Have you ever read the novel Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, or seen the film?
It has an excellent lesson in it about the power of persuasion that you would do well to remember when writing your own copy.
If you haven’t seen the film or read the book then not to worry, here’s a brief summary of the particular lesson I am referring to and why it is important to anyone who wants to take sales and marketing seriously.Because that's what copywriting is in case you were wondering….sales...in written form. Click To Tweet
Anyhow, back to my point.
In short, Tom Sawyer is an ‘adventurous’ young boy who lives with his Aunt Polly.
In one particular incident he is caught playing truant and as a punishment is made to whitewash a picket fence…on the day he is supposed to be going swimming with his friends!
As his friends come round to tease him about his punishment, Tom cleverly makes the point that he is in fact enjoying himself and not working at all.
He makes it sound like whitewashing the fence is the most enjoyable, desirable task in the world.
So much so that not before long all his friends want to try their hand at painting the fence too…of course at this point Tom is reluctant to hand over the paint brush…until his friends offer him small ‘rewards’ for the privilege such as marbles, a kite and other items of payment.
By the end of the afternoon Tom has done no work at all, is a whole lot richer and the fence is beautifully whitewashed.
Tom understands and leverages one of the basic principles of human psychology (and copywriting):People WANT what they cannot easily have. Click To Tweet
Plus, there is some scarcity added in this example too, i.e. there is only a ‘one off’ opportunity to take part in the whitewashing.
Desire and scarcity.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
So next time you are crafting your copy, remember the Tom Sawyer principle…you might just get your fence whitewashed and become rich yourself.
But don’t forget to save some marbles for me.