Over the years I've heard many stories about my mother's father, who died a few years before I was born.
My grandfather Victor was a highly successful businessman, at least until the Great Depression hit. He traveled the world, and owned rubber plantations in Vietnam which supplied all the major U.S. tire companies.
He frequently used British phrases like "God save the Queen"...often referred to my mom, the youngest of 10 children, as "my big old honey"...and was an amazing storyteller.
He traveled often to Vietnam, spending weeks or months at a time in the jungle with not much to do but make up stories. Each trip home my mom and her horde of siblings would gather at his feet to hear them. (My mom has shared some of his characters with me. One of these days I want to make them into a children's book.)
But a phone conversation with my elderly mother last night brought to light an important lesson from this wonderful grandfather of mine that I never got to meet.
You should be sure to apply this lesson to your copy...especially right now.
You see, yesterday I got some groceries delivered to my mom, and had to go back and forth several times by phone and text with the Instacart delivery person. With so many things out of stock, there were lots of substitutions and decisions to be made.
I didn't mind of course, this is my mom we're talking about. But I made a blunder when she first thanked me on the phone for all my trouble.
I answered that it was a lot easier than driving an hour away and getting the groceries for her myself (which I just did a week ago. For now I'm keeping my distance in order to keep her safe.)
And that's when mom "schooled" me. She said, "Your grandfather Victor would never have answered a 'thank you' like that. He always acted like a diplomat. He would have said, 'It's never too much trouble for you, my dear.'"
She went on to say, "That's why people loved him so much. He always ended things on a positive note and made people feel good."
The same is absolutely true in the messaging and sales copy you send to your customers and prospects. Whenever you use fear in your copy, be sure to balance it out with hope.
Leave them feeling good, or better off in some way, just for reading your copy. Don't fill it with too much negativity.
That's true whether it's financial or health or anything else. Even in a fear-based promo, you need to give them hope there's something that's in their control that they can do to make things better (i.e., the solution or information you're providing).
Like my grandfather used to do, always end things on a good note. Better yet, don't wait too long to get to it early on in your copy.
A year or so after 9/11 with the markets still rocky, I used the following main headline and deck copy on a financial promo that ended up beating Jim Rutz's control:
The Surprise Winners and Losers in Today’s Grim Market Reality The S&P 500 is projected to return as little as 3 percent a year in the coming decade—and real rates of return could be negative. Meanwhile, a select group of assets will beat the market tenfold or more over the next ten years. Here’s why…
I've always incorporated hope and positivity--and "ending things on a positive note" in my sales copy. The result has been dozens of successful controls and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue generated.
When you write or study successful promos, look for this balance of fear and hope. You can see it demonstrated again and again in my Buy 'em All KKS Swipe File.
It has 36 (and counting--I have a few more I plan to add soon) promos in it. You get free automatic updates whenever I add more, and there's a huge assortment of supplement promos, fitness, financial, skin care, and more.
(You can get it right now for 50% off the sale price shown with this code: BEAHALF)
In light of this valuable reminder and "schooling" from my mom, I took advantage of the second chance she gave me on the phone to do it right. She ended up thanking me again for all my trouble.
My answer? "It's never too much trouble. It was my pleasure."
Thank you, mom, for the lesson.
Take care of your elderly parents and grandparents during these times.
And don't risk scaring the pants off your prospects (many of them older) without also giving them some hope.
Yours for smarter marketing,
P.S. A great movie to watch right now (I just saw it last night) is "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood". It's not the story you expect to see about Mister Rogers. But the way he impacted those around him is truly inspiring, and has many great life lessons in it.