[originally posted on www.PPCHero.com]

The theory of The Curse of Knowledge states that once you learn something, it becomes all-but-impossible to realize what it was like not to know that thing.


You start to assume everybody knows what you know. Maybe not consciously and directly, but your communication will often, unknowingly presume that your audience knows stuff that they don’t.


And if you don’t believe this is a common condition, check out the rampant success of all the “For Dummies” books.  1700 successful titles all aimed at people willing to call themselves “dummies” if a book will simply use “beginner friendly” language and terms.  In other words, if the book’s author will sidestep The Curse of Knowledge and not assume reader knowledge where it doesn’t exist.


So would it surprise you that more than a few Facebook ads suffer from this same curse?  Here’s a great example a friend sent me from his Facebook page:


OK.  So neither of us had even a vague notion that Fiverr is something like a cross between Mechanical Turk and E-lance, where you can get people to do freelance-type tasks for $5.


How does that get me more traffic?  Other than perhaps, paying people to read my blog or visit my Website at $5 a pop?


What the heck are they actually offering, here?  And is the Fiverr I’m thinking of the same as the Fiverr who sent me this ad?  Do you think they might have made better use of the ad text than the idiotic “Get It Here for $5”?


Now, that’s an extreme example, but here’s a more run-of-the-mill ad suffering from largely the same problem:
“Get longer lashes w/ Smartlash Eyelash Enhancer.”


Well, I don’t have a clue what Smartlash is, and it’s really unclear if this actually grows one’s lashes longer of if it’s a kind of rebranded mascara or mascara add-on or something.


Now, I’m sure some advertisers believe that “if you make them curious about it, they’ll click through to see — we ARE offering them longer lashes, right?”


Well, no one will click through for mascara. So if you ARE offering a product that will grow longer lashes, you’ll get a lot more clicks if you say so. If you’re not a major, national brand, don’t assume that the prospect knows what your product does or is.


And as it turns out, Smartlash does claim to grow one’s lashes longer. According to their clinical trials:


In clinical studies, participants experienced:

  • Up to a 68% increase in the appearance of lash length!*
  • 100% saw an increase in the appearance of eyelash length, fullness and thickness after 30 days.
  • 100% indicated a superior performance of this product when compared to previously used eyelash enhancement products.
  • 100% said they feel like they need less mascara.
  • 100% would recommend SMARTLASH to a friend.


So, with that knowledge, don’t you think you could write better ad copy that what’s there?


This is why it can be so valuable to hire outside professionals to write and optimize your ad copy:


  1. They’re outside your box and don’t suffer from the same “Curse of Knowledge” you do when it comes to your product and services
  2. They’re willing to poke around your Website and revues for stronger facts, bullet points, and persuasive language to use in your ads
  3. The optimization process itself pushes copywriters to try different persuasive appeals and approaches, with one of them usually being enhanced clarity and explanation.


But even if you don’t hire an outsider to optimize you’re copy, it might be good to get a “curse of knowledge” gut check by showing your ads to your husband or wife or non-work acquaintance.