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Copywriting is Not Archery: Taking Aim at the Hidden Heart of Your Prospect
Good copywriting is a hunt for the ever-changing heart of your prospect -- not the simple techniques of aiming at a visible and stationary target.
Your prospect is actively hiding from you. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when choosing a copywriter is to hire one the same way you'd pick a champion archer. In archery, you should look for the bowman with the strongest shooting arm, heaviest bow, straightest arrows, keenest eagle-eye, most number of arrows in their quiver and steadiest aim. Many businesses look for the copywriter who knows the most techniques, the best persuasion methods, the most killer headlines, the most tempting offers and the most satisfying guarantees. What's the problem with that? Archers have it easy -- their targets stand still. The bullseye is obvious. The copywriter's toughest -- yet most important -- job is simply to FIND their target -- the prospect! Prospects are not standing stationary in one open area, for all to see . . . No, your prospect is going about their life. They are totally uninterested in advertising EXCEPT for the small part of their brain which is biologically hardwired to be on the lookout for solutions to the problems of their life. THAT is the copywriter's target -- the prospect's desire for a better life. If the copywriter does not hit the prospect square in the middle of his needs and desires -- the ad fails. To get through to the prospect's self-interest, you must hit them with a benefit they need in a way that's new, interesting and credible. Then -- and only then -- do the other aspects of copywriting (headline, lead, Big Promise, testimonials, offer, guarantee and so on) matter. A copywriter can write a headline that reads terrific -- great benefits, arouses curiousity, gets the reader's attention, makes a wonderful promise, sounds really really good. That is, it seems like a great headline to other copywriters. But if it isn't aimed at the target market, it's a failure. That can be a problem while you're learning copywriting. You read a letter by a terrific copywriter, you think it sounds terrific . . . but if you're not part of the target market, you don't really know. That's why it's important for copywriters to learn from sample sales letters that have been proven in their marketplaces. That's why copywriters need to be careful what they swipe and how they swipe. If a copywriter tries to apply the appeal of a proven health headline to a financial package, it may not work because the markets are different. So it's better to swipe from proven sales letters or ads in the market you're aiming at. If you swipe from outside your market, swipe structure but not emotional appeals, promises or benefits. If the copywriter can't aim their copy at the bulls eye of the prospect's self-interest, they're no better than a archer who shoots arrows at the sky.