Creating 'fear' in a copy where none exists

13 replies
Fear is a negative emotion.

Human beings generally dislike negative things. But an effective Copywriter knows how to create and utilize the emotion of fear to raise desire for a product.

Used skillfully, in fact, for products or services, fear of loss of what one already possesses could out-perform desire for new products.

How do you use this 'fear factor', where none exists, to raise desire for a product or service you are promoting?
#copy #creating #exists #fear
  • Profile picture of the author OutOfThisWord
    Fear of missing out.

    Fear of never getting rid of a problem.

    But, you only want to address that emotion if you know it is a dominant emotion of your target market.

    If it is not, your copy will not reach them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ricky Allen
      I had no problem using this.

      If You Didn't Know Exactly Which Foods Were Safe For You To Eat And Which One's Were Not How Would You Feel About Fetching The Weekly Shop For Your Mom?
      Ricky Allen
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Focus on the fear of loss if your prospect didn't buy the product...the loss of the key benefits.

    Read any good sales letter to find how the copywriter handled the fear of loss component of the sales letter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    You're not creating fear where none exists.

    You're targeting the imbedded fears someone has for NOT being able to achieve what they REALLY want...

    ...or continuing to fall deeper into some sort of lack.

    And fear is only a negative emotion - IF it isn't channeled properly.

    Great copy can help people channel their fears in a positive direction.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    If your target market is not aware of the dangers that your
    products eliminate, then you would have to create that fear
    in them. For example, your prospect may not know that
    a fireplace can give off carbon monoxide, so you'll have
    to educate them on the dangers of breathing in carbon
    monoxide.

    Now ther are some peolpe who already know the dangers
    of, say, smoking but still chooses to smoke because the
    pleasures of smoking overrides the fears of lung cancer
    and the disease seems really remote. Hence why the
    CDC uses those real scary stop-smoking ads to
    "wake up" smokers.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      If your target market is not aware of the dangers that your
      products eliminate, then you would have to create that fear
      in them. For example, your prospect may not know that
      a fireplace can give off carbon monoxide, so you'll have
      to educate them on the dangers of breathing in carbon
      monoxide.

      Now ther are some peolpe who already know the dangers
      of, say, smoking but still chooses to smoke because the
      pleasures of smoking overrides the fears of lung cancer
      and the disease seems really remote. Hence why the
      CDC uses those real scary stop-smoking ads to
      "wake up" smokers.

      -Ray Edwards
      Ray, you've hammered the nail right on the head. Fear might visibly be in a prospect's mind.

      But fear might not be in existence in a prospect's mind, at times.

      That is why we don't only aim at warmly relating with our prospects in the first half of the letter --- showing them we understand their problem. Building the trust in solving their problem.

      We also aim at educating them about the product. We show them the dangers of not taking appropriate action now... making them spend sleepless nights, quaking with fear.

      The prospects could send you a check the following morning to get your product.

      This could, for example, be fear of losing out on their best investment. It could be fear of deteriorating health condition.

      How much money could they lose if they don't take this advice now?

      In what condition will they be in five years time if they do not quickly take action?

      Let them see the dangers they have not been able to see by showing them --- by educating them --- by creating 'fear' in their minds.
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  • Profile picture of the author AstonCopy
    The fear always has to be tied to a happy ending.. !!
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Most readers already have fear when they land on many of the sales pages I see...fear someone is trying to bend them over (again).

    There are billions of dollars worth of products that get sold on a daily basis without someone building fear.

    Can't say I've ever heard of anyone pacing the floor all night thinking about buying a Coke, or that new pair of jeans, or that new pair of shoes.

    The shady, plaid wearing, cheap cologne smelling marketers use fear as a selling tool...and most readers can smell them a mile away.

    There's no reason to try and create fear...and if you're selling a product that alleviates peoples fear about something, why create more? How about giving them hope?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
      Fear could be used to help prompt quick desired action.

      An effective sales letter will not only utilize negative tools to persuasively make a sale.

      It uses positive aspects too, to a larger extent.

      Knowledge of a product can help one figure out if fear could be used in a copy.

      For diseases, use of fear should not be over stressed because it is already being experienced.

      Surely, loss of a very big investment will steal anybody's sleep --- but a purchase of a tablet of bath soap will not!

      It's a matter of knowing your product thoroughly well and discerning if you could apply fear to raise your prospects' desire to the next level.
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    • Profile picture of the author CPH007
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Most readers already have fear when they land on many of the sales pages I see...fear someone is trying to bend them over (again).

      There are billions of dollars worth of products that get sold on a daily basis without someone building fear.

      Can't say I've ever heard of anyone pacing the floor all night thinking about buying a Coke, or that new pair of jeans, or that new pair of shoes.

      The shady, plaid wearing, cheap cologne smelling marketers use fear as a selling tool...and most readers can smell them a mile away.

      There's no reason to try and create fear...and if you're selling a product that alleviates peoples fear about something, why create more? How about giving them hope?
      Correct but don't most "ethical" marketers then remove the fear by telling them how their product is legit and "have no fear"
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      • Profile picture of the author IdrisSG
        Could you spend your resources focusing on other emotions instead of fear?

        Perhaps you could discover what are the core emotions brewing within the market and focus in on those feelings.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jomuli3
          Originally Posted by IdrisSG View Post

          Could you spend your resources focusing on other emotions instead of fear?

          Perhaps you could discover what are the core emotions brewing within the market and focus in on those feelings.
          I can start a thread about the importance of writing effective headlines but that isn't the only item that makes a successful sales letter.

          As a Copywriter, like many others on this forum, I know the importance of identifying a problem, making a strong promise to solve it, unearthing unquestionable proof to back up the promise and identifying a Unique Selling
          Proposition to beat competition hands down.

          We know how and where to anticipate objections and crush them accordingly.

          We turn features into powerful selling benefits.

          We figure out wants, frustrations, mistakes, fears etc to raise burning desire for the product we sell.

          I hope this brushes aside the notion that a copywriter can use fear only to sell a product; fear is only one of the emotions we use at times.

          There is no wastage of resources in figuring out some emotions, positive or negative, which can help us craft a control copy.

          Remember, the greatest minds ever known are the ones that use both the subconscious and conscious minds --- left and right brain.

          A strong sales letter will not only cover advantages of acquiring a product but also the dangers/fears of not getting those advantages.
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  • Profile picture of the author ReferralCandy
    I think it can get a little frustrating to be overly abstract about this- there are many different kinds of products that solve different kinds of problems, and different problems elicit different emotional responses from people.

    The copywriter's role (in my opinion) is to identify and analyse the situation, then tailor an appropriate solution. So thinking "always find the fear" might be counter-productive in some situations.

    Be flexible!
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