(Originally published under the title ‘Something All Direct Response Copywriters Should Know’)
There are few things we can unequivocally say DON’T work in radio advertising. The trouble with saying something doesn’t work is that it shuts down the process of seeing possibilities. The next thing you know, someone has found a way to make it work.
Nonetheless, there is one thing we can safely say you should NEVER do in direct response radio: Prevention.
Prevention doesn’t sell in direct response. It never has, and unless there’s a gigantic and sudden shift in human nature, it NEVER will sell in our lifetime. That’s because we don’t care about problems we might have at some time in the future when we have plenty of things we have to worry about right now.
Now you might be thinking that there are plenty of successful products that are preventative that must be selling very well, otherwise they wouldn’t be around for so long.
Often you’ll find in these cases the future problem is one of very high probability, which makes it less of a future problem and more of a current one.
If you are going to sell a prevention product or service, the key is this: position the benefit to address an immediate problem. In some cases that may be worry or fear about the future problem. In some cases it may be relief of the symptoms of the future problem. Whatever it is, you’ll need to find the hot button.