?

So the whole point, and I'll finish with this, Google has looking at more and more at one to one topics, not keywords anymore. So we actually I don't even do keyword research, I do topical research.

And that's what really is, is is important these days. And as long as your topic is, in line with this other thing, search intent. What's the search intent of the user? Are they looking for just information? Are they looking for education?

Or are they actually looking at possibilities of our different solutions for a problem that they're undergoing? Are they actually looking for to buy the problem, they don't buy solution to the problem, they're fit, they want to fix the problem.

We call that you know, navigational search, informational search, investigative search, and commercial or transactional search. So all those things is the only way you can determine that.

Now, first of all, when you're using Google, by you, by you searching the kinds of questions you ask, you know, nowadays, just a single keyword isn't enough. Sometimes we ask a full question. Hey, Google, what is the How do you make a gluten free vegan pizza?

Now I just said Google, though, my phone just went off my Android. But that's the point is that now it knows that I'm when I'm looking for pizza. I'm not just looking for a pizza place. I'm actually looking for a recipe for a gluten free pizza. But now that's great. Google knows what you want.

But what about the sites that it wants to send you to? So what it does, it looks at the copy on their websites, the content and all those things that I just mentioned, to determine the context.

And then it will send you and because what it really wants is to give people the best search results possible, so that their experience is great, because what they hate is people what they call Pogo sticking, which is they click on the link, they go to the website.

That's not me. And they go back, they just backspace or back, you know, to the to the search engine. That's when Google says, oh, that cert that search result is not really what you're looking for. So that no, it's it's another one of those signals, but it's one of many signals.

Hopefully that answers your question. I'm not sure it does. It

David Garfinkel 14:32
does give me an idea. It's certainly a lot more than you know, what I used to think of is keyword stuffing where you would find the keywords and you try and jam as many of them into what becomes unreadable copy that looks like it was written written by a bot or something.

Okay, but I'm sure this question comes up to you a lot from clients. So I'm just going to put it right at you. How does all of this affect traffic and conversion, especially if you're using paid advertising?

Michel Fortin 15:15
Right? So, the bottom line is this, the one number one rule that I've always used in copywriting. In fact, I taught it at the seminar at your seminar, which is also a great way to beat writer's block, which is to know more about your market, research your market as much as you can.

It's not about restricting keywords anymore. It's about researching your market. What do they want? In fact, you David said something that I love. You said, What is the market? What's their problem? And how are they talking about it? Right?

Like I remember, you said that at a seminar one time, and I think you also said on your podcast, who is your market? What is their problem? And how are they talking about it? That's that's exactly what you need to know, not only for copy, but for SEO for CRM conversion rate, and all those things.

Because here's the thing, if you can deliver, and meet and connect with them and deliver the content in the copy that matches that search intent that where they're at, to meet them where they're at, you know, Collier said to continue the conversation going on in their mind, well, that's the same thing with SEO.

Because when they are looking for something on Google and they land on your site, or even if they click on an ad, is there a connection is there congruency.

In fact, the more congruent your copy is, with the intent behind the person landing on your site, or opening your direct mail piece, or whatever the case is, the greater your conversions, the greater your response rate. And it's the same thing with SEO.

So back to my point is, learn more about your market do more market research, and and what we call topical research, not keyword research.

The best seo tip that I've ever heard is from a guy who actually doesn't even do SEO, he says, and he's getting millions and millions of visitors, he actually has a podcast with millions of subscribers, and he says, I just look for the kinds of questions my particular audience is asking. And I just answered them.

David Garfinkel 17:13
That's it. Okay, so it's, it's not really that different than marketing fundamentals to just basic stuff, right? Is what you're saying?

Michel Fortin 17:24
Absolutely. Just no more about your market, find out what they're looking for, and just give it to them. content that will get you better SEO, it answers what they're looking for. And it's also going to increase your sales and your your conversion rates when they land on your site.

And the read your sales offer whatever the case is, whatever you're offering, wherever you're selling, it'll sell better because it's in line with what you're looking for. And it's also and then I'll bet I'll just add another point.

Remember, I told you about search intent, there's navigational, there's, there's informational, educational, so if people are not really ready to buy, you know, we both you and I, we know we love Eugene Schwartz, he talks about the stages of sophistication of the market.

I use a an acronym called oath, the oath formula, how aware is your market? And it's kind of saying how prepared are they take an oath?

Are they oblivious about the problem? Are they apathetic, meaning they know about it, but they don't care? Are they thinking about doing something about their problem? Or actually, are they hurting and they want to buy it now they will need to solve the problem now.

Well, guess what, in in SEO, they talk about the funnel, they talk about problem aware, solution aware and are no problem, we are product, who here solution aware and so on and so forth. It's the same thing.

And my point in saying that is before we used to write these long sales letters that would sell make an offer and educate the client to put the prospect throughout the entire process.

But nowadays, you can just do education, bring people at the front end, the top end of the funnel, we call the top of funnel, educate them, get them into the funnel, get them interested, get them to raise their hand.

And slowly but surely taking them by the hand, whether it's through a long page, or through a drip campaign, or multiple videos, that you eventually get them to take action, you get them to finally buy whatever you're selling.

And that's why that's why it's so important to when you write copy or SEO copy is that you write it at the level of where it is they're at that we're there, you know, what kind of conversation having so back to my my initial point, know your market, do your market research.

And you know, you'll get great SEO as much as great copy.

David Garfinkel 19:34
That's, that's awesome. Let's, let's look at the surprises for a second. What's counterintuitive about SEO, and if you want to see our Oh, and UX, so that is what works that you wouldn't expect good work and vice versa.

Michel Fortin 19:50
Well, the thing is, because of the changes with the search engines, the changes with Google specifically and the fact that it's becoming better and better at Knowing what kind of content is on your website, what kind of information you're giving out, and also what kind of searches people are making.

Before, when we used to think about SEO, we used to think of stuffing cute, like you just said, stuffing keywords.

And nowadays, it really comes down to a couple things, very simple things, giving great content, good quality content that actually helps people that actually serves their their their interests, that that solves their problem that that answers their questions.

And what you do is you optimize the event that the way that people can use or consume that content, I'll come down to this. SEO really boils down to two things, a good quality content and good quality, good user experience.

That's it, those are the two things you need to do, as long as you offer good content that matches their their intent. And then once they land on your site, or sales copy, or whatever the case is, they have a great user experience.

They they have a great experience of consuming that content, then, you know, that's it's kind of topic, you know, it's it's, it's counterintuitive to the degree because a lot of people thought, Oh, I need to do keyword research, I need to do all this Hocus Pocus in the backend I used to I need to do all this coding stuff.

And you know what? Yes, those things are important from a, let's say, a usability standpoint. But really, what's important is, is your site crawlable can Google actually see your website? And and all the things that help get create a good user experience? Is it secure?

Meaning, you know, nowadays, if you land on a website that has HTTP rather than HTTPS, you'll get a warning, you know, Google will say, hey, this site is not secure. Do you still want to do you want to proceed? Well, you need now you need now to secure site.

It's all back to this user experience optimization, I was telling you about. Fast loading time, if you don't guess now, most, you know, 99%, that's not true. It's about 60% 7060 65% of the population now use their mobile devices to access the internet. So you need to have a fast loading website.

And if it's taking too long, people will do what we call that pogosticking, they'll just land on the site is that gets taken too long, they'll just backspace and go back to Google to look at the next search result, well, then Google will then penalize you.

You're going to lose traction, because you're not giving them a good experience. So so it's kind of counterintuitive to the greed that it's not as mathematical as it used to be. Just write good content, just serve your client, well solve problems.

Good, you know, and give them a good experience and consuming that content. And you've you've got a you're going to be very successful that way.

David Garfinkel 22:38
That's really good. You know, they don't call me the Nostradamus of podcasting for nothing. I predicted Nathan would have a question anyway. And I think he does.

Nathan 22:49
Yeah. So here's kind of a controversy that's going on between copywriters and search engines right now, is a lot of the search engines are moving away from sending people to websites.

So they don't, when you look up something on Google, Google wants to give you the answer without having to send you to someone Oh, yes. And so a lot of times, especially you mentioned, most searches are being done on mobile.

They don't want you to have to go so they'll just take a snippet of your website, and you won't actually get that traffic. So I kind of want to know what your thoughts are, as far as going forward. How is that going to impact?

