One of the most frustrating things when you're learning a new topic is all the conflicting information and advice you hear.
Occasionally the conflict arises because the information is just BAD.
Based on myths, junk science, political agendas, what have you.
More often though, the problem is that a particular piece of advice works SPECTACULARLY for 70% of people…
And not at ALL for the other 30%.
This is how you get fitness and diet programs where some people get completely jacked and shredded, while other people don't see any results.
It's not that the program doesn't work, it's that it was the wrong program for YOU.
This is true in marketing too.
Take the issue of using a negative (fear and agitation) approach vs. a positive (benefits and “sell the dream”) approach.
Reader Ant recently asked me why I often choose negative angles for my email courses, ala “5 Learning Mistakes Software Developers Make”…
And in the next breath I'm telling how a positive spin works better in other niches, like runners?
Am I contradicting myself here?
The key to resolving this kind of conflicting advice is to give up on trying to find the “right” answer.
Because usually both are “right”… when applied in the right situation.
You look for the core principles that lie behind both approaches—and then you're able to select the right tool for your specific situation.
In this case, the core principle is understanding what most motivates the people in your market.
Some markets are inherently optimistic, enthusiastic, starry eyed, driven to achieve…
In these situations, a positive, upbeat, “look what we can achieve together” angle may work better.
Runners fall in this camp from what I've seen. They're motivated by a desire to improve their performance and the dream of leaving their running buddies in the dust.
Other people are so mired in their daily pain and frustration that they won't believe the bold, sunny promises you're making.
The “positive vibes” are so far from their current emotional state that they just reject your message out of hand.
You may have to work just to get them to believe that a solution is even *possible*.
In these jaded markets a negative approach will win the day.
“Away from pain”?
Or “toward pleasure”?
To find out which is right for YOU, start by getting in step with your audience's dominant mood and motivations.