How to Harness Your Passion and Thrive in the Self-Help Market

Americans spent $5.7 BILLION on self-help products of all kinds in the year 2000.

That’s a remarkable amount of money – until you realize they spent $8.5 billion in 2003, just 3 years later.

What makes the Self-Help market so enticing is that it isn’t really one market selling a few types of products. Self-Help is a super-niche – four niches rolled into one, each with numerous subcategories and dozens of types of products to market.

Here are the four major Self-Help super-niches, along with a few sub-categories:

  1. Motivational – achievement, overcoming procrastination, relationships, self-confidence, positive thinking
  2. Inspirational – emotional development, self-esteem, relaxation/peacefulness, heightened awareness
  3. Spiritual – religion, meditation, aromatherapy, feng shui, yoga, astrology/tarot
  4. Health – personal improvement (weight loss, stop smoking, etc.), specific health issues, alternative therapies, vitamin supplements, other healing products

Within these subcategories are subjects you may feel passionate about. And this passion could be exactly what you need to write strong, winning promotions.

Thousands of Products to Excite You – And Your Prospects

One especially appealing aspect of the Self-Help Market is the wide array of products you can write about.

There are books, newsletters, courses, tapes … even foods and supplements. But it doesn’t stop there.

Think about it. There are seminars, CDs, DVDs, and every kind of software imaginable. There’s inspirational music, religious publications, personal care items, and gadgets galore.

The Core Secret to Success in the Self-Help Super-Niche:
It’s NOT Just about Knowing Your Prospect

In becoming a top-flight AWAI-trained copywriter, you’ve learned how to present benefits as promises and how to make a personal connection with your reader.

You understand that …

  • your prospect is a complex being made up of a combination of hopes, feelings and desires. As Michael Masterson has taught us, he’s not just a one-dimensional character who responds when you push the “fear” or “greed” buttons.
  • you have to provide enough solid proof in your sales letters for him to justify his purchase to himself … his spouse … his friends.
  • And, especially important in the self-help market,
  • you need to have a thorough understanding of the product and the marketplace you’re writing for.

That last piece of advice was given to me repeatedly from the pros I got to know while we were creating our latest program, “Secrets of Writing for the Self-Help Market.”

“The first step in designing a winning package is to know the product as well as (or better than) the person who developed it,” was the common response when I asked for insights from these heavy-hitters.

So that might mean …

  • If you’re marketing a written product, read it at least three times. Read it first to get a general sense of what it’s about. Read it a second time, with highlighter and notebook in hand, and make notes. Read it a third time to catch anything you may have missed the first two times.
  • If the product includes a CD, listen to it twice. Then listen to it at least twice more, this time taking comprehensive notes. Finally, transcribe it. That makes it easier to catch every critical point – and you’ll get tons of great copy ideas.
  • Do the same with a DVD.
  • If you’re promoting vitamin supplements, start taking them. Examine the label and the ingredients. Research them. If it’s a food product, eat it. Invite your friends over to try it out. Talk about it.
  • If it’s a newsletter, get back issues and read them all.

And, don’t stop there.

  • Get copies of all the old promotions for the product. Find out which ones worked and which ones didn’t. Talk with your client’s customer service reps to find out what their buyers are saying.

Lastly …

  • Let your client talk about the product while you actively listen. Your client knows the product. And is passionate about it. When you discuss a product with folks who truly believe in it, you’ll be amazed at the gems you’ll be given.

Once you do this work – although for most people interested in writing for this market it rarely feels like work – then get to know your prospect … come up with the strongest promise you can make him … and fill your letter with compelling “proofs.”

And, don’t forget – let the prospect feel your passion for the product.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: July 10, 2006

2 Responses to “How to Harness Your Passion and Thrive in the Self-Help Market”

  1. Readers of this article should read it through to completion. Then they should ask themselves how strongly they are inclined to read a "How To" article on a subject of their interest. If you're like me (I think I am typical), you'll click on most of them if for no other reason than curosity. This is an excellent, well-balanced article of high-quality that could help you launch a profitable business either part-time or full-time.

    KB Johnson-OhioNovember 30, 2009 at 12:55 am

  2. This is why AWAI is such a great resource and Katie is great!

    EcomLvrAugust 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm


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