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In writing a web copy, readers’ wants, needs, and dreams should be identified and met.

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Involvement devices are devices that get people involved with your copy. They move people to read every word of your Copy.

Getting your website visitors to read your copy is job number one if your objective is to sell them something. When you use involvement devices, you effectively own your audience; that is, you hold your audience captive.

Let see how an involvement device on the website could make a deference.  This client’s web copy original headline reads, “Learn how to be prosperous, successful and happy in just 10 minutes a day,” was an attempt to get at what he thought were the hot buttons of his target audience.

But, although reasonably successful, the headline sounded vague, and it definitely was not riveting.  It didn’t call out to the real desires of his target audience.

The involvement device asked readers to identify their wants, needs, and dreams.  What could be more riveting to your target audience than their specific dreams, the dreams they might not dare tell another living soul?

The involvement device asked them to name their dreams, and it gave them a safe place to do it because they knew that no one would ever see their response.

Bringing the readers’ desires into focus allowed us to present the product (affirmation software) as the means of achieving those desires.

Do you see how powerful that is?  Involvement devices break people’s preoccupation with other things.

At any given moment, a people’s attention is occupied with dozens of things–everything from how they’re going to pay for their children’s college education to what they’re going to have for dinner that night.

Think of your prospect’s mind as an antenna that receives signals from everywhere.  Like a radio tuner, an involvement device gets people tuned in to only one signal, one station, or one channel–in this case, your sales message or your web copy.

Getting someone’s attention on the Internet is probably the biggest challenge you face, because attention is in short supply–with over 4 billion webpages clamoring for attention.

In an effort to capture attention in the overwhelming marketplace that is the Internet, an increasing number of websites in various industries have begun to employ involvement devices.

For example, I’ve seen a retailer of loudspeakers feature a Home Theater Wizard on its website.  The Home Theater Wizard is simply an involvement device that asks a few simple questions of the web visitor, about budget, room characteristics, listening preferences, and equipment setup.

The web visitor clicks on check boxes to answer the brief questionnaire, thereby becoming effectively involved.

Based on the answers given, the Home Theater Wizard recommends one of the company’s preconfigured home theater systems customized to the customer’s wants and needs.

Since there’s no way the company could know what web visitors are looking for in a home theater system, and it offers more than 350 different combinations of speakers from which to choose, the involvement device gets visitors to participate in customizing a system for their needs.

In the process, the device causes casual web visitors to stay in the website (instead of clicking away) and take a close look at the website’s product offerings.

Amazon.com has a Jewelry & Watches division that employs a similar involvement device.

Its website uses a wizard that enables visitors to create a diamond ring to their specifications by answering four questions (visitors click on radio buttons to select their preferred shape, number of carats, type of metal for the setting, and the setting style).

When a web visitor answers all four questions, he or she can preview the ring, then select the diamond quality and ring size.

The wizard recommends a ring from the Jewelry inventory and gives the price of the ring and ordering instructions.

This is a more effective approach to choosing a diamond ring than viewing hundreds or thousands that are available.

An example of an involvement device used on a website that sells a real estate investment course.  The quiz does two things:  It gets prospects involved and makes them curious enough to click on a text link (“Click here for correct answer”) to learn something they don’t know–something that whets their appetite for the product being sold.

When respondents click on the text link, a small pop-up box reveals the answer.  They are not taken to another webpage, which potentially could take then, away from the intended sales path.  This is essential when designing a device like this one.

Involvement Devices and the Recovery Principle
The recovery principle of marketing not only gets people involved in the sales copy and makes them raise their hands and prequalify themselves as your target audience, but also captures their contact information.

The recovery principle is not new.  It’s something used often in direct-response marketing.

Here’s how it works:  If you fail to sell your web visitors on your primary product at the full price, but succeed in selling them the same product (or perhaps a different product) at a lower unit of sale, you recover the effort and cost of getting viewers to your website and plug them into your income stream.

That’s how it got its name.  Even if you don’t make as much profit on each of these sales, you recover costs, which add to your overall profitability.

More important, you turn someone who might otherwise never have done business with you into a customer, and, of course, those customers have a lifetime value since they will be buying future products from you.

Once you understand that you don’t have to offer your product at only one price, but that you can adjust your offer on the fly, you can make far greater profits than if you had not employed a recovery device, which can dramatically improve your website’s profitability.

According to an eMarketer report, acquiring a new customer costs five to ten times more than retaining an existing one.

Therefore, every effort must be made to keep customers.  Some companies use the recovery approach to increase customer retention and minimize product returns.

A software company sends out the following e-mail to those who want to return a product:

Dear [name of customer],
Thank you for our recent order of [name of software].  I’m sorry to hear that you’ve found it necessary to return the software for a refund.

We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that [name of software] meets the needs, and exceeds the expectations, of entrepreneurs like you.

Therefore, unless you’re dissatisfied with the way [name of software] performs, we’d like you to continue enjoying the benefits and convenience of owning it.

In this regard, we’d like to offer you the rebate of $68.50–that’s 50%–of the price you originally paid for it.

We’re offering you this special accommodation because we certainly don’t want to lose you as a customer, and look forward to serving you for years to come.

Simply reply to this e-mail, and a check in the amount of $68.50 will be mailed to you immediately.

Please understand that your acceptance of this rebate signifies your decision not to return [name of software] at some future date.

Should you not wish to accept this rebate offer, and choose to return [name of software], please place it in the original packaging (or another appropriately sized box), send it back to us insured (for your protection), and we will issue a full refund of your purchase price within 4 weeks of receiving the product.

[Name of customer service rep]

Marketing communications such as this one go a long way toward retaining customers, as well as recovering the effort and cost of getting them to buy in the first place.

America Online (AOL) uses a similar recovery approach when its “free trial” members call in to cancel their membership.

Instead of just letting customers go without a fight, AOL offers every member wishing to cancel the opportunity to continue enjoying AOL at no charge for another month–sometimes two or more.

The company is justified in thinking that if members become accustomed to using AOL, eventually they won’t want to cancel.

The key to the recovery principle is that no offer has to be static. Any of its parts–the price, the duration, the warranty, the privileges–should be flexible enough to meet the needs of customers.

Even if the profit margins from the down sell are considerably less than the standard margins, every unit of sales adds to the company’s bottom line, helps to recover costs, and keeps customers in the company’s income stream.

When you consider that repeat customers spend 67 percent more–and after ten purchases, the average customer has referred seven people (Bain & Company, 2002)–every attempt to exercise the recovery principle is well worth the effort.

In my experience, I’ve seen website sales double or even triple with the judicious use of any one of the devices I’ve described in this chapter.

This is why adding psychological and other devices is an integral part of the fleshing out process.

Strategically employing these devices wherever possible in your copy is essential if you want to maximize the sales generated.

What approach do you use to increase customer retention and minimize product returns?


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