You Might Not Be the Kind of Person Who Can Use This Copywriting Trick

by Demian Farnworth

Last updated on February 20th, 2018

No one likes to be on the wrong side of the velvet rope.

NO ONE likes to be excluded.

In fact, we all dream of being on the other side…the exclusive side.

We all want to stand out as special, significant and superior in some way. We want to be treated like royalty.

A rock star. A billionaire.

And it’s not necessarily about greed or selfishness–although that plays into this.

It’s just something in us that craves attention, significance and meaning…and that’s called pride.

That’s not a bad thing because as a copywriter or advertiser you can use that emotion to motivate people to do what you want.

How You Should Use Exclusivity

Any time you help the reader picture himself as the best, the fastest, the smartest or the center of the universe…you are harnessing that need to be significant, superior and special.

You are harnessing exclusivity. You are punching that pride button.

One of the most famous advertising examples is the America Express exclusivity letter. This letter generated billions of dollars in revenue for American Express, and was used for decades.

The gist of the letter said, “You might not be the kind of person we want in our club. But if you are, and you’re willing to pay the annual fee we require to be part of our club, we’ll give you a try.”

The letter then painted a compelling picture of what kind of benefits you will enjoy if you manage to become an exclusive member of the American Express cardholders club.

7 Examples of Exclusivity

Let’s explore some other ways you can use exclusivity to motivate people to do what you want them to do:

  1. Invitation only. Whether its a person who is labeled as the “doctor to the stars,” a membership to a expensive country club or a secret society, you are on the outside and excluded until you receive an invitation. The American Express Centurion card is by invitation only.
  2. Location. Raw land developers Emerging Terrains offer exclusivity in the remote properties they represent that will only appeal to those investors “with a little pioneer blood running through their veins.”
  3. Online or offline. Promote an offer exclusive to people who buy online. Or, if you want to drive foot traffic to your store, offer a discount to people who buy at a particular store front.
  4. Returning customers. Encourage customers to come back to your site after an initial purchase with a special offer.
  5. New customers. A typical exclusivity trick is to offer new customers an introductory price for joining.
  6. Loyalty cards. Like the American Express card, you can give people a feeling of exclusivity by offering discounts off of purchases when they use your branded card to purchase product.
  7. Personal brand. Strange as it may seem, you can also use exclusivity to promote yourself by being “utterly unavailable.” Those are the words that Robert Bruce used to describe Matt Drudge’s eccentricity…an eccentricity that only adds to the legend of the man behind the most influential one-page, static HTML on the web.

As you can see, exclusivity can be blunt or it can be subtle.

Warning: Exclusivity Can Back Fire on You

For example, if you use the negative power of exclusivity, you can easily alienate your prospects.

Here’s what I mean:

Picture you’ve just opened a brand-new beauty salon. You somehow convinced some of the best looking actors and actresses to visit. You then promote the salon with a tag line that says, “Ugly People Need Not Apply.”

That would cross the line.

The online dating site Beautiful People has carefully toed this line:

Anybody can create a free membership–whether you are indeed beautiful or not.

However, and this is the power of exclusivity, existing members vote on whether you belong or not.

Talk about intimidating.

Don’t forget, the key to tapping into the power of exclusivity is to position your product as something that can make your prospect feel special, significant and superior.

Got any great examples of exclusivity you’d like to share?



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Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is a freelance writer who hustles the finer points of web writing at The CopyBot. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.


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  1. December 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

    And… remember the G+ launch: only those with an invitation could join.

  2. Rajesh says:
    April 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm does not allow registration but ask for email address and says you will be wait listed or something, which make it very exclusive.

    • Demian Farnworth says:
      April 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

      That’s another good example, Rajesh. Thank you.

  3. Navigator Multimedia says:
    April 18, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Pinterest uses exclusivity by having new users “Request an Invite”, and wait two or three days to receive their invitation in their email inboxes. With over 10 million users and a 145% growth rate in number of daily visits since the beginning of the year, exclusivity has clearly worked for Pinterest!

    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

    • Demian Farnworth says:
      April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Superior example. It’s almost like you think to yourself, “What if I don’t get an invite” By the third day you are wondering…

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