Gleefully whacking the programmer “hornet’s nest”

Whenever I really want to get the programmers on my Sublime Text list all worked up, I write an email about “tabs vs. spaces.”

See, when you’re staring at lines of gibberish code all day, on of the few things that saves your sanity is—


Small differences in punctuation and indentation can make the difference between a quick bug fix and hours of bleary-eyed misery.

But what exactly constitutes “neat” is often hotly contested.

One of the raging debates among programmers is whether it’s “correct” to set up your text editor to use 1 tab character to indent…

Or 4 spaces.

Now if you’re not a programmer, it’s going to be hard to wrap your brain around this…

But virtually every time this comes up it’s like the Sharks and the Jets—a no-holds-barred, brass-knuckles-and-blades rumble in the jungle.

The forum threads will run to pages and pages as software developers lob rhetorical firebombs back and forth at each other.

Now I find this extremely amusing, for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s OBVIOUS that spaces win, hands down. I mean, come on…

Two, programmers pride themselves on their cool, rational, analytical approach to everything.

(Don’t believe me? Just walk into a room of programmers and mention the idea of using emotion in your copy to sell—and watch the ragefest that ensues.)

This highly educated and intelligent market sees emotion as weakness.

And they catch a whiff of hype-y emotion in your copy, they’ll draw and quarter you in a heartbeat.

Does that mean you can’t use emotional copy to sell to sophisticated markets like this?

Well, this reminds me of a great quote I read from email marketing guru Ben Settle one time:

“The decision not to be emotional is an emotional decision.”

I busted out laughing when I read that, because I’ve seen it over and over.

Yes, you can still tap the power of emotion even if your market is highly intellectual.

You just have to find the right hot buttons—the debates, problems and questions in your market that are so laced with emotion that they trigger an instant, visceral reaction.

It’s not difficult to learn to do this in your copy.

The first step is to immerse yourself in the work of the masters—copywriters who excel at weaving emotion into their ads.

You’ll start to see the subtle ways that they bring in primal emotions… a word here, a carefully crafted word picture there.

Before you know it, you find yourself using these same techniques without even trying.

My favorite tool for this type of “immersion learning” is CopyHour, a 90-day copywriting “bootcamp” run by Derek Johanson.

I’ve done this program twice already, and I credit CopyHour for a lot of my success.

The next CopyHour class is starting in just a few days, but you can’t get in just yet.

Sign up here and I’ll send you an invite as soon as the doors open.