And I know a lot of copywriters that are concerned that Google is taking their content, serving it as their own content and not giving the traffic that the whole reason we're writing the content is for traffic. And Google's saying, hey, we'll take what you're giving us.

But we're not going to give back Why you're giving it to us.

Michel Fortin 23:50
I am so glad you asked that question. You know why? Because it really boils down to this one skill called copywriting. And I say this because we I had this argument just the other day, and it's exactly the same issue. People are thinking, I'm getting zero because zero clicks search results.

So that's when your answer appears at the top, and people can see your answer or see your website content on their website without sending traffic to your site. And that's the reason why Google kind of is doing that is because they want to remove the number of clicks that people will get to a final result.

And if they're if they're in the informational stage, they're just looking for information. That's kind of understandable. It's frustrating. I understand that. However, this is where if you can use great content, great copy. There's a you know, when you're a content appears in the top search results.

This is called schema markup, or what we call featured snippets or Rich Snippets rich, rich data. I think some other people will call it structured data. You know, sometimes when you type in a recipe, and you'll actually have the recipe at the top of the Google search result right? then going to the actual site.

You know why? Because a lot of people, the reason why Google does that, too is because a lot of people when they visit a search site or a recipe site, you know how many recipes or like, you have to go through a lot of content and all the bads and a lot of crap before you actually get to the actual recipe.

So Google is trying to give a better user experience to their user. Remember, we shared the same client, Google's clients, and our clients are the same.

So the thing is, if they are actually looking for just information, then you want to be focused on your brand, your value proposition, what makes you unique, what makes you good, what makes you better, and then put that in the rich snippet.

Because now you can actually do what we call a rich rich data markup on your website, so that that will actually appear. And you can control what they show to their users. Not all the time. No, Google is Google.

But you can, and we want to make sure that you get them their attention, because you want if you are good at copy, you'll be able to also get their attention enough that they will click on that link. Even if you give them the answer to their question, they'll say, Well, I want to know more.

And they click on the link and they visit your website. However, there's also the issue that if you if you if you're good at quotes, a branding, and mentioning your brand, or especially your unique sales proposition, you're going to create one called Top-of-mind awareness.

So that when you appear the search engines later on in other search results, or even when they just need you when they're actually in because right now they're probably just at the educational and informational gathering stage.

But if when you're ready to buy or when you're ready to look for a solution, you'll remember your brand, because that's what that is really good for is to increase the branding element. Now, finally, the final answer to this is, Google is now testing different things.

In fact, there's a recent Google what they call search 2020, which is kind of their annual State of the Union address to the search community, right?

They're saying that they're moving away from that a little bit more and then moving towards where you probably noticed this, when you go to Google and you type in on a search result, it'll actually go to the section of the same on that page that gives them that particular answer for their question.

And, and so they're saying, great, okay, fine, we're going to give people the chance to visit your site, we're going to do less and less of that, you know, showing up and doing zero click results, we're going to give people a chance to visit your site.

But we want to get them to the actual section on your page that answers your question. So they don't have to go through a whole bunch of crap before and give them a really bad user experience.

So it boils down to good copy just big, you know, learn good copywriting, you will be able to capture not, you know, maybe some traffic from that. And if they're if you're selling a product or service, oftentimes your your search result won't appear there.

I mean, sorry, your your content will won't appear there. Because you're not answering your question, you're actually getting people to buy product, if they're in that, that that stage.

In fact, Google wants probably wants you to buy shopping ads, right, they probably want you to buy ads to drive traffic rather than giving them information.

But if they're just looking for information, then focus on having good copy that gets them interested clicking on the link, probably visiting your site, or at least getting the your unique sales proposition, your unique offer, or your brand, your brand name, your product, name, whatever the case is.

So that you create that Top of Mind awareness, it also creates authority. Remember, I told you earlier, eat expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

The fact that you appear at the top of search results is implied authority, oh, he must be an authority or she must be an authority or this site must be an authority. So that either they'll visit from that result or later on when they do more searches. And your result will pop up in a normal search results.

Direct. they'll recognize you they say oh, yeah, that's I was like on that on that other search. They'll click on you.

And this has actually been proven they've done ample test to show that when you do appear, and you don't get enough traffic, you'll you actually increase what we called secondary ancillary traffic, because you're becoming known as an authority you create that implied authoritativeness.

Nathan 29:15
So it's the goal seems to be give people what they're looking for. And also subtly try and sell the click as well. But um,

Michel Fortin 29:27
Yes.

David Garfinkel 29:29
That was pretty good. How do people keep up with your content?

Michel Fortin 29:34
Sure. Well, my own website, my own blog is at Michel fortin.com. But if you want to send them directly to the page that I probably would want to send them to, so that we avoid Google stealing my click. David Garfinkel, stealing my click No, I'm kidding. Go to daily marketing memo.com that's my newsletter.

And it actually goes it's it's just redirects to my own website, but To the page where people can learn about my newsletter, it's called the daily marketing memo. So dailymarketingmemo.com.

David Garfinkel 30:06
Excellent. Wow. You completely changed my mind about SEO copywriting. And, you know, in a way, I've always felt like the the goal of the good hearted journalist and the goal of search engine was the same, you know, just to provide people the information they want need. And of course, life interferes.

Well. Anyway, Michael, thank you so much. So good to catch up with you after all these years.

Michel Fortin 30:36
Thank you. Thank you.

David Garfinkel 30:38
I'm glad you've made it through all these trials and you seem to be better man for it. So hope things get even better for you in the future. Oh, they are. Yeah. All right. Thank you.

Michel Fortin 30:47
Appreciate that.

Nathan 30:49
Awesome. Thank you, Michael, for coming on. David. Thank you for putting this together. listeners out there. If you want to check out more episodes head on over to the copywriters podcast website and that's copywriterspodcast.com and until next time, we will catch you later. Bye.

Categories
Copywriting

How to Target Your Perfect Customer

The most important part of your copy is not your headline, not your offer, and certainly not your benefits. The most important part is your customer.

Sounds obvious, right? But I've critiqued some pretty good copy. Very well-written and compelling, too. But if the conversion rate is low (hence, the reason why I was hired to do a critique consultation), it's because these websites do not target the right audience for the offer, or the copy fails to connect with their readers.

Researching your customer in depth is vital to the success of your copy. It's not only an important component of targeting and qualifying the best prospect for your offer, but also an effective way to discover new ideas, different angles, captivating storylines, unsought benefits, and appropriate length and language of your copy that will convert more.

The question is, how do you target and connect with your readers?

First off, if your product has never been launched before, hopefully, you have done enough research to know your product is viable. But if you have, then you should have a good idea of who your market for your product is.

Knowing who your market is, and how and where to target them, are two different things. Your goal is to discover the qualities, characteristics, and behavioral patterns of your specific (or greatest) market. Then market to that audience with the right message, and do so more than any other and as often as possible.

Create a buyer persona of your perfect client. Then write your copy as if you're talking to that one single individual, as if it's a letter written one-on-one, and they're the only reader that matters in the world right now.

Here's how to develop a “buyer persona.”

Typically, there are four main categories.

The highest converting websites and most productive marketing pieces are usually those who have spent a great many hours interviewing clients, spending time learning about them (maybe even to be with them), asking a lot of questions, and spending a lot of time learning about:

  • Geographics
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Technographics

Empathy Starts With Discovery

It was Ken Blanchard, in the One-Minute Sales Manager, who said: “Before I walk a mile in your shoes, I must first take off my own.” Brian Keith Voiles, in an interview I gave him regarding the power of empathy in copy, said it best:

“The first thing I do is try to live a ‘day in the life' of my prospect. What keeps him up at night? What are his biggest concerns or his biggest joys? What's the first thing he does in the morning as he wakes up? Does he read the paper? What kind of paper? What sections? Does he hurt? Is he frustrated? About what? In all, I try to put myself in my prospect's shoes as much as possible and really try to see what he sees, thinks what he thinks, feels what he feels. The more I do, the more empathetic I am in my copy — and the more I sell.”

Demographics are the basic qualities and characteristics of your market. They include age, gender, culture, employment, industry, income level, marital status, and so on. Does your product cater uniquely to women? Is it more appealing to a specific industry? Does your product complement another type of product?

Geographics are the countries, locations, and establishments in which your target market resides or works, or those it frequents or to which it travels. Is your market made up of French Canadians? Are they urbanites or rural folk? Do they commute to work in large, busy offices or are they working from home?

