Using Your Picture to Make Your Promise Feel Real
As a copy reviewer for AWAI, I get to see many member assignments. I am always amazed at how much hard work I see in the efforts.
However, all too often, the copy rushes by me with one important part missing – the picture section. In these cases, I sense the member feels that a strong promise at the beginning is enough to entice the prospect into reading the rest of the letter.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works.
In the first "Ask the Masters" teleconference, Clayton Makepeace restated a crucial point: The purpose of the promise is to grab your prospect’s imagination and get him thinking, "Hey, this letter might have something in it for me."
But you have just a few seconds at the very beginning of the letter to grab your prospect’s attention. So even the most specific, prospect-oriented promise must be made in very few words. If you make the promise too long, you can easily sacrifice attention-grabbing power for detail.
This is where creating a compelling picture comes in. The picture section is nothing more than your core promise made real by giving it detail. It is your way of putting your prospect into the middle of the promise.
Your picture comes from exactly the same place your promise does: your prospect. Before you consider doing any writing, you must develop a detailed, personal image of the person you’re writing to.
You develop this image from data you’ve gotten from your client and from your research. For me, the most important research at this stage is talking to potential prospects.
Here’s how I go about it:
I find people who match the demographics of my prospect. I talk to them, but not about the product. My goal is to find out their interests, their joys, their fears … their dreams. Find out what keeps them awake at night … and what gives them a warm, satisfied feeling in their guts.
Then, using my client’s data, my personal research, and my imagination, I build my image of the prospect. I remind myself that my prospect is ONE person … not a group; a man or a woman – not both. He or she has a specific age, like 53 … not a range like 35-60.
After this, I develop my promise based on what will soothe his or her fear. On what will help him or her sleep better. On what will bring back the warm satisfaction he or she misses.
That’s my promise.
Then I take all this rich information I’ve gathered and turn each benefit of the product into a promise-related part of the picture.
Now, let’s say you’re selling men’s vitamin supplements. One of the things your 58-year-old, gray-haired prospect named Jim is worried about is that he won’t be around long enough to pay off the mortgage and see his family well taken care of.
Your promise – for this SINGLE aspect of the product’s benefits – could be that Jim will reduce the arterial inflammation that is a key factor in heart disease.
Your picture – again for this ONE aspect – could be something like:
"Imagine the day you take the mortgage firmly in hand and burn it in the fireplace. A few short years ago, you weren’t sure you’d be around long enough to see this proud day. But you took action. You made sure you strengthened your heart by reducing life-threatening arterial inflammation. And now, the only ones prouder than you … are your family."
Take just as much time with the other major benefits of your product, turning each one into a compelling picture that makes your promise real, visual, and visceral.