What Keeps Your Customer Up at Night?

Fear – the deeply felt kind – is personal and immediate. The fear of disabling disease. The fear of public speaking. The fear of not surviving this current market crunch… or making a terrible investment.

And it’s no accident that these same personal, immediate fears are the ones that tend to have the most hooking power in the headlines of sales letters and ads. Not only because they’re specific. But because, by tapping into those fears, marketers are able to make an emotional connection with their customers.

These immediate fears are attached to problems they feel they can solve… or hope they can. And that is key to producing marketing copy that works.

But fear alone doesn’t make the sale. Showing you know the cause of your customers’ anxiety gets their attention. But what really makes a fear headline work is the hint of a solution. Think about some of the classics:

“Do You Make These Mistakes In English?”… “Do You Do Any of These Ten Embarrassing Things?”… “Why Some Foods ‘Explode’ In Your Stomach”… “Have You A ‘Worry’ Stock?”…

What makes these headlines work is what you don’t see here, but what’s surely delivered in the copy that follows: the promise of better language skills… better social skills… better health from better eating… safer investing…

By the end, the copy transforms the customer from pessimist to optimist, full of hope and ready to try whatever it is you have to offer.

[Ed. Note: To get more of copywriting expert John Forde’s wisdom and insights into marketing (and much more), sign up for his free e-letter, Copywriter’s Roundtable, at copywritersroundtable.com. Or send an e-mail to signup@jackforde.com. Get a free report about 15 deadly copy mistakes and how to avoid them when you sign up today.]

Comment on this article

John Forde's 15-year career as a top copywriter started as an understudy of Bill Bonner and Michael Masterson. Since then, John has written countless winning controls, has generated well over $30 million in sales, and has successfully launched dozens of products. He's also worked three years as a financial journalist and has written books on wealth building and health, as well as more than 250 articles on copywriting for his popular ezine, The Copywriter's Roundtable. John has taught copywriting in private seminars and conferences in Paris, London, Bonn, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Baltimore, and Warsaw. He currently lives and works from Paris, France.