Have you ever had an itch you can’t scratch? It’s awful.
When I was a kid, I would get a bad sunburn every summer and my skin would feel like bugs were crawling all over it for days on end — it was brutal because there was nothing I could do to alleviate it. My entire back, shoulders, and neck would be insanely itchy and no amount of scratching would alleviate the problem. And in my late teens, I walked through poison ivy and couldn’t scratch my itchy ankles for fear of tearing the skin or spreading the poison ivy elsewhere.
Although I’ve never had a cast on a broken limb, I know of several people who have and each one complained of a similar problem: Of having an itch under their cast that they couldn’t scratch.
Just try NOT scratching an itch. It’s nearly impossible and you’ll drive yourself mad trying to avoid scratching. Whether it’s psychological or physiological or you’ve just walked through a cobweb, that slight tickle just under your skin is an itch that MUST be scratched and nothing provides a greater sense of relief than running your nails over the itchy spot.
Itches need to be scratched.
Your marketing should create an itch that demands to be scratched.
Regardless of who your customers are for and what you sell and how you market your products or services, your marketing should do just one thing: Create an itch. And every time your prospective customers encounter your marketing, they should feel itchier and itchier until finally they scratch the itch by handing over their money and getting the product or service you offer.
So how do you generate that itch?
One of the best ways is to spend more of your time on the problem rather than the solution you have to offer.
Unfortunately, very little marketing actually does this. All too often, a company’s marketing is focused on the product or the service or the offer. All too often, marketing is about a clever promotion or a sale price. It’s focusing too much on the scratch and not enough on the itch.
A small itch can be ignored. But a big, prolonged, repeated itch cannot. By focusing your marketing on the itch, you create a “must scratch” sensation for your potential customers. I believe most marketing should spend most of the time (as much as 75% or 80% of the time or the page or the design or the copy) focused on the problem. Yes, you can tease that there is a solution but you need to build up that itch sensation over and over and over and over again.
Here are a few itch-generators to get you thinking:
- Talk about the cost of the problem. (Not necessarily in dollars but the cost of lost relationships or lost time or lost happiness… whatever)
- Don’t just stop at a single mention of a cost. Name them all and revisit them over and over. You might phrase something in one way that resonates with one buyer and you might phrase the same problem in a different way that resonates with a different buyer.
- Talk about how frequent the problem is experienced.
- Don’t just mention that the problem is frequent… hammer home just how bad it is that problem is so frequent!
- Talk about how long the problem is experienced each time.
- Don’t just talk about how prolonged the problem is, put it into perspective: A problem felt once for 10 minutes isn’t a big deal but if it is felt once a week for 10 minutes each time, that’s 520 minutes — more than 8 hours — of discomfort or inconvenience or frustration or whatever.
- Talk about how important the problem is. (Even if it’s not important in the big scheme of things, it is important to the person who is experiencing the problem at the time).
- Discuss how many other people have the same problem.
- Focus on how the main problem — and all of the subordinate challenges that result — make the prospective buyer feel.
- Talk about the impact that this problem has on those around the prospect.
I hope you’re starting to see some of the possibilities. Marketing isn’t about putting celver content out there for the world to see and for some people to maybe act on. Marketing is about finding the right people and making them feel itchy. And then, at the very last minute, showing them how they can scratch the itch with your product or service. But the itchier you make them feel ahead of time, the more likely they will be to scratch.