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Take it Away


As marketers, we spend most of our time trying to persuade someone to do something — to read further, to turn the page, to visit the website, to make the phone call. But, have you ever tried to persuade your target customer not to do something?

In direct marketing we call that a "take-away." And, in many cases, it can be a copywriter's best friend.

When you decide to employ a take-away, what you essentially do is persuade the person to whom you're communicating that they want what you're selling. Then, as the name implies, you take it away.

Imagine you're in a store, shopping for something that has been notoriously hard to find (a bridal gown, for example, or a rare antique, a piece of sports memorabilia signed by your childhood hero ... you get the idea). After days, months or even years, you finally find exactly what you've been looking for. You're all set to make the purchase of a lifetime. But then, Oh no!, the salesperson sheepishly explains that the long sought after, much coveted item shoudn't have been on the sales floor after all. Someone has already purchased it.

Sacre bleu!

Does this make you want the aforementioned item any less? Hell, no. You want it even more. That prize was almost in your hands and then it slipped through your fingers.

That's the idea behind a direct marketing take-away.

You sell the benefits of your product or service. Then — and this trick works particularly well in a letter's P.S. or as a lift note — you pull back with copy that reads something like ...

"Of course, the Acme Anvil isn't for everyone. Only the truly discerning connoisseur of vintage Road Runner cartoons will appreciate the inestimable vaue of this small, but signficantly heavy, piece of animation history."

Suddenly, you've made the item seem unobtainable, which makes it all the more valuable, as any dedicated eBay seller will attest.

So, the next time you're writing about how great your product is, and how perfect it is for your prospective customer, take a minute to think about why it might not be right for them after all.

Because, surprise, that just might seal the deal.

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