How a Visit to the Dentist Taught Me a Valuable Marketing Lesson
- Author Ellisen Wang
- Published April 16, 2020
- Word count 802
I'm going to be honest with you. My parents never taught me the importance of flossing. So growing up I thought just brushing my teeth twice a day and not stuffing my face with candy were good enough to keep my teeth healthy.
I thought I had nothing to worry about until what happened in June of 2019.
I was at my dentist's office getting my regular cleaning. After the hygienist finished cleaning my teeth, I thought that was the end of my visit. Suddenly, another worker came into the room and she started talking to the hygienist.
The conversation was abnormally long. They were pointing at my x-rays. They had a concerning look on their faces. I lied back down on the chair, staring at the ceiling. Feeling anxious. My mind was running a million miles an hour.
"What are they talking about?"
"Is there something wrong with my teeth?"
"Can I give you my money and just go home?"
After what felt like an eternity, they stopped talking and the lady came up to me. She told me I had small cavities forming on my molar teeth. As soon as I heard that, my heart dropped.
I always had a fear of losing my teeth and thought it was starting to come true. So when they recommended that I get my teeth filled, I immediately said yes. I didn't want to lose my teeth, plus they gave me a generous discount so how can I not say yes?
They also told me I should get into the habit of flossing. So long story short, I immediately went to Rite Aid after my visit, bought two bags of dental floss, and started flossing that night. And I haven't missed a day since.
The big thing I want you to take away from this email is: Fear Sells.
I was sold on the fact that I needed to get a filling, with the help of the dentists amplifying my fear. I was also sold on the idea of flossing daily. Seeing my fear starting to become a reality pushed me to start a healthy habit.
Painting a picture of your customer's greatest fear is a really effective tactic to use to sell your products. But is it ethical or is it good to use as a long term strategy? That’s a whole other story to tell on a different day.
Businesses that you hear about everyday use fear tactics in their marketing all the time to get you to buy their products.
Here are some examples.
Towards the end of special sales, retail businesses like to advertise "last day" or "ending soon." Or sometimes they have "one day sales." Businesses like to take advantage of the people who have a scarcity mindset and give them the feeling of the fear of missing out, making them want to buy products on sale before they supposedly lose out on the opportunity forever.
You see something similar when you shop online. When you buy something online, you’re sent through a sales funnel. And oftentimes, you’ll see products being offered at a discount and that discount can’t be found anywhere else on their website. Then you won’t be able to access that discount again until you buy another product and go through that sales funnel again. Knowing that, you might be tempted to get that discount right then and there.
Public service announcements also use fear all the time. Take anti-smoking commercials for example. They show you people who have been smoking a long time and have a robotic voice with a hole in their throat. Or they have missing limbs and missing teeth. No one wants to look like that.
And then there are more subtle fear tactics. Let’s take a look at the beauty industry. L’oreal is one of the leaders in the market, known for selling makeup and other beauty products. Their slogan is "because you’re worth it." Why? They’re indirectly planting seeds of fear inside women’s minds making them think that if they wear makeup, they won’t look undesirable, so they’ll feel accepted and worth it to other people.
Or how about the whole idea of college? From the day you started school, your parents, your teachers, society has sold you the idea that if you don’t go to college, you won’t get a good job, you’ll have a miserable life, and possibly live in poverty, which nobody hopes to experience.
So these are just some of the many examples of fear based marketing and how powerful it can be. But you know the saying, "With great power comes great responsibility." So if you do decide to use fear in your marketing, make sure you use it ethically.
And if you use this with my sales email framework I teach in my "5 Steps to Create Money Generating Emails" book, you'll be pretty surprised to see how much more effective it’ll be.
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