Does the Internet changing copywriting needs to change?

23 replies
Hi Warriors,

It was mentioned in another thread that "the internet changes every day and your marketing needs to change too" (or words to that effect) and one response was that it does but, as a group, human beings don't.

So - on one side we have the usual "if you're not changing the way you market - you're getting left behind" type perspective that so often accompanies sales messages for the latest and greatest thing you need to buy.

On the other side - it's all just about giving people what they need and people haven't changed much for a long time.

So - what do you think?

Should you be modifying your marketing strategies and sales messages to adapt to changes in the internet? or is there a reason that many experts follow sales principles that have been around for 50 years or more?

I personally think that there's a middle-ground. Of course people are pretty much still driven by the traditional Maslow's hierarchy of human needs and looking for fulfillment in the same ways as always - but I also think that one of the biggest changes is in people's awareness of and susceptibility to advertising.

These days we're bombarded by thousands of adverts every day and children have seen millions of adverts before they reach teenage years.

At some point there must be a reduction in how much of the noise gets through to us.

Therefore - whatever else is or isn't changing - I think we do need to consider new ways to communicate with people who are like sponges that are already soaked with advertising and can barely stand letting any more in.

From the traditional perspective I think that makes it even more important to keep your message simple so that your prospects can retain your core message and not lose it in amongst too much data.

We see it even in IM - it's much harder to get messages to this niche with any decent penetration because you're competing with 1000 other emails every day now and even if your messages are expected, people don't have the time to care about them like they used to, let alone there are more and more people saying the same thing and it's harder for people to see why you're different from your competition.

So - I guess I sit in the middle. People's brains haven't changed much but the filters for what they let in have changed quite a bit.

Andy
#change #changing #copywriting #internet
  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    People don't change that much.

    So, I still rely on the same principles used by the old
    time direct response marketers such as Claude Hopkins,
    John Caples, Robert Collier, etc.

    But markets do change over time.

    So, it's important to adjust your marketing message to
    suit the level of sophistication of the marketplace. (c.f.
    Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz).

    Also, the medium of the Internet changes quickly.

    So it's important to be nimble on your feet to be able
    to use emerging technologies, e.g. video, etc.

    You can't stand still but realize that people's behavior
    and motivations haven't changed much at all.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

      People don't change that much.

      So, I still rely on the same principles used by the old
      time direct response marketers such as Claude Hopkins,
      John Caples, Robert Collier, etc.
      Well put dammit. Consistent marketing success is all about understanding human behavior. Buying is a behavior, and people buy for the same reasons they always have...to fulfill emotional and physical needs.

      Get this down and you don't have to chase after trends and methods.

      "As for methods, there may be millions or more, but principles are few. The man who understands principles can choose his own methods, while those who try methods and ignore principles are sure to have trouble."

      -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

      BAM!
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  • Profile picture of the author Collette
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    ...I also think that one of the biggest changes is in people's awareness of and susceptibility to advertising.

    ...people who are like sponges that are already soaked with advertising and can barely stand letting any more in.
    People's motivations haven't changed in centuries, as any student of history can attest.

    But, as you point out, marketers must adapt to changing technology. At one time, the only way people got news and information was by the town crier. The invention of the printing press changed all that. Now we have texting by cell phone.

    Times change. But people don't.

    I believe the biggest difference is that people have become less awed by the "new" and more attuned to the "relevant".

    People will always be susceptible to advertising messages that are relevant to them, in that moment. In the same way that say, a hungry buyer in a Medieval marketplace would block out the din of merchants selling cloth, tools, dyes, and cooking pots - yet instantly hear the shout of the guy selling meat pies.

    The challenge for marketers in a jaded market, is to find the sweet spot of their particular buyers. It's no longer good enough to just be another loud attraction at the fair.

    As for relevance: If you're a young couple looking for your first apartment, one-bedroom flats may be very relevant to you, in this moment.

    However, if you're a young couple with a toddler and one more on the way, your needs, in this moment, are very different from the first couple.

    Two young couples, both looking for a flat. Very different needs.
    And, therefore, different markets.

    And, if this were a senior couple looking for a retirement flat, their needs would be diffferent, too.

    Knowing your market is always going to be the smart marketer's first job. Once you know your market, you will also know how best to reach them.

    The media your average 65 yr-old commonly uses is likely to be different to the media your average 23-yr old uses. As a marketer, you'd be daft to lump 'em all in the same media. Yet, that's exactly what many marketers do.

    Particularly in IM. :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by Collette View Post


      People will always be susceptible to advertising messages that are relevant to them, in that moment.
      I agree.

      I think that's the inherent key in marketing really. People make emotion decisions, so catch them when they're in the emotion and they'll bypass all logical reasoning and go with their gut.

      Once someone starts turning on their different sensory modalities and visualising what it would be like to have something - it's VERY difficult for them to NOT buy.

      Andy
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      • Profile picture of the author Collette
        Yup. Even the most 'logical' people can't avoid an emotional reaction to a purchase proposition.

