"Diagnosing" the hidden problem

Many times as copywriters we're called upon to put on a "white coat"...and "diagnose" the hidden cause or unique mechanism of a problem that our product solves. This is especially true in the supplement niche, but it's also applicable to skin care, fitness, weight loss, and other health and non-health products. In these highly-competitive niches, there are many products that have come before you...and your prospect has heard all the promises. They've likely tried other solutions, and found they didn't completely solve their problem. So they're particularly skeptical that YOUR product is going to work for them. This is why "diagnosing" the hidden problem or cause that your product addresses...and showing them how addressing it will ultimately solve their problem once and for such a crucial part of your research and sales copy. There are many steps to doing this, but in today's issue I want to look at some examples of how you "diagnose" and explain the hidden cause or problem in your copy. Because it's some of the more challenging copy that you'll write as a copywriter. "Dr. Google" to the rescue! Face it, most of us aren't M.D.'s or scientists...although I did dress-up as one a few Halloweens ago...

That's why the first hurdle is to actually figure out what happens physiologically in the body to create this hidden cause or problem. This is where Dr. Google comes super-handy. I often will look up scientific terms I don't understand to get greater clarity. In some cases, I've found middle-school science websites to be particularly helpful in being able to take complex scientific information and explain it in user-friendly, 8th-grade-level-or-less terms. You want to make sure every word and sentence of your copy is crystal-clear to your prospect and does something to advance your case. You don't want to trip them up, confuse them, or make their eyes glaze over with too much science. But you can't leave the science completely behind. Instead, you want to use it to get the prospect's buy-in. You want to make them believe that THIS is the reason why all those other so-called "solutions" they've tried before didn't work. So it's an essential element. Let's look at some examples of how to do this in your copy. I came across this email in my inbox from one of my long-time clients for whom I've written at least 17 controls, Advanced Bionutritonals (Soundview's supplement subsidiary). I didn't write this copy, and I'm not sure who did. But I wanted to share it since it's a great example of clearly explaining the unique mechanism of the problem (and combining it with curiosity about how to solve it by clicking through to the sales page)...

The subject line combines credibility with curiosity to get the RIGHT prospect to click...someone who's concerned about nerve damage.

The first line of the email is a sort of continuation on the subject line, inviting the prospect to read further and avoiding any disconnect with the reason why they opened the email to read it.

It introduces the idea of the newly-discovered cause by mentioning the 34 studies, increasing its believability. It then connects these studies to the discovery of the root cause hinted at in the subject line.

The part I want you to really pay attention to (and is often the most difficult for copywriters) is how conversationally and easy to follow the explanation of this root cause is done.

This is no easy feat, believe me (from someone who's had to explain complex causes of memory problems, joint pain, digestive problems, and more in countless promos).

See how using a metaphor helps right out of the gate: "Nerves work like telephone cables". Look for some kind of metaphor that helps you make the unfamiliar familiar to your prospect.

Then see how the problem is introduced...why does this not work the way it's supposed to? Be sure to include as many prospects as possible by casting a wide net.

For example, most prospects are going to "see themselves" as maybe not always eating right or exercising as much as they should...and  just about everyone is going to recognize they're exposed to environmental toxins.

So it's likely every person reading this will be able to believe that these reasons could explain why their nerves aren't transporting messages as effectively as they used to.

The last paragraph builds in some urgency of the problem. The peripheral nerves (the ones the target prospect--likely someone suffering from diabetes--is most concerned about) are the ones most affected by this hidden problem. It brings to mind the famous Gene Schwartz question you want the prospect to feel indirectly, "Am I really in that much grave danger?"

If you've gotten that far in the email, and you have this health concern, how could you NOT click to find out more?

See how not a single word of that copy trips up or confuses the prospect. It takes a complex physiological cause and puts it into language the prospect can understand...while building in credibility, believability, and urgency. Very well-done.

(I've put the link to the sales page in the email image above in case you want to click through to the sales page...again, it's not one of my promos but it's definitely worth looking at!)

For those of you who've gotten my Million-Dollar Control Breakdown Master Class (or who were on my live copy teardown calls when I did them earlier this year), you'll see me explain exactly how to "dig out" the unique mechanism of the problem (as well as the solution) when writing supplement copy.

By reading (and hand-copying) swipes of successful supplement controls, you can also start to see how to clearly explain these complex concepts. Always strive for 8th grade level or less.

(Word lets you use the Flesch-Kincaid scoring at the end of your spell check; you can have it check one paragraph or even sentence at a time to find out your "problem" areas that need to be further simplified).

If you lose your prospect by getting too science-y, or leaving them unconvinced you really are offering them something NEW they haven't heard before, you won't be able to lead them to your solution...and your promo will fall flat.

That's why it's so important to master this aspect of writing copy! As you get better at it, your sales results are sure to improve dramatically.

Yours for smarter marketing,

"Dr." Kim

P.S. If you missed the boat on getting my Million-Dollar Control Breakdown Master Class at the introductory $300 savings, I've decided to give you more time to act. Use the coupon code SAVE300 up until midnight Pacific time tonight. Click here for all the details.

Here's what copywriter Billy Williams has to say about it...

“A look at winning copy through a master’s eyes!” “To get good at copy you need to know how to look at winning copy through a master's eyes. That’s what made Kim’s Million-Dollar Control Breakdown Master Class so valuable: seeing how persuasive elements are interwoven throughout the copy and how it all comes together. Since going through Kim’s training, the way I study copy has gotten deeper. I can get more out of studying controls and use it in my own writing.” —Billy Williams, Copywriter 

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