The Easiest Copywriting Lesson …
and the Hardest to Follow

It’s quite simple, really. Your prospect doesn’t buy for logical reasons. He makes his first decision to buy entirely from emotion.

This is an easy lesson to learn. But most copywriters just can’t seem to let it guide their writing.

I think that’s because our teachers have trained us that good, convincing writing is logical. Point A … Followed by point B … Followed by point C … And BOOM the logical conclusion all neatly wrapped up in a strong summary sentence. For some reason, we can’t get away from those lessons.

And this need to be logical is severely hurting your ability to convince your prospect to buy.

It’s all about your prospect’s brain. He gets excited about buying because you’ve stirred up a part of his brain that makes him want to buy. The emotional part of his brain.

You activate this part when your prospect reads your headline – if you’ve written a compelling headline that is. His emotions – fear, love, need, greed, passion, embarrassment, and so on – carry him on an emotional wave through your copy.

His brain chemistry is telling him to buy. Not logic. Emotion.

What if you interrupt his brain’s emotion-based message too early with logic, say right after the “Dear Friend” part of your letter?

You suddenly damp down or turn off completely the part of his brain that gets him excited about doing what you want him to do … buy your product.

Instead, you turn on the logical part of his brain. You’re inviting him to examine all the reasons he should not buy your product. Right away. Before he’s had the chance to decide deep in his brain that he’s going to buy.

Your teachers would be proud. You’ve used the old fashioned, school taught way of writing a convincing essay.

But you’ve blown it in the world of copywriting.

And I’ve got proof. Studies reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience have pinpointed the parts of the brain that are most active when someone is thinking about buying something: The limbic system, the amygdala, and the posterior cingulate cortex.

You probably guessed it. These are the emotional parts of your brain.

In fact, UCLA Brain Research Institute said this about your prospect’s brain and how you should be talking to it:

“Corporate America, meanwhile, is hoping brain scanning can help sales. ‘The big question for neuroeconomics is, How does the human brain make decisions like which car to buy or what to have for lunch,’ says Antonio Rangel, director of the neuroeconomics lab at Stanford. Research is showing that the limbic system, which governs emotions, often overrides the logical areas of the brain, suggesting that the ‘rational actor’ theory of economics misses deeper sources of motivation rooted in unconscious feelings and interpersonal dynamics. Instead of aiming at consumers' logical decision-making processes, companies could perhaps appeal to the fuzzier side of how people feel about themselves and others around them.”

Those are pretty big guns – all supporting what master copywriters like Eugene Schwartz and Michael Masterson have been telling you for years.

You sell your product, your service, the need to donate, your political agenda using emotions. Only after your prospect is convinced through his emotions do you bring in logic to help him believe he’s made the right decision.

It’s an easy lesson. But it’s one most copywriters never embrace, never really understand. But then, you’re not like most copywriters, are you?

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Published: September 2, 2010

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