On the 23 October 2001 the way we listen to music changed forever because of a simple, emotional and unforgettable promise: 1000 songs in your pocket.
When the iPod launched it was not an mp3 player and it was not a portable music play; even though, technically speaking that’s exactly what it is.
Apple gave a piece of technology meaning in our life with a 5 word promise that made us want it, even if we didn’t rush out and buy it right away.
In typical Apple form, they raised our emotions to the point of desire and then pulled the carpet from under our feet. The iPod was expensive and it was only available for Mac users.
So if you were one of the few that had designer Jonny Ive’s first iMac with the different colored translucent backs, then you could join the music revolution. If not then you’d have to wait another 3 years before Apple created a windows version of iTunes.
The simple reality is that an unforgettable product promise creates a stampede of customers.
When people understand your product promise and they can see how it will improve their life… they will sell themselves. It is the alluring picture of a better life with your product that will pull them across the wasteland of the decision making process and on to the promised land. All you need to do is make it as simple as possible for them to buy.
The second reason is that depending on what you are selling the buyer may have to convince someone else of the value of your product before they can grab their wallet. If your product promise is 5 words long then they can easily remember it and use that to win the approval of other people in the decision making process.
Most importantly, if they don’t buy right now… you leave them wanting more. Did I buy the iPod in 2001? No! Because it was too expensive and I didn’t have an iMac. But I desperately wanted one and soon after I bought a Mac the iPod made a welcome addition to my suite of Apple products.
To create an unforgettable product promise your offer must pass these 3 tests:
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
Journalists call this finding the lead. So you’ve got a story to tell. Hopefully it’s an interesting one filled with conflict and resolution. But where does it start? What’s the one sentence that is going to pull readers in?
Can you explain what your product does for people in one sentence? Not what your product is! If you do that then you are left describing an iPod as an mp3 player.
The iPod was not the first devise in this market so if they were just another mp3 player how would they differentiate themselves? By saying that they were the best, or the thinnest! I’m sure you’ll agree those reasons to buy elicit a So What reaction.
So what does your product do? And can you explain it in one sentence? Better yet, can you explain it in a Tweet?
1000 songs in your picket is only 5 words and 25 characters so easily fits in Twitters straightjacket.
The final test for the simplicity of your idea is to explain what your product does to a 5 year old in one sentence.
Why does it need to be that extreme?
Because if a 5 year old understands your product promise then an adult in a distracted world has something to hold onto.
That’s what you need for the launch tide to effortlessly carry your customer through to the sale.
What can you say about your product, that is true, that is going to slap your customers across the face?
What is going to shake them from their absent minded state into focused attention?
There are 2 powerful examples of this that I’d like to share with you. One that I created and one that’s from the Marketing Hall Of Fame.
Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer
Even in the conservative world of Golf this unexpected claim grabs the readers attention and forces him to read the rest of the ad. It’s the perfect story starter because it’s about an individual and because it violates our expectation about who can play golf.
This is in the Marketing Hall Of Fame because the same ad pulled in the sales for years.
The 7-Figure Pizza Boy
Those 5 words violate our picture of normal. This makes us want to know more.
But this is much more than just a story starter. You see this was used to sell a business opportunity and the fact that it was discovered by a Pizza Boy immediately let’s the reader know that it’s not complicated, you don’t need any special skills and that they can do it too!
That’s a lot to pack into 5 words!
None of this is conscious on the part of the reader. It’s just an emotional reaction to something that they have seen. The fact that their subconscious is already doing the selling for me means all I’ve got to do is weave a believable story.
This takes us nicely onto the third step to create your unforgettable promise.
Emotional words in a story, especially in a headline, are like accidents on the motorway; we all slow down to see what happened.
We’ve all felt humiliated and don’t want to live through the experience again. Which is why we are so curious to read what made someone else feel humiliated and what this situation caused them to do. Did they run and hide… or did they use the pain of that moment to do something extraordinary.
What do newspapers sell? Scandal, death and suffering!
What do you sell? A happy ending!
To lead your customer there you need to show the suffering you went through… the humiliating moment and how you used that to strap a rocket to your back that propelled you towards your dreams faster than you dared to dream.
So I hope you can now see the importance of making your product promise unforgettable and that you’ll use the simple 3-step formula to create your own 5 word sales rocket.