(just like the previous article I wrote these ideas were taken from the book Breakthrough advertising)
when your prospect reads your copy, he is engaging in a silent dialogue with you.
You are feeding him ideas and images and emotions, in a planned pattern; and he is responding to them.
You can just hope that he is seeing the images you are projecting. That he will understand and agree with the ideas that you are advocating.
But you also need to understand that, there are also a number of inevitable anticipations, or demands, or questions on his part.
And you must answer these questions or your copy will fail.
So what are these questions?
Basically they fall into three classes:
- Demands for more information, more image.
You have whetted his appetite; now you’ve got to satisfy it. He is saying to you: “Tell me more.”
- Demands for proof. He knows he wants it; now he wants to know that it’s true.
He is telling you: “Oh yeah?’
- Demands for a mechanism. He knows he wants the end result; now he wants to know how you’re going to give it to him. He is saying: “How does it work?”
Being the seller and the prospect.
To write good copy, you have to play a dual role.
At the same time, you have to be the copywriter and the prospect.
You have to know the exact point that they are going to come in. You have to anticipate them.
You have to switch copy direction, fill in the wanted material, at the precise point that your prospect loses interest in one theme and demands the other.
This is one of the most difficult parts of writing copy.
This is the main question of your prospect: “Hoiv does it work?”
Your prospect is asking you here to give him a mechanism. He likes what you promise.
But he has to be convinced that your product can actually give it to him.
You have to demonstrate your product, in words, logically, so that he can understand exactly HOW it gives him the end result you promise.
(because cannot really demonstrate your product’s performance physically right?)
Here are 3 ways you can verbally prove what you claim.
- Name the Mechanism.
- Describe the Mechanism.
- Feature the Mechanism.
Nameing the Mechanism.
You may now take advantage of their investment by simply naming the mechanism, and going on to beat them with your price or other features.
For instance, in the conventional camera ad, to back the headline claim, all that you’d have to do is name your mechanisms, like this:
“TAKE FOOLPROOF PHOTOS WITH THE XENOPHON 1750
With Electronic Light Setter. . . Push-Button Zomar Lens . . . Magazine Load . . . Only $135.”
Here, the three mechanisms which ensure the perfect pictures are simply named, and not described at all.
The prospect is already familiar with the way they work from the other ads he has seen, and any further detailing of their nuts and bolts would simply bore him.
So, you name them in as bold type as possible and go on to compete with your price. Most catalog copy and retail copy needs to assume only this abbreviated form.
It deals with products that are already known, and whose mechanisms are already understood and accepted. Therefore, any further wordage on these points would only be wasted.
Let’s say that you are trying to sell a laptop, And you are claiming that your laptop s perfect for gaming.
So how do you prove that?
Tell them that it runs on Intel core i9. Most people are familiar with that processor. So you really don’t need to explain why that processor is good for gaming,
Why we always can’t name the mechanism.
There are a LOT of products in the world. And sometimes, maybe most of the time we always can’t name the mechanism. Why?
Because of two reasons:
1. Because the prospect doesn’t understand their mechanism.
2. Because everybody else has the same mechanism, and the same promise, and the same price. And the market is getting tired, and you need a new way to compete.
So the last example I gave you was a bad one. Because If you are trying to sell a 2000 dollar Pc you really cannot make the i9 processor your main selling point.
- Every pc at that price point has this feature.
- And the consumers want something new.
So what do you do now?
Describe the mechanism.
Here your mechanism is not so well known, or not known at all, and you can’t simply name it. You have to go into more detail; you have to describe it.
So You build a strong, quick promise—and then you follow up with the reason why you can deliver that promise.
Let’s take a look at a great example.
“Who else wants a whiter wash—with no hard work?”
How would you like to see your wash come out of a simple soaking—whiter than hours of scrubbing could make it! Millions of women do it every week. They’ve given up washboards for good.
They’ve freed themselves forever from the hard work and reddened hands of washday.
Now they just soak—rinse—and hang out to dry! In half the time, without a hit of hard rubbing, the wash is on the line—whiter than ever!
Notice how the original promise in the headline has been taken and intensified in these first three paragraphs of the Ad.
The promise is repeated, in different words and from different perspectives, over and over again in those first three paragraphs.