On the other hand, psychographics are made up of the emotional, psychological, and behavioral qualities of your market. They include the emotions, buying patterns, purchase histories, and even thought processes behind people's decision to buy your product.

What is their religious or political persuasion? What interests and hobbies are they're engaged in? What previous purchases have they made, and other related products they have consumed?

Finally, there are technographics, which are people's level of sophistication with technology and their specific use of it. Are they early adopters or laggards? Do they use mobile devices to make purchases or are they primarily desktop users? Are they technically savvy or do they need hand-holding?

Bottom line, who buys from you specifically?

Try to be as specific as possible. Creating a buyer persona may seem like you're ignoring other markets, and if your market is indeed made up of wildly disparate personas, you might want to create more than one. But for now, focus on who buys from you the most or the most often.

In fact, the more specific your defined audience is, the more focused your targeting will be, the greater the connection with your market will be, and the higher your conversions will be. (Sounds contradictory, but I'll come back this and explain later.)

Intelligence Gathering

The two most important elements are, of course, demographics and psychographics. You should have a good understanding of who your client is, such as their age, occupation, marital and family status, etc. Hopefully, you also have information about their interests, hobbies, culture, aspirations, etc. If you don't, then you know what you need to do.

Another way to look at it, demographics show who may need your product, while psychographics reveal who may want your product. These are different! To determine who wants your product is to also understand why they want it. Some of the best market research has to do with how your market interacted with you and why.

Ask your current clients. Call them. Probe further. Many will appreciate that you're taking an interest in them. Say it's about gathering feedback in order to improve your level of service, which in reality, it is. For example, here's a list of questions you should ask:

  • Who are you, exactly?
  • What's a day in the life of “you” like?
  • What's your biggest challenge?
  • What's your biggest success story?
  • Why did you buy my product?
  • Why did you choose me over a competitor?
  • Why did you buy at that specific point in time?
  • Did you buy right away (on impulse) or take your time?
  • If you shopped around, what exactly were you looking for?
  • What other products / services / solutions did you consider?
  • What do you like the most and the least about my product?
  • Would you refer me to others, and if so, why? Why not?
  • What specific benefits do you enjoy the most in my product?
  • If you considered an alternative before buying, what were their benefits?
  • And so on.

These are immensely important questions that can help you, guide you, or even cause you to change your approach altogether.

Don't discount the power of doing marketing research, especially within your own backyard so to speak. You want to know not only who buys from you but, more important, why they do. In other words, think psychographics and not just demographics.

To illustrate the difference between demographics and psychographics, here's an example pulled from my own experience as a copywriter in the cosmetic surgery field.

Hair transplant doctors cater mainly to men who have experienced hair loss and are able to afford such an operation — i.e., men and bald men specifically are potential patients because they may need of more hair.

Psychographics, on the other hand, go a little further. In this example, they are comprised of men who not only need but also want more hair — since not all of them do. (It's a matter of priorities, just as the type of clothing one chooses to wear.)

They may seem to need more hair, but they might not want more. So just targeting “bald men” is not enough.

To target your best market as precisely as possible and generate better leads, doctors must take the psychographic element into account, such as their patients' lifestyle, their interests, the type of industry in which they work (since certain industries are image-related), as well as their previous buying habits (such as men who have already invested in other forms of hair replacement solutions).

The more information the better.

For example, you have a headline that said, “Are you losing your hair?” That appeals to your demographics. People who have hairloss will probably read the ad. After all, they “seem” to need more hair.

The problem is, they may not care about it. But if your headline said, “Suffering from hairloss?” now your ad is targeting someone who not only has hairloss but also cares about it enough to want to do something about it.

Aim For The Bull's-Eye

Nevertheless, arm yourself with as much of this type of information beforehand and your chances of achieving greater success with your product will be virtually guaranteed. You will know how to craft marketing communications that will appeal as specifically and directly as possible to that market.

Next, knowing this information will also help you target that market. Developing a buyer persona should give you a pretty good indication of where they hang out, where they will see your ad, or where they will learn about your product or service.

The following represents The Audience Targeting Model (a format to follow when targeting an audience, or while engaged in any targeting activity). It's in the form of three concentric circles — like a bull's-eye.

Audience Targeting Model for marketing
Audience Targeting Model for marketing.

Applying the targeting model is simple. Each circle represents a different level in the targeting process — the center being the first, your main priority, and so on. As the marketing adage goes, “fish where the fish swim.” Find places, events, or publications that meet any of the three, from the center out.

The center of the bullseye should be your main aim. These are things, events, or locations that are centered on your buyer persona. The second level consists of places, events, or things that are related to them. The third level, while not related, consists of those that are oriented towards your perfect customer.

Here's a quick description of each circle:

The Center (Bull's-Eye), or Audience Centered: It's what pertains directly to your target market. In other words, it's anything that meets your buyer persona (and does so immediately and as specifically as possible). Things like demographics, psychographics, and geographics are included, here.

The Second Tier (Middle Layer) or Audience Related: It's what pertains indirectly to your target market. Stated differently, it's anything that relates to or logically fits in your buyer's profile. This includes things such as direct competitors, complementary products, related industries, etc.

The Third Tier (Outside Layer) or Audience Oriented: It's what does not pertain at all to your target market but somehow matches or is oriented towards any of its areas. Examples are unrelated industries with which your customer is associated, other businesses patronized by your customer, other unrelated products they consume (products that do not complement, replace, or supersede yours, but are consumed by them), common threads among your audience (even if they have nothing to do with your product), etc.

Here's An Example

Let's say you're in the computer sales business. Your perfect customer is a person aged between 20 and 35, earning around $40,000, living in the eastern part of the United States, and working in the high-tech field.

The center or bull's-eye would include computer-related magazines, shows, websites, tradeshows, email newsletters, forums, social networks (specifically computer-related groups and “cliques” on those social media), etc. Wherever your perfect customer is targeted, based on the qualities and characteristics of your product or customer, should be your first goal. Your main aim. The bull's-eye.

The second tier are areas that are indirectly related to your buyer persona. Your goal would then be to target places, events, or things that are similar or somehow logically fit into your target market as well — in short, other related publications, businesses, or areas that target your perfect customer, too.

Areas include software magazines, trade publications, technology websites, industry associations, non-competing businesses, etc. An example would be other websites selling computer peripherals or software your client would need or enjoy, such as an accounting software package.

The third and final tier consists of totally unrelated areas your buyer frequents, without having anything to do with your industry. You want to be in front of as many of their eyeballs as possible, even if where you appear has anything to do with your product, industry, or niche.

Let's say, through some research, you found out that a large percentage of your target market are coffee drinkers. Then areas you would seek are coffee-related sites, specialty coffee magazines, coffee product stores (e.g., coffee maker companies, mugs, espresso machines, etc), restaurants, books on coffee, and so on.

It means that, as long as the audiences of such websites and publications logically fit into your target market somehow, even if, in this case, they have nothing to do with computers at all, then you've got it made. In essence, you're still aiming within your “dart board,” in other words.

Don't Play Darts in The Dark

The bottom line is, in order to convert at a much higher rate, you need to have the right message in front of the right people as often as possible. You not only need to know who your perfect customer is, but you also need to understand her, connect with her, and empathize with her.

So before targeting your buyer, create a marketing message or campaign that appeals to their persona as specifically as possible. Think of that one person as you create your message. How will they react when they see it? Does it match with what they're thinking? What will they say?

As Robert Collier said in his book, The Robert Collier Letter Book, you need to continue the conversation already going on in their minds.

When targeting your market, even if you aim for the bullseye but you still land somewhere on the dartboard (like marketing computer stuff to coffee lovers, using the example I used earlier), you're still hitting your market.

If your message is right but your targeting falls outside of that bullseye's center, people who fit your buyer persona will know it's meant for them, and they will be interested in what you say, feel connected with your message, and buy from you — as opposed to generic, bland marketing with which your audience feels no connection, no matter where on the bullseye they fall into.

In short, the less targeted and the more generic your message is, the less connected your copy you will be with your market. You might as well shoot darts in the dark and hope you're lucky to land on the board. Maybe.

Categories
Copywriting

Risk-Reversal’s Role Reversal

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The greater portion of my career has been in copywriting, selling, and direct marketing. And one of the common denominators I've found in any successful piece of copy is the power of risk reversal.

