The one thing your copy must do for your customers

fear“I just wanted to let you know that my kids are autistic,” she whispered.

My husband must have looked a bit confused, because she quickly added, “I’m just apologising in advance… in case they disturb you during the film”.

I recognised that look. It was the face of fear.

Fear that we would tut, roll our eyes, mutter under our breath – judge her and her young family. Worst of all, she feared that she would have to look at her kids through our eyes… and wish they were different. Or, rather, that they weren’t.

“Oh, yeah?” My husband reached casually for an oversized handful of popcorn. “Two of our four are on the spectrum, too. Don’t worry – we totally get it.”

She was instantly transformed.

All the fight left her face. Her shoulders fell and she sunk into the plush cinema seat. Even from most of a row away, I could hear a slow, heavy sigh of relief.

She grinned and offered my husband a high-five – which he happily accepted.

“It’s like a secret society isn’t it,” she laughed, turning to smile warmly at her kids.

And, again, I knew exactly how she felt.

For once, she was safe.

Here, in a ‘sensory friendly’ session at our local cinema, she was with her tribe. People who understood her challenges, her hopes and (most of all) her fears.

That moment – that sigh of relief. That feeling of safety

That’s the experience that your copy can (and must) create for your customers. Every. Single. Time.

Why is feeling safe so important?

Ever heard the phrase ‘fight, flight or freeze’? That’s the range of responses people have in the face of fear. If your copy doesn’t deal with your customers’ anxieties, that’s when they’ll talk themselves out of the purchase (fight), abandon their cart or click away (flight) or leave your site open in their tabbed browser for weeks, paralysed by indecision (freeze).

I know I’ve said it before (it is kinda my whole schtick) but connection is the pre-requisite for conversion. And since emotional safety is a pre-requisite for connection, creating that feeling for your customers should be a priority when writing copy for your business.

Three ways you can craft copy with ‘safety’ in mind

Anxiety busting benefits

Your copy should always include benefits that tackle your customers’ fears. This could be an ego-based fear (such as failure) or a fear of uncertainty, loss or even physical pain. By reducing your customers’ anxieties, you kick away the obstacles blocking their path, moving them closer towards clicking the ‘buy’ button.

Use your ‘safe’ words

There are a couple of ways the words you choose can help your customers feel more secure:

  1. Point to the ‘proof’
    ‘Backed by’, ‘certified’, ‘tested’, ‘proven’, ‘best-seller’, ‘official’ – all these proof-based words and phrases are very comforting. If someone else has given your business their stamp of approval, then it makes your customers feel safer to buy from you.
  2. Talk to your customers using their language
    Pay attention to the way your customers speak: the rhythm (the length of their words and sentences) and any slang (or even jargon) they commonly use. When your customers recognise their own voice in your copy, they’ll have that “ah, yes… these are my people” feeling.

Include social proof

Sprinkling testimonials throughout your copy is a sure-fire way (spot the proof-based phrase) to demonstrate that your product or service is the answer to your customers’ prayers. If people just like them have had a great experience with your business, your customers will feel reassured that they will too.

Tip: A great way to structure this is to highlight a benefit, then include a testimonial that backs it up.

A guarantee is another way to reduce risk for your customers. ‘No questions asked’, ‘money-back’, ‘full refund’ – these kinds of promises can often be just the thing to get an anxious buyer across the line.

How’s the serenity?

Trying new brands, products and services can be a scary experience for your customers – almost as scary as taking 4 kids under 8 to see Lego Movie 2. Almost.

But when you infuse your copy with safety – using fear-busting benefits, familiar language and risk-reducing social proof – your customers are far more likely to connect with your brand.

And that’s what’ll earn you the high-fives.

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