Unless you've been out of town (or comatose) lately, you already know that the world is several trillion dollars poorer than it was a few months ago. My own net worth has been mauled to shreds by the belligerent bears of Wall Street. I'm starting to feel like that luckless knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- the feisty little fellow whose limbs are lopped off one by one. I assume you're suffering, too.
What does all this have to do with writing copy? Plenty. We've just witnessed what the trendmeisters call a "paradigm shift." And I think it's huge.
We're leaving behind a booming, expansive era that promised ever-burgeoning prosperity and opportunity... a kind of Valhalla for the upwardly mobile. For the first time in our history, middle-class folks like you and me could afford luxuries previously reserved for people with pedigrees. We'd casually hop on planes to Europe, employ nannies and gardeners, buy second homes, blow $200 on a restaurant meal and never look back.
Now it's goodbye to all that. Suddenly we've entered an era of radically diminished expectations. Instead of opportunity, most of us are looking for security. Instead of luxury, we now crave comfort. Do you see the picture?
When it comes to selling, hard times demand soft words. Your customers and prospects need reassurance. They need to see words like safe, soothing, painless, dependable and reliable. You have to assure them that your product or service will protect, defend, shelter, prevent or guard against. Do everything you can to inspire trust and confidence. Avoid too-cool irony and embrace sincerity. Tell your customers, "We're always here when you need us." And mean it.