That is, taking more of a risk from the sale than the purchaser of your product.

Risk reversal is a powerful method to increase sales by easing the buying decision and allaying fears consumers might have.

When people are considering an offer, and if the offer is “too good to be true,” they will invariably seek out more secure means to benefit from it. Otherwise, they will have a tendency to think, “What's the catch?”

The greater the guarantee, the greater the sales. This has been consistent in almost every industry in which I've worked, and with every split-test I've conducted.

For example, a 30-day guarantee will outsell no guarantee. A 90-day guarantee will outsell a 30-day one. And so on and so forth.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Sometimes, shorter or more creative guarantees can outperform longer ones.

Why? Perhaps this is because, in a promise-filled industry oversaturated with, and burned by, over-the-top hype, long, unrealistic guarantees make the offer suspect.

People might be left scratching their heads wondering if the guarantee is an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.

Guarantees that are too strong (like one or even multiple years, lifetime, etc) can unconsciously convey that the product is so poor that either the purchaser will forget about the promise during the guarantee's extended lifespan, or the seller is trying to build perceived value in areas other than the product itself to make up for the lack.

But length doesn't always mean strength.

In other words, the strength of a guarantee is not limited to its timeframe.

Creative guarantees work extremely well, especially in an industry where people encounter typical money-back guarantees. These include guarantees that don't necessarily have anything to do with refunds or money. By being different, a unique guarantee can provide a powerful twist to an offer.

Notwithstanding the legal requirements to offer a money-back guarantee, think of guarantees that include gifts, discounts, credits, vouchers, etc.

For example, just recently a friend of mine launched an intensive and pricey classroom-style training program, but with a very interesting angle. Whether you succeed or not, or whether you like the program or not, you get your money back.

It sold out in just a few hours.

Ultimately, guarantees exist because we fear making bad decisions.

And a purchase is a buying decision.

But remember that a guarantee's job is not to remove fear. Not in a direct sense. It's to increase the customer's confidence that the product will do as promised.

In fact, in an article titled “The Great Customer Service Hoax,” the author, Belinda (who is also a copywriter), said it perfectly. “The simple truth about customer satisfaction,” the author writes, is this:

You might think that to maintain awesome levels of customer satisfaction you need to have outstanding products and services, diligent processes and reports and excellently trained staff who know when to make a decision that’s right for the customers. Well, you do need those things but the truth about consistently good customer satisfaction is much simpler.

Customers are satisfied when you met their expectations.

Guarantees help to communicate this important promise. A guarantee communicates not only that the product has value (e.g., “it's so good, I guarantee it!”), but also that the product will meet their expectations.

A guarantee encourages sales and profits. (Sales is self-explanatory. But profits? Yes! Guarantees can also decrease refunds. I'll come back to this in a moment.)

So objectively, add a guarantee that's easy, strong, and reasonable (that is, it's not far-fetched). If it has the appearance of being too long or unbelievable, either reduce it or add copy to justify your attempt.

Just like the power of “reasons-why” advertising, don't forget to back it up. Provide a logical, commonsensical explanation behind your guarantee to justify why it's so strong. The more you do, the more believable your guarantee will be. Otherwise, an overzealous guarantee will make it questionable.

(For example, with a “lifetime guarantee,” people will often ask, “Whose lifetime?”)

But in the majority of cases, if you failt to offer a guarantee let alone a strong one, you're losing a great percentage of potential sales.

In addition to communicating value of and confidence in a product, a guarantee can also become a powerful positioning tool.

Take for instance the story of the Monaghan brothers. The two ran a small business in order to pay their way through college. While one worked the day shift in order to attend school at night, the other did the converse.

After about a year in the money-losing venture, one of the brothers sold his share of the business for a beat-up old car. The other, however, with a good dose of stick-to-it-iveness, decided to make something of his fledgling pizzeria.

According to some interviews he recently gave, Tom Monaghan said that, at the time, he wasn't quite sure that his decision to put a guarantee on his pizza delivery would change much. But obviously, history tells us that his decision was a good one.

By simply marketing the strength of a guarantee (i.e., “Pizza delivered fresh in 30 minutes or it's free”), Domino's Pizza became the multimillion-dollar franchise operation we know today.

Online, strong guarantees are more than just sales tools.

The Internet has opened many doors, including those to many unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Scams and snake oils are rampant online. Millions (if not billions) of dollars are lost to these scamsters each month.

The Internet is rife with fraudulent offers, phishing attempts, and shoddy products. Even laws and anti-scam tools won't stop crafty entrepreneurs who are determined to bypass the systems to scam the unsuspecting.

So people are understandably leery, skeptical, distrusting, and cautious.

Obviously, the use of testimonials, demos and tours, statistics, laboratory tests, clinical trials, case studies, free trials and samples, real pictures of the product in question, and so on are all incredibly important.

But in addition to these methods and elements of proof you can and should add to your copy, strong and creative guarantees are equally powerful proof elements and probably some of the most underutilized.

Why? Mostly because business owners are leery themselves of adding, extending, or creating guarantees because they fear the onslaught of losses from returns.

If the product is mediocre, then this fear is sadly justified. But most products are good. (Granted, there are just as many fraudulent consumers out there as there are scams. Businesses fear them equally as consumers fear buying from fraudsters.)

But generally, guarantees will increase sales.

Chris Ayers, former publisher of Unlimited Traffic!, gives an astonishing real-life example. Writes Ayers:

“One of my first direct mail products years ago was a self-study program. When I first offered the program in a magazine, my sales weren't even enough to cover the cost of the ad. I changed my ad and sales letter to include a guarantee. The number of responses to the same ad increased by a factor of 20 and my conversion rate from my sales letter rose from 10% to almost 40%.”

Remember that adding a guarantee might increase returns and refunds. But try it and do the math. In some cases, a small increase in refunds might be greatly overshadowed by a disproportionately larger increase in sales.

For example, in one test I've conducted with a consulting client, we raised the guarantee from a 30-day guarantee to a 6-month, double guarantee.

(The “double” included a 100%-money-back guarantee within six months, and a double-your-money-back within the first 30 days.)

The result? During the test, there were no refunds within the initial 30 days. But refunds within the first six months increased from about 4% to 6.5%.

Of course, that's significant.

But look at the increase in sales…

Sales conversion went from a little less than 3% to 7%. Mathematically, it means refunds increased by 62.5%, while sales increased by over 133% (i.e., twice as many more sales as the increase in refunds).

The lesson is this: while a guarantee might increase refunds, the increase will be negligible when contrasted by the more significant increase in sales.

This is true in the majority of cases. But in other cases, net profits can increase quite substantially. Even more than the norm.

Why? Because, unbeknownst to many marketers, one of the most important benefits of using a guarantee is the fact that it can actually reduce returns.

If you have a professionally-looking website, an ethical sales approach, and a proven product or service, the lack of a strong guarantee will still, particularly on the Internet, cause most prospects to perceive your offer as questionable in the very least.

But adding a guarantee — particularly a strong one — not only increases sales because it removes the risk from the buyer's mind, but it also increases perceived value and therefore overall confidence in the product and the seller as well.

Guarantees also grant you an almost instant credibility with potential customers.

And finally, strong guarantees also help to raise tolerance levels.

Customers are more apt to ignore or even accept a few flaws, thereby reducing the need to return the product at the slightest imperfection.

This is because they feel they are in good hands, whether they know this experientially or not. The confidence level that the guarantee created acts as some sort of psychic security net.

In other words, a guarantee not only reduces the skepticism around a purchase, but also contributes to what psychologists refer to as “The Halo Effect.”

Ultimately, add a strong guarantee to your offer. But don't stop with just at increasing its timeframe. Be creative with your guarantee.

Think about multiple-money-back guarantees, add-on guarantees, gift certificates, credit or discount vouchers, the ability to keep bonuses if they return the main product, keeping the product even if they ask for their money back, etc.

Bottom line, guarantees will increase sales. The stronger the guarantee is, the larger the increase will be.

Categories
Copywriting

Write Magnetic Headlines With These 7 Tips

I covered headlines many times already. You can find posts about headlines here. But here are some additional tips.

There are two huge mistakes people make when they write headlines. Either they are too bland and don't say enough (such as when they attempt to simply summarize), or they say too much to cover all the bases.

In both cases, you will lose readers.

