This article may get me in trouble at home.
But since I have a very understanding wife (who will hopefully never read this), I’d like to tell you about two of the best marketing books I’ve read in the last few years.
The catch is they’re not about marketing at all. They’re about picking up women.
The books are “The Game” and “The Rules of the Game” by Neil Strauss. “The Game” is the story of how Strauss, a skinny, balding writer who has little success with women, becomes one of the world’s greatest Pick Up Artists.
“The Rules of the Game” is his 30 day guide for how to master the “art” of approaching and attracting women.
As the father of two young girls I was horrified while reading these books (do you think a 6PM curfew until they turn 30 would be too harsh?).
As a marketer and copywriter, however, I was fascinated. The books provide an illuminating look at human behavior patterns and how you can consistently elicit specific behaviors if you understand certain psychological triggers.
In the “Rules of the Game”, Strauss writes that he believes attraction is a learnable skill and that strangers, either consciously or not, need to go through a specific sequence of events if they’re going to build a relationship.
After coming to this realization, Strauss created a roadmap he calls the “Anatomy of Attraction” which has 5 “checkpoints” that start with you meeting a stranger and ends with, well, we won’t get into that here.
These checkpoints also happen to provide a very useful guide that you, as a copywriter, can follow to get the sale. In the marketing sense you can think of this roadmap as the “Anatomy of Attracting Buyers”.
Let’s a take a look at them…
1. The Open
The Open is about approaching a stranger and attempting to break the ice in the most “rejection-free way possible.” You have to get noticed and create some initial interest or fascination to show them you’re worthy of some of their attention.
In copywriting, Open = Headline.
A headline should break the ice and instantly grab a reader’s attention. You’re not going to make a sale with your headline. But that’s not its goal. You simply want it to create enough interest so they’ll pay attention to you and read a little further.
The basic objectives of the Open serve as useful guidelines of what your headline should accomplish:
- Create curiosity and capture the imagination
- Spur further conversation (or reading of your copy)
- Show off or position your personality/product/company in the best possible light
If it does this successfully then you’ve just bought yourself a ticket to round 2 which is…
2. Demonstrate Value
As Strauss puts it, “Once you’ve opened, your goal is to hit the hook point as soon as possible.”
What the hook is will depend on the situation and who you’re dealing with, however, its purpose is to demonstrate your worth and excellence. If you don’t demonstrate your value, and do it quickly, you’ll end up getting rejected.
Finding the right hook in copywriting usually isn’t easy. It’s something that takes time to uncover. But if you find the right hook it’ll grab hold of the reader and drag them into the rest of your copy. They can’t help but read on.
And the hook does that by arousing their interest in an engaging, surprising and/or unusual way and demonstrating the value (ie. benefits) they’ll get for continuing to read.
One well-known example of a great hook is from master copywriter John Carlton’s headline “Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards to Your Drives, Eliminates Hooks And Slices…And Can Slash Up To 10 Strokes From Your Game Almost Overnight!”
Even non-golfers are going to be compelled to read about a one-legged golfer. But the value to golfers of hitting longer, straighter drives makes this hook virtually irresistible to them.
A good hook (which could be in the headline, but doesn’t have to be) will get your prospect to immediately pay attention to you. A great hook will also lay the groundwork for the story you have to tell. Which leads nicely to our 3rd checkpoint…
3. Create an emotional connection
Strauss talks about this being the time when you “show that the two of you are bonded in some way, have things in common, click, understand each other, and were meant to meet.”
A common refrain in marketing is “People buy on emotion and justify with logic.” Your copy needs to include the logical reasons and benefits of why someone should buy from you. But more than that, you need to get your prospects to connect emotionally with you or your product/service.
The best way to get those emotions flowing is with a good story.
A story that lends credibility to the claims you make in your headline and/or hook (without this credibility, your claims are just hype).
A story that creates pleasing images in the prospect’s mind of what their life will look like when using your product.
A story that illuminates the emotional benefits, as well as the logical ones, of your product.
Good stories are memorable. They stick with people much longer than a dry presentation of the facts. Stories create that emotional connection that gets their juices flowing and primes them for the next checkpoint in our journey where you…
4. Structure a call to action
Strauss puts it quite bluntly…“Just because she likes you, that doesn’t mean she’s going to sleep with you.” If you’ve done everything right up until this point, there’s a window of opportunity, but it’s not going to be there forever. So the goal in the Pick Up world is to make a woman realize that she has to move fast or she’ll lose her chance to be with you.
Marketers and copywriters are always talking about having a strong call to action. You want your prospect to know exactly what they need to do next and leave no room for doubt.
The best calls to action also include a reason for someone to act immediately. If people think they can make their decision at some point in the future, you’re not going to make the sale.
Once your prospect knows what they need to do and they have a tight window to act, it’s time to…
5. Make a physical connection
We’re going to try to keep this article at least PG rated, so we’re not going to go into what this could mean when it comes to picking up women! But basically if you get to this point Strauss says, “you have to avoid making any mistakes that will cause her to change her mind.”
That’s no different in copywriting. Once you have made that call to action, you have to close the deal. You got their attention, demonstrated your value, created an emotional connection and given a call to action. If you’ve done all that right, your job now is simply not to screw anything up!
Make sure there are no red flags that go up when a prospect is ready to submit their order. For example, be sure that payment screens are secure and order pages load quickly so they don’t reconsider their decision to purchase.
Whether is to attract women or attract buyers, these simple, yet powerful, 5 checkpoints provide a good roadmap to follow from that initial contact to sealing the deal.
If you’re interested in a different, yet fascinating, look at marketing (or picking up women), I’d highly recommend getting Strauss’ books. However, if you’re married like me, make sure your wife knows you’re getting these books strictly for business purposes just like my lovely wife does.