It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing

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(with thanks to Ella Fitzgerald)

Why are some commercials awful, and others make you want to reach for your wallet?

If you are in the business of selling things, you’ve got to have someone to talk to, someone who might buy your product or service. Now sometimes that is just about getting your product in the right store, or maybe it is all by word of mouth.

But if you need to advertise, you are in the business of marketing and that is about making people WANT what you got.

How do you do that?

There’s an old advertising saying: Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle. You have to stir people’s emotions. Your marketing has to be alive, it has to talk to the potential buyer. In short, it’s got to have that swing.

People don’t buy because of carefully explained reasons. Not really. Sure, you need to give them the facts and figures. These back up the emotional appeal and help people decide and justify why they WANT to buy that particular product or service.

You see those beautiful commercials with cars skidding across a rain-slicked desert at 120 miles per hour. What does this have to do with Joe Smith, stuck in stop-and-go traffic on the way to work in the morning? Nothing. But they sure make you want to get behind the wheel, don’t they?

So, how do you strike that cord? First, you’ve got to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the prospective buyer. If you can understand your prospective buyer, you can imagine what would appeal to him and put that in words and pictures.

Claude C. Hopkins, one of the pioneers of modern advertising, made his living writing copy for ads to the general public. He wrote that he could sell them because he was one – working from age 10 at jobs such as selling newspapers, farm worker and clerk. By 1907, at age 41 he was making $185,000 a year writing ad copy.

Here are some things he said:

“The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest.”

“Curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives.”

“Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are.”

“Picture what others wish to be, not what they may be now.”

The moral of the story: to create a successful ad that will resonate with your audience and make them want to buy what you’re selling, you have to understand what makes them tick. Put yourself in their shoes, and tell them what they want to hear.

Photo Credit: The Capsule Blog

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