It’s super frustrating, isn’t it?
When you know people are on your site, reading through what you’ve written, but they aren’t taking any action towards actually converting into a lead… let alone paying you money as a customer.
You’ve spelled out your product and what it does beautifully.
You’ve summed everything up into nice, succinct text that just reads like the kind of literary brilliance Shakespeare would be jealous of.
The kind of text your friends and family commend you for… and maybe even a beautiful design to match it.
But it seems to be all for nothing. Because you aren’t making any kind of $$$$ off that beautifully written page, damn it.
The good news is, the problem is reversible.
And you can reverse it by using your copywriting to evoke feelings that prompt physical, gut responses by making connections with pre-existing constructs in your readers’ minds.
Don’t worry, it’s way less complicated than it sounds.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about where feelings come from to lay the foundation for where we’re going with this:
Understand Where Feelings Come From (Mental Representations)
Let’s get metaphysical for a hot second.
(Don’t worry, we’re not going down the rabbit hole, just peering into it.)
When you have an experience, what are the factors that make it an experience?
When you remember it, what are the building blocks that make up the memory of it?
What are the things that help you define an experience as “good”? Or an unpleasant one as “bad”?
Without going too far down this metaphysical rabbit hole, all of our memories are based on mental representations of our five senses and our emotions:
- What we see
- What we hear
- What we smell
- What we taste
- What we feel physically
- What we feel emotionally
And our instincts (& the societal conditioning we’ve grown up with) tell us which of these things are good, and which ones are not good.
We call these things—these ‘feelings’ that we remember—mental representations.
Because while they’re not the actual things that are happening around us, they stick so well in our brains that we’re able to recall them in an instant, given a prompt.
To see what I mean, dwell on each item in this list for at least 10 seconds:
- An unexpectedly warm day in the middle of February.
- Playing with an excited puppy when you realize his long, fat tongue hasn’t just kissed your lips, but is now inside your mouth.
- Watching your lover board a bus for another country, not knowing if or when you’ll ever see him/her again.
1. An unexpectedly warm day in the middle of February.
What mental representations came up for you?
Warm sunshine. The relaxation of knowing the harsh, cold wind would come to an end for good in a couple more months. Hope.
And I bet the muscles around your face, collarbone, and shoulders melted down a little bit too, didn’t they?
2. Realizing the puppy’s tongue is in your mouth.
The kind of mental representations you had for this “experience” depends on your opinion and past experience with dogs.
If you love them unconditionally, you probably imagined yourself continuing to rub his head and squeezing him even harder.
If you kind of like dogs, but not enough to keep one as a pet, it probably grossed you out. You’d push the dog away instantly and go gargle Listerine.
3. Watching your lover ride away without any plans of a reunion.
You felt a little pang in the center of your chest didn’t you? A heaviness that’s a littler harder to define.
And I bet your facial muscles fell, but not in a good way. You started to become more aware of your eyes, because your body’s reaction to such sadness is often tears.
And instead of the perky posture you had when you started reading this blog post (or that you had when you read about the great weather in February), your shoulders and upper back drooped forward towards the computer screen.
Remember This: Emotions and Feelings Cause PHYSICAL Responses
Notice how, even if these things have NEVER happened to you, you’re still able to totally and accurately represent them in your mind. You still feel them. So much so that your body language changes, too.
And that change in body language? That’s what you’re after with your copywriting. That’s the thing that prompts a physical response, laying the foundation for the action you’re after.
How Physical Responses Prompt Action
The scientific term for a change in body language is “physiological response.”
The most commonly known physiological response is the fight or flight response, which pumps adrenaline into our system, puts all non-life-saving body functions on hold, dilates your muscular blood vessels to fill them with blood and make them stronger, prepping you into a physical state to either fight like hell or run like hell.
And while you probably don’t want to ignite the fight or flight response in your readers (and you probably don’t need to for what you’re selling), you do want to evoke a physiological response.
How to Prompt Physical Responses From Behind a Computer Screen
But because your readers aren’t doing anything besides sitting behind their computer screens on their couches or in their cushy desk chairs, you have to simulate those real-life scenarios that would get them going.
They’re not going to naturally experience the rushes they would in real life by sitting down and reading, so you have to carefully select your words to create that for them.
