Today’s EMAIL ALCHEMIST post is dedicated to Reggie Samuels, who in response to a recent video post about the ethics of persuasion, asks, “I wish these processes can be made more clear: Metaphor and analogy… Anchored words… Future pacing… Multiple open loops that close sequentially… Wrapping your argument in story.”
And so at risk of being picked with a blade and burned at the stake (see the vid) I do the unthinkable. I reveal the heretical spells and secret incantations of the copywriting underworld for all to see.
Read on if you dare …
Metaphor and analogy: When the brain is confronted with an abstract or unfamiliar idea or situation, a little alarm goes off inside saying, “what’s that like?” Automatically the brain begins searching its memory banks for something similar.
Using metaphor and analogy to make the comparative connection for your prospect allows you to basically pigeonhole that idea or situation in a slot that furthers the sale.
By saying something is like something else (a simile or analogy), or calling it something it isn’t (a metaphor), you can twist its meaning in the direction you want.
Smart metaphors, analogies, and similes are therefore like tools that allow you to move your prospect toward or away from a given conclusion.
In the tens of thousands of books written about success, there’s a lot of seriously-bad information.
How do you wade through it and get down to the golden nuggets?
Do you see how the author of this email is using the metaphor “wade” to begin positioning his information head-and-shoulders above competing authors?
He then uses an analogy to further separate himself from the competition, all but eliminating them as an option ….
Think back to the 5th Labor of Hercules, the son of Zeus in Greek mythology.
He was assigned 12 crazy ‘labors’ to atone for his misdeeds, and the 5th was to clean the stables of Augeas in one day (which housed 3000 oxen and hadn’t been cleaned for 30 years).
If that feels like what you’re facing… even occasionally… in growing your business, managing your employees, or losing market share… I understand and have a solution that’s worked for hundreds of businesses.
So what was Hercules’ answer… that you can use, too?
He diverted two mighty rivers into the stables to clean out the… ahhh… mess.
So where do you start with your business blockages?
By diverting and aiming my battle-tested ACTION GUIDE right at your biggest roadblocks… and cleaning out the seriously-bad information about success that lurks in the recesses of MOST entrepreneurs’ minds.
That ‘river’ is contained in the FREE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of my best-selling book called:
“UNSTUCK FOR GOOD: The 30-Minute Summary Edition with Action Steps and Questions to Help You Get Your Business Going Again!”
By comparing other success books to oxen excrement the reader’s mind is opened and the sale furthered. It’s a brilliant analogy, don’t you think?
The great copywriter, Robert Collier, was also a master of teasing the reader along with these extended analogies that culminated in the conclusions he wanted his readers to make.
Here’s one such example:
Have you ever stood on the shore of a calm, peaceful lake and watched the reflections in it? The trees, the mountains, the clouds, the sky, all were mirrored there — just as perfectly, just as beautifully, as the objects themselves. But try to get such a reflection from the ocean! It cannot be done, because the ocean is always restless, always stirred up by winds, or waves, or tides.
So it is with your mind. You cannot reflect the richness and plenty of Universal Mind, you cannot mirror peace and health and happiness if you are constantly worried, continually stirred by waves of fear, winds of anger, tides of toil and striving. You must relax at times. You must give mind a chance. You must realize that, when you have done your best, you can confidently lean back and leave the outcome to Universal Mind.
OK, hopefully that gives you some ideas for using these tools in your copy.
Pedagogues, forgive me if I’ve made a mess of the technical definition of any of these terms. I’m an elementary school graduate.
Anchored words: Words are symbols — representations of reality. They cause a kind of Pavlovian reaction. It’s as if our entire life experience is recorded, and specific experiences can be played back if the right stimulus is provided.
Love, hate, sex, death, kill, joy and blood are all examples of these highly anchored, viscerally charged words that create powerful, automatic, involuntary associations.
Some words are conversely very dull, without much anchoring, neutral. Most are somewhere in between. And when a word produces an anchored response, that response is either positive or negative to the sale.
Your word choice either propels your prospect toward the action you want him to take, or it causes him to stop and think.
Too few anchored words will cause him to stop and think, “Do I really want to read this? I’m bored.” Words anchored in opposition to the sale will cause him to put your promotion aside for further consideration, or worse, cause him to reject your proposition outright.
Here are a few examples of how words can be anchored positively or negatively in context to the sale, and why word choice is so important in your copy.
When selling information products, the word learn is anchored negatively. People hear or read this word and instantly they’re mentally back in school, bored, and hating it.
They don’t want to learn anything. But they love to discover things, magically stumbling upon the answers to their problems.
The word selling in certain situations is also anchored very negatively. People don’t want to sell, and they don’t want to be sold. They hear the word selling, and they’re thinking of the time some misguided “friend” cornered them and started pushing Amway or some other crazy scheme on them. They don’t want to sell. They do however want to serve, and be served.
Signature as in “sign your name” is another word that’s anchored very negatively toward the sale. People hear or read this word, and they remember their father warning them to never sign anything without talking it over with somebody else first, or showing it to their lawyer. Doubly so, if the thing they’re being asked to sign is a contract. The word contract is also negatively anchored. Better to say, “All you need do is give me your John Hancock right here on the agreement and by this time tomorrow you’ll be enjoying [insert delicious benefit here].”
Your prospect’s mind is like a vast storehouse of images and mental movies. Virtually every sentence you write gives you an opportunity to strategically pull just the right one out and play it.
Future pacing: Before your prospect can take action and buy your product, he has to imagine himself using it to either obtain a positive, pleasurable experience … or avoid a negative, painful one — or both.
And since the subconscious mind literally can’t tell the difference between a real and imagined experience, the more vividly those outcomes are imagined, the more motivated he will become.
Future pacing involves projecting your reader into the future, and then getting him to look back on the present, and reflect on his decision.
Here’s an example:
A year from now, you’ll have had a chance to reap some of the mouthwatering gains I’m convinced are in store — and you’ll be enjoying the rewards …
Maybe you and your significant other will be lazing for weeks on end along a sun-drenched stretch of Mediterranean beach … maybe fishing off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard for the entire summer … maybe taking a long leisurely tour of the glamour capitals of Europe.
Whatever you’re doing … you’ll be looking back on the decision you made here today as one of your very best!
Future pacing works incredibly well if the visions you’re asking your prospects to engage in are congruent with their fantasies.
Your prospects don’t see themselves in the exact scenario you put them in, but if you’re close, you’re triggering an analogous and very personal vision stored within their own minds. And that daydream is far more motivational than anything you could possibly describe in your copy.
Of course future pacing works both ways … you can paint a negative picture as well …
Take your prospect forward to a place and time where nothing has changed. There he sits, in exactly the same place he is today, looking back in regret on the opportunity he chose to ignore.
This is not a comfortable feeling, and will often compel your prospect to cast aside whatever fears are preventing him from buying your product.
Here’s an example of negative future pacing:
I’ll be the first to admit that getting involved with what we’ve discussed here today takes a little guts. I was scared out of my mind the day I took the plunge. Do you know what clinched it for me, though?
I said to myself, “Look, if you don’t try this, 10 years from now you’ll be looking back on this moment and wondering what could have been. And you’ll be hating yourself for having given in to your fears, and having let a golden opportunity like this slip through your fingers, along with your dreams for a better life.” Believe it or not, that motivated me to take action, and I’ve never looked back.
Don’t hate yourself for wondering what could have been.
Whoa, that’s the makings of a wicked close. I bet I’m going to hell for that one.
Stay tuned for part two of Copywriting Witchcraft And The Black Arts Of Persuasion, coming your way next week.
Until next time, Good Selling!