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  • Merrell McGinness

don't be like peppa pig (how to write effective sales copy)

Updated: Mar 4

Is your marketing falling flat? Take a cue from a children’s show about what NOT to do.



When my youngest was 2 she adored Peppa Pig. Me? Not so much.


If you’ve never had the pleasure of having it play nonstop in the background of your day, it’s a show about a British family of pigs that do very little except splash in muddy puddles and fall down on the ground laughing at the end of every. single. episode.


The problem with Peppa Pig is that there’s no CONFLICT. There’s rarely a problem that needs solving. (Not an important one anyway).


I’m often shocked at how much sales copy is the same.


Here’s the hard truth: people aren’t going to listen if there’s not a problem. And the problem needs to relate to them. Otherwise, why would they care?


Don’t waste valuable time or real estate on the page describing how you do what you do. Or how long you’ve been doing it. Focus on the main problem and how you solve it.


NO PROBLEM, NO BUSINESS

You know from Business Planning 101 that your product or service must solve a problem. For effective marketing, you have to go deeper than the most obvious problem/solution formula. Take, for example, a restaurant. The problem they solve is to feed hungry people outside of their homes. But I don’t think they’ll win any fans with “You need to eat; We have food” as their slogan.


Restaurateurs know this, so they try to stand apart by having the “best” food or the coolest atmosphere. The issue is, there are thousands of restaurants that all offer great food in a cool setting. So what can you do?


Tap into the human psyche. That sounds manipulative, but it’s really about communicating in a way that people understand and connect with. To do that you must understand the 3 types of problems:


  1. Physical

  2. Emotional

  3. Philosophical


The physical problem is the most obvious one. To go back to the restaurant example, the physical problem could be that busy families need healthy and fast dinner options during the week. The emotional problem refers to the doubts, fears or insecurities that the external problem manifests. Parents might feel guilty for not having time to cook from scratch, or for not providing the same meal experiences they had growing up. The philosophical problem could be that it shouldn’t be so hard to find a healthy dining option where busy, working families can connect over a made-from-scratch meal.


Do you see how that connects the restaurant owner more deeply to their customer? They’re not just serving food, they’re fostering a relationship. In order to be successful, it’s important to consider all three problems in your copy.


TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEMS

If you want to STAY in business, you have to talk about the problem(s) you solve. So many people resist this. They don’t want to be negative. They don’t want to seem pushy. Or maybe they’re just afraid of sounding like an infomercial. (I admit...it’s a fine line.)


But here’s the deal — people are natural problem-solvers. When you present a problem they relate to THEN provide the solution, you are helping them out! You’ve done the hard work for them. They don’t feel like they’re being ‘sold to.’ They’re grateful you came along.


Here is another truth about humans. We tend to sit around in our pain until someone calls attention to it and provides a solution. Talking about the problem helps create urgency.


HOW TO APPLY IT

Go over all of your marketing copy — your website, emails, blogs, lead generators. Are you talking enough about problems (and solutions)? You can literally apply this approach to ALL of your company’s communication.


Make sure your marketing and sales copy reads like a page-turning, whodunnit thriller. Not a cartoon for toddlers.


(No offense, Peppa).



PS — I should probably take this opportunity to thank Peppa Pig for the hours of serenity she provided me during the toddler years.



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