3 Steps to Scare Your Audience Into Action (And Still Sleep at Night)

scary image of Underwood typewriter with scary-looking figurine next to it

If threatened, we move into action.

At one time your ancient ancestor jumped because an animal was about to eat him. Today, that motivation can be just as strong for someone with arachnophobia seeing a spider.

Great copywriting compels action, so it’s no surprise fear is used in marketing.

But to do it well (and still be able to sleep at night), you need to know a few things about scaring your reader into action.

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3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

image of Voodoo Doughnuts sign

The line, even on the bitterest winter nights, extends out the door and down the block.

The neighborhood could charitably be described as “gritty” — known for marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, and bars. (And those are the legal businesses.)

The walls are Pepto-Bismol pink, graced with a black velvet painting of a stern-looking Pam Grier. The place smells like … well, like a doughnut shop — that delicious yet faintly disgusting scent of industrial fryers.

The menu on the wall is illegibly tiny (even for 20-somethings on glaucoma medication), but everyone just pulls it up on their phone anyway. They take cash and only cash, and the cute tattooed employees at the cash register are friendly, if not necessarily efficient.

They’ve taken something ordinary (you might even call it a bit boring) and turned it into an enduring craze.

And yet, everything about the place turns off 95 percent of their potential customers.

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13 Damn Good Ideas from 13 Dead Copywriters

Image of David Ogilvy with number 13

Advertising is an ancient art.

In the Babylonian sea ports, merchants hired barkers to announce the arrival of wine, spices, and fabrics.

Citizens in Greece hung “Lost” posters in hopes of being reunited with children, jewelry, or slaves.

And elaborately painted signs (billboards) sprung up throughout Pompeii to announce plays, carnivals, and races.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be. The history of advertising is full of the tools, tactics, and strategies you — as online marketer — still use.

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Why You Can’t Resist Persuasive Techniques (Even When You Spot Them)

image of woman with an orange

I am such a sucker.

Every year around the same time, the catalog comes in the mail. And every year, I think “maybe I’ll skip ordering this year. Maybe I’ll take a break.”

And then, I make the fatal mistake. I decide to take a peek inside.

And before I know it, I’m placing an order for the most expensive oranges I’ll eat all year. I cannot resist.

Even though I understand full well all the persuasion techniques they employ to make their product irresistible, I cave.

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How To Sell Without Selling

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If you want a simple way to make your emails more profitable, without any hard pitching or looking even remotely “salesy”, then give me a few minutes here, and let me show you how to do it in this article.

Here’s the story …

One problem a lot of people have with writing effective emails is they think they’re writing a sales letter. And because they think their emails are like sales letters, they pack them with benefits and use all the usual copywriting tricks — out of context — and selling “choke holds.”

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Why Content Marketing is Not Branding

image of branding iron

It would appear that our buzzword du jour is “content marketing.”

You might have noticed that they talk about it a lot here on Copyblogger.

(If you haven’t noticed that, you’re either new or you don’t pay attention very well.)

At a gathering in Boston recently, I threw out this one: “Content marketing is weaponized storytelling.”

It got a lot of retweets. And now, weeks later, I don’t really know if I even agree with that.

But I do believe that content marketing is a lot more like sales than it is that dubious (and yet somewhat important) word “branding.”

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