Let me explain.
You can’t just simply write something like “Instantly reduce your stress levels with my meditation course.”
You can, of course. I’m not stopping you. But it’s not going to evoke any kind of physical reaction.
Because while that might describe what your course does, it doesn’t directly address any one of those six mental representations I listed above.
And to get a physiological response out of someone who’s literally doing nothing?
You’re going to need to integrate as many of those mental representations as possible.
How to Re-Write That Phrase to Evoke Action
So instead of writing “Instantly reduce your stress levels with my meditation course”, you might want to write something like this instead:
Your boss never seems to understand that you can’t fit five hours worth of work into one. And he sure as hell doesn’t appreciate the fact that you’re already putting extra hours in on nights and weekends to finish projects.
You want to leave for a new job, but you’ve got no idea where you’ll find a well-paid opening in this job market.
You’ve been scouring LinkedIn for months, and you haven’t found anything. You’ll pounce at the first opportunity you see, but in the meantime, something’s gotta give.
You’re so stressed all the freaking time that you can’t even enjoy the few hours per day you’re not working.
You go to yoga class hoping for a zen-like escape, but even when you’re laying down in relaxation at the end of it, that last email you read but haven’t answered yet won’t stop haunting you.
You try to “let the thought pass out of your mind” like the teacher tells you to, but it’s practically jumping up and down on your chest, screaming bloody murder for attention.
Fortunately, there’s a way to make it through.
You can’t control your boss or his pissy moods, but you can train your mind to be more focused on what’s happening in the moment. Which means when you’re finishing a work project, you’re finishing a work project and not worrying about all the things your boss might say (but hasn’t said yet) that’ll make you angry.
It means when you do take some time off for yourself and go to yoga class for an hour and a half of sweaty bliss, that’s exactly what you get.
And yes, it’s through meditation.
And while the mainstream flippantly labels meditation as the impossible practice of forgetting everything (which is impossible, by the way), it’s so much more than that.
This meditation course, specifically focused on helping you properly allocate your work-related stress so it doesn’t totally take over your life, teaches you meditation techniques you can practice for just 10 minutes every day… and learn to apply them instantly.
So when you find yourself stressing over something that isn’t even happening right now? You can pull out one or two of these techniques, take a couple minutes to go through them, and totally silence that annoying thought.
I teach you how to use breathing, silence, closed eyes, and your facial muscles to instantly adjust your stress level.
And while I can’t make your boss a better person, I can help you give yourself a better life despite it all.
See the difference?
Sure, it takes longer to write. But if you were comparing two different meditation courses to help you manage your own stress levels, which one do you think you’d be buying?
Turn Your Mediocre One-Liners into Copywriting that Sells
You had more of a physiological response with the long sales description than with the short one-liner, didn’t you?
And you immediately imagined yourself in the situations described, didn’t you?
So when it comes to spending money on a meditation course? (Assuming that’s something you’d do?)
You’ll be spending the money in the place where you’ve already collected mental representations of your life as it is and your life as it could be once you’ve got the course under your belt.
With the one-liner, you knew you were being sold to. And because there wasn’t any rapport or internal representations built up… it felt a little distant.
But with the long description, you still knew you were being sold to, the only difference was I actually sold you.
Because I used my copywriting to create internal representations and physical responses. I inspired a mental and physical shift, which inspired action.
So You Tell Me…
What kind of one-liners do you have on your site that you think could benefit from some internal representations?
(Psst…. Leave a comment with one, and you could get featured on Copy Power TV, which is launching next month.)
More Awesome Copy Power Advice to Create Copywriting that Sells
So how was that for a fun trick to experiment with on your website?
I dare you to try it.
In fact, as long as you don’t totally suck at writing, I can guarantee it’ll increase your conversions and sales.
If you want some more awesome advice on using your copywriting to increase conversions (and to also decrease bounce rates), I’ve got an amazing 3-part email course that will help you with that. (It’s free!)
I’ve also launched Copy Power TV, a YouTube channel dedicated to all things copywriting. In each video, I show you how to apply the concepts I teach on this blog to your website and online marketing funnels. Each episode includes 2-3 live edit examples, showing you exactly how to apply what you learn here to your own marketing. (So basically, you should check it out.)