Recently I ran across an article from copywriting great Doug D’Anna. And in his article Doug talks about the three secrets Aristotle teaches that has allowed him to beat almost any existing control, and win at almost any head-to-head copywriting contest, nearly 70% of the time, for over two decades.
Well, I won’t steal Doug’s thunder here and reveal his secret here (guess you’ll just have to subscribe to his A-List newsletter on your own)…
But anyway, Doug got me thinking. What other little copywriting gems were buried amongst Aristotle’s thoughtful ponderings…
Well as it turns out… there are many.
So this week I’ll talk spend some time talking about a few of his more powerful observations that will hopefully inform your copy, and of course, increase your responses.
For today’s copywriting gem:
“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.”
The keys to all persuasion neatly packaged in one simple little sentence.
So let’s break this down.
- Chance: Anything that could or might happen, good, bad or otherwise.
- Nature: Overcoming our nature or getting back to it.
- Compulsions: Containing them or indulging them.
- Habit: Breaking or making them.
- Reason: This seems like the responsible or rational thing to do… Makes sense…
- Passion: Capturing it, profiting from it, finding it.
- Desire: I wish… I want… How Can I have…
Makes for a pretty powerful little copywriting checklist, huh?
But after a few minutes pondering this I thought that, as comprehensive as it is, maybe it could be improved upon…
So then… Who among us could provide a deeper insight into the human condition than Greek great Aristotle himself?
Why I know who! The reigning oracle of direct response copywriters everywhere! Gary Bencivenga, and his 9 R’s of persuasion. So on his list of copywriting hotbuttons Gary includes:
- Recognition: respect, fame, exclusivity, popularity,
- Rejuvenation: fitness, health, longevity
- Relaxation: fun, leisure, luxury of time
- Relief: pain, shame, difficulty of any sort
- Religion: any strong set of beliefs
- Results: any improvements in life
- Revenge: Get back at those people who doubted us
- Role Performance: how to be a better writer, performer, boss, etc.
- Romance: beauty, sex, curiosity, travel
Now of course there is some overlap here…
But just think. Pile those two lists together, ad some proof, voila! Even a newbie writer should be able to produce some pretty compelling copy if he can touch one a few those bad boys.
In fact, I can’t imagine an ad that touched on a good number of those points, and then provided compelling proof elements, that wouldn’t pull some decent results.
So next time you sit down to write your next sales letter, or email, or sales video script, etc. Just keep that list next to your computer and try, best as you can, to push on as many of those buttons as possible. Your responses will definitely thank you.
Until next time…