An Advanced Copywriting Technique. Your Direct Response Copywriter on Preparation (Part 3).

I’m in the market for a couple of products right now and I’m struggling to find what I want. When I find what these products, I’ll be interested to read the copy that tries to persuade me to buy…it won’t take much. But if the copy really speaks to me, as an ambitious direct response copywriter, then I’ll be more likely to be willing to spend more for these products.

Getting someone to buy—and spend a small fortune on the product, requires a very specific and rarely-used copywriting technique.

If I’m selling something somewhat basic, like yard services, there’s no need to use this technique but if the product or service is expensive, rare, or technical, then this technique can powerful.

I call it: Getting into the Soul.

No—it’s got nothing to do with Earth, Wind, and Fire or KC and The Sunshine Band. It’s not THAT sort of soul.

‘Getting into the Soul’ requires fully understanding what’s emotionally important to the buyer. Let’s remember…many people buy for emotional reasons backed by logic. So it’s the emotion that matters first—followed by the logic. I’ll cover the logic in a later blog so let’s look at the emotion.

This requires understanding the potential customer/client and what’s really motivating them. Sometimes I can discover this by chatting with the client. Other times, I can use my business and life experience to discover what’s REALLY important emotionally.

To be a direct response copywriter, it’s VITAL to have been ‘in the battle’ for several years. I’ve been writing copy for 22 years and I’ve taken detours into magazine publishing and corporate communications. I’ve written well over 10,000 pages of printed content. I’ve written or worked on 18 books covering subjects ranging from Caddyshack to Jack Ruby’s lawyer; Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

All this experience (and typing) means I understand what makes human beings tick and I understand a wide range of businesses. When I published magazines, the advertisers were small businesses who provided everything from real estate services to plumbing. This experience helps me quickly understand what’s really important to a client or customer.

I think it’s difficult for someone who is new to business and life in the real world to write emotional copy. You have to have been beaten up a bit to understand people and business owners. Many of the early copywriting greats, like David Ogilvy, sold door-to-door and this helped them understand buying decisions and the psychology of rejection and acceptance. I've been a salesman, too.

Start asking these questions to start using the ‘Getting into the Soul’ technique.

  • What’s really important to the prospect?
  • What are their major problems?
  • Are there some problems due to current events?
  • What the prospect’s ultimate goal?

When I’m speaking with a new clients, I always ask, “what’s really important to you when it comes to copywriters?” I get answers based on logic and answers based on emotions.

I’ve got a major problem I’m trying to solve. It’s not an emotional problem but the solution will help me achieve a major goal—and I’m emotional about this goal. If a copywriter can get into my heart and understand my goals then give me the logic, the copywriter may persuade me to make a big investment in the product he or she is trying to sell.

The seriously good direct response copywriters know how to harness the power of emotions. And our brothers and sisters in branding certainly try to get into our emotions. BUT…the branding people fail to get us to take action; they get into our heads and then have no idea what to do. And so they ofteh fail to move the revenue meter. But a great direct response copywriter gets into our souls, then gets into our pockets and persuades the prospect to spend money. Or hand over an email address.

I wrote a couple of high-converting landing pages this past year. In both cases, I felt I fully understood the emotional state of the prospect. It can make a HUGE difference.


I'm a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I specialize in providing copy and content for the direct marketing environment for clients around the world. I increasingly specialize in sales pages and landing pages. Enter your info to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here.