But notice too that—as the copy builds desire—it also builds a growing reaction on the part of the woman reading it.
This reaction can be expressed in one word: “How?” This promise sounds better and better … it begins to sound too good to be true . . . now she needs reassurance fast.
So the whiteness claims stop. The Ad shifts direction—and now begins to sell the mechanism, like this,
Dirt floats off—stains.
The secret is simple Rinso—a mild, granulated soap that gives rich, lasting suds even in the hardest water.
Just soak the clothes in the dream Rinso suds—and the dirt and stains float off. Rinse—and the wash is spotless.
Even the most soiled parts need only a gentle rub between the fingers to make them snowy.
Thus clothes last longer, for there’s no hard rubbing against a board.
Notice, first of all, that this mechanism—the suds that float off dirt—is sold just as hard as the whiteness story it is brought in to prove.
The first rule of mechanism copy is that it is not scientific discourse.
Do not fill your Ad with boring facts.
You must load it with promise, load it with emotion.
Every word in good copy—including mechanism copy— sells.
Only in these paragraphs, the copy is selling a secondary claim (dirt floating off) that proves the primary claim (a whiter wash).
But, the thing you need to understand is this is a really really old Ad. Way older than my grandpa.
In those days it was enough to mention the facts that the suds floated off the dirt; the reader accepted, as an evident truth, the fact that they would do so.
Today, of course, in our much more sophisticated and exploited market, she would no longer do so. Today you would need far more mechanism.
You would have to explain more and promise more.
So, what is the best way to do it?
Feature the Mechanism.
This is a point where the price competition becomes suicidal.
Here we discovered that a strong mechanism is not only a way to build belief, but may actually become so important to the success of your product that you must put it into the headline.
These headlines are all mechanism headlines:
“FLOATS FAT RIGHT OUT OF YOUR BODY.”
“FIRST WONDER DRUG FOR REDUCING.”
“RUN YOUR CAR WITHOUT SPARK PLUGS.”
“SHRINKS HEMORRHOIDS WITHOUT SURGERY.”
“TOMMY ARMOUR SAYS SMACK HELL OUT OF THE BALL WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND.”
And hundreds more. Even one of them offers a new way to get what you’ve been wanting, a new mechanism, a new chance to satisfy your desire—even if everything else you’ve tried has failed you.
If people assume that they know how your product works. or if your claim is so new that they don’t care, then all the mechanisms you need can be summed up in a word or a phrase.
If people are not quite sure how it works, describe the mechanism.
If you have, however, an exceptionally strong or dramatic mechanism, or if you want to establish definite superiority” to other competing products, then sell the hell out of that mechanism.
The Importance of Mechanism When You Want to Convince Your Reader That You’re Giving Him a Bargain.
Sometimes the readers don’t believe what we say.
Sometimes we have a perfectly marvelous product that just couldn’t be sold—because people wouldn’t believe that it could do what he knew it could do.
Bu the manufacturers may think that it is the price that’s holding them back. So they start to cut prices.
But price cuts must be justified. There must be a reason for them. A mechanism behind them.
Without such a mechanism— without such a reason-why you should give this bargain—you are going to get only a fraction of its real sales power.
Here is a great example that describes what I mean,
Subject: Before the Price Goes Up!
A short time ago one of the old, reliable mills that makes the finer qualities of woven Madras for shirts began sending out S.O.S. calls.
They had kept their plant going steadily for months, thinking that the usual demand would easily take care of their excess output.
But, with the weather so generally unseasonable, the usual demand didn’t materialize.
And there they were, heavily overstocked—and needing money.
If we would take all their surplus stock of the finer grades of woven Madras, amounting to a quarter of a million yards, they offered to let us have them at way below any price we had ever paid for shirtings in all our years in business—at far less than they could make the materials and sell them for today.
We took them—the whole quarter-million yards—at tremendous savings in cost. . . . A Bargain You May Never Get Again. . . .
Let me point out the difference between this logic, carefully-prepared introduction to the price slash, and a simple, bare announcement of that slash.
Here they used a mechanism within a mechanism:
(1) The unseasonable weather causing the factory to become overstocked resulting in the primary markdown.
Here the copy starts with the mechanism, and only goes into the bargain claims six paragraphs later.
Anyways, hope this helps.