Write your copy like the result you want is already true

We’re working our way together through creating a marketing campaign for a personal goal. The series began in mid-September with How to choose a goal for your back-to-school marketing campaign, assessed your target market (you) with Put your customer first. then continued last week with a very relevant review of Personal Development for Smart People.

Before we move on to adding strategy and razzle dazzle to your back-to-school campaign I want to tell you what’s been going on for me with the Post-It note hack I suggested in weeks one and three, because I believe the results I’ve experienced from these very simple steps we’ve taken so far illustrate a critical fundamental principle of personal marketing:

YOUR AD MUST ILLUSTRATE THE RESULT THAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE!! It cannot be about you WANTING it; it must be about you HAVING it. (As a corollary, it’s also very good if it makes you feel something.)

I want to walk againA couple of weeks ago I suggested that you write the goal you had chosen on a Post-It note and stick it to your bathroom mirror. Here’s the first version of my Post-It note ad.

From the very beginning this ad didn’t feel right. I knew better than to write it as a desire for the future, but I went ahead and left it on the mirror for a couple of weeks because I hadn’t talked about that concept for awhile and I told you that I would do this stuff along with you.

What I noticed is that rather than motivate me this ad actually reminded me that I can’t walk! Every time I saw it (which was pretty frequently) it reinforced the reality that I’m basically sitting on the couch, waiting for the time I can be more active. During that time I experienced a lot of discouragement and frustration around my injury. As a persuasive message this ad felt inert and lifeless at best, but I was concerned that perhaps being reminded of my frustration with the current dilemna was actually being counter-productive.

I walk because I can!I revised the ad a few days ago, following the suggestions in the article How to write an effective ad on a Post-It note. In that article I suggested that it’s important to state what you DO want, and to assert that reality in present time, as if it’s already true. I also decided to include the word “because” in this version of the ad, based on the article The psychology of persuation – because and William’s comment in at the bottom of that article. So my second version of the Post-It note ad is pictured here.

I noticed immediately that I respond to this version of the ad differently. It seems to have more energy; at first it almost excited me a little bit when I saw or thought about it. Now I notice that I remember it when I have small choices to make about doing my physical therapy exercises or trying to get up to get something for myself. It even seems to interact with my identity, making me think about myself a little differently. And that’s what we’re looking for: feeling something, remembering the ad, and integrating it into my identity are all very good signs that I’m engaged with the marketing message.

In the week or so since the new version of the ad has been up my life has felt very different than the previous three months, advancing in positive ways on at least two fronts. Of course I’m not saying that’s all due to five words on a Post-It note. But there’s an intriguing chicken and egg thing going on, i.e. how has a few degrees shift in my own consciousness informed my response to those other opportunities? This is a pattern I’ve noticed over and over since I’ve been experimenting with personal marketing.

At any rate, I think it’s impressive, important, and frankly stunning that changing three words in a simple 5-word message can create so much change in the way I experience this ad, and in the way it motivates my behavior. This is the kind of strategic shift that will help you raise the level of your personal messaging to compete with the thousands of marketing messages that are constantly being directed AT you.

But isn’t this just an affirmation, you might say? Yes it is, so far. Stay tuned. In the weeks ahead we’ll use the research we’ve been doing on ourselves to develop a flashier marketing campaign for your goal. We’ll create a marketing strategy, add some color and pictures to your ads, and figure out ways to use technology to automatically deliver them to you.

But before we add those bells and whistles I think it’s important to make sure to get this fundamental concept down: It’s imperative that you frame your message in present time, about the thing you DO want. I strongly recommend you try the action steps below (which take all of about 5 minutes total) to experience the difference for yourself.

Your action steps

  1. Write the goal you chose to work with on a Post-It note.
  2. Stick the note on your bathroom mirror for a couple of days and pay attention to how it makes you feel.
  3. Revise the statement on your Post-It note per the suggestions in this article.
  4. Replace the ad on your mirror with the new version and notice any differences.
  5. Join us on Monday for your next step.

Some of you have already done the Post-It note ad and its revision. If so, please tell us about your experience in the comments below. Even better, post a photo of your ad in your Flickr account and mark it with the tag tbyb. Those photos will be automatically displayed on the new Examples page.

If you want to get a jump on the next step you can read over your market research notes and start to think about what kinds of pitches will be persuasive to a person like you.

It’s not too late to join us for the fall marketing campaign series if you’re just tuning in. Start by reading How to choose a goal for your back-to-school marketing campaign and Put your customer first, then do the four steps above to catch up. I really encourage you to pick a goal and play along with us for the next few weeks; personal marketing is very powerful and it’s definitely a contact sport!

Other articles in this series

  • Week 1 – Choose a goal
  • Week 2 – Do market research on yourself
  • Week 3 – Write a slogan for the campaign
  • Week 4 – Take a picture of yourself having the outcome you want
  • Week 5 – Analyze the competition
  • Week 6 – Decide how to position your behavior change
  • Week 7 – Choose a prop to enlist the people around you to talk about your goal
  • Week 8 – Look for opportunities to simulate the experience/outcome you want
  • Week 9 – Make and deliver your personal ad
  • Week 10 – Project wrap-up

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