A good friend of mine is teacher to a class of rambunctious 10 year olds. I was really tickled to learn that this term they are focusing on persuasive writing.
Which, as we know, is the essence of all copywriting.
I was even more impressed when my friend told me how the children had responded to an exercise to test their written skills of persuasion.
The ideas they came up with are exactly the same ideas that you can use to persuade people to try out your product, sign up to your newsletter, or otherwise engage with your business.
The test? The kids had to imagine they were in 1962, writing a letter to persuade a record company to sign The Beatles.
They had never heard the term copywriting, knew nothing of features and benefits, they just used that wonderful child-like knack of thinking:
“How do I get what I want here?”
And as you know, from extended bed times, to the latest toy, or something “all their friends” are doing, children can be very persuasive.
So lets see what these little masters of persuasion came up with.
ONE: Make an Effortless Offer
As a child, if you want to stay up late to watch TV, you know your best chances are staying as quiet as possible.
No fuss, no complications, just hoping that it’s so easy to have you in the room, mum, dad or the babysitter doesn’t realise you’re there.
Trying to sell The Beatles? No different. In the class exercise, the children included in their persuasive letter, the following key points:
- Beatlemania was taking Liverpool by storm
- The band was popular with boys AND girls
In other words?
This band had a ready-made audience of customers who wanted more of these 4 musicians.
Which means the record company weren’t starting from scratch or taking a gamble on a group with no fans.
A big gold star for this point of persuasion.
So how can you make your offer effortless when writing your website copy or sales page?
Here’s just a few ideas:
- Selling technology or software? Explain how quickly the customer can be up and running with your product
- Selling a service? Make your packages clear, explain how you work with customers and how easy it is to work with you on a copywriting / web design / marketing project
- Promoting an event? Let attendees know how easy it is to travel to the venue, or the comfortable facilities they’ll enjoy once they arrive
Basically, show them that they’re not going to have to jump through hoops to start seeing the benefits of what you have to offer.
TWO: Know What Your Buyer “Really” Wants
The next big idea the children came up with, was to tell the record company that signing a band with this kind of growing, fervent audience, would raise the profile of the record company, help them sell more records and ultimately make more money.
They didn’t say the Beatles wanted to be famous, or loved playing music, they focused on what the record company wanted, and showed them the link between getting what they want and what they had to offer.
You and I know this as “selling the benefits.”
Bridging the gap between what your prospect really wants and what you have is a strong starting point in copywriting.
So whether you’re letting cooking enthusiasts know how to create an exquisite dinner party menu down to your latest gadget, or showing the link between web-design and increased sales, always keep in mind what your buyer really wants.
THREE: Understand the Fear of Being Left Out
“But Joanne’s mum is letting her go, and Tom’s dad said it was okay for him”
A common plea from children is to explain that all the other parents are letting their friends do the thing they want to do.
Which is a smart move psychologically because people are often influenced by the actions of others.
In this exercise, the children wrote in their letter that if the record company didn’t sign The Beatles, another record company would and enjoy great success (Decca Records could have probably done with this letter).
So, in addition to triggering the fear of being left out, the children were also imposing a deadline and using scarcity: if another company signed The Beatles, the offer would no longer be available.
Scarcity and urgency is something commonly used in copywriting to help potential customers focus their attention on making a decision. People like to put off decisions until the last minute, and if there is no last minute, some people will never make a decision no matter how strong the benefits are or how compelling the offer is.
In your business, scarcity and urgency may take on different forms. It could be a limited time offer, or it could be a limited number of products, or coaching slots. Or it could simply be a way to encourage people to make a decision today to achieve faster action.
And it doesn’t have to be hyped up: “buy now or be doomed forever!” (Unless of course you’re purchasing your anti-world-ending device before December 21st…)
It could be as simple as:
“Call today and we can install your new bath and shower by the end of next week”
“Order today and you’ll receive your gift before Xmas”
So there you go, 3 quick copywriting rules from 30 children selling Beatlemania.
What do you think? Did they do a good job? How would you have persuaded the record company to take on The Beatles?
Let me know below!