- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 05/25/2008
- Writing for the Web
Imagine that you are a busy college student, waiting in line to copy an article you need for your upcoming final exams. A stranger taps you on the shoulder: “Could I cut in? I want to go first because I’m in a hurry.” Meanwhile, in the next line, another stranger taps on your friend’s shoulder: “Hey, could I cut in?” Actually, you’re part of an experiment. The researcher wanted to test the power of “because.” Sure enough, those who were interrupted with a “because” story were more likely to say, “Sure, go ahead.” Apparently even a bogus reason (“because I’m in a hurry”) was more effective than no reason at all. So when it comes to writing copy (the words on your website or advertising), you’ll find copywriters love the word “because.” Some say it’s the most powerful weapon in our copywriting arsenal. You can harness the power of “because’ in these 3 ways. (1) Power up your promises. One challenge facing marketers: Convince your prospects that you really can deliver the benefits you promise. You and your 500 competitors all promise to change someone’s life, take their business to the next level, or help them lose weight and keep it off. But your readers say, “Oh come on: I’ve heard that before.” That’s when you back up your promises of benefits with a statement of features — the process for delivering your benefits. You light a fire under your promise with the “because” word;
Example; “You never get a cookie cutter solution (because we begin work after you complete a detai
led questionnaire).” (2) Offer a special without sounding desperate. Price reductions can be dangerous. It’s important to signal that you’re coming from a strong place of abundance and you’re not the least bit needy. Example: “I’m offering this special price because we’re coming out with the new version in just a few weeks.” (3) Relate to your market. “We’re offering this product because we know it’s hard to stay motivated during this hot weather.” or “We’re creating a special workshop for displaced executives because we know how traumatic a layoff can be.” Although I cited an experiment suggesting that bogus reasons might work, I recommend sticking to the Real Deal when you’re marketing and writing copy. Creating disbelief can be fatal to your sales. When I read, “Because I want to share,” I shake my head and click away. But you can make readers smile with a “reason” that’s patently absurd. Every so often an Internet marketer offers an “overstock” sale of digital products (think about that one). Or you get a special “because it’s my birthday” or “my dog wanted me to do this.” Risky but sometimes effective. Stil, the “because factor” is most powerful when you can find an honest, realistic reason. Recently a well-known marketer extended a promotion for a few hours. Extending a deadline can send mixed signals, but he came up with a convincing reason: “Because I forgot to put the time zone in the ad. When it was midnight in New York, it was just 9 PM in California.”
That works. In fact, it works so well I can’t help wondering if he did it on purpose.