Ahh… the wants, needs, hopes, longings, yearnings, cravings, and urges of humankind. Let us corral them all up and call them “desire”. The invisible force that makes web marketing, or any marketing for that matter, work.
Be not misled. It is not your job to create desire, only to channel it. You need only direct it, like the judo master you are, onto your offering. You cannot create it, but you can … and must … sharpen it, giving it form and substance, and a definite goal.
Herein lies the incredible wealth building power of effective online marketing and advertising. When done with exceeding skill, it has the power to harness an economic force many times more powerful than the mere dollars spent on promotion. In the hands of a master, it can create fabulous returns of $50 or even $100 for every dollar spent.
To aspire toward this level of profitability, you must harmonize your sales message with the dominant emotions and beliefs that already exist in the minds of those people who are most easily satisfied by your offering. This is your target market.
Two Kinds of Desire…
Instinctual Desire – At its core, desire is immutable. It’s hard wired into the human brain. Does that mean we are a bunch of automatons who react predictably when presented with a given stimuli? Unfortunately for us online marketers, not quite …
Each of us places a varying level of importance on the basic instinctual desires that run through our collective veins. To a large extent, this “perception of importance” is what defines us as individuals.
16 Core Human Motivations
For example, we all have a basic instinctual desire for “acceptance” or belonging. But some of us desire acceptance more strongly than others. As a result, we see the world differently. And we behave differently.
A person who has a relatively low desire for acceptance thinks of himself as assertive, confident, and self-assured. A person who has a relatively high desire for acceptance sees this person (the one with a lower desire for acceptance) as conceited, over confident, and slick.
Since we tend to like, listen to, and believe people who we think share our character traits, your copy “voice” should harmonize with the traits that are characteristic of the dominant desires shared by your target market.
To carry our example to its conclusion, an overly assertive, confident, and self-assured copy “voice” is unlikely to resonate well with a market dominated by prospects who share a high desire for acceptance.
Each core human motivation contains a whole vocabulary around which ideas and themes can be built.
For example, wrapped up in the desire for “romance” is the desire for sex and beauty, the male desire to be virile, and the female desire to be feminine.
The desire for “vengeance” subsumes the desire to win, to get even, to compete, and so on.
Instinctual desires are very closely tied to the emotions.
For example, for those who have an intense desire for “tranquility”, fear may well be a dominant emotion. Assuage those fears and anxieties in your copy, and you’re that much closer to making the sale.
Situational Desire – Instinctual desire often finds its expression through the forces of change that spread through society.
For example, external factors like the pandemic, technological advancements, birth rates, changes in government etc. influence how instinctual desires are satisfied en masse at any given point in time. What physical satisfactions do people want now?
As I write this, many people have a huge case of severe cabin fever, due to the pandemic.
Vitamin supplements are seeing an increase in desire because the baby boomers have finally figured out they are not going to live forever.
The desire to be self-employed is on the rise because technology is making the traditional vertically integrated business model inefficient.
These are basic trends in situational desire that are driven by the forces of change.
And they have an impact on the intensity of instinctual desire as well.
For example, many naturally assertive, confident, and self-assured people found themselves much less so after helplessly watching a loved one cut down by the virus or losing a job as whole industries crashed and burned. All of a sudden, their desire for “acceptance” increased.
Keep your fingers on the pulse of situational desire. To buck the trend is death. But realize also that these kinds of desires are not root desires.
Nobody trades in their SUV for a tiny little crap box of an automobile because they desire a small fuel-efficient car. They are thinking about the money they’ll save, the tranquility they’ll enjoy as a result of being able to pay their bills at the end of the month. They may even be motivated by idealism, and saving the planet from greenhouse gases. These instinctual desires are always the end goals. Situational desires are just intermediary steps.
This idea goes back to Aristotle, who divided human motives into means and ends. Means are things done because they lead to something else, whereas ends are things we intrinsically value (the satisfaction of a desire for its own sake).
Every offering will appeal to several desires at both levels, but the prospect will take only one overriding idea away with him.
You must choose which situational desire you will emphasize in your copy, and tie it to the dominant instinctual desire your target market identifies with most strongly.
How to Amplify Desire …
Once you’ve flagged your prospect down with your headline by focusing his attention momentarily on a dominant desire… how do you then sharpen it, focus it, amplify it, and direct it on to your offering?
And how do you do it with enough intensity to overcome the natural obstacles that stand in the way of a sale … namely laziness, skepticism, and cost?
You do this by creating a vision. You are the architect of your prospect’s future life. A painter of wondrous new worlds of possibility. The director of a moving picture … with your prospect in the starring role, acting out his fantasies and fulfillments on one hand, and vanquishing his fears on the other.
