Some personal challenges recently reminded me of an acronym a work colleague uses. It describes a core issue that can hold you hostage, preventing you from achieving your business and life goals.
For example, do you:
>Try hard to fit in?
>Commit to people and/or tasks you really don’t enjoy?
>Buy the latest “shiny-object” because it’s trendy (or because it’s a substitute for personal effort)?
>Sacrifice your goals because achieving them takes you out-of-the-loop?
If you can relate to those and tons of other mostly obsessive behaviors you have what my friend calls – FOMO. It stands for Fear Of Missing Out.
And here’s the core reality of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out is really fear of failure and perhaps even success.
Your greatest enemy to living a productive and rewarded life isn’t always outside forces. In fact, it’s rarely nothing from the outside that you can’t push through.
What keeps most of us locked into mediocrity, failing to achieve our goals, and realizing our potential is between our ears.
It’s resistance – FOMO’s most strategic weapon.
When you fear missing out you’re more likely to delay work on your top goals, building your business to the next level, and facing the next challenge with courage.
How to defeat FOMO:
1) Be resourceful.
The viral impact of FOMO is believing there’s something else out there. And once you obtain it you’ll have everything you need.
For example, if you give into FOMO you’ll make the pursuit of the next-new-thing your goal in the moment. Before long it’s eaten up all your productive moments and you have nothing but the shiny-thing to show for you efforts.
This fear is insatiable. You’ll never satisfy the craving if you depend on the attainment of something “out there” to be the answer you’ve been searching for.
Diligent, focused action creates results. You have all the resources you need to start and finish the task at hand.
Your unique ability and the compulsion to act defeats resistance. It doesn’t know what to do with momentum.
2) Be content.
Contentedness is sometimes confused with laziness. Misunderstanding what it means to be content can lead to inactivity and unfulfilled desire.
Being content is about owning who you are, what you have, and your plans to change it.
The content person, like the content business owner, is so in tune with their own sense of purpose that they’ll go-it-alone, if necessary, to achieve their goals.
You achieve success by courageously pursuing your mission. You’ll attract others when your contented resolve is crystal clear and it appears you’d do it whether no one else chooses to do so.
3) Be yourself.
Many people aren’t comfortable with who they are. So, they live according to FOMO.
After all, who decides who’s “out” and who’s “in?” Though it’s a much deeper matter than this post can address, bullies put themselves in this judgmental role.
The root of bullying behavior is that bullies aren’t comfortable in their own “skin.” Expose them and you strip them of their power.
Stand up for who you are, what you can do, and how you can uniquely make a difference. Why fear not standing where the “crowd” gathers?
Start your own “crowd!” Better yet – celebrate another’s right to have a “crowd.”
Whatever you do, “own” where you stand.
In your business or personal life, where does FOMO impact you? How have you been resourceful, content, and comfortable with who you are?
A local paper ad caught my wife’s attention. It was promoting an international coin buyer’s event taking place over the weekend at a local hotel.
Our experience prompted my thoughts about some important copywriting and marketing principles. I was reminded how it’s essential to think about the untapped value within your products and services.
Along with gold and silver items, the company was offering cash payouts on coins of a certain vintage. My wife knew we had a few silver and half-dollars lying around so she scoured the house, drawer clutter, and forgotten containers to find a few hopefully valuable coins.
Bingo! Among some kitchen drawer clutter she uncovered a 1966 half-dollar. And we did a halfway serious happy-dance as if we were holding the winning Powerball lottery ticket.
We arrived at the hotel, took our number and a seat waiting among a few others who hoped they too had discovered the mother-lode in a jar or coffee can among their house clutter just as we had.
In a moment I’ll tell you how much our 1966 half-dollar was worth and what we walked away with check in hand. But first, our experience reminds me of some basic copywriting principles to apply to your marketing content.
Understand perceived value
Remember that people buy for emotional not rational reasons. This holds true for how they perceive the value of your services and products.
Imagine someone seeing your latest promotion for the first time. Once they begin reading they’ll immediately form an opinion about whether there’s value for them (perception).
Of course, you know the value. And it’s the job of your promotional content to sell them on it.
Your copywriting and marketing content must get inside their head. But don’t stop there. You must reach their heart – the emotional core. How?
>Use benefit-rich action words and keywords.
>Ask questions they must answer in the moment as they read, view, or listen to your content (however it’s delivered).
>Raise the value of whatever your promoting in the minds of your readers with comparative data (statistics, facts, etc.).
>Write to overcome perceptions and objections.
Deliver beneficial value
Whatever you’re promoting has built-in value. But do you know the value inside and out?
Change your perspective and look at your products and services with fresh eyes. Consider outsourcing your copywriting and marketing efforts on occasion.
