Karl Dennis - Killer Copywriting - 8 Chapter Eight


If left to their own devices most people will procrastinate, just as I did.

Remember that story about my friend forcing me to go for a run when I didn’t want to? Why did that work? It worked because we agreed on a process that would reinforce the accomplishment of my goal despite the discomfort it would cause me. I knew that I’d eventually get used to it, grow into it, and even eventually enjoy it. It wasn’t long until I was knocking on his door telling him “it’s run time!”.

But what would have happened if he called ahead first? Well, I can tell you with 100% certainty that I would have come up with an excuse for why I couldn’t run.

In the end, I lost a lot of weight and I could narrow the cause down to two simple factors:

  • I had no idea when he might arrive suddenly.
  • He required an answer to “ready to go for a run?” on the spot when he arrived suddenly at my doorstep.

This method gave me no time to think, no excuses come to me quickly enough and if I was lucky enough to think of one then sadly my acting skills weren’t sufficient enough to make my excuse believable.

In the end, I was going for a run whether I wanted to or not.

The conversation would usually go something like this…

*Knock Knock*.

Hey, man! What are you doing?”

Uh, nothing. I mean… working…?”

Cool. Grab your shoes we are going for a run!”

Uh. Well, I wasn’t really planning to.. uh…well…I’m kinda…”

“That can wait. Shoes! Go! Let’s do this!”

Argh. Yeah, one second.”

*Closes laptop sadly*

Then, you guessed it, I put my shoes on, mutter some expletives and then we’d start running all the while hating my friend for ‘making me do this’.

He’s a good friend.

By the time I’d return home I felt great thanks to the combination of endorphins and a feeling that I accomplished something important that day. It was an empowering feeling. Eventually, each run got easier as those results triggered the endorphins and the feeling of pride before the run even began. That’s how you get hooked. That’s how you turn something you hate, into something addictive.

Great story Karl, but isn’t this supposed to be about helping me become a more persuasive copywriter?

Yes. There’s a point to my story. This is it …

People actually want a little push they just don’t know it and if they do they almost certaintly wont admit it.

Remember you are offering your customers something they want or need, even if they are kicking and screaming the whole time if you offer true value to solve their desires then they’ll eventually thank you.

Find Their Ways Out

Much like my example above, people will procrastinate even if your offer helps them. Some of the most common reasons for them to find their ‘outs’ and bail on your copywriting are.

  • They don’t feel like you’re offering them enough value to exchange for their hard-earned cash.
  • They’re interested but life gets in the way and they forget.
  • You’re not demonstrating clearly that you understand their pains and desire enough in your copywriting.


The Ass Fire Strategy

One fascinating concept in Freudian psychological worth mentioning is that people are highly more motivated to avoid pain than they are to gain pleasure. That means that it takes more incentive to motivate someone to seek out pleasure than it does when compared to the motivation of removing an existing or looming pain in their life. The idea of being free from certain pains and discomforts we all experience is a deeply powerful one.

There are many kinds of pains and discomforts in life, but one of the biggest is the regret you feel caused by knowing that you missed out. Nobody likes knowing they could have had something they constantly dream about, and they let it slip right through their fingers.

Regret is a truly uncomfortable feeling and we don’t want that for the reader/customer so we should let them know in advance to take action while they can. You can do this by using ‘The Ass Fire Strategy’ which involves 2 key aspects of which the following are examples:


Only 4 copies left”


Only available for the next 12 hours”

Both are suitable but by using a combination of the two you can light a fire of action under the reader’s ass. Just come up with both and then in as natural a way as possible combine the two like so:

This is a limited time offer available only for the next 12 hours. Just 4 copies available so hurry and get yours while they last. Take action now because once these sell out they will never be available again.”

I don’t know what I’m selling there, but I want one fast before they’re all gone. I’d recommend however two more things to ponder.

Firstly, you should try to think of good, ethical and very real reasons for your scarcity and urgency. Simply limiting the offer can sometimes come off as transparent and unfair and that’s usually because it is. We’re not in the business of tricking people and if you try to do this without good reason you might lose peoples interest and trust – rightfully so.

Secondly, don’t tell people it’s a limited offer and then in a week put the exact same offer back up. If you absolutely must for whatever reason then I highly recommend you rebrand it as a deal or special with different benefits, products, bonuses or something else to add value. People are more forgiving of when you own up to your mistakes and treat them like human beings. Things change, as long as you’re trying your best to help your customers they will understand. Always try your best to give them much more than you take.

Finally, don’t forget that you can and likely should remind them of what life will look like if they do miss out. Some examples of this are as follows:

  • No bonuses
  • No discounted prices
  • Life stays the same (Meaning staying in their pitiful Point A with no chance of reaching a happy Point B)
  • If they do decide to try on their own, they will be starting from scratch instead of getting the head start you provide

Don’t forget to let them know what life can also be like if they are lucky enough to purchase from you. Emphasis and demonstrate to them clearly in their imagination the utopia that can be there if they just purchase your product or service. Once again, make sure you believe in what you’re selling it’s better for your customers, but it’s also better for your general happiness and creative workflow as a copywriter.

Click here to learn more in Killer Copywriting: Chapter Nine.

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