Have you ever seen the movie The Prestige? (Quick synopsis: After a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.)
In it, one of the main characters dissects the elements of a magic trick.
First, you show the object that will be manipulated (i.e. the rabbit in a hat that you intend to make disappear).
Next, you manipulate the object (in this case, you make the rabbit disappear).
Then, you bring it back.
And that is the prestige.
Because it’s not enough to just make something disappear. You need to actually bring it back, too.
In essence, this is about closure. You need to bring closure to whatever you’re doing, including your marketing and copywriting, or it will feel unfinished.
But how exactly do you do that?
Well, let’s start by looking at how people buy.
For the most part, the process looks like this:
• She looks for a solution to the problem.
• She determines the best source for the solution.
So, to give you an example, let’s say someone wants to lose weight.
• The problem: She is unhappy with her weight.
• The solution: She wants a diet and exercise program that will work for her to lose weight.
• The source: She looks for the best nutrition/fitness person to give her that solution (whether it’s a book, or home study course, or a personal trainer, or something else).
Now, when it comes to copy, a sales letter (for example) often mirrors that same process. It:
• Outlines the problem.
• Explains the solution.
• Emphasizes that it (the business associated with the sales letter) has the best solution.
See how that works?
Let’s look at another copywriting example–how to write benefits.
First, what is a benefit? In a nutshell, benefits are what people buy. They’re the answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question. They’re what gets people excited about buying your product or service.
Let’s go back to the weight loss example. People aren’t really buying the idea of losing weight. What they want is the BENEFITS of losing weight: they want to look good, feel good, improve their health, etc.
Think about it … if someone didn’t care what she looks like, how she feels, or if she is healthy or not, why would losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight be a priority in her life?
Again, she wants the benefits of being thin—it’s not about being thin just for the sake of it.
With this in mind, when you write a benefit, work in both the problem AND the solution.
Here’s an example:
Frustrated because the scale has been stuck at the same number for MONTHS no matter WHAT you do? I can help you smash through that plateau, and get back on the weight loss track!
It’s not enough to make something disappear, you must bring it back. How can that help your copy? My post here.
Going back now to the movie, The Prestige, it’s not enough to simply talk about the problem (which people are already aware of if they’re reading your sales letter). What they need to know is that they’re going to get a solution. So your job is to show the prestige.
Providing closure feels comfortable to people. And the more comfortable you can make them in the sales process, the more likely they’ll buy.
If you like this post, you may also like my Love-Based Copywriting books.