        Sure, they'll justify their decision with 'logic', but people have an immediate, initial emotional reaction in the first split seconds. Then one of two things happen: 1) they either dismiss the triggering proposition as one that isn't relevant to them, or (2) they proceed to look for supporting evidence that their initial reaction of desire is the correct one.

        Different markets need different levels of 'proof'. But all markets, if you give them the supporting evidence they need, they'll purchase. If you don't, they won't. It's as simple as that.

        This is one of the reasons so many people fail in IM: They think that, by simply bellowing louder than the other guy, they're going to convince the prospect to purchase.

        As you noted in your OP, people don't pay much attention to noise these days. But they DO pay attention to relevant information.
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        • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
          Originally Posted by Collette View Post

          Yup. Even the most 'logical' people can't avoid an emotional reaction to a purchase proposition.

          Sure, they'll justify their decision with 'logic', but people have an immediate, initial emotional reaction in the first split seconds. Then one of two things happen: 1) they either dismiss the triggering proposition as one that isn't relevant to them, or (2) they proceed to look for supporting evidence that their initial reaction of desire is the correct one.
          That should be in the Bible, the Scout Handbook and the PDR.

          I don't remember the source, but I love this quote, "The essential difference between reason and emotion is that reason leads to conclusion while emotion leads to action."
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
          Originally Posted by Collette View Post

          Yup. Even the most 'logical' people can't avoid an emotional reaction to a purchase proposition.

          Sure, they'll justify their decision with 'logic', but people have an immediate, initial emotional reaction in the first split seconds. Then one of two things happen: 1) they either dismiss the triggering proposition as one that isn't relevant to them, or (2) they proceed to look for supporting evidence that their initial reaction of desire is the correct one.
          Collette with another home run to the upper decks. People buy on emotion and justify it with logic.

          Andy... maybe you're referring to the John Caples quote "Times change, people don't?"

          Yes, it's important for a product to deliver what the customer needs but it's just as important that it delivers what they want. It's the wants that often draw more attention than their needs.

          Case in point... People have the basic need for shelter (along with other basic needs)... a good number of people want to live in a $300K (or more) house which exceeds their basic need for shelter.

          Take care,

          Mike
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          • Profile picture of the author Collette
            Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

            ...Yes, it's important for a product to deliver what the customer needs but it's just as important that it delivers what they want. It's the wants that often draw more attention than their needs.
            Copywriters are the alchemists of desire.

            (swiped from - I believe - Gary B)
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  • Profile picture of the author dannycalifornia
    I think if the Internet changing copywriting is needed to change, it will more valuable.
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    • Profile picture of the author Carl Galletti
      Some things change. Some things don't.

      Styles change but humans still have 2 arms, 2 legs, etc. The clothes they wear, though. are quite different and change often.

      With copywriting, the basic principles have not changed. The same prinicples discovered by Hopkins, Collier, etc. are, for the most part the same.

      What IS different is how they are implemented and the style they use.

      For example, demonstration was always a good way to sell anything. Just ask the old-time pitch men. Today, a demo is still one of the best ways to sell anything. For example, look at the success of YouTube, etc.

      The use of video wasn't available in Hopkins' time, so he had to demonstrate with before/after and other "static" methods. But, to be sure, he would have been using video if it was available then.

      Also, it's easier to implement upsells/downsells (and other things) on the net. But infomercials have been doing it for a while. And the mail order people had to be content with "backend" sales and choosing "recency" in list selection. The net makes all that easier, faster and less expensive. But it didn't change the underlying principle which was always there and always worked.
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  • Profile picture of the author scrofford
    I just got done listening to a call with Ted Nicholas...he said that the message never changes but the media or vehicle in which the message is delivered does.

    I don't think the message ever changes personally. I think that there will be slicker ways to deliver the message though. But really who cares about the vehicle as long as it does the job? I think it's important to focus on delivering an excellent message especially when it comes to writing copy. That's just my two cents though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by scrofford View Post

      I don't think the message ever changes personally. I think that there will be slicker ways to deliver the message though. But really who cares about the vehicle as long as it does the job? I think it's important to focus on delivering an excellent message especially when it comes to writing copy. That's just my two cents though.
      I can understand that perspective but I'm not sure I agree entirely.

      Afterall, when different delivery methods appear - they tend to suit particular modalities.

      For example Youtube - is very obviously a visual medium and suits visual people and visual selling techniques.

      But because there's also an auditory component - all auditory strategies apply too.

      You can get a much better impact when deliverying auditory language predicates in their default system. So when you're talking about the sound of the v12 engine in a new BMW (for example) - you can deliver that sound as well as describe it.

      So while the text based copywriting strategies still apply - you definitely need to consider that you have more options because you have the visual and auditory elements at your desposal too.

      Therefore - it stands to reason that other internet based sales/marketing channels will have specific considerations/opportunities depending on what they provide/offer.

      Look at email. You can deliver just a text based email - or you can deliver an email with images (static or moving), or with video or audio.

      The choice of which technologies you use must open up new considerations - surely?

