3 Fears That Move People Into Action and Product Out the Door
As a child your parents may have tried to frighten you into behaving a certain way for your own good.
It might have looked like this:
- If you don’t brush your teeth, they will rot and fall out
- Never talk to strangers, they can be bad people who do bad things
- Watch this video and see what can happen if you play with matches…
And for most of us (if we were afraid enough) we obliged.
Funnily enough, as we grow older, we still carry around certain fears that prompt us to take action, though they might not be about cleaning your teeth or not talking to strangers.
But, just as your parents instilled fear for your own good, this should only be used to educate your ideal customer about how you can help them.
This is not about indiscriminate scaremongering. Too much fear and your customer won’t take any action; they’ll simply stare at the computer screen (billboard, ad, etc) and develop a lovely ulcer.
So how can you ethically scare them into taking action?
By understanding 3 key fears that drive your audience to act:
The Fear Of What Other People Think
Were we all to live isolated on an island with all the necessities we needed to stay alive, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be worried about heading out to the beach with the latest Gucci handbag, or being a size zero or people noticing the Rolex to understand how successful we are.
However we’re not.
We’re surrounded by the watchful glare and judgment of everyone else. Unless you’re a total zen master, you probably care (to some degree) about what people think.
That’s why weight loss product emphasize the frustration of being embarrassed at asking for a seat-belt extender on airlines, or the dread of imminent bikini weather. It’s why web design companies talk about the shame of “amateur-looking” websites and why copywriters warn of content that repels your target market.
Next time you are presenting an offer to your audience, ask yourself what “image” are they afraid of projecting to the world: For example:
- They’re inauthentic
- They’re unattractive
- They’re boring
- They lack confidence
- They’re unsuccessful
- They can’t be trusted
Take that fear, remind them of it and show how you help them combat it. For example:
There’s so much snake-oil in sales these days. This means if you don’t understand how to talk to your prospects, even a few simple mistakes can turn them off you and your product in seconds…
The Fear Of Missing Out
Remember when you were off school that one time, and it just happened to be the time when little Jimmy Cooper got his head stuck in the fence and the fire crew had to cut him out? Didn’t it just suck that you missed it? Because then you had to endure years of kids harking back to the infamous event, sharing the common pleasurable bond of little Jimmy’s pain and all you remember was that you had measles.
Unsurprisingly, little has changed. We hate the idea of missing out on something. Whether that is something everyone else is doing, a great offer or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
And this is why it is so potent to position your offer as something that
- They won’t want to miss
- They might miss if they don’t act straight away
To leverage this fear in your offers, you’ll want to show that everyone else is doing it!
So when all of our Twitter followers, or Facebook friends, or (gasp!) real life friends, start talking about a new product, trend or craze, our ears prick up and we take notice. We want to be involved.
With your offer, you can do this by having affiliates or friends who spread the word and create a little buzz about what you’re up to.
Testimonials and case studies of people who have taken your offer and loved it are also very effective and should be included.
Create a deadline
I don’t know who said “if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done” but it’s very true. Deadlines are forced action encouragers because after the deadline, we have usually “missed out” on something, and that makes us sad. Your deadline could include an introductory price, a special bonus or an actual live event that could be missed.
Similar to the deadline, scarcity encourages us to act because we could miss out on a deal unless we beat the throngs of other people beating down your door to snap your hand off for it. This could include:
- An introductory rate but only for the first 10 people that sign up
- Limited spaces for coaching with you
- Limited spots on a webinar / teleclass
- Limited number of physical products
Which brings us onto our final fear…
The Fear Of Loss
Nobody likes losing something that they own (or perceive they own). This can be very powerful when writing about your product or service.
Common things that people worry about losing include money, beauty, respect, etc. But you can use anything that is important to your ideal customer.
One way to use this in writing about your own business or offer is to see what customers gain by using you, and then presenting it as a possible “loss.”
To make this effective with your audience you have to ask yourself:
- What do they gain by using you?
- Why is this important to them?
- How can you present that as a possible “loss”?
For example, let’s say you run a web design company that improves customer response and lead generation through increased SEO and usability. By not using you, your potential customers are potentially “losing” thousands in revenue through leads that were never generated. So a headline such as:
Why Your Current Website Is Costing you $3,000” Each Month In Missed Business
would hit that spot of losing right on the button.
In summary, if what you offer has any kind of positive impact on your audience, then for their own good, (just as your parents made you clean your teeth), make them afraid to miss out, and make them take action.
I”d love to hear your thoughts.
- What fears have you tapped into to get a response from your audience?
- Are you uncomfortable with making your audience feel discomfort (even if it’s for their own good)?
- What fear tactics have worked on you?