Your products and services contain hidden value. And the purpose of your marketing is to discover it and create solid, compelling content that promotes it.
Show your readers the benefit-value of your services. But don’t stop there.
The purpose of copywriting is to put the product/service in their hand…in their experience with words. Use words to paint a picture of the future with them benefiting from its use and the consequences of not doing so.
Use content to get them so emotionally attached to your services that they can’t walk away without buying.
Not only give them a picture experiencing the benefit of your services. Show others benefiting also.
The “community” or “tribal” effect can increase value. It’s the show-and-tell principle that builds a story around the product/service benefits.
>Use testimonials throughout your marketing content.
>Expand your testimonials into case-studies and whitepapers.
>Show your products/services solving problems, altering outcomes, increasing confidence, saving lives, etc.
This has emotional appeal that few can ignore without joining the crowd.
Back to our coin selling experience. Our number was called. And we were graciously escorted to a table where the buyer eyed the few coins my wife had uncovered.
He immediately separated the value-coin from all the rest – our 1966 silver half-dollar – and casually told us to spend the other coins since they wouldn’t increase in value.
We agreed to his estimated value on our 1966 silver half-dollar. We shook hands. A check was issued.
And we walked away…$3 richer. Hey, unless my “math” is wrong (wouldn’t surprise me if I was) isn’t that a value increase of 400%?
I’m a visual person. I default to thinking in pictures and images.
For example, when I set goals I see the process, the path, and the end-result of achieving it. Then I move forward in that direction (at least that’s the plan).
Visualization stimulates energy. Imagination taps into emotions. Images ignite thoughts and compel action.
At the movies the preview trailers for upcoming features keep me in my seat. I’ll forgo the concession line to make sure I don’t miss one Preview of Coming Attractions.
There’s promotional power in watching action-packed, laugh inducing snippets from soon-to-be-released films (occasionally the trailer is better than the movie itself).
The visual set-up, like imagination, motivates. It prepares you for action. Visualization energizes your receptivity to new ideas and the means to achieve your copywriting and marketing goals.
What you see is what you get. This works in for the features & benefits of your products and services just like it does in life.
Let’s talk about that for a moment.
What “images” are you creating for your marketing approaches? Are your clients “seeing” what you’re promoting before they get it?
Visually compelling copywriting is essential if you want to captivate the imagination of your target market. Help them picture themselves using and benefiting from your product or service.
3 ways to stimulate your prospects’ and clients’ responsive imagination.
Remember those paint-by-numbers coloring books that brought out your inner-Picasso during childhood? You would pick a number-color combo and give life to an otherwise dull image.
Compelling copywriting involves numbers. Facts, statistics, and relevant data adds color to an otherwise dull promotion.
Useful data provides proof that your business, product, or service delivers beneficial results. Color your copy with testimonial and expert information.
People (your clients) have real problems. And you’re in business to solve them.
Help them picture the benefits your product or service delivers. Connect it to real life.
This means you must know your prospect. Lead them with words to visualize the future – the future that your product/service can enable them to experience. Remember you’re promoting benefits – real…hands-on benefits.
>Show some emotion<
Again, knowing your prospect involves understanding what reaches, touches, and compels them. My business tagline states, among other things, that I write compelling copy. If writing doesn’t compel…you won’t sell (pardon the cheesy rhyme).
Tap into the emotions of your prospects and repeat clients. Write in a way that visualizes fear…greed…insecurity…happiness…pride…guilt…confidence…etc (all among common copywriting emotions).
Remember, *people buy for emotional, not rational reasons*.
Visualization stimulates the imagination. Give people an image that compels them to do business with you.
Sometimes I can’t get-over-myself. This occasionally happens when I write proposals to promote my services to a potential client.
My first hurdle with self promotion is taking myself just seriously enough to boldly inform someone that I’m the person to get-it-done for them. Something similar happens with product and service promotions.
The “est” syndrome.
This feature-focused disease includes promotion killing words like bigg-est…fast-est…great-est. The problem with “est” words is their potential to create unhealthy – or unnecessary – comparisons.
There’s a much better focus. I’ll share that in moment.
Think about making an impression on someone. That all important first impression makes it harder to breathe, doesn’t it?
You stress about your appearance – what to wear? You stress over your first words, how firm should your handshake be, etc.
It’s all about the feature presentation. And perhaps that’s the fear source.
When you think features – everything has to fit and flow just short of “perfect,” right?
But like all lasting relationships, you eventually move past the surface appearance and engage with what’s beneath – the real person. That’s where the relationship takes off and has staying-power.
The staying-power of your products and services have more to do with the deeper benefits than surface features.
Write your promotional content to the benefit level.
1) Look at the product or service with fresh eyes.
Ask – what problem does this service really solve? Then think solutions.
