My money is on pain.
While pleasure represents a nice-to-have benefit, pain stirs up intense negative emotion that incites immediate action, an I-must-change attitude in the reader.
Think of the distinction like this.
If we're struggling with weight gain, we might desire the benefits (or pleasure points) of losing weight -- such as improved appearance in a bathing suit, feeling more energy to play with the kids, increasing our self-esteem and confidence in all areas of our lives.
But are any of these benefits powerful enough to compel us to change habits (eating less, exercising more, etc.)?
Sometimes, but not likely.
The benefits of weight loss may elicit a sense within us that we should change, but not that we must change. We need the "must" factor to gain leverage over ourselves to push through our inertia -- the desire to maintain status quo -- so that we do something about our eating or exercising habits.
So, when writing sales copy, first tap into your readers' pain to get them to feel, deeply, that the status quo is unacceptable. Then point them to your product or service as the only elixir available that will make that pain go away.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author: Sean M. Lyden is CEO of Lyden Communications LLC (www.lydencommunications.com), a business communication consulting firm that advises companies on honing their message and their methods to more effectively influence their markets -- whether customers, partners, investors or employees. Practice areas include content strategy, sales strategy & coaching, and executive communication consulting. A feature writer for several automotive and trucking trade publications, Sean is also co-author of “How to Succeed and Make Money on Your First Rental House” (John Wiley & Sons) and contributor to "The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Guide” and “The Great Big Book of Business Lists,” both books published by Entrepreneur Press.
© Sean M. Lyden, 2013, All Rights Reserved