To write persuasive sales copy, you need to know your target market. Obviously, you need to know how your product can help them. And it clearly helps to understand their deeper reasons for wanting the solutions your product offers.

But to maximize sales, you also need to know things about them that have nothing to do with your product.

Back in October, in a post titled 4 Ways to Increase Profits, I introduced one reason why you need to know more:

One reason you want to know the "irrelevant" details is that they can help you find places to reach customers. For example, even if your product has nothing to do with politics, if your buyers are mostly conservative republicans, guess what "” you may be able to reach them through conservative republican websites.

This isn't just theory. I actually know someone who's had a lot of success advertising his internet marketing product on conservative political websites, because that's where his target market hangs out.

Over at Neuromarketing today, Roger Dooley introduced another way to use "irrelevant" details to increase conversions:

It turns out that there's a way to make your own claims more believable and those of your rival less so. Research at Michigan State University studied the "Barack Obama is a Muslim" and "John McCain is senile" beliefs, which informed people of most political persuasions would agree are false.

The research ... suggests people are most likely to accept such falsehoods, both consciously and unconsciously, when subtle clues remind them of ways in which Obama is different from them, whether because of race, social class or other ideological differences.


  • McCain supporters who were asked to indicate their race on a demographic card found it 77% likely that Obama was Muslim vs. 56% without the race priming.
  • Undecided subjects thought it 43% likely that McCain was senile, a number that jumped to 73% when they were asked to list their own age on a card.
  • Undecided subjects gave the "Obama is a socialist" a mere 25% probability of being true, a number that jumped to 62% when they were asked to record their race.

Disturbing stuff!

But like most marketing techniques, it can be used ethically as well as unethically.

The more you know about your target market, the more hints you can drop into your sales copy to remind them how you and your other customers are similar to them, and how your competition and their customers are different.

If you've collected demographic information about your mailing list subscribers, you can segment your list and tweak your broadcasts so that each person receives a message tailored to the "irrelevant" facts you know about them.

Prospects who don't already know and trust you are skeptical. As long as you stick to the truth, there's nothing wrong with building rapport with your audience to help get your message accepted.

Get to know everything you can about your customers. You never know how it'll come in handy.

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