As you may already know, we raise pigs. And, just to warn anyone who is a little uncomfortable about the reality of meat – we raise them to eat them. This article refers to this hard fact of my life.
See for first the 6 months or so on our farm, our pigs enjoy days filled with mud lolling, acorn chewing, sumac leaf noshing, and simply sleeping in the sun. But when fall comes around, this carefree life ends.
It’s time to bring the pigs to the butcher.
To take them to their place of reckoning, we have to get them loaded on a trailer. And here’s where the trickiness comes in.
Pigs are smart and perceptive. Getting them onto a trailer is tough enough as it is because it’s completely outside of their normal piggie routine.
But woe upon you should you be thinking of bacon when trying to lure them on.
It’s farmer’s lore, but I certainly think there’s something to it. If you’ve got pork chops on your mind, the pigs will pick up on this. And instead of an easy transition, you’re left trying to move over 200 pounds of pork with 2 tons worth of will power somewhere it doesn’t want to go.
So when this day arrives, we’re careful to keep our minds strictly on the business on hand.
What does this have to do with copywriting and marketing?
Several things . . .
Bacon Breath Rule #1: Don’t Set Off The Ad Alarm
Hard hitting copy still works. There’s still a place in marketing for unabashed sales copy.
But you can’t always put it out there first thing. Consumers have their ad radars up more then ever. With tighter budgets and ads flying at them from every direction, you’ve got to work harder to get their attention . . . and trust.
That’s why it’s ever so essential to strike up a conversation with them before they feel like you’re selling to them. Start the communication by introducing yourself, addressing a problem, gaining their interest. And then build a relationship. Eventually, you’ll be in a good position to make them an offer. And they’ll be more receptive to listening to you.
Good articles, white papers and autoresponder series can get you invited to take a seat at their table. If done right not only do these marketing matchmakers build a rapport between you and your prospect, but they also subtly sell your solution to them.
By the time you’re ready to make the full offer in a sales letter, you’ve got their attention, their trust and their interest in what you can do for them.
Bacon Breath Rule #2: You Can’t Pretend
It’s just about impossible to effectively promote a product you don’t believe in. Just like the pigs, your prospects can tell if something is amiss.
So to really promote a product, get passionate about it.
Get to know what the product does. Get to know what your prospects are struggling with. Understand how frustrated they are. And how eager they are for your solution.
Fortunately I’m in pretty good health. But every time I get hit by something – even something as minor as a cold – I take note of my misery. And translate it a bit into how it would feel to face this same discomfort day in and day out.
I use this understanding to help me understand – albeit somewhat imperfectly – what it’s like for someone facing a chronic illness.
So when I write about the solution I’m offering to my prospects I can address their skepticism and their desperate need for some relief.
This fuels me emotionally as I research and write. It fuels my copy. And it keeps me writing sales copy that rings true with the people I’m trying to connect with.
Copywriter Bob Bly just talked about this in one of his recent ezine articles. As he explains, it’s why some copywriters can be so effective writing what others consider hypey copy:
If you believe in what you’re saying . . . if you feel enthusiasm for your solution welling up inside of you so that you can’t help but crow like a rooster . . .
Your copy sounds passionate – not hollow. And your prospects can tell the difference.
Bacon Breath Rule #3: Reduce The Risk
Now obviously I can’t do this for my pigs. There’s no way of getting around their fate.
But your prospects are different. They are rightfully worried about being taken advantage of – fleeced, burnt, scammed.
They are rightfully worried that you could very well take their money and disappear with it. And they’ll be left with nothing to show for it.
When it comes to health, this can be even more of an issue. Many of your potential customers have been whipped around until they’re dizzy by conventional medicine’s merry go round of side effects and more drugs. With their money flying out of their pockets.
While a natural alternative looks appealing, new alternative health consumers have very few reference points for verifying your claims are true. They may not have yet accessed literature and experts that support your claims.
Meanwhile, they’re flooded with all kinds of negative press about supplements and alternative health care. Every time a miscreant spikes their product with Viagra, the press jumps on it as an example of how the whole industry is dangerous and corrupt.
For this reason, the more you can strengthen your credibility and reduce their risk the better. Use a spokesperson and expand on their credentials. Reference well-known media or experts in your copy where possible.
And always offer a good guarantee. A guarantee tells your customers that you stand behind your product. And that you understand how important it is for them to see for themselves whether your product will work.
Understand Your Prospect’s Fear And Skepticism
Now, don’t misunderstand me . . . I’m not for thinking about your customers like they’re lambs ready for the slaughter (or pigs).
But the mental exercise I go through each butchering day on the pig farm here translates well into similar mental gymnastics I use for building effective lead generation campaigns and sales funnels that sell.
Understand your customers are distrustful and skittish. They’ve probably been burnt by a few bad sales experiences. And this economy just makes it worse.
However, they still need you and your solutions. You just need to find the right way to approach them.
You need to mentally put yourself in a spot where you understand your prospects’ concerns, genuinely care about helping them and fully believe that the product you’re writing about offers a viable solution.
In other words – as us pig farmers say – Keep your mind on tofu and the job at hand.