What you are doing is taking latent desire, and giving it form and content … you are sharpening hazy, indistinct impressions … vague emotions that in many cases lack compulsion and direction … and therefore have only a fraction of their potential power.
This takes imagination, research, and above all enthusiasm. These are your qualifications. You use them to give form to the latent desire that already exists within prospect, building one vivid picture of satisfaction upon another. You are using mental imagery to make him aware of everything that’s possible for him, and everything he is currently missing …
The sharper you can make these images, and the more of them you can legitimately present, the more your prospect will want your offering… therefore lessening the significance of price, and breaking down lethargy.
The trick is to maximize the number of visualizations and satisfactions you represent in your copy, without giving the impression of repetition, and therefore boring the prospect.
Regardless of what you do, your prospect will take away only one dominant idea from your copy, but the more you can reinforce that idea, coming at it from a variety of different credible angles, the more real it seems, and the more emotional weight you can bring to bear.
Thus the problem becomes one of perspective. Trying to understand the connection between your market and your offering so intimately that you can paint vivid pictures of your soon-to-be-client interacting with it in every way that it touches his life. Satisfaction upon satisfaction, each one bringing a fresh new perspective and interest.
You are working not only against the material you have already used in your marketing, but also competing with other ads and promotions that have come before you.
If your prospect has been exposed repeatedly to the same phraseology, he will become bored more easily when he sees it again.
One of the most effective techniques for using imagery is to come right out and ask your prospect to imagine, or picture the fulfillment of his dominant desire… as in the following example taken from a business opportunity seeker funnel …
Imagine your perfect life … when you never have to give money a second thought …
What kind of a house are you living in? Is it by the seaside, on a lavishly landscaped golf course, nestled next to a pristine, crystal clear mountain lake? Step out onto the deck and enjoy the fresh morning breeze. Take a couple of deep breaths and experience it for a moment …
What’s waiting for you in the garage? Is it a brand new Mercedes SL600, a sleek little Porsche 911, a long luxurious Bentley Continental? How does it feel to slip behind the wheel … to settle back into the soft leather seats … to run your fingers along the rich walnut trim?
What kind of vacation is awaiting you next summer …
You are simply describing your prospect’s new life, as it will be, based on the fulfillments contained within the promise of your offering. This is the most common perspective you see used, but there are many ways to create imagery, and intensify desire.
For example, you can even use third person narratives that put your prospect in the role of an observer, as in this bit of copy from a vitamin supplement promo …
Have you ever wondered if there might be a connection between nutrition and male aging?
For years, my friend Carl and I had been playing squash at a local club near the office. We were pretty evenly matched, but lately, he seemed to be getting the better of me.
He seemed to be getting stronger, leaner, more agile on the court. By June, he was wiping the floor with me, almost every chance he got …
It really bothered me … I knew Carl wasn’t playing anywhere else. Was he getting better, or was it me … was I losing my edge?
Finally I confronted him in the locker room, and he confessed …
Here are some other ideas you can use to find fresh vantage points …
You can show your prospect testing your product when it arrives … (from a mail order ad selling spark plugs)
When you get your set of SA injectors, here’s all you do …
Take him back in time and draw an analogy … (from an investment newsletter pitch)
Imagine yourself in a top hat and tails on a private yacht off the coast of Newburyport, sipping the finest Napoleon Brandy over cards by the light of three gimballed kerosene lamps.
It’s 1867 – the industrial revolution is in full swing, and while you don’t know it yet, the fuel that’s lighting the lamps illuminating the card table will soon quadruple your wealth, making you and your family into one of the great American dynasties …
Give him an imaginary friend … (from a famous space ad selling a home study course)
Suppose he himself were standing forever at your elbow. Every time you mispronounced or misspelled a word, every time you violated correct grammatical usage, every time you used the wrong word to express what you meant, suppose you could hear him whisper, “That is wrong, it should be thus and so” …
Put him in a position of discomfort, and then come to the rescue … (from a space ad selling a book on how to become a better conversationalist)
Don’t you hate it? The prospect of walking into a room that’s packed with strangers, approaching someone you’ve never met and striking up a conversation? …
There are literally endless vantage points from which you can approach the channeling of desire toward your offering. The important thing is to research your target market as thoroughly as possible, with the intention of accurately identifying the dominant desires and emotions.
Then place your prospect in a believable imaginary reality where he experiences the fulfillment of those desires and the corresponding emotions, and watch your response rates soar!
Book a free strategy call if you need some help.
Until next time, Good Selling!