1. The True Purpose of The Headline

The headline is more than a mere summary of the sales copy. Unlike the title of a book, for instance, it's not meant to summarize, encapsulate, or introduce the story. And most headlines I've seen seem to list all the of the greatest benefits from the copy.

No. A headline is meant to generate readership and pull people into the copy.

It's the first thing that people see. Just like front-page headlines of a newspaper are meant to sell the paper, the copy's headline is meant to sell people on the copy.

If a headline does not instantly give an indication — i.e., an idea or hint, not the entire story — of not only what the page is all about but also the reasons why people should read further the moment they read it, it will actually deter prospects.

In fact, headlines that do not communicate any benefit in reading the next paragraph, diving into the content, or navigating further into the website will dissuade readers from reading more and, of course, taking action on whatever the copy is asking them to do.

So the true purpose of a headline is not to summarize or advertise the website, the salesletter, or the business behind it. It's simply to get people to read further. That's it.

In advertising parlance, a headline is the “ad for the ad.” For instance, a resume is not meant to land a job but to land an interview. A headline is, in the same way, meant to land the reader's attention and arouse their curiosity — not the sale.

If a headline does not achieve this quickly, efficiently, and effectively, people will simply click away, throw away the salesletter, or skim over it without giving it much thought.

You may have heard of the famous “AIDA Formula,” which stands for, in order: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Ads must follow this formula in order to be successful.

They must first capture the reader's attention, then arouse their interest, then increase their desire, and finally lead them to take some kind of action. In that order.

Other than “grabbers” like photos, pictures, graphics, pop-ups, liftnotes, and multimedia, the first part of the formula often refers to the headline.

(Look at direct mail marketing, where liftnotes, envelope copy, and “lumpy mail,” where advertisers and mailers add trinkets to grab people's attention and get them curious.)

But online or off, grabbers provide eye gravity. They are meant to draw the eyes to that most important element: the headline. If the headline does not command enough attention both effectively and, above all, rapidly, then the rest of the formula will fail…

… No matter how great your copy is.

Ultimately, the headline is not meant to do anything other than to create readership. To “grab people by the eyeballs” and pull them into the copy. Period. Enough said.

2. The Gapper

Usually, there is a gap between the prospect's problem and its solution — or a gap between where a person happens to be at the moment and the future enjoyment of a product's benefits. In sales, you've probably heard it being called “gap analysis.”

It works because many prospects either do not know there is in fact a gap or, because it is one, try to ignore it as a result. Therefore, a headline that either communicates the presence of such a gap or implies it can cause people to want to close the gap.

And the obvious way to do this is to read further.

Using a headline that immediately conveys either a problem or a potential benefit not only makes the reader aware that there is a gap but also reinforces it in the mind.

(And this doesn't mean writing all the benefits in the headline to cover all the bases, as in the case of long, needlessly wordy headlines. Those long headlines often backfire.)

Some headlines are newsy, others are sensational. Some make claims, others make statements. Some arouse curiosity, others provoke controversy. Some are intriguing, others are inspiring. Either way, it doesn't matter.

All that matters is that the headline gets the reader to start reading. And if you created, communicated, or, better yet, widened the gap mentioned earlier, then after reading the headline readers will want to know, by browsing further, how they can close that gap.

Widening the gap will not only appeal to those who can immediately relate to it but also cause those people to want to close the gap even more.

Famous sales trainer Zig Ziglar said that people buy on emotional logic. They buy on emotion first but justify their decision with logic. So emotionally-charged headlines help to widen gaps. The wider the gap is, the greater the desire to close it will be.

For instance, rather than saying “Lose 40 Pounds In Just 6 Weeks,” you can say, “Shed 40 Pounds Of Stubborn, Ugly Fat In Just 6 Weeks.” Or, if you prefer a health-conscious angle, say “killer fat,” “unhealthy fat,” “disease-causing fat,” or “life-shortening fat.”

3. The Pain-Pleasure Principle

While your copy should focus on the solution rather than the problem, adding a negative (or a potentially negative) situation to the headline is often more effective because it appeals to stronger, deeper, more dominant emotions and motives.

Granted, this might seem somewhat unusual or contrary to what you have learned in the past. So in order to understand this, let's take a look at how human emotions work.

In the late 1960s, psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchical theory of human needs. In essence, Maslow stated that the foundation of all human needs is our need to survive. The next one in that hierarchy is our need for safety and security.

After that, it's the need for affection, to be loved, to feel a sense of belonging. Then, the need for attention, or to feel valuable or respected, is next. And finally is our need to outdo ourselves, to get to the next level, to achieve, to be all that we can be, etc.

The important thing is to look at this hierarchy from the bottom up and pay closer attention to the more fundamental human needs, which are survival and safety needs.

Now, another principle is called the “pain-pleasure principle.” It states that people want to either avoid pain or gain pleasure. In anything we do, we want to either move away from pain (i.e., solve a problem) or strive towards pleasure (i.e., gain an advantage).

But when given the choice between the two, which one is stronger? Naturally, the avoidance of pain is the stronger motive, because our need to survive and be safe takes over. The emotions attached to pain are far superior than those attached to pleasure.

So a headline that communicates a problem (i.e., a painful situation they feel right now, or a potentially painful one that could arise without the benefits you offer or without at least reading the copy) will have more emotional impact than a pleasurable one.

It also instantly communicates to those who associate to its message and qualifies them on the spot. Thus, it isolates the serious prospect from the curious visitor.

For example, when I work with plastic surgeons, rather than saying “Do you have wrinkles?” I tell them to use as a headline, “Suffering from wrinkles?” Prospective patients who can instantly relate to the headline will more than likely read the ad further.

They do so for two reasons.

First, the headline appeals to those who have wrinkles. But not all people are bothered by them. That's why the headline also appeals to those who hate wrinkles (i.e., people who have them and also want to do something about them).

Therefore, think of a negative situation that is now present, or one that will occur without your product or service. Even better, one that will happen if they don't read your copy.

Now, sometimes this pain can be implied. The implication can often be a lot stronger than the one specified, because readers can draw up their own negative scenarios in their heads. As a mentor once told me, “Implication is more powerful than specification.”

For example, in a recent headline split-test for a salesletter I wrote that promoted a marriage counseling information product, the headline “Save My Marriage!” won over “Stop My Divorce!” In fact, it won by a huge margin. The conclusion?

My guess is, “Stop My Divorce” is a negative, but it's specific. And the implication is that the product may only stop the divorce but may not necessarily get the relationship back on track and stop the marriage from disintegrating — which is the true problem.

“Save My Marriage!” implies so many things. And the positive benefit is also implied — the marriage (i.e., the love, passion, relationship, happiness, etc) can also be saved. Because not saving those, too, can be labor-intense, painful, and too difficult to bear.

(Another reason may be that in “Stop My Divorce!” the message might indicate that the divorce is imminent. If this was the case, people would probably be more interested in how to win in a divorce rather than stopping it. But I digress.)

4. The Director

Incidentally, the last headline uses another readership-enhancing technique: it starts with a verb. Verbs direct visitors and take them by the hand. Some examples include “claim,” “discover,” “find,” “get,” “read,” “see,” “earn,” “visit,” “surf,” “join,” “sign up,” etc.

But go a step beyond that. Instead of plain verbs, use action words that paint vivid pictures in the mind. The more vivid the picture is, the more compelling the headline will be. (For example, “zoom past the confusion” is better than “get more clarity.”)

Ultimately, don't let visitors guess what they must do or what they will get from reading further. You can also tell them in the headline. Also, you don't need to be direct. You can, in this case as well, imply what they must do.

Say you're selling an accounting software. Rather than “Poor fiscal management leads to financial woes,” say, “Don't let poor fiscal management suck money right from your bottom-line.” People can picture the action of “sucking” more than they do “leading.”

Headlines that communicate something worth reading will cause people to read further. But the important thing to remember is, you only have a few seconds — if not a fraction of one — to connect with you reader. That's why being pithy is vitally important.

Think of an “elevator speech.”

Like with a potential client you've just met in an elevator, you only have a few seconds during that short elevator ride to get their attention, introduce yourself, and make a memorable impact until you or the other person leaves the elevator.

So your elevator speech must be good enough and concise enough to capture, in just a few short moments, the attention and interest of that person. Headlines are no different.

