by Matt Bacak
Recently, I did a webinar with a good friend of mine, Michael Hauge. Michael’s the go-to guy for creating compelling stories having worked with top screenwriters, Hollywood A-list actors and the like to craft blockbuster hits year after year. Using persuasive stories in your copy gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. Using the right story with the right triggers activates an emotional response that motivates someone to purchase your product.
There are all kinds of triggers you can use in your copy to motivate someone to take the desired action, like buying a product, clicking a link, becoming a subscriber, etc. But one thing that most people don’t realize is that negative triggers can have positive results, often catapulting your sales figures into outer space.
So what do I mean by negative trigger?
Say for instance you were selling a weight loss product. A positive trigger would be something like, imagine the feeling of putting on your wedding dress after twenty years and having it not fit because it’s too big. You could weave a story that focuses on the positive aspects of losing weight like increased energy, increased sex drive, feeling more confident, whatever. The goal is to create a positive feeling in the reader or buyer’s mind.
If we’re still using the weight loss product as an example, a negative trigger could be something along the lines of a woman wanting to lose weight to show up the people who teased her in high school for being overweight at a twenty year reunion. Instead of playing up the positive side of losing weight, you would accentuate the negative side of being out of shape or like in the example above, being a chubby kid. Your copy might look something like, remember how it felt as a teenager to be the laughingstock of your whole school, all because you couldn’t lose the weight? For years, you’ve struggled to keep your weight in check but you keep packing on the pounds, year after year. And now a school reunion is coming up and you desperately want to seize this chance to show all those girls up. This is your chance to show them that you’re not the same person you were in high school.
The reason negative triggers often work better than positive triggers is because a lot of times it’s easier for people to resonate with pain than it is with pleasure. Or another way of looking at it (and I’m paraphrasing) is what Tony Robbins had a habit of saying- we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Personally, I find that more people are concerned with avoiding pain than they are with seeking pleasure.
Now I’m not saying to use negative triggers every single time because that’s not going to work and it won’t work for every single person. Part of excelling at copywriting is knowing when to use certain strategies. But keep in mind that using negative triggers at the right time for the right piece of copy can pack just the right punch you need to make the sales you want. It’s a powerful tool that many experts use and now you can use it, too.
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