And… we're back.

Previously on IttyBiz Teaches You Stuff, we talked about the first two elements of AIDA.

(Haven't read those yet? Click here to see them.)

What's AIDA, for those who just tuned in now?

AIDA is the classic, old-school marketing acronym of The Stuff You'll Have To Do If You Want People To Buy Your Stuff:

A = Attention

I = Interest

D = Desire

A = Action

Today, we're talking about desire.

(I said that in a really sexy voice, by the way. In my head, obviously, but still.)

So, you've attracted their attention.

You've piqued their interest.

Now you've got to get them to want you. (Or your thing. Either way.)

Ready? Let's begin. Like with Attention and Interest, there is one very important thing you have to know about desire before we begin.

You can't make a person want something they don't want.

You can't.

You can't, you can't, you can't.

To illustrate this, please think of someone you're not physically attracted to.

Now think of something they, or anyone else, could say that would change that.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

You can cultivate and nurture the existing seeds of desire – even if they're tiny – but you cannot grow a tree that has not yet been planted.

The objective of the Desire portion of AIDA is to grow desire that already exists, not to create desire where it does not.

Now, maybe the Desire you're growing is a Desire for your product itself, or maybe it's an associated Desire that your product can meet.

If your product is new, obviously nobody wants it yet. But they might want something like it, or they might have the problem that your product solves and want it to be gone.

But far, far too much effort is spent trying to make a person want something they simply do not want. I don't care what the books say, you can't “make every man want you”, no matter how hard you try.

Some guys are gay, married, or hate fake blondes with A-cups – or all three! – and we just have to get over it.

The seeds of desire are there, or they are not.

We must not waste one moment of our lives trying to make someone want something they don't already want.

One, we will fail. Utterly.

Two, we will look desperate, or like an asshat.

(Looking desperate or like an asshat will not help us later when we're selling something they DO want because by then, they will be off our mailing list.)

As it applies to your sales email, you're going to be writing to a very specific type of person.

Prior to getting your email, their desire was latent, but present.

Ideally, when they get your email, their desire transitions from latent to active.

So let's talk about four approaches you can take when emailing that person.

Approach # 1 – Scarcity

Scarcity usually gets filed under Action instead of Desire, but there are certain people – or more accurately, all people under certain circumstances – who will want something more if they feel like it's at risk.

We have all experienced this in natural environments and in manufactured environments.

In a natural environment, your friend is in a store and looking at a shirt. She likes it, but she hasn't exactly pinned all her hopes and dreams on it. She's not even totally committed to trying it on yet.

Then she's shuffling through the racks and she notices that this shirt is the last one. All of a sudden she cares a little more… and a little more… and a little more. Suddenly buying the shirt becomes the most important thing in the world.

Other examples include:

a.) when your brother is at the buffet and he snatches the last one of something he doesn't even really want because he see someone else looking at it, and

b.) Storage Wars. Dude, it's a televised WAR. Over an ABANDONED STORAGE LOCKER. That's some serious desire.

Nobody came up and made a big scarcity play in these cases. We just have animal brains and animals get a little wacky when resources are limited.

On the other side is manufactured scarcity, when a marketer will use a scarcity technique to deliberately increase Desire or Action. (More on the Action element in part four of this series .)

In the fast food industry, as a market testing technique, a restaurant will come out with a certain menu item – usually a modification of an existing menu item, like the same burger, but with mushrooms and Swiss cheese. They'll make a big unholy fuss about how it's only here for a limited time and then they'll see how many people buy it.

(Most recently I have seen this used at Pizza Hut on their new Hot Dog Stuffed Crust Pizza. Pizza Hut, please explain yourself.)

Scarcity in this context tends to work best when you are appealing to a desire for something other than your product itself. Nobody woke up this morning wanting a hot dog stuffed crust pizza, but plenty of people are latently experiencing The Desire To Try Something New.

In the shirt and the buffet examples, the desire being stimulated is The Desire To Not Regret Stuff Later or possibly The Desire To Smugly Lord Your Acquisitions Over Other Suckers Oops I Mean People.

Tomorrow we'll talk more about doing scarcity in a way that doesn't make you look like You Know Who but for now, yes, it can be a way to increase existing desire.