Sometimes, headlines need a little push. Just making a bland statement is not going to get you anywhere. For example, forget those hackneyed introductions, like “Hi, my name is Michel Fortin, and I'm a copywriter. Do you need one?” Boring. Bland. Busted.

Don't just tell them who you are and what you do. Tell them what you can do for them.

But even that may not be enough. You need to compel your readers. You need to not only capture their attention but also keep it. You may need to shock, surprise, be intriguing, pique their curiosity, even be sensational, and not just introduce or inform.

For example, think of the types of headlines you see in tabloid-style newspapers or grocery-line magazines, like The National Enquirer, The Globe, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Men's Health, and more. And the reason is simple.

Just like the short elevator ride, the brief wait in the grocery checkout line is all these magazines have to work with to get your attention and get you to buy their publication.

Some of the highest paid writers in the world are front-page headline copyeditors!

For example, which headline is better: “Ancient Mediterranean Diet Boosts Metabolism”? Or a headline, riding on the buzz created by the recent movie “300,” that says “2,000-Year Old Weightloss Diet Used By Ancient Greek Warriors Finally Unearthed”?

5. The Ziegarnik Effect

In 1927, Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychologist's assistant and one of the early contributors to Gestalt Psychology, discovered something peculiar. Almost by accident. She found that people remember unfinished tasks better than they do finished ones.

After observing waiters who seemed to remember orders and forget them once the food was served, she realized the incomplete task created a certain tension, discomfort, or uneasiness that caused the brain to “hook” onto the unfinished task until it was done.

You see, we have an intrinsic need for closure.

We get a certain feeling of disconcertedness when something is left unfinished. Often called the “Zeigarnik Effect,” we not only remember interrupted tasks best but also the tension tends to create curiosity to an almost excruciating level.

Achieving closure is part relief and part release. When something is left unanswered, unopened, or incomplete, we either passionately attempt to complete or close it, or feel a certain discomfort until it is and often go to great lengths to get it done.

In copywriting particularly, this tension can be created in a headline.

For example, to the headline “How to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks,” you add “with these 7 tips,” it will push people to read further to find out what the heck those “7 tips” are.

(That's why the headline of one of the world's most lucrative ads, “Do You Makes These Mistakes In English?” worked so well. People wanted to know, “What mistakes?”)

With a headline like “Inside Britney Spears' Divorce Settlement With Kevin Federline,” it doesn't really open up anything. But with “Uncover The Shocking Reason Behind Britney Spears' Divorce,” people want to know, “what secret” or “what's so shocking about it?”

In fact, making some kind of sensational, controversial, or intriguing statement, even though it doesn't open anything up in a direct sense, creates tension because people want to know what it is. (The “gap” mentioned earlier, in this particular case, is implied.)

Take, for instance, some of these other, well-known headlines: “Lies, Lies, Lies.” “The Ugly Truth About Low-Carb Dieting.” Or, “What Doctors Don't Want You To Know.”

(Here's a little test: take a look at these 100 of the most successful headlines, and see how many use the Zeigarnik effect. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.)

6. The Window Shopper

Erroneously, many people often look at their prospects reading their salesletters for the first time as qualified patrons. And they tend to do so by considering their visitors as being “physically” inside the store once they read the front page…

… Particularly with headlines that begin with that familiar word: “welcome.”

(While they may or may not be targeted, they're still not qualified. They may be pre-qualified if they're targeted. But they're only window shoppers at this point.)

Have you ever walked by a retail store whose sign in the main window said “welcome to [store name]”? Not likely. But you've probably seen such a sign upon entering a store.

And there's the problem: In both cases, you had to walk inside the store first before you were greeted or welcomed, and asked to browse further or if you needed any help.

When people read your headline, they're not “inside the store,” yet. They're still outside, window shopping, thinking about whether to go in or not. So there must be something that gets them interested in walking into the store to browse or inquire further.

It could be a variety of things.

It could be the display in the window, an outdoor sign touting some special, a banner announcing a special event, a sales flyer received in the mail, or a friend heralding the benefits from a product she bought at — or some deal she received from — the store.

Salesletters are no different. A headline is like the store's front window or entrance — people are not inside yet. And this is especially true in the case of online salesletters.

Look at the web as one, colossal shopping mall.

When people surf the Internet, they're browsing the mall, so to speak. When they hit your front page, they are only seeing the “outside” of your store. Your store's window.

Think of the people reading your headline as merely “window shopping.” So your headline must be effective and efficient enough to instantly capture their attention, and compel them to enter your store and browse further.

Understandably, a salesperson's ability to instantly capture the attention of her busy and incredibly preoccupied prospect is easier in the physical realm.

Most of all, her enthusiasm for, and belief in, her product are easy to convey in person. Her ability to instill confidence and create trust, as well as her unique set of sales and people skills, product knowledge, personality and expertise, are equally advantageous.

A salesletter is your salesperson in print.

And like a salesperson, a headline must grab the reader's attention and qualify the reader, and it must do so by communicating those ideas (e.g., credibility, intrigue, proof, etc) and emotions that empower people to at least enter the store.

The responsibility therefore rests almost entirely on the words you choose. And words should appeal directly or indirectly to specific motives — whether it's looking for specific products, deals, benefits, events, relief, help, cures, or solutions.

Just like what you'd put in a store's window to draw traffic inside your store.

7. The Specific

One last tip. Vagueness, unless it is intended to create curiosity and readership by pulling people into the copy, will only confuse people. Avoid it like the plague.

So try to be as specific as possible. Use very specific, quantifiable descriptions. For instance, use odd, non-rounded numbers instead of generalizations. Odd, non-rounded numbers are more credible and have pulled more than even or rounded numbers.

That's why, for example, Ivory soap was marketed as being 99 and 44/100% pure. If Ivory said 100%, it would not have been as believable. “Amazing new system helped me earn $3,956.75 in 29 days!” is much more credible than “$4,000 in 1 month!”

This tip may sound simple, but it is indeed very powerful. In fact, I have found that the best claims, benefits, or headlines, are those that have any one of three components:

  1. They are quantifiable
  2. They are measurable
  3. They are time-bound

Any one of these three is better than none at all. But if you can have two or even all three components in your headline, the stronger and more credible the impact will be.

I've covered “quantifiable.” But being measurable means to add a baseline against which the quantity can be compared or contrasted. And being time-bound means there is a specific timeframe within which the quantity (or benefit, problem, or idea) was achieved.

For instance, if I can show you how to make “$784.22,” it may mean nothing. But if I tell you, “How I generated $784.22 in just 5 minutes,” that would be a lot more interesting.

In conclusion, ask yourself: does the opening statement beg for attention? Does it arouse curiosity? Is the language easy to understand by that market? And does it genuinely reflect and cater to the needs, motives, and dominant emotions of my market?

Remember, your headline is your magnet. It can pull people in or push them away.

Categories
Copywriting

Digital Scarcity: Does It Still Convert?

Scarcity is an effective tactic often used in copywriting to create a sense of urgency in an effort to convince the undecided reader to make a purchasing decision.

After all, people procrastinate, and they do for a variety of reasons. It's simply human nature. So the goal of applying scarcity is to prevent prospects from procrastinating.

As online consumers become wise to these direct-response copywriting tactics, one question often arises:

“What about digital product downloads, like ebooks and software? How can you create a sense of urgency for something that, in itself, is limitless or perceived as such?”

Here's how to use scarcity selling effectively with digital products:

Limit The Offer

Many people use this strategy ineffectively. They say the offer will only last until midnight. However when a visitor returns to the website the next day, the offer is still up.

Another example of scarcity done badly is to follow through on the promise and the offer is no longer available on that particular website. However, it is still available on another website, through affiliates, or via another Internet marketer.

Consumers are more sophisticated than ever before, and nowadays they tend to easily notice this tactic, shun it, and even react hostilely to it. It lessens your credibility as a business person, and makes any other offer you promote suspect.

However, one of the ways to add scarcity to a digital download is not by actually limiting the quantity or time, which can be seen as irrelevant for a seemingly “unlimited” product, but rather by limiting the offer, its many components, or the promise of its availability.

For example, rather than placing a limit on the quantity or putting a deadline on the offer, you say the package, the price, the premiums, the guarantee, or any additional services (such as support, upgrades, consulting, etc) is only guaranteed through a specific date.

You continue by stating that, if they wait or return after that date, the offer may change and may even be no longer available. So they run the risk of losing out if they don't buy now. Of course, always give a believable, logical reason to justify your sense of urgency.

