Silly Question...Why Should You "Introduce The Problem" Online?

9 replies
Hi,

Practically every copy resource I've seen and read starts with:

1. Introduce the problem
2. Escalate the problem
3. Start selling...

But online, *most* people will have found your site *because* they have already have a problem --

i.e.

"Do You Have Acne?"

[prospect: "Duh, Yeah...why else do you think I'm here?"]

Instead of cutting to the chase:

"The Real Reason Girls Won't Date You. Hint: It's NOT Because Of Your Acne..."

[prospect: "Bingo!"]

So my question is (respectfully)...why oh why should we introduce a problem to people when they already know what their problem is?

Is it a throw back to the old direct response days, when the copy was "product seeks prospect"?

Because these days isn't it more likely to be "prospect seeks product"?

Forgive my ignorance.

Cheers,
Steve
#introduce the problem #online #questionwhy #silly
  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Steven,

    You want to agitate the problem... "twist the knife".

    Let's take your acne product.

    Sure... they know they have Acne.

    But what if you start the letter by pointing out how they can't get a date... don't feel confident... and are social outcasts all because of their acne?

    THEN... you offer a solution to all those problems be removing the cause... the acne.

    You don't necessarily say 'you have acne" except in a kind of passing way... it's assumed.

    But you do make sure they remember every unfortunate aspect of having that acne.

    -Daniel
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    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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    • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
      "If You're Tired Of Being A Dirty, Resented, Single, Outcasted Crater Face... This Will Be The Most Important Letter You Ever Read!"

      I kid, I kid.

      But Dan's spot on. You're trying to agitate the problem to create a deeper emotional involvement. Not only that, but some people just like to be re-assured you understand their problem.


      Best,

      Angel

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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      And to add to Daniel's reply ...

      By agitating the problem, your prospect becomes more emotional. More desperate for a solution. And as a result, more apt to buy.

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Eliott
        But you do make sure they remember every unfortunate aspect of having that acne.
        Resonance rising. Emotional Echo, repeated, again and again.

        Thrusting the affliction to the front, pushing it, staring slap 'dab into the pimple mirror.
        Man oh man, copy can be cruel.

        Could leave a fella feeling like a snuffed, cute Bunny Rabbit, head tore off and jammed into a pair of leather chaps.

        That cream better work!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    as all above, except I might add...

    It's also a way to qualify the reader. Nobody is gonna read a letter unless they know it's about them and solving their specific problems.

    Bottom line is, agitating the problem creates a stronger desire to solve it... period.

    HOWEVER (lol...)

    It's possible to over do it. People want the sunshine at the end of the rainbow sooner rather than later. I used to spend paragraphs on the problems... and it dragged the copy (and reader) down.
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    • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
      Originally Posted by Nick Brighton View Post

      as all above, except I might add...

      It's also a way to qualify the reader. Nobody is gonna read a letter unless they know it's about them and solving their specific problems.

      Bottom line is, agitating the problem creates a stronger desire to solve it... period.

      HOWEVER (lol...)

      It's possible to over do it. People want the sunshine at the end of the rainbow sooner rather than later. I used to spend paragraphs on the problems... and it dragged the copy (and reader) down.
      I try to think of writing copy as the same as watching the sun rise.

      Dark (A bad place -the "problem")
      A Glimpse of Light (Could it be - there's a solution?)
      Getting Brighter (Holy ****! THere's a Way!)
      High And Bright (I Must Have This! It Is The Solution To My ED)

      All this while everyone else is saying how pretty the colors are.

      Best,

      Angel
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    Clayton Makepeace is good at that. After a targeted reader finishes one of his sales pieces they're often frothing at the mouth in anger and ready to extract revenge. He's good at naming the enemy and building resentment in order to make the sale which is the "get even" solution. ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Johnson
      Awareness of a problem doesn't necessarily translate into taking action to do something about it right now. How much the problem needs to be agitated depends on the product... but a prospect's decision to take action often comes down to a keen awareness of a pressing situation related to the problem that calls for a fast solution.

      Case in point: There are many people who smoke who know they should quit, but the #1 reason people stop smoking is a health crisis. Similarly, there are countless people who know they should lose weight... but ultimately take action either because of a health scare or an upcoming event like a wedding or a vacation on the beach. To use a more mundane example, Joe Polish always reminds carpet cleaners that people call to get their carpets cleaned the day *before* the big party, not the day after.

      The bottom line is, regardless of how clued in we are about a problem, we'll often tolerate it for a long time until an unavoidable situation comes around that forces action. While you can't actually bring about such a situation for your prospect in your marketing, if you know your prospect well you can do the next best thing -- by painting a picture of such a situation and dimensionalizing sufficiently that it resonates at nearly the same emotional pitch as the real thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author kllymichele
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Identify the emotional pain behind the problem, then twist the knife. How is the problem causing them to feel: unsafe, insecure, uncertain, bored, unimportant or, most of all, rejected?

      Then, you contrast this with the emotional pleasure which will come about as a result of the solution. How will your solution make them feel: safe, secure, certain, excited, important or validated?

      Contrast between the emotional pain caused by the problem and the pleasure which will come as a result of the solution. This creates an inner dissonance which is irresistible.

      BAM!!!
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