The Reason Why Your Audience Doesn't Take Action
If you had the opportunity to vacation at an all-inclusive resort for a week, you’d probably get excited. Right?! Me, too. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened to some friends of mine.
Their story reminded me about an essential rule for good communication and copywriting, so I wanted to share with you what happened.
Don’t Do This…
Angry chatter buzzed through the air as almost every scuba diver at the Little Cayman dive resort complained about restrictions imposed on their dives.
They arrived from the U.S. the day before as they anticipated seven glorious days of dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, sleep, repeat.
(Sure, getting there meant flying through a tropical storm and losing some luggage – but they were in paradise, so who cared. Right?! Wrong.)
You see, the dive briefings saying not to dive deeper than 60 feet seemed odd because they were all certified to dive up to 130 feet.
Without giving the strange instructions much thought, they each dove as deep as they wanted to explore Bloody Bay Reef–only to be reprimanded when they got back on the boat. Say what?!
Much to their dismay, the same scolding happened on the second and third dives for many of the 40 divers.
“What was wrong with this place?”
“Talk about a buzz kill!”
“Don’t they realize we’re advanced divers?”
“How dare they taint our experience with negative vibes!”
The divers’ comments dripped with justified indignance. (Or so they thought.)
Until someone shared over dinner that diving below 60 feet on the first dives after their plane flight could negatively impact the resort’s liability insurance.
(This requirement was not the standard rule of thumb for diving but a reality to the resort owners all the same.)
As I read the messages friends texted about what happened, an essential communication principle jumped out at me loud and clear.
People will comply when you tell them why. (Hopefully, my rhyme will make the principle easier to remember.)
How to Motivate Action Without Creating Angry Customers
[PRO TIP] When you offer a reason why your message becomes more believable.
But if you fail to offer a reason why, you risk getting your audience to take action.
This concept is nothing new as John E. Powers, the world’s first full-time copywriter, used it in the late 1800s, and countless others, e.g., advertising copywriter John E. Kennedy, have written about it over the years.
The Ultimate How-To Guide has much to say about it, too, e.g., Ecclesiastes 3 promises there is a reason for everything under heaven.
If you want people to do something, take action, or make a purchase–you will overcome objections when you offer reasons why.
Simply answer the question: “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
Communicating why is one of the most important things you can do in marketing copy.
If you want to motivate others to act using joyful copy concepts, here’s what I recommend you do:
- Ask the Father to help you determine which reasons why to answer about your solutions.
- He will show you when you take the time to ask Him to show you. (Jeremiah 33:3)
- Note: He’s not a magic genie that performs on command - especially if it has been a while since you’ve acknowledged Him.
- Think outside the box by writing out at least five reasons why for every product or service you offer.
- Tell why your solutions help each of these basic needs happen:
- Make and save money
- Avoid pain and gain comfort
- Improve health
- Feel loved or praised
- Save time and effort.
If my friends’ dive briefings had shared the reason why first, the instructions would have inspired action instead of avoidance resulting in reprimands and anger.
Joyful Copy Challenge: Apply the reason why technique intentionally in your business and personal conversations in the coming week. Assess the results. Rinse. Repeat.
I'd love to hear what happens when you try this out. Send me an email and let me know.
PS. My podcast conversation with Shae Bynes, founder of Kingdom Driven Entrepreneur, was released yesterday. If you get a chance to listen, I’d love to hear key takeaways that stood out to you.