Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to NOT Write Problem/Solution Copy

One of the most popular leads ("introductions") for marketing copy is the Problem / Solution lead.

"So lately it seems you've got too many days and not enough paydays. Well, with program XYZ…"

"Tired of suffering from itchy, scratching scalp? Formula 207 eliminates…"


The key is to NOT focus on the problem too long. For long form sales letters (12 - 20 pages) just a few paragraphs is often sufficient.

The idea is that your prospect is already well aware of the problem. You don't need to belabor the point. Get to the solution.

I was reminded of this advice a few moments ago as I sat on my back porch in New England, contentedly sipping on a warm Saturday morning cup of coffee, unwinding from a particularly long and hard week.

My favorite local radio station, WCLZ, played their "Saturday Morning Acoustic Sunrise " soft rock in the background. Life was good.

Until, that is, in between songs, a "teaser" ad came on. The voice spoke…

"WCLZ Acoustic Sunrise… Why can't Monday mornings be this relaxing?"

Hmmm. Suddenly I'm thinking about how stressful Monday morning can be.

Uh oh. Big mistake.

They basically presented a Problem / No Solution lead!
I mean, sure, I can go back to what I was doing. But do they really need to remind us that the enjoyment they provide is fleeting?

If they'd mentioned something like "OK, the weeks over, now it's time to relax", okay, not bad.

But reminding me of what's coming up, and that their product/service really can't do anything about it… big mistake in my mind.

Imagine sitting poolside at a sunny tropical resort on vacation in January. And there's a sign:

"Why can't icy, frozen sleet and slushy drudge-filled work days back at home be this enjoyable?"

No thanks.

If you're going to talk about a problem, make sure you have a solution - and a permanent one!