      Andy
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        The choice of which technologies you use must open up new considerations - surely?

        Andy
        Hi Andy,

        On John Carlton's call with Chris Haddad recently, not only did he give
        the ramped up results on video over the standard sales letter format,
        he gave the reasons why they work so well.

        As the seller and owner of a video sales letter, you control the sequence of the message.

        A standard sales letter the reader is in control.
        He can read the headline then go straight to the order button
        to find out the price.

        Not a good selling situation.

        With the video you got to haul in his wondering thoughts instantly
        and make the decision to listen and watch.

        He has no idea how long it will last, or how it will end.

        Bam, you are in control.

        He did say there is a 6 step sequence to pull off those 30%, 50%, even 100%
        increases in sales.

        And surprising, to many, the presentation of product/ service benefits
        is way down his list.

        So that's one example on how the medium can be exploited to maximum advantage.

        Best,
        Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author scrofford
        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        I can understand that perspective but I'm not sure I agree entirely.

        Afterall, when different delivery methods appear - they tend to suit particular modalities.

        For example Youtube - is very obviously a visual medium and suits visual people and visual selling techniques.

        But because there's also an auditory component - all auditory strategies apply too.

        You can get a much better impact when deliverying auditory language predicates in their default system. So when you're talking about the sound of the v12 engine in a new BMW (for example) - you can deliver that sound as well as describe it.

        So while the text based copywriting strategies still apply - you definitely need to consider that you have more options because you have the visual and auditory elements at your desposal too.

        Therefore - it stands to reason that other internet based sales/marketing channels will have specific considerations/opportunities depending on what they provide/offer.

        Look at email. You can deliver just a text based email - or you can deliver an email with images (static or moving), or with video or audio.

        The choice of which technologies you use must open up new considerations - surely?

        Andy
        But how does that change the message of what someone is trying to get across? You can use video, a sales letter online or on paper, or whatever the latest and greatest technology might be at the moment, but the message when it comes to sales never changes. You are trying to convince someone to buy your product.

        You can re-organize your message into many different ways and formats, but the message is still the same...buy my product. You can tell people why your product is the best and how it is better than everyone else's...but the message is still the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Good point Ewen,

    The other thing to consider is that all of this depends on how the person got there, whether they were presold or not, what existing relationship (if any) you have with them etc...

    I can send out an email to my list and get at least 50% conversions on a video and benefit from giving them an easy out to get to the payment button. Because I have a relationship with them and can set their expectations before they see the video.

    So, I think it's an important point to remember that whatever the technology you're using - it also has to be used in the context of where in your sales process it sits. A video for random Youtubers needs to be very different to a video for your own customers.

    Andy
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      Good point Ewen,

      The other thing to consider is that all of this depends on how the person got there, whether they were presold or not, what existing relationship (if any) you have with them etc...

      Andy
      Andy, one of us is redundant because I gotta agree!

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    "the internet changes every day and your marketing needs to change too"
    And human nature is ...where exactly within this statement? The marketing plan that is foiled by the latest Google update is probably only loosely referred to as marketing.

    Statements like this are best read as "You bought a lot of junk marketing that's collecting dust already ...what's one more?" or "I was going to talk about marketing but I suffer from AD...H ....Ooh look ...SHINY ...So Very SHINY."

    It's so new, therefore it must be good for marketing is not a sound marketing principle.

    Depressingly, it's nearly always doing the same thing the old way ....with buzzwords masking the fact. This week it's let's spam using Facebook and call that "social marketing."

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

    Doing the same thing over-and-over, getting poorer results, and calling it something different each time ...Why That's Internet Marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    For example Youtube - is very obviously a visual medium and suits visual people and visual selling techniques.
    Which these self same 'net gurus are using to read their sales letters, in a monotone. Or voiceover a bunch of screenshots and/or slides. Force me to watch your lame home movies, whydontya.

    I am not so sure the point is changing to suit the medium to best effect. That getting on the 'net rots your brain ...maybe. I am as thrilled as anyone you've discovered the wonders of electricity, but don't try to teach me about it as if electricity is some new thing.

    Newsflash: You are using your computer like a Lite-Brite, not a new marketing tool.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      Which these self same 'net gurus are using to read their sales letters, in a monotone. Or voiceover a bunch of screenshots and/or slides. Force me to watch your lame home movies, whydontya.
      Exactly. The power of video to be effective matches that of the 'talent' to be compelling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    I'm wondering when people on this forum will come to terms with the fact that the sales letter has become a commodity. After a few hundred thousand rewrites, the form was finished on the net.
    It's become a commodity in the same way the novel has. There are still writers in both genres who can steer attention and cognition like a master magician. But, yeah, most of the stuff out there sucks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pusateri
      Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

      Comparing a sales letter to a novel is like comparing a bottle of Perrier to an ocean.
      Ocean? Hot tub, maybe. One might be good if you're thirsty and the other you can soak in for awhile.

      But exposure to a lot of crappy fiction is an occupational hazard for me, so I'm definitely biased.
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