Not often will magicians share their tricks with the world, but today we have marketing wizard Boyd Blackwood pulling back the curtain to reveal one of his advertising secrets – three words that sell!
Almost since mankind grunted its first syllable, other men have searched for the most effective words to motivate and convince.
In the twentieth century, the study became a mini-science as experts began to codify the words they had found to increase the effectiveness of advertising and sales messages. Legendary ad-guru David Ogilvy was one such writer, offering his Most Effective Trilogy: You, New and How.
As a marketing strategist and copywriter for over 30 years, I have honed my own list of Magic Words – ones that I know from experience really work in advertising, on websites and in one-to-one selling. Here are three of my favorites.
The MOST powerful word you can use to convince is not You, not New, not even Free. It is Because.
Because the word has almost irresistible power to create belief in the minds of others. Its magic power comes from the fact that none of us really make decisions logically. In almost every instance, people make decisions emotionally – and then justify them logically.
When you use the word Because, you give the other person justification for believing you. What is truly amazing is that the reason that follows the word Because, doesn’t even have to be totally logical, provable or otherwise sound.
On a more prosaic level, which one of these requests is more persuasive?
“Will you buy these cookies?”
“Will you buy these cookies because the sales go to buy our classroom a computer?”
Here I line up with Ogilvy; You is one of the most powerful words around.
Nobody wants to receive more sales messages – we’re all overwhelmed with them. So, we always view any message first with the question: “Is this of any importance to me?”
If the message seems to be addressed to a vast, undefined group of someones, the answer is usually “no”. So, every message should be addressed to the most specific person there is: you.
If you need convincing, stand on a busy street corner and yell: “Can anyone help me?” Then try looking directly at one person and asking: “Can YOU help me?”
Hypnotic suggestion is fascinating. One of the simplest ways to induce hypnosis is to ask someone to imagine something. When we engage our imagination, we slip into a light trance state – putting our rationale mind on hold for a moment and allowing our more creative subconscious to take charge.
And our subconscious is the province of wishes, memories, desires and dreams. Suggesting that someone imagine himself or herself enjoying the benefits of whatever you are promoting can work wonders – it causes them to actually enter the state of being a buyer, to pre-experience the sensations and emotions of ownership or acceptance.
You move from trying to persuade someone to helping them actually persuade themselves. That’s strong magic!
Note: Asking people to remember something is another way to help them access their subconscious. “Remember what it felt like on Christmas morning when you saw your first shiny (whatever) there under the tree?” Then, just connect that remembered feeling to whatever you’re selling.
Now… imagine what you can accomplish by using these magic words to promote your business. Because they almost have the power of incantation.
Among his favorite accomplishments are creating corporate names for national companies such as StaffMark and naming the national program AmeriCorps. He also created the official souvenir books for two U.S. presidential inaugurations. Creative work by himself and his teams has won several National ADDY Awards and has been featured in the Clios, Adweek Magazine, Luerzer’s Archive and AdAge Magazine.
Today, he shares the secrets he’s learned about getting the most return from any size marketing expenditure at his blog, Smart Marketing On Any Budget
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