How to Create Predictable Emotional Response (PER) In Copy

ElephantAs a wordsmith for over a decade, I have to say that for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why people didn’t respect copy.

It seems they would look to improve every other aspect of a marketing campaign before they’d look at the copy.

Then I figured it out…

Copy isn’t just a bunch of words on a page or in an email…

At its most basic definition, it’s “salesmanship in print”…but it goes so much deeper than that…

Have you ever heard of the Elephant & Rider metaphor?

It’s based on NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s theory in his bestselling book, The Happiness Hypothesis.

It goes like this…

Imagine a 200 pound rider on top of a 15,000 pound elephant. It appears that the smaller rider is in control…but the truth is the enormous elephant is really going to go where it wants.

This is a metaphor for emotional response

See, the rider represents the conscious, logical brain…while the elephant represents the emotional, visceral brain

The truth is…the elephant is in charge…and so are your emotions

People feel emotion first, then rationalize it.

Say you want a piping hot pizza…

You can practically taste the hot cheese and the crispy crust…

Then you start talking yourself down rationally…

You know pizza has little nutritional value…

You’ve been hitting the gym lately and pizza is just more unwanted calories to work off…

You also feel like crap afterwards…

So now it’s a push me/pull you game…

Which side wins? The rider or the elephant? The rational side or the emotional side?

If you’ve even done things that you know you probably shouldn’t do like sleep in or procrastinate or make an impulse buy, then the emotional/elephant side is winning.

Emotions are much more powerful than rational thought.

In order to write copy that really connects, you have to break into your prospect’s subconscious, and create a Predictable Emotional Response (PER)

See, understanding your target market is just the first layer…we need to feel those people viscerally… like the flesh and blood people that they are. When you can get to THAT level, your bond is instantaneous.

So how do you get there? Well, for your consideration, I’d like to reveal my favorite, yet quirky secret to getting a Predictable Emotional Response (PER).

This trick harkens back to my acting days when I first arrived in Los Angeles. (Fun fact: Did you know I was an actress on Baywatch for a summer? Yup. That’s how I got into the Screen Actors Guild.)

When you’re studying a character for acting, you need to understand the “backstory” of your character.

In fact when I’m teaching copy-writing classes, I teach my students to write their own “backstory” biography of the ideal prospect they’re looking to attract.

It’s really fun and engaging. Best of all it brings your “target” (or avatar or persona or whatever you want to call it) to life.

The best way to elicit a true Predictable Emotional Response (PER) is this…

You need to FEEL an emotion when you write if you want your prospect to experience an emotional response while writing…

You must HAVE an emotional experience while you’re writing if you want your prospect to have one while they’re reading. The way to get there as a marketer is to know exactly who you’re selling to, which is the same person you’re relating to across the page.

This emotional connection comes from your true empathy of where they are and where they want to go…

The more you can actually visualize a single person in detail and know her emotional road map, the faster you will build lasting connection.

It works every time.

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Copywriting Strategist Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero publishes the award-winning Copywriting TNT weekly eZine with 33,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your business, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at: Red Hot Copy




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