I see a lot of lame copy. And unfortunately it’s not just being written by newbies. Many so-called experts are guilty too. So let’s jump right in. Take a look at the below copy:
“Today you get to witness what happens when you mix honey, mustard, paprika, and then eat it with a chocolate croissant. Spoiler alert: It’s completely unpalatable but also disgustingly fun. I’ll also be teaching you how to hack your way to rebuttal-proof arguments through the power of your senses. Side effects may include an overflowing bank account and newly sunny disposition. #watchout”
What makes this copy less than awesome? It’s shallow. It doesn’t paint a mental picture. When reading copy, your audience should feel like they’re present. You should be engaging their senses so they feel engaged and part of the moment. However, that can only happen when you use sensory phrases.
This is particularly important when you’re pitching your product or service — whether it’s during a webinar, on a call with someone, or on your own sales page. And if you’re still not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. The sensory phrases I’m about to share can be used in any and all of these scenarios; they’re what will take your pitch from lame to phenomenal.
But first, a note on sensory phrases...
Sensory phrases are touchy, feely, itchy, scratchy, slippery, smelly words. And if you want your pitch to fly through objections like a fork through a Nutella coated stack of pancakes, they’re exactly what you need. People should be able to feel them in their mind’s eye.
If you want that kind of smooth action for your pitch, first off, you need to have a killer offering and a strong value proposition. But that goes without saying, right? If you have an appalling offer, the sensory phrases are going to be utterly useless.
Now let’s get to those sensory tricks:
1. Stimulate the sense of sound.
Sensory switch: Can you hear the sound of…?
Talk about the particular sound of the thing you’re focused on. Paint a visceral picture.
Instead of saying something like, “Can you imagine them being hungry?” replace it with, “Can you hear the rumble of their empty stomachs?”
And instead of the phrase, “Imagine everyone celebrating around you,” try saying, “Can you hear the trumpets blowing and the people clapping?”
2. Tap into “touch”.
Sensory switch: So close you can feel its touch
Engage your readers’ sense of touch, even if you’re talking about something abstract.
For example, instead of saying, “Your well-earned promotion is close,” you could say, “Your well-earned promotion is so near you can reach out and grasp it.”
Or instead of stating that “Your next loan payment is looming,” you could grab their attention with, "You can feel your next loan payment breathing down your neck, all prickly and hot."
3. Tingle the taste buds.
Sensory switch: Nothing beats the taste of...
You don't necessarily have to use this exact sensory phrase — you can use whatever phrase suits your purpose at that point — but the idea is to not just distantly talk about something. Be specific and engaging in your descriptions.
So instead of telling someone that “nothing beats success” in your pitch, tell them that “nothing beats the sweet, tangy taste of success.”
Or instead of saying, “Imagine curling up with your morning coffee,” try saying, “Imagine the dark, irresistible taste of coffee as it awakens your taste buds tomorrow morning.”
4. Take sight to the next level.
Sensory switch: Imagine laying eyes on...
This one is so common, but people don’t go as deep as they could. Focus on visual details for even more impact.
As an example, instead of saying, "Imagine walking into your new home for the first time," you could try saying, "Imagine laying eyes on your own house for the first time, taking in all the tiny details; the staircase, the patio, and the wall to ceiling windows."
Suddenly I feel like I am in that house looking at all those details, I am living that experience rather than simply reading that sentence as an outsider. It’s a really small change, but makes all the difference.
5. Switch on the sense of smell.
Sensory switch: Can you smell the…?
As with taste, this doesn't necessarily have to be something that actually has a smell, you can make up a smell if you want.
So try avoiding phrases like, "Imagine making $10,000 while you sleep." Instead, switch to phrases like, "Can you smell the crisp new smell of the $100 bills that you earned while you slept?"
This one not only engages the sense of smell, but also engages the sense of touch; in their mind's eye they’re seeing themselves rifling through those $100 notes while smelling that sweet smell of new cash.
6. Inspire movement.
Sensory switch: Stop the static.
Ok, this doesn’t have a sensory phrase template, but it’s about replacing a static word or phrase with something that emphasizes movement.
As an example, a phrase such as, "People will stand open-mouthed as you get your well-earned promotion," could become, "They will stand open-mouthed as you glide swiftly past all objections to a well-earned promotion."
“Gliding swiftly” engages the senses because it’s anything but static; it make the reader envision the action and feel like they’re a part of the copy. And ultimately, that’s all we want.
Each of these sensory switches are really simple things you can do to start working at a deeper level and better connect with your audience on paper or in-person.
So next time you sit down to write out a pitch, use these words and phrases to affect people; make your reader feel like they’re living the experience rather than just reading or listening as an outsider. That’s how you’ll get them intrigued enough to buy. And that’s a promise.