What is “future pacing” and how do I use it?

    Posted on October 2, 2020

     

    Future pacing is a persuasive technique used in copywriting to sell a product or service. The technique invites the reader to imagine themselves already having your product or using your service. In effect, it’s a ‘try before you buy’ for the online world.

    Why should you future pace?

    If someone has come across your product or service, they will no doubt have questions, such as what the benefits of the product are, and what makes it different from competitors. By implementing future pacing, you can answer these questions – else they might find themselves going to a competitor who provides the answers.

    By future pacing, you also create a positive vision of the future in the reader’s mind, a future where they already own your product. By doing so, it’s as if they own the product already, and it’s just a matter of them clicking ‘buy’ to complete the vision.

    How do you use it?

    The key is to sell a positive experience so convincing that the reader feels like they need the product. It’s important to write directly to the reader, using second person pronouns (e.g. ‘you’ and ‘your’). It’s also important to write in the present tense, placing the reader directly in the act of using the product – the purchase stage of the product is removed, with the focus solely on the usage.

    Let’s take a closer look at this in action.

    For example, let’s say that we’re selling a new false tan product. False tan is quite a niche item, and assumedly those searching for it will have some knowledge of the product and will know the benefits and drawbacks of various brands. Therefore, we need to establish the benefits of this particular product – what will the reader gain from this false tan above any competitors? Well, let’s imagine the benefits of this particular product are that it doesn’t leave streaks, rub off on clothing or turn that infamous bright orange colour – all pitfalls of many false tan brands.

    Now that we’ve established the benefits, we need to put these into action, and let the reader imagine that they are experiencing this new tan for themselves:

    “On your first application of Engage Tan, you discover that it glides on seamlessly, with no streaks in sight. You put on your white dressing gown shortly after, and discover it isn’t stained at all. The next day, you wake up and find yourself with an even, bronze glow – not the bright orange beacon of your previous false tan. When you shower, you realise that it hasn’t washed off at all, and your glow is just as bright as yesterday. All of your friends compliment your radiance, and you feel more confident than ever before.”

    Here, the reader has not only been told of the benefits of the product, but also how they will feel using it. This technique is used by many companies, and has been around for years. Eugene Schwartz, one of the top copywriters in the 20th Century, sold hundreds of millions of American dollars’ worth of products using future pacing in his copy, and you can see his technique in action here.

    The most important learning to take away from future pacing is that it allows your audience to visualise a new, brighter future with your product or service in their life. If you need help in creating quality sales copy, get in touch with our team at Engage Web.

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