Approach # 2 – Timeliness.

Timeliness is best illustrated using an example.

“Want to get your paperwork organized in time for the holidays?”

In this case, tying your offering to something timely is kind of like scarcity – the holidays only last so long – but you're not claiming something is in short supply. You're attaching the thing that they might kinda sorta want anyway to something timely and of the moment.

(Mmmm… zeitgeist.)

What you're hoping for here is some version of, “Why, yes! I most certainly DO want to get my paperwork organized in time for the holidays!”

Using the timeliness approach is good for when the desire you are nurturing is desire for your actual offering. (“I've been meaning to buy my way out of my paperwork problem, and Whiz Bang Paperwork Pro seems like just the ticket. And right in time for the holidays!”)

Depending on who's reading the email – do you have a general list or a highly specialized one? – you can make the timeliness issue anywhere on the vague to specific spectrum.

There's the obvious, like getting X done in time for the holidays, whatever X happens to be. Then there's, “Want to get your pregnant tramp of a daughter's grad photos done before she starts to show?” But I guess that falls under the next heading more than it does this one.

Approach # 3 – Not This, But That.

In the Not This, But That example, you are harnessing people's natural inclination to set things right in their minds. (Alternatively, their natural inclination to argue and get combative.)

For example, you're selling adult-themed tea cozies and you say something like, “Do you have a boss or grandma who has always wanted a pornographic way to keep their liquids warm?”

The brain says, “Uh, no.” And then it sets about finding someone who DOES want Debbie Does The Tea Party.

(Bonus scarcity points if you make it a limited edition.)

IttyBiz could do this by running a promotion that said, “Hey, do you want us to rewrite your sales page?”

Most people on the IttyBiz mailing list actually don't want us to rewrite their sales pages because most of them don't have sales pages. They do, however, have home pages or services pages or store pages, and those are typically a disaster.

This way we get one of our thirteen exposures in, reminding those who might want a Sales Page Rescue that we have them, and all of the people who want home page or services page or store page copy come out of the woodwork.


Approach # 4 – Reversing Common Objections

. Often the biggest reason people don't want something is because there are barriers to their desire.

I, for example, might like a beach house in Malibu next door to Johnny Depp but I'm concerned that it might cost too much. Price is a common first objection, which is why, “It costs less than you think” tends to be a work of copywriting genius. (It only works if you make stuff that people think costs a lot, though. If nobody assumes what you sell is expensive, it's a non-starter.)

Similar to but NOT REMOTELY THE SAME AS pricing is affordability. Jamie might not take any issue whatsoever with the price tag on a Corvette, but he might not have sixty grand laying around under the mattress. That's when you offer payment options.

(Side rant: Affordability issues ARE NOT PRICE ISSUES and if an ittybiz owner mixes them up, they look like they don't understand their customer's concerns. This is because they don't understand their customer's concerns.)

Another example – Dave might want to try yin yoga but he's scared of the learning curve. “It's too hard” is an objection, so if he gets an email from his yoga studio featuring beginner's classes, his desire is piqued.

Reversing objections should usually be done naturally, within the organic framework of the communication itself.

In the car example, Jamie doesn't need to be hit over the head with, “If you're concerned about the effects of raiding the business account to buy a sports car, we have a solution for that. You could pay in payments and then you won't have to do it all at once. Then Naomi won't get mad at you. Get it?”

Dave didn't need to be told, “See, it's for beginner's, right? So, like, it's not as hard? Catch my drift?”

Sometimes, simple things like adding the word “beginner” in the name of what you're selling or mentioning that there are payment plans available are enough to reverse the objection without having to do anything else.

You don't have to hit them over the head with it, but you are well served by making sure the “it” is there.

In conclusion, if they do not already desire your product or something that your product will give them, you must stop thinking about sales emails entirely and work on one of the following two things.

One, work on making something people want.

Two, work on building a mailing list of people who want what you have.

If, however, you do have something that people might reasonably want, and you have people who might reasonably want it, those four approaches are a good place to start.

Next up, we'll conclude our series with Action, or How To Get The People To Actually Do Something, Ideally Send You Money.

Seriously. It's a thrill a minute around here. Go read part 4 already.