(This is important, so I'll come back to this with some examples.)

Now, here's how this tactic is different and why you don't lose credibility. Even if your product is still available after that date, you're not contradicting yourself because you only guaranteed that it would be available until then.

You didn't outright promise that it wouldn't be available after the limit or deadline has been reached. You only raised the potential risk of losing out on the offer, at least as it currently stands, if they procrastinated and failed to buy now.

For example, you can tell potential customers that the price is limited to the first 1,000. After 1,000 copies are sold, you may change the offer by raising the price or removing the premiums, or even stop offering it altogether…

… At any time, without warning or notice.

Update The Product

Take advantage of the features of digital products.

Digital products have something in common: they are constantly being updated. It's simply the nature of technology. Software keeps updating with new versions all the time. Ebooks, therefore, can operate in exactly the same manner.

So don't be afraid to put a version number on your digital product, just like you would on a piece of software. When a new version comes out, even if slightly edited, the older one no longer becomes available or becomes obsolete by default.

The good thing is that updating a book is as easy as editing or adding a few paragraphs, inserting an interview, attaching an updated chapter, including a guest contribution, injecting extra appendices, or upgrading the resource list — especially bookmarks.

(We all know how websites and links change all the time. Some URLs can change, redirect, move, or become unreachable. So by upgrading the bookmarked resource list, among others, your list stays fresh and your links remain valid.)

Let's not forget the ubiquitous “alpha” and “beta” stages most software products go through. These can be applicable to ebooks and digital information products as well.

Plus, they don't have to be applied to an entire product. They can be used with specific chapters, add-ons, premiums, tools, or even membership sites.

Additionally, they don't have to be called “alpha” and “beta.” Use your imagination. For example, call it a “pre-release version,” “launch edition,” “introductory version,” “2007 format,” “early bird deliverable,” “advanced copy,” “pre-market issue,” etc.

If you sell an ebook with “free updates,” then that is the element that's scarce. To add more scarcity to the offer, you limit the bonuses or the free updates for a specified quantity and/or time, and not the actual product itself.

Make It Time-Sensitive

The third tactic is to add a chapter or a bonus that's time-sensitive. I'm not talking about a deadline. I'm talking about content that's timely and more valuable based on its freshness rather than content that is released with a deadline.

This can be done practically with every information product out there.

For example, if you're selling a principled, evergreen, or theory-based ebook that, in itself, can't go out of style or become outdated, then add a few extra pages, like a list of resources or specific tactics, that are relevant at the time of writing the product.

However, the best way to do this is to include information that, directly or by implication, makes it scarce. It can be something tied to a specific event, activity, trend, or news item. If not, and if you wish to keep your product evergreen, then specify it in the copy.

Say you sell a book on how to grow bigger, redder tomatoes. Your book can have a chapter or a bonus report that talks about how to enter and win a certain annual, well-recognized, and popular “tomato-growing contest,” which has a set date each year.

This information therefore becomes time-sensitive, because, if they buy after the contest, then the book holds less value — at least in the way it's positioned in the copy.

Another way is if it relates to a season or period of the year, such as a book on how to coach youth basketball. The book will have a time-sensitive element a few months before basketball season starts, and little or no value once the season is over.

Ultimately, think of how you can add scarcity to the product itself by adding either content or add-ons (like premiums or bonuses), or by how you position it in the copy, to make it time-sensitive somehow — without having to limit the offer directly.

For instance, can the value or perceived value of the product depreciate over time or after a certain number of downloads? If not, how can you incorporate this element (whether it's through extra content, premiums, or add-ons)?

Use your creativity, here.

In my experience, practically every digital product, no matter how timeless or evergreen it may seem at first, can be made scarce or urgent in some way, or made to appear so, that's independent of any limits you otherwise impose.

Technological or Resource Limits

Done properly, this is a very compelling and clever use of scarcity, because you are essentially using technology or time against itself. Here's how it works…

An example that's also the easiest is where you tell prospects that the item is limited because you need to conserve or limit the bandwidth. Many hosts limit accounts by filesizes or allocate a certain number of bytes transferred per week, month, or year.

As a result, you may need to revise the offer or raise the price to cover your growing costs at a certain point in the future, as greater resources are consumed. Not only that, but maintenance and support costs proportionately grow, too.

“Of course,” you might say, “everyone knows that.” Yes, but they don't necessarily realize this may directly affect the offer, price, or availability of the product altogether.

So the idea is to specify it in your copy. Tell your readers that, as more and more people buy and download your product, the costlier it becomes to maintain.

Price increases are inevitable, and therefore they must act now to take advantage of such a “low price.” If they wait they might lose out on a great deal or on the product altogether as it may be taken off the market to conserve resources and control costs.

The trick is, you can specify a certain date or quantity sold by which you will revise your offer to ensure it appropriately reflects and covers your costs at that time.

That's why the scarcity, in this case, is not so much a promise that an increase in price is imminent, but the promise you will maintain the current offer as it stands for a predetermined period of time only. After that, anything can happen.

Now, while that might seem logical for software, sometimes this tactic might not be as convincing in the case of digital products. (Especially in the case of a very short ebook, among others.) In this case, try to make your digital book dynamic.

Again, this doesn't have to apply to an entire product or to the product itself. Certain parts, chapters, or bonus add-ons only can be made dynamic.

For example, some PDFs now have forms and quizzes. Some ebooks contain streaming audio and video. Others are compiled as standalone executables but pull content from the web. And let's not forget membership or password-protected websites.

Dynamic content obviously uses more resources than simple one-time downloads. And it may be common knowledge. But the goal is to communicate this to your prospects.

Nevertheless, aside from products themselves, there's the most scarcest resource of all.

And that, of course, is time.

There are only so many hours in the day or so many clients you can serve at any given time, right? Therefore, if your product comes with, say, free consulting or coaching, such as critiques, reviews, email consultations, etc, you could then say:

Due to the growing demand on my time, I can only accept a certain number of individuals. So I guarantee that the next 10 clients only who buy this product will get [add-on service].

Bottom line, and pardon the pun, but don't just limit yourself to the product proper. Look at the features or parts of your product, the delivery method, any add-ons or bonuses, the offer, the resources required, or the service-based components.

Digital scarcity works quite well, even when the product may seem to be limitless. Because the possibilities are only as finite as your creativity.

Categories
Copywriting

Use Scarcity To Sell, Not Scare

Takeaway selling, for the uninitiated, is a way to limit the supply of a product or service in some way to increase scarcity of an offer. Because it's a proven fact that scarcity sells.

It's that ageless law of supply and demand. The less the supply is, the greater the demand will be.

People don't know how much they want something until it's about to be taken away from them. As Jim Rohn once said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”

Why? Because procrastination is the biggest killer of sales — particularly online where the chances of a prospect staying on or returning to a website (in order to think about buying), in today's click-happy world, are just as scarce.

It's like walking into a department store and you see a shirt you're interested in. Since there's none in your size, you ask the sales clerrk if one is available. The clerk goes into the backroom and emerges a few moments later, saying, “I found one in your size…

“… But it's the only one we have left in stock.”

Now, how much more do you want that shirt?

That's the power of takeaway selling. In fact, I'm about to make a shocking statement. One that will force you to look at things in a dramatically different way. It even might shock a few copywriters and “online conversion” pundits.

It is simply this: I've grown even more convinced over time that great copy is not meant to induce action, especially online. Yes, your copy's job is not to get people to act.

It's really meant to prevent procrastination.

Why? Because copy should not sell people and pressure them per se. It should help them buy what you sell and prevent them from making a wrong decision.

Procrastination is a decision in itself, albeit a bad one.

People go online for one reason above all: information. They are searching for specific information. So they find your site through research, or they are land on it through some affiliate promotion, ad, or offer made elsewhere. They are initially interested.

Therefore, to a large degree and unlike the offline world, they're pre-qualified. Just like a shopper who's browsing in a retail store, the moment they hit your site they're “in” your store. They're browsing around. Literally. So it's safe to say they're in the market.

(Granted, that's not true all the time. But again, they are qualified to a great degree — at least to a greater degree online than a bunch of people on a direct mail list you have no knowledge of, other than some basic demographic data.)

Nevertheless, as the saying goes, “People don't like to be sold. But people love to buy.” So scarcity, used properly, helps them buy — and not pressure them to act.