Perhaps you’ve focused so much creative energy on the presentation (features) that you’re missing your most compelling selling points (benefits).
2) List every possible problem the product/service solves (really, all you can think of).
This list could be creative-gold for your R&D (Research & Development) processes. Whiteboard or mind-map every possible problem and solution your product/service engages.
Punch-up your content with these gold nuggets. Benefits connect and compel your prospect’s emotions.
3) Leverage the results of happy users/clients.
When someone solves a problem with one of your products/services that’s an emotional deal. No, there may not be laughter and tears (depending on what their issue is) but now you’ve won a customer…perhaps for life!
Why? Because you engaged them at an emotional level – where life, an issue, etc was kicking-their-butt.
You delivered a timely and useful solution to their dilemma. And they’ll talk you up because of it.
But…they won’t if you don’t give them a venue. Testimonials, case studies, survey forms are excellent venues for this kind of “love.” Leverage them.
Seeing yourself as the solution (benefits) is much more effective than comparing yourself to everyone else (features).
YOU have a voice that’s uniquely YOU.
Get over yourself. Start using it.
Does your marketing message connect? Is it rising above the content noise in today’s marketplace?
As a professional copywriter and content publisher it’s essential that what I write connects. Clients pay me for the connect-ability of my writing to their target audience and market. When it connects, people buy, use their services, make an investment, embrace their ideas, etc.
After all, the essence of marketing is connection – making the sale – however you define “sale.”
Word quality is important. But consider this – so is tone, quantity, and let’s not forget delivery.
Occasionally, I’m paid to talk (nearly 30 years of speaking experience). Writing is simply talking on paper or the monitor.
Conversations, like speeches or content on a page or screen, go one of two ways: people get bored and think – “when is this person going go shut-up…,” they turn the page, they *click* away from the website or blog page.
Or…they stay engaged – “tell me more…I’m listening…give me more information…let’s talk again soon!”
Your marketing tone keeps the conversation flowing. Or it’s just another piece of paper, a webpage, post, or talking-head voice.
Remember the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher?
You never heard actual words. All you heard when ole’ Chuck or a classmate asked her a question was “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah…” Seinfeld’s George Costanza would say, “Yada…yada…yada.”
Writing requires proper voice or it’s just words (yada…yada…wah…wah…wah).
For maximum impact, evaluate the words you use to promote your ideas, information, services, products, etc.
Keep it conversational.
When I first started to learn copywriting skills, Michael Masterson taught me a priceless lesson. He says, when writing imagine you’re sitting on a bar-stool in a conversation with a friend, colleague, family member, or someone you just met.
You’re sitting there. It’s casual. You’re comfortable. They’re comfortable. And you’re just having a chat.
Try these 5 “Bar-stool Copywriting Tips”:
1–Write like you talk.
Imagine a casual moment, sitting on a bar-stool. If you were telling someone about your company, product, service, or idea, how would you describe it? Would you go all technical on them? Would you use big, industry words only you and a few others understand? Would you explode into a hype-driven, sales-y tone? Or would you just talk?
2–Make an impression without trying to impress.
When the person you’re talking with (in this case, writing to) leaves the conversation will they remember you more for how impressive you were or will they recall the easy-going, comfortable nature of the dialogue? Would they say, “Let’s talk again soon…”? Or do they think, “Could we do this again, like…during the next solar eclipse…”? The impression you make with your writing brings people back for more.
3–Give communication the power-position.
The goal of marketing is the sale (the impression). Merely impressive marketing efforts may or may not achieve that goal. It’s a choice – be impressive (eye & ear candy) or make an impression (compel & persuade). How you communicate effects the bottom-line.
4–Dress your language less formal and more casual.
Some are more comfortable in a suit, others in jeans. There’s a time and place for both.
Good, compelling content is comfortable – like your favorite jeans.
When writing most can’t get the image of their English teacher out of their mind (I know…thanks for reminding you). You stress over crossing all your “t’s,” dotting all your “i’s,” watching your sentence structure…and don’t eeeeven get me started on grammar.
I’m not saying “slang-it-up,” get lazy or sloppy. But what works on the bar-stool – formal or casual?
Use good judgment. What’s easily read gets remembered. And what’s remembered gets purchased, used, or applied.
Envision Peyton Manning completing a 20 yard pass for a first-and-goal…Tiger Woods teeing off…Kevin Durant sinking a 3-pointer. The common thread – they appear effortless! Their skill seems second nature and fluid.
Make your writing appear effortless.
Be aware of how writing about your idea, product, service, and business gets in the way of the benefits or the intended result. Remember – features entice. Benefits sell!
Give your content and marketing approaches the “bar-stool test.” Evaluate and apply these tips to your writing. They could be the difference between decreasing or increasing profit and confusing or compelling your reader.