Here’s a short phrase that can be enormously profitable to you, if you’ll just remember it and reflect on it occasionally as you go about building your financial dreams:
You must entertain people first in order to educate them.
This little gem works everywhere. Consider how this statement applies to the news industry, specifically the cable news industry — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the like. These networks have to have stories to discuss, or else they have dead air — and nobody’s going to tune into that. So they fill their time with shows featuring pundits and pedants; and because the ratings services are keeping an eye on the number of people watching, they’re very careful about what they broadcast. They need to sell ads viewed by large numbers of people, so they can make the money they need to operate.
As of this writing, Fox News consistently sits at the top of the ratings in most prime-time categories. It’s simply the most entertaining news network. They’ve done the best job of not only providing content that people are interested in, they’ve done a better job of entertaining people. That allows them to distribute the information they want to distribute in the way they prefer to distribute it. On the other end of the dial is NPR. Many people knock National Public Radio because they think it’s dull. The pace is deliberate, unexcited — and boring. One of the reasons that’s true is because it’s publicly funded. They get their funds from a source that requires them to be unexciting — and they don’t have to fight for ratings. So while they can be very educational, most of the time their hosts are tiresome to listen to. To them, education comes before entertainment.
The business lesson here is that if you want to get people to give you money, they have to pay attention to you first. You don’t want your message to be boring or come across as monotonous. In the direct-mail world, if your copy isn’t entertaining or interesting to read, people won’t make time for it. They’re too busy to be bored by you. You don’t offer anything to shake them out of the daze they’re in as they go about their mundane lives. To get their attention, you have to entertain them. Once you’ve captured their attention, then you can sell them on your offer.
A word of caution here: be careful not to be a comedian. That’s not to say you can’t tell jokes, but trying to be funny doesn’t necessarily help your sales message. You don’t have to make your prospects laugh; just capture their imaginations and keep their attention. Find a way to get them to step out of their busy world and listen to your message. To do that, your copy has to be exciting. You have to grab them by the throat and pull them in. Keep them reading, especially when the copy goes on for multiple pages. The only reason a person will continue to read is if they’re excited. Remember: people buy for just two main reasons. First, they crave or desire a certain benefit. It can be related to money, health, romance, or whatever; the benefit depends on the person.
The other reason people buy is to make the pain go away. In this sense, pain can be not having enough money; a sickness; or the fearing that as they get older, they’ll be abandoned. We fear or crave so many things. You, as a marketer, need to understand that people will gladly give you lots of money if you can give them either the benefits they want, make the pain go away, or both.
Nowadays, most people feel apathetic toward sales messages. They’re busy, they’re overwhelmed, and they’ve built up an immunity towards them. That means that to get to them, you really have to go over the top. You have to wake them up and shake them up. Part of doing that is entertaining them. Don’t be afraid to do so. Don’t hold back. People want to be entertained, and we’re in the business of giving them what they want. Some of the highest paid people on the planet are entertainers. Think about that.