Jamie Cassata, direct response copywriter here.
The brain hates uncertainty. The brain craves certainty.
That thesis is at the heart of David DiSalvo’s book What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, in which he makes the case that the brain is a predictive mechanism that tries to avoid dangers and simplify its world.
When the brain perceives uncertainty or ambiguity, amygdalae activity increases and ventral striatum activity decreases. In short, amygdalae deal with threats, and the ventrial striatum deals with rewards…
So… Uncertainty = Higher Threat, Lower Reward.
What does this have to do with your copy?
You cannot present your solution or product as just one among many.
Did Jesus of Nazareth say, “I am a way, a truth, and a life”?
Of course not. He said, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life.”
Not making any claim here about the truth or falsity of that statement (incidentally, I have a master’s degree in theology)… but do you think Christianity–or any religion–would’ve made it that far if it had presented itself as just one possible solution to an existential problem?
People’s brains crave a simple, singular answer to a problem…
…THE solution to weight loss. THE solution to finding love. THE solution to getting rich. And on and on.
For just about anything, people are looking for the one right way to do it. They want certainty. No ambiguity at all.
So you can’t hedge. You have to present your way as THE way.
You have to figure out how to position your product or service as the only answer to a problem. That means using some creativity.
Here’s an example: my alma mater SUNY Geneseo markets itself (or at least it used to) as “New York’s Public Honors College.”
Look, Geneseo isn’t New York’s only affordable, public, upper-level college.
…But it really doesn’t matter.
That attitude and positioning is what you need to have. You need to be “The [BLANK] that does [BLANK]” … not “A [BLANK] that does [BLANK].”
Here’s how I pull this off as much as it’s possible to do, as a copywriter:
I’m the copywriter who uses science-based strategies to get results.
Just remember, make it simple–and make it ONE. The absolute truth. The one right way to salvation.
What is one way you can make your offering the ONE right way?