Writing Truly Irresistible Marketing Copy (part 1)

Written by: Ricky Warren
Published on: 2 Sep 2011

Part 1: The critical factor and pacing & leading


Guest post by Ricky Warren, Marketing Manager, Research Ltd


Before I start, I understand that you won’t want to start reading the same old re-circulated ‘tips’, so I decided to write this article from a completely different angle to anything you’ve probably read before. You’re likely to be reading this in the hope that you’ll find some clever techniques for developing better marketing copy, so that you can sell more product. Part of being effective involves the marketing copy being able to really engage the reader, wouldn’t you agree? It would be so useful if there was just a way to engage the reader to the extent where every last one uses your call to action at the end. Well, you’ll learn how to do that in this article, so keep reading…

OK first of all, if you’re still reading, the marketing copy above worked on you. The call to action I wanted you to follow was to keep reading this article. What you’ve just read in that first paragraph is an example of how copy structured in the right way can quickly create a feeling of trust and interest. Basically, it’s a kind of fast-track rapport building. The underlying technique is known in psychological circles as ‘pacing and leading’, with a few other techniques thrown in for good measure. In order to explain to you what pacing and leading is and how to use it, I just need you to know what the ‘critical factor’ is, first.

The critical factor

Every individual’s subconscious is guarded by a ‘critical factor’, which continually assesses incoming information in order to accept or deny it entering into the subconscious. It is propped up by your morals, values, beliefs and engrained thought processes. Providing the critical factor finds the information in line with the afore-mentioned, it accepts that information through to the subconscious – if not, it rejects it.

Your critical factor keeps you from being influenced too easily into behaving, feeling or believing something contrary to your natural disposition, but also allows you the choice to accept changes to that. For example, you couldn’t tell someone who doesn’t want to buy something that they do want to buy it. However, you can seed the idea into their head that they should be buying it. If we are able to somehow bypass a person’s critical factor, we can incept notions or propositions for their consideration at a deeper level than the usual cognitive level we encounter in everyday life, which in marketing is usually full of objections and resistance. This is where pacing and leading comes in…

Pacing and leading

‘Pacing’ plays a huge role in developing trust. It is a process which starts with continually making statements which are undeniably true in order to build credibility.  In my first paragraph, I begin by pacing, building credibility and rapport with you through the statements I make. I am showing you that I understand why you are reading. Every statement serves to lower the guard of your critical factor, which responds to each of my statements (whilst assessing its truthfulness) with yes, yes, yes. Eventually your critical factor gets bored and will start to accept more of the suggestive language I use, which takes us to ‘leading’.

Leading is the part where I begin to incept ideas directly to your subconscious. Notice the leading begins when I say “Part of creating that … wouldn’t you agree?”.

Leading can be broken down into the use of a collection of techniques, called ‘hypnotic language patterns’. To the untrained ear they would look or sound very normal and you wouldn’t pick up on the techniques as they were being used – this ability to bypass the critical factor covertly, supported by the pacing that has already been done to lower the guard and establish trust, means that you can now begin to seed thoughts and propositions into the reader’s subconscious mind and lead them along a desired path of which you are in complete control of.

Look out for part 2 on Monday: Mind reading, style matching, ambiguity & story-telling

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