Purchases are never made in a vacuum. Something caused that buyer’s “felt need.”


Usually, it’s some event or situation that the buyer is reacting to — something that’s suddenly moved that purchase to the top of her priority list.


I call these things “precipitant events” and digging into them has often been my secret weapong for writing killer copy, regardless of whether it’s Web page, sales letter, radio, or PPC Ad copy.


Why are precipitating events so important?


Precipitating events are important because they determing two very, very important things:

  1. The emotional state of the buyer
  2. The REAL purchasing priorities of the buyer


For example, someone who has all the time in the world to pick out the exact right piece of furniture for their home, might have the following priorities:

  • Build quality
  • Preferred wood species and stain color
  • Perfect size for room and location
  • Price relative to all of the above


Now picture a woman who has a VIP guest is unexpectedly arriving this weekend (imagine it’s a judgemental mother in law) and her old table simply will not do. The woman might well purrchase according to:

  • How suitably impressive the table appears
  • Ability to deliver the table TODAY
  • Financing options


Another example would be to consider two people looking to begin working out. One has a high school reunion coming up and wants to look his best. The other just experienced a heart health scare. Do you think they’ll have different buying criteria?


A PPC Contest Determined by Precipitating Events


Now, take a look at this PPC Contest and see if it makes sense to you:

Frankly, if it DOES make sense to you, you’re doing better than I did, at least at first glance. Why?


Because to me, living outside of any of the likely precipitating events experienced by this ads prospects, the losing ad actually seems more convincing.


“Pass Your Exam the 1st Time!” seems as if it is a claim, and likely a guaranteed claim. And the “…for 20 years” means that these guys have a long history in the industry and are likely good at IT Exam Preparation.


It isn’t until I put myself in the position of someone who is either out of work, or in a job that’s going away, or a job I hate, that the winning ad starts looking a lot more emotionally galvanizing.


Why? Because once I put myself in the position of the prospective buyer, I realize that the winning ad better speaks to my felt need to “start working” and to “Become an IT Pro today.”


Rather than just trying some wordsmithing magic, BoostCTR writer nextcorrea brilliantly penned an ad that speaks to the searrcher’s emotional state based on the most probably precipitating events.


A 197% Boost In CTR


While the purely emotional copy of the winning ad might seem silly to the more logical minded, it’s silly to the tune of a 197% increase in CTR, which makes it very serious business!


And as every copywriter knows, people buy based on emotion, they only justify their purchases with logic.


So keep those precipitating events in mind when you’re writing those PPC Ads.