The Selling Power of Envy

Use Envy To Boost Your Copy’s Conversions


It’s the biggest overlooked profit intensifier in marketing. Most marketers miss it entirely. But you can double, triple, even quadruple your conversions by using it the right way.

I’ll explain. First, though, a confession:

I suffer acute pangs of envy myself. And it’s totally irrational.

The first time I remember a pang of envy was when I was a kid. The neighbors two houses up the street got a swimming pool built into their back yard.

Now pay attention: I thought my family was a better family to be part of. And, I didn’t like to swim. Plus, I enjoyed playing in our backyard and digging up worms while my dad gardened.

So, you see, no reason in the world I would truly want, or use, a swimming pool in the backyard. And good reasons not to have one.

Including the fact that my sinuses hate swimming even more than I do!

But that didn’t matter. I resented that the neighbors had one, and we didn’t. I thought we should have one. I felt like I “wanted” one.

Envy… strikes deep in the heart of a nine-year-old.

Now before you go all psychotherapist on me and start feeling sorry for this pathetic little kid who “wants” a swimming pool he doesn’t even really want, consider this:

I don’t think I’m unique in this regard.

I think every single human being is subject to the reflex of envy. Reflex, yes. Just like when the doctor hits your knee with a triangular rubber hammer and your leg kicks up on its own.

People are wired to want what they don’t have… especially when it’s “better” than what they have now.

That’s why marketers get affiliates to compete like crazy to show up on the leaderboard — and get impressive prizes that promptly go into the storage closet… and stay there.

Weird, huh?

I’ve gotten into playing guitar after a 40-year “pause.” One thing that blows my mind: All the guitar models selling for thousands of dollars that are exact replicas of damaged, road-worn instruments played by touring rock stars.

But really, it’s no mystery at all.

Wannabe rock stars buy these carefully crafted pieces of crap because they are *envious* of the rock star who has a guitar that looks just like the one they’re buying.

How do you use envy in your marketing?

It’s not rocket science.

• If you have a golf product that promises to help your prospect get a better score than other players on the course, that promise alone — if it’s delivered believably — will boost your sales.

• If you have a blouse that will make a woman look more attractive than the other women at a party — and you can convince her of that — you’ll sell more blouses.

• If you sell a training that will put your students in the “top dog” position in their field, and you have compelling reasons why this could be true, you’ll sell more trainings.

Why does this work?

My hunch is we’re all hard-wired to want “the best.”

What is more, we end up feeling annoyed and deprived when we get stuck with “second-best” — or, with nothing at all.

Look at it this way:

Envy is simply fear of loss in the future, jolted right into the present moment.

In your prospect’s mind.

Now level with me:

Don’t you wish you had posted this article yourself, before I did? :)

David Garfinkel is a veteran coach of professional copywriters and business owners who are familiar and comfortable with direct response marketing.