"The E-Factor: Two Ways to Instantly
Get More Back from Every Promotion"
by David Garfinkel
Allow me to introduce you to the mysterious "E-Factor".
It's mysterious because it has two meanings.
Both meanings will help you get more business from any promotion
you do. So without further ado, here's how you can use the "E-Factor"
to make more money:
- Put "E-Factor" in your testimonials and copy
Did you realize the very best source of new business is almost
always a prospect who has been referred to you by a friend or
trusted business advisor? It is. Think about this in your own
When you need an accountant, or an attorney, or a doctor, or
for that matter a hardware store in a new town, you'll probably
turn to someone you know, whose judgment you trust, to refer you
to the service or product provider you're looking for.
OK. But what does that have to do with direct mail and Web promotions?
A lot. People are always on the lookout for sources of advice
they can trust. However, since you can't always rely on giving
every prospect for your business personal recommendations from
the prospect's friends, neighbors and advisors they actually know
and trust, you do the next best thing: You give them copy with
recommendations from people who seem like the people they know
How? By putting testimonials and case studies in your copy involving
people who will fill the role of trusted friends and advisors.
Many marketers do this but they don't get the desired effect.
Why? Because they haven't put enough productive effort into the
research that pays off. This is in-person research - especially
one-on-one "casual" research, as opposed to formal focus-group
research - with their actual customers, and people who are a lot
like their customers.
This high-payoff research gives you in-depth working
understanding of how your prospects think and act in
the world -and how they look at things and make decisions. When
you have this understanding and you weave it into the language
of your descriptive copy and your testimonial quotes, it's called
"Empathy" - that's the first meaning
of "The E-Factor." Increase empathy in your copy and
you'll increase sales. - Profit from the second
meaning of the "E-Factor" as well
There's another, equally important meaning. Before I tell you
what it is, let me give you a big, fat hint. In his book The Entertainment
Economy: How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives, author
Michael J. Wolfe points out that American consumers put 8.4% -
about one dollar out of every 12 - into some form of entertainment.
Currently, that adds up to $480 billion a year.
As a side note, Hollywood productions - films and TV shows -
bring in the second largest amount of money from overseas back
into the U.S. economy, after aircraft sales.
Yes, the other meaning of the "E-Factor" is entertainment.
It's huge. And it applies to marketing and selling. As the late
(and great) David Ogilvy reminded us, "People will not be
bored into buying."
But beware. Many a copywriter less talented and, more importantly,
less thoughtful than Mr. Ogilvy has made the fatal error including
humor, fantasy, drama or thrills in a promotion in such a way
as to not specifically move the sales process forward.
And that's dangerous. Even deadly, sometimes. Here's why: When
you include entertainment, people's attention will invariably
be drawn to it over anything else. And when entertainment does
not directly support moving the sale forward, then it automatically
detracts from the sale.
There are dozens of examples. The lying Isuzu salesman. Sales
went down. "Plop-plop, Fizz-fizz." Sales went down.
I'm sure you have your favorites of entertaining ad campaigns
that bombed. Now you know why.
Entertainment isn't bad. But not painstakingly linking the entertainment
to the forward motion of the sale is bad. Very bad.
So, how do you add entertainment value in such a way as to increase
the sales effectiveness of your promotion? Several ways:
- Tell a dramatic story where your product is the hero and saves
the day for the human involved. My favorite example of this is
the newspaper ad for Joe Karbo's legendary book "The Lazy
Man's Way to Riches."
In the ad, Mr. Karbo talks about his "Lazy Man's Way"
which he promises to reveal in the book he's selling. He tells
how, before he knew the "Lazy Man's Way," he used to
work 18-hour days, 7-day weeks and was still perpetually in debt.
But after he learned the "Lazy Man's Way," he became
financially independent by working less and in fact became very
This incredible ad combines drama with sales power in an unbeatable
way. And it worked! The ad sold 3 million books by mail order!
- Use humor that adds emphasis to the value
of your product or service. When you get past the laughter, most
humor in ads just shows off the cleverness of the creative team
who created the ad. (You might say it also shows off their lack
of concern for creating sales.) A positive example, where the
humor shows how the product is so worthwhile, is the old (and
very successful) series of Seinfeld commercials for the American
- Use exciting, colorful language in testimonials
when customers are talking about the virtues of your product.
But make sure it's believable. And don't make fun of the fact
that you're selling something, any more than you would go to target
practice and fire the first shot into your own foot. At all times,
keep your eye on the target - increased sales!
So let's review. How can you use this information to make more
sales in every promotion? Take stock of its Empathy and Entertainment
Value. Be single-minded. Take out everything that takes away from
the sale, and keep in - or boost and strengthen - everything that
furthers the sale. Build the strongest possible promotion at every
point along the way - and watch your response rate soar!
Garfinkel is widely recognized by many "marketing
gurus" as their secret weapon. That is, he is known
as "The World's Greatest Copywriting Coach";
because, he can, like no other, teach you how to turn words into
cash. David is also the author and narrator of Killer
Copy Tactics, the Web's first and only totally interactive
audio/visual learning system for writing killer sales copy.
here to send this article to a friend...
Back to Articles Page