April 6, 2016

Problems and negativity

I was talking with a client yesterday about one of their landing pages. My client sells intruder alarm systems, among other things.

The top of the landing page looks like this.

Alarms Landing Page

The question was: is the guy crow-barring the door a little negative? Should we use an image of the product instead?

As always in these situations my first response was to say “I don’t know. Testing will reveal the answer.”

At the same time I don’t think it is wrong or negative to start by highlighting the problem. As business owners and marketers we often assume our customers are simply looking for solutions to things. Solutions are more convenient for us to talk about because we know about the solution. We know all the features and all the benefits.

The problem for your average web visitor is the solution only grabs their attention when the problem has first been acknowledged and agitated.

In my own work I spend most of my time trying to highlight and agitate your problems. It creates a latent demand for my services.

If you sell something more ‘consumable’, like an alarm system, you probably don’t need to agitate the problem so much. But acknowledging the problem before talking about the solution at least shows you understand the reader’s situation.

The world is full of problems. Your world is full of problems. You only become open to solutions when the problem is crystal clear and right in front of your nose.

I am not what you might call a ‘car person’. My car rusts on the drive for 350 days a year. I couldn’t tell you what cars any of my friends drive.

All of this changes as soon as I decide I might want to change my car. I begin to notice dealerships I have passed a thousand times. I begin to assess what other road users are driving, and which ones I like.

I only decide I might want to change my car when some catastrophic problem with my existing one forces me to do so. If I passed an ad highlighting the dangers of over-rusting, well, that might just get my attention.

People only look for solutions when they acknowledge that there is indeed a problem. You are not being negative when you highlight the problem first, but in fact doing people a service.

P.S. The best book on this is Sean D’Souza’s Brain Audit. You should pick up a copy.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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