When writ­ing copy for prod­ucts and ser­vices designed to help some­one do X, the best per­sua­sive tac­tic is to re-sell them on the dream.

In other words, when­ever prospects got into X in the first place, they did so because they had bought into a dream. For instance, most peo­ple take up blog­ging because they buy into the dream of blog­ging: be able to put their “voice” out into the world and find­ing an appre­cia­tive, recep­tive audi­ence that not only tweats, re-tweats, com­ments on, and for­wards their posts, but also find­ing finan­cial ben­e­fit through that same audi­ence buy­ing their books, come to their con­fer­ences, etc.  That’s the dream most peo­ple are chas­ing when they start up a blog.

Need­less to say, the real­ity fre­quently falls short of the dream.  And the frus­tra­tion at the gap is where the incen­tive to buy comes in.

So if you’re sell­ing a ser­vice to help peo­ple with their blog­ging, you not only want to sell the prospect on the ser­vice, but also re-sell them on the dream.  More specif­i­cally, you want to sell them on the abil­ity of your ser­vice to help them re-capture the dream.


Because they already bought into the dream once, and they haven’t yet given up on it (they’re still X–ing, aren’t they?), and noth­ing is eas­ier than sell­ing some­one on the dream they’ve already bought into.  Doesn’t mat­ter what the dream was, and it doesn’t mat­ter what indus­try you’re in; the eas­i­est sale you’ll ever make is sell­ing the prospect on the dream they’ve already dreamt.

Jonathan Morrow’s new prod­uct is a per­fect exam­ple of that. Check out the prod­uct announce­ment over at Copy­blog­ger and see for your­self.  What’s Jonathan doing for the first 2/3rds of the copy?  Invok­ing the frus­tra­tions and dream-reality gap involved in blog­ging, and then re-selling the blog­ging dream, baby!

Because Jonathan Mor­row knows what he’s doing.

  • So what dream where your prospects chas­ing when­ever they got into your market?
  • Are you mind­ing (and min­ing) the gap between the dream and the prospect’s cur­rent reality?
  • Does your copy re-kindle the dream?


  1. Nicole Rushin on 09.22.2011

    Inter­est­ing. It is totally about the dream and lifestyle. I guess what I am try­ing to sell peo­ple on is the fact that it is okay to dream and that their lifestyle dreams are pos­si­ble. We are a soci­ety who has for­got­ten or been for­bid­den to dream.

    I like this part, ‘And the frus­tra­tion at the gap is where the incen­tive to buy comes in.’ This is help­ful as I am work­ing on prod­ucts and try­ing to define my ser­vices in the writ­ing and per­sonal growth niche.

  2. Jeff on 09.22.2011


    I think that in your case, you’re talk­ing to peo­ple who are so used to walk­ing around at a –3 on a scale of 1–10 — and think­ing that that’s about nor­mal — that when you try to get them to imag­ine liv­ing at a level of 7 or 8, they dis­miss it as pure BS.

    What you need to do is to find out when they used to live life at a +4 or +5 and get them to remem­ber the goals and dreams they had back when­ever that was. Then you can resell them on cap­tur­ing that feel­ing and reclaim­ing those dreams.

    So when­ever it was, whether it was as a junior in col­lege or a you kid in the first years of his job, or a newly wed, you need to reach back to those times and those dreams. Prac­ti­cally speak­ing, that prob­a­bly means much more sophis­ti­cated seg­ment­ing of your list, or much craftier copy, and a whole lot finer-grained psy­cho­log­i­cal insight into your prospects. But with­out all that, you’ll never be able to get this tech­nique to work for you.

    - Jeff

  3. Nicole Rushin on 09.22.2011

    These are great tips. Accord­ing to my alexa stats most of my read­ers are between 45 to 54 with no col­lege. A good bal­ance of men and women. I think maybe my writ­ing appeals to this type of per­son because they feel like their dreams are over. But get­ting them to buy or move on some­thing. Yikes. Thanks for the tips. I know the alexa is just a vague snap­shot and what you are say­ing is I need to really focus in bet­ter. Thanks.

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