In Marketing, Enthusiasm Connects
by Marcia Yudkin
Two incidents in one week got
me thinking about an ingredient in persuasion
that we don't often hear about.
In the first incident, an accomplished
copywriter asked for feedback on a
letter he intended to send to members of the
local Chamber of Commerce that he'd just joined.
The letter was technically excellent. It
contained all the ingredients that a sales
letter should have, in the right proportions and
in the right places - except for one. The
letter came across as cold and mechanical.
The tone was distant and impersonal.
Inevitably, the reader would be conscious that
the writer was trying to make a sale, not trying
to help out new friends and by doing so, to make
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In the second incident, a woman in my
copywriting training program showed me an email
she sent to an entrepreneur who was looking for
a ghostwriter for a collection of spiritual
stories. My trainee had no ghostwriting
experience and had never been published.
Without any nod toward the usual credentials
someone might expect in a ghostwriter, my
trainee's letter expounded on other reasons why
she would be perfect for this assignment.
She opened with a paragraph on the power of
stories and created further rapport by
mentioning involvements that would show how in
tune she was with the spirit of the project.
From beginning to end, the second letter showed
a sincere desire to connect with its audience.
The entrepreneur wrote back that of all the
responses she received, the one from my trainee
"spoke to her heart." They
arranged a meeting. This letter persuaded
because it made a connection.
A third incident came to mind as I continued to
ponder the element that the second letter had
that the first letter lacked. Three or
four years ago, a personal coach asked me to
review his web site, and I told him that he had
done a masterful job of coming across as
different from all the other coaches whose sites
I had looked at. His site breathed with
uniqueness and life, as few web sites do.
So when another coach or consultant asked how it
would be possible to position himself as
distinctive in such a crowded industry, I wanted
to refer him to the site that had impressed me
But when I went back to look, the site had
changed. The wording now had a slick,
remote veneer. Instead of sincere
enthusiasm and confidence, the site projected a
self-conscious and somewhat formulaic attempt to
attract coaching customers.
"Uh-oh," I said to myself. "He 's
been knocked off center. He's trying too
hard. He's going for polish and
professionalism instead of, rather than on top
of, who he is and what he really does for his
clients. Too bad!"
Unlike most of the other ingredients in
persuasive copywriting, this one is
pretty elusive. It has to do with presence
and animation and a whole-hearted desire to
connect with readers. Sometimes there's
playfulness in it, and other times it's plain,
straightforward earnestness personified.
In either case, the voice has no fakery in it.
The impact of this element resembles that of
charisma, but here the connection occurs through
words and without in-person contact.
Learn From the
Masters of Straight-Talk Copywriting
In 2013 and 2014, Marcia Yudkin
convened the most articulate and
experienced practitioners of no-hype
copywriting for an exchange of ideas
on writing copy that persuades
without excessive showmanship or
stretching the truth.
recordings from these telesummits.
I cannot prove that the full-blooded verbal
magnetism I am writing about
sells more products and services than lifeless
or mechanical wordsmithing.
But I know that it attracts ideal clients, and
that it can enable someone
who's new in business to outshine someone with
many more years of
experience. The way to get it into your
writing is to communicate with a
confident desire to connect and before sending
or posting, smooth away most of the rough edges.
I also know that it's sometimes very easy to
capture the right spirit, and other times it
takes crumpling up a draft and trying again time
after time after time.
When Ingredient X is there, I feel it.
Customers eager for something real
feel it, too. They read this kind of copy
with interest and attention. And
Copyright 2006 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
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