Stick Your Finger in There: Find the Pain for Persuasive Copy

Persuasive web copy

Most marketing campaigns can be stripped down to one of two themes: build the dream or stop the pain. Marketers tend to favour stop the pain. After all, not everyone has a dream, but everyone has a problem.

Knowing this, marketers use a technique of sticking their finger in there to get people to feel pain and motivate them to action. Let’s look at a few examples of this technique.

Proactive Solutions – Problem Skin

Proactive Solutions markets their skin care product line through TV commercials and infomercials. Their ads invoke the pain of skin blemishes and promote their product as a solution.

Do you stress out about your skin?
Do you freak when you breakout over night?
Well, hope is on the way.
It’s called Proactive Solutions.

Now that’s sticking your finger in the pain! If you weren’t terribly worried about your acne before, you’re probably worried about it now. And if you’ve been freaking over breakouts, then this commercial grabs your attention.

Old El Paso – Falling Tacos

Pain doesn’t have to be personal or even all that painful. Sometimes the pain is slight, but it’s still enough to motivate. Check out this Old El Paso Taco commercial:

How to you stop tacos from falling over?
What if it had a flat bottom?

Are falling tacos a problem? Likely, you never thought about falling tacos until now. The problem would seem ridiculous if presented seriously, but the light humour makes the message more palatable.

Sticking your finger in the pain is a great way to get people to recognize problems as problems. You’ve never hammered nails into your table to stop your taco from falling over, but, hey, now that you mention it, a flat bottom taco is not such a bad idea.

1-800-Got-Junk? – Furniture, Appliances, Electronics and More

At Webcopyplus, we recently used stick your finger in the pain marketing for 1-800-Got-Junk, the garbage removal franchise. Here the pain is the hassle of getting rid of unwanted stuff.

Here’s a web copy excerpt:

Got old furniture, appliances, electronics, tires, construction debris, or yard waste you need to make disappear? 1-800-GOT-JUNK? can take away almost any material we can fit in our trucks, without you ever lifting a finger. We’ll remove junk from wherever it’s located, and we won’t leave a dent or speck of dirt behind.

The pain point is old furniture, appliances, electronics, tires, construction debris or yard waste…that you need to get rid of.

Trotting out this list of items makes potential customers think about what they have at home. If we merely asked, “Got any old stuff you need to get rid of?” people would tend to respond, “No.” By providing specific examples, we’re prompting people to scan their home environment to see if they have anything on our list.

Do I have old furniture, appliances, or electronics to get rid of? Well, I do have that old computer downstairs, and I haven’t used that old freezer in years. Maybe I should call 1-800-Got-Junk.

Of course not everyone has old furniture, appliances, electronics, etc. they need to get rid of. But if you do, the message will resonate.

As you can see, stick your finger in there and feel the pain can be a great way to motivate people to recognize a problem and take action.

Where do you see marketers using this approach? Have you tried it in your own marketing?

One response to “Stick Your Finger in There: Find the Pain for Persuasive Copy”

  1. Henry Chan says:

    A bit negative with the approach to web content, but it makes sense if you want to make sales.

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