I have a conservative streak.
Don’t worry, this post isn’t about politics.😊
Actually, it’s about human nature, and I’ll even relate it to writing effective sales copy.✍️
First, though, what am I talking about here?
Well, I believe that helping someone is a productive and even admirable use of one’s time…🤝
While saving someone is generally an unproductive and even undesirable use.
Helping someone puts the focus on them. When someone “needs your help,” it generally means they’ve already put forethought into their desired goal.
Perhaps they want to make a change in their life, their financial circumstances, their relationship, their mood, or somewhere else.
They are consciously striving towards a new destination and need your support.
I can get behind that.
Saving someone puts the focus on you. It makes the other person a passive passenger on the road of life. If you don’t come on the scene and take the wheel, they’ll continue drifting and eventually crash.
The problem, though, is that even when you take the wheel, there’s no guarantee the car won’t still end up smashed into the median.
The truth is: you can’t steer for someone else all of the time. It’s exhausting, it’s draining, and frankly, it’s irresponsible.
If you spend all of your time steering for someone else, it means you neglect your own vessel. And those passengers – your spouse, your children, your friends, your employees, your neighbors, and so on – they suffer as a result.
Many of the worst enablers believe themselves to be saviors.
To save someone is often a narcissistic pursuit and even one that serves as a selfish distraction from your own wants/needs/shortcomings/and aspirations.
Helping people is virtuous.
It’s a truly desirable end.
When people reach out to me, which they do often, I quickly filter their request in this way: Is this person asking for help, or are they asking to be saved?
If it’s the former, I try to help as often and as much as I can.
If it’s the latter, I want to help, but I generally don’t.
Even from a cold calculus: It takes me a fraction of the time, energy, and effort to help someone compared to what it takes to save them. For every one person I struggle futilely to save, there are one hundred people I could truly help.
And, of course, many of those who are helped are also ultimately saved.
So it’s a utilitarian approach, one grounded in realism, but also one that I find to be effective.
Hopefully this is making sense…
And here’s how it applies to copywriting:
You can’t sell to everyone.
When it comes to your messaging: you’ve got to make choices. You generally want to speak to those who are problem aware (who know they need help) and who are actively searching for a guiding hand.
It’s actually easier and more desirable to sell to the shipwreck victim who is treading water ferociously…
Than to the one who has already given up and is halfway to the bottom of the sea.
The former WANTS to be saved…and they’ll reach out and grab the rope you throw them without a second’s hesitation (aka they'll buy your product)…
The latter NEEDS to be saved…but they’re often so far gone they’ll never even see the rope (they simply click away from your sales page or ad, and keep on drifting).
P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link