As a teenager I went through a “golf phase.”
Overall I was pretty terrible. I could hit pretty well with the medium- and short-range clubs, mainly the 7, 8 and 9 irons.
But put a driver in my hands and I'd fall to pieces.
If you're not too familiar with golf, you really need to be able to cover some serious distance with that first shot off the tee.
The average golfer can drive the ball 200 yards.
Me? I'd usually get about 30—and I'd wind up in the woods to boot.
(Weird thing was, I didn't have this problem at the driving range. Only when I was playing and keeping score.)
Sometimes I'd get so frustrated that I'd just use a 7 iron to tee off. The ball didn't go very far, but at least it wasn't in the woods.
There are some STRONG parallels between golf and copywriting (or any form of sales, really).
Here's what I mean:
In Breakthrough Advertising, master copywriter Eugene Schwartz lays out one of the most critical concepts for creating copy that converts.
He describes 5 different levels of awareness that your prospect can have about your product and the problem it solves.
And just like in golf, where the object is to move the ball closer and closer to the cup…
The goal of your marketing copy is to move the prospect from one end of this “awareness spectrum” to the other.
At one the extreme of the spectrum, there's the prospect who's totally oblivious to you and your product. And to make things worse, he doesn't even realize he suffers from the problem your product solves.
If you find yourself wasting gobs of time trying to convince your prospect that they actually have a problem and they just can't see it WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM, then you've run up against this awareness state.
The golf equivalent is making a tee shot into the wind while you're being pelted with grape-sized hail. You have to bring your A-game for this one.
At the other extreme, there's the prospect who already knows that she has a problem, knows your product solves that problem and trusts you to fulfill on your promises. She has her credit card half way out of her wallet, and she's just waiting for the right moment to buy.
“Selling” in this case is like a “gimme” putt where the ball is teetering on the edge of the cup where a slight breeze could knock it in.
Chances are your audience falls somewhere between these two extremes.
Your job as a marketer is to figure out where they are, choose the right “club” for the situation, and systematically move the ball closer and closer to the pin.
And trust me—it's a LOT more fun to sink 6-inch putts all day than to just keep whacking away with a 7 iron and praying for a miracle…