Defining Happiness: The Oft-Forgotten Key to Conversion (Part 1)


Andrew Wood, the marketer who introduced me to direct response copywriting always said (and still says): you must always be selling happiness. Andrew can market pretty much anything but one area of specialization is golf.

In golf, it’s not hugely difficult to sell happiness. You can tell golfers they will hit the ball “longer than ever” and that will usually work, especially with golf clubs and balls. Here’s an example from Titleist.

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You can be certain that a big company like Titleist knows their customers extremely well through formal studies and informal feedback. So they list the benefits that resonate with their core customers: serious golfers.

In the next two blogs, my goal is to help you focus on selling happiness as a way to improve conversion. Because when you really find what makes people happy and you relate the features and benefits of your product to your customer’s happiness, you’re on the road to maximizing conversion.

What is happiness? I heard an interesting definition on a BBC radio show the other day: freedom from fear. My dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy.” Not much help there!

The dictionary definition of happiness has to be broad. However, your job as a marketer is to discover exactly what makes a potential client delirious.

Then you have to show the customer you can deliver on the promise of happiness. And when you become really good at discovering what makes people happy, you can even find additional motivators and you can increase conversion. More on that later.

Let’s return to the golf world. I already mentioned hitting the ball a great distance as a key happiness motivator in golf. But when you dig a little deeper, you discover these other motivators.

  • Be more accurate
  • Sink a lot of putts
  • Look really great
  • Impress your friends
  • Make bunker shots easy
  • Get outside and have some fun
  • Play in any weather
  • Shoot lower scores.

The list of happiness motivators gets long and yet golf is a fairly simple game. Here’s another example, this time from Cobra Golf. Note the big fat instant rebate.

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Yes, saving $ 100 can provide golfers with happiness. Cobra targets budget-conscious golfers and so they’re constantly stressing lower prices and the instant rebates.

When it comes to selling memberships to golf clubs, the happiness motivators are, again, relatively obvious.

  • Play golf when you want
  • Swimming pool for the children
  • Practice facilities
  • Junior golf
  • Social events
  • A great place to eat.

Take a look at this brochure for the aptly-named Bogey Hills Country Club. They give 13.5 reasons to join and I’m sure you can come up with more.

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I’ve seen hundreds of golf course and country club brochures. Most contain vacuous platitudes about “stunning fairways” and a “hearty welcome.” Yet the simple brochure above provides several concrete reasons for raw happiness.

Let’s focus on a benefit I never fully realized until I started writing copy to sell country club memberships: networking.

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So once you really start digging around and researching, you discover other happiness motivators that will persuade someone to join a club.

When I’m writing copy for golf club memberships, I always emphasize the networking and family aspects. Having a place to meet—and get to know—other business people is a huge benefit. And having a safe place for children to play and enjoy activities is also vital.

The Bogey Hills brochure provides an excellent example of making a big effort to provide a full list of motivating benefits … benefits that will bring happiness to the member of the golf club and the family.

Let’s head over the world of cars and trucks. What really makes people happy when it comes to their vehicle? Let’s make a brief list.

  • Low monthly payment
  • Raw speed
  • Head-turning quotient
  • Utility
  • The sound system
  • Size
  • Mileage
  • Environmental factors
  • Sportiness
  • Blandness
  • Safety

Not exactly a brief list, admittedly. Choosing a car and finding happiness provides pretty much the full range of emotions.

Safety brings happiness because it’s freedom from the fear of injury. The low monthly payment is all about money. Raw speed satisfies a need for excitement. A great sound system provides some fun. When a car looks exotic, it makes the owner happy because the owner has a huge ego. And for the person who finds happiness from being concerned about the environment, mileage is a factor along with low emissions.

So selling cars is, like anything else, all about selling happiness… whatever that happiness may be.

Here’s happiness by saving money on a luxury car.

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So two happiness motivators here… the lower payment and the luxury of the brand.

This website is targeted at people who find happiness from saving money and being on the cutting edge of technology.

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And here we go with raw enjoyment.

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In car advertising, when executed properly, the marketer focuses on the one happiness element that’s mostly likely to get people to buy. But you must include the other benefits that also bring happiness. My role as a direct response copywriter is to help maximize conversion by producing an exhaustive list of benefits.

Let’s get back to golf. Here’s copy from a web page for an instructional DVD created by a teacher in Arizona.

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That’s a screenshot of the first 11 reasons. Note how I’m digging deep to find all the benefits a golfer wants.

In my mind, you can never really discover enough ways to prove you’re providing as much happiness as possible. That’s why it’s so important to know your target audience well. Talk with them. Listen to them. They’ll usually supply you with the ideas you need.

That’s it for part 1 of this series. In part 2, I will visit two more industries plus provide some ideas for using happiness to improve your conversion.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Scott Martin.

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