Some people will still buy from bad copy. So poor copy isn't the greatest killer of sales, procrastination is. Because it's the natural fallback position whenever we feel confused, insufficiently informed, or coerced — whether the copy is to blame or not.

Even if the offer is outstanding, the product is perfect for them, and it's exactly what they want, people will always — always! — procrastinate if given the chance.

(How many times have you bought from someone who used scarcity but whose copy was less than desirable? You probably did it more times than you care to count.)

Look at it this way: give a chance for your prospects to procrastinate, and they will.

Guaranteed.

So use takeaway selling in order to stop people from procrastinating rather than getting them to take action now. In other words, shape your offer — and not just your product or service — so that it is time-sensitive, quantity-bound, or event-based.

Even preventative scarcity works really well, such as one tied to lessening the potential aggravation of a current, undesirable condition, or to eliminate the fear of some imminent problem, danger, or ill-favored circumstance.

Either way, the important thing to remember is to always give a reasonable, believable, and logical explanation to justify your sense of urgency, or else your sales tactic will be appear disingenuous and be instantly discredited.

So how do you apply scarcity? I've used one of three ways. You can:

  1. Limit the time
  2. Limit the quantity
  3. Or limit the offer

The first is done by adding a deadline on the offer.

Add a real deadline, and not some script that changes the date everyday. How many times have you come across a salesletter where the offer had a deadline that seemed to “magically” bump ahead each time you visited it? People are not stupid!

On the other hand, scarcity done very well is when the product or the price is changing after the deadline, or simply no longer available or temporarily inaccessible.

(By the way, there's an interesting take on the use of takeaway selling. I remember one site that held a rabbit hostage on its way to a slaughterhouse by a certain date — unless you donated money or bought merchandise. Personally, I'm not too keen on the approach. It's crude. But as an example of takeaway selling, it's quite creative.)

The second is limiting the quantity of sales you can make.

Whether it's a finite number of units in stock, or a limited number of openings, always back it up with a realistic reason. Something logical. Something real.

Perhaps it's a “fire sale” (i.e., products discounted because of minimal cosmetic damage, for example), or perhaps it's a way to deplete old stock to make way for the new.

Another way to apply scarcity is to raise the barrier of entry, such as through an application and selection process, longer waiting times, or higher prices and price increases. A great example of this is Australian dentist Paddi Lund.

Whatever the reason, as long as it's credible and logical, and of course as long as it's real, scarcity can become a powerful tool to drastically boost sales.

People buy on emotion first, then justify it with logic. In fact, give them logical explanations in your copy further down, and many will actually use your suggestions — be it consciously or unconsciously — as a way to back up their buying decisions.

You make the excuses for them, in other words. And when you do, they will “own” your reasons for buying now. (Even though those reasons came from you first.)

If you sell services, you can apply scarcity by limiting the number of people you can take on as clients — either because there are only so many hours in the day (the most logical reason), or because overextending your client base will dilute the value of the service.

(Again, you don't have to stop taking on new clients. You can simply increase the barrier of entry, because if you have to work harder to serve more clients, then you certainly deserve to get paid more. After all, if you're busy, you're in demand!)

Also, making the offer something that's secretive, exclusive, or otherwise unavailable to the general public, can arouse stronger motives in the psyche of your readers.

People are intrinsically curious. And people always love to get some kind of “insider's edge” over the rest of the world. (If you want to learn more about this principle, I recommend Dr. Robert Cialdini's book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”)

For example, there's one private membership site, which currently has an extensive waiting list. Once in a while, they “open their doors” to allow only a specific number of new members to join. Once they reach capacity, the sales page goes down.

The third is limiting the offer as it stands.

The way to do this is to limit other elements that are part of the offer, such as:

  • The guarantee — in other words, you offer a longer or more favorable guarantee, but only to a certain number of units or people or by a certain date,
  • The bonuses or premiums — this one is my favorite, especially when the premiums come from a third party, and I'll come back to this in a moment,
  • The price — aside from typical discounts, perhaps it's an imminent price increase, perhaps to cover the extra costs in dealing with more customers,
  • The packaging — perhaps since the product is bundled with other products or components that won't be available after “X” amount sold,
  • The extras — as in free support, free installation, or free shipping, etc),
  • And so on.

Nevertheless, I like all three tactics, especially when the product is truly limited.

But for convenience, flexibility, and credibility, I prefer limiting the offer with bonuses and extras — especially when they come from third parties. Because often, bonuses can be limited and changed, without limiting the sales of the core product or service.

If they come from another source, they can be limited at that third party's discretion. This projects more believability, because it reduces the perception of the owner's control over the limitation, which may appear as self-serving or manipulative.

Plus, and more importantly, it reduces skepticism as the bonus may actually be sold elsewhere, and therefore it is scarce by being added as a bonus in the first place — let alone the fact that the third party may put a limit on the quantity to give away.

For example, I did this with Stephen Pierce's copy I wrote, where Stephen was giving away a software program that complemented his infoproduct he was selling — one that was truly being sold by someone else on another website at a real price.

Stephen managed to secure permission to distribute only a certain number of copies as a free bonus to his infoproduct, making the offer truly scarce and valuable.

In negotiation skills training, they call this approach the “higher authority” or “third party” gambit, where the limitation appears to be outside of the owner's control — making the takeaway truly a takeaway, and not some conspicuous, manipulative ploy.

This is crucial, because too many people use takeaway these days as an unfounded tactic to induce action, and not as a real reason to prevent procrastination.

So add a deadline — a real, honest-to-goodness end-date — to your offer, limit the number of products you sell (or the number of new members you allow to join), or shape your entire offer so that one or more elements are limited.

To make sure that people believe your need to limit the offer, give a real, reasonable, and logical reason why, or else your tactic will work against you. Always back up every claim you make. (Because, like it or not, applying scarcity is making a claim.)

Here are some examples.

If you add a deadline, limit the number of sales you can make, or limit the number of clients you can accept, then you must explain why you're doing so. You can also be vague, sure. But a real, hard, tangible deadline is always best.

Here's an example of what I put on some sales letters I've written — they sell memberships to private sites and offer personal consulting to their members:

Example #1:

“Let me be candid with you. I don't know how long I'm going to keep the doors open to new members since this information is extremely sensitive. I don't want to dilute the value of this information for my paying members. If you were a paying member, wouldn't you want the same, too? So, I must restrict the number of users for quality control purposes.”

In the above case, the reason is very true and the limitation necessary. Specifically, the author sells access to an insider's directory of “hot” real estate opportunities he finds through his unique scouting system, which he also teaches his members.

If too many people get their hands on these opportunities or the system, it will invariably lower the value of the information to the member-base, and contradict the whole purpose of the site, which is to gain access to little-known, available real estate.

Otherwise, why would one join?

Example #2:

“We're only human, and there are only so many hours in a day and so many people we can physically attend to! So, in order to limit the number of hours of coaching we do provide, we must put a cap on the number of new members for obvious reasons. We can only guarantee that people who sign up through [date] will qualify for membership in this program, which comes with personalized coaching, custom-tailored support, and this incredible set of free bonuses worth over $[amount]! So, don't wait and join today. I'd hate to put you on a milelong waiting list…”

This example demonstrates the importance of the support they offer private members and, at the same time, drives home the idea that such a service is limited.

I'm sure the owners can hire part-time help, if the need ever arose. But nothing can replace expertise that comes straight from the experts — the more people join, the more individualized coaching they must provide, and the less time they have.

Example #3:

“If you act by midnight, Friday on [date], you will get the three bonuses included with your special offer. But keep in mind, these bonuses come from various third parties, including [3rd party name], over which we have no control, and can be removed at any time without notice. I've only secured permission to give away [amount] copies of this bonus bundle. So the time to act is now!”

The above is an example of making the offer limited through a bonus. You can also accomplish this quite effectively by tailoring your offer as a special backend or alternative offer to a list of non-buyers, after they've seen the original offer.

Ultimately, add some kind of constraint. Even if it's just injecting a sense of urgency. Because such limitations implore at some unconscious level that they must take action now, even though you're not directly pushing them to act.

Above all, always make sure to back up your limitation with a logical, genuine, and believable reason in order to avoid appearring misleading or disingenuous.

For the more you make them feel that procrastination is a bad decision, the more people will feel compelled to buy of their volition… and not pressured into buying.