What Copywriters Can Learn From The Success of Google…

Filed under: Copywriting — Shaune on Friday, September 1, 2006

(I actually sent a version of this to a client as a bit of a metaphor for Direct Response copywriting.)

Google came to the search engine business late. There were already established leaders in the field.

How did they take over?

By meeting the “in-the-moment” desires of the target audience and… nothing more.

The Target Audience wanted to search. When they came to the Google site all there was to do was enter their search term in the search box and click submit.

There wasn’t a lot of graphics to distract them. There wasn’t a lot of “other options” to take their attention.

The site offered…

Only what the “prospect” wanted — to search — plus it was easy to understand.

Tech guys starting referring their friends to Google so they wouldn’t be asking them so many questions — Google was easy, perhaps even elementary and that’s at the root of why it’s so successful.

No distractions, no glamour, just what the customer/user wants.

What can we learn from this as copywriters…

Speaking to the in-the-moment desires of your target audience equals above average success.

Take a look. Go to Google.com now and you’ll see. It’s still very simple looking even today with all that Google has become.


10 Comments - I want to hear your opinion. Click here to leave a comment. »


Comment by Ryan Healy

September 1, 2006 @ 7:28 pm

Hey, Shaune, you’re back! ;-)

Nice post.

I would add that Google did “search” better than anybody else. The relevance of their search results beat the pants off their competitors.

So, yes, meeting the in-the-moment desires of the customers was important. Keeping it simple was important. And doing it better was important.

Adding all three together gave Google market dominance.


Comment by Brian Keith Voiles

September 1, 2006 @ 8:01 pm

Speaking to the in-the-moment desires of your target audience requires knowing your prosepct’s current, dominant emotions… passions… pains…

Where are they at in life?

I tap into my imagination to pursue these answers. I have “brushed shoulders” with any given prospect throughout my life… so it’s not hard to imagine this person, and their current state-of-mind… or, better said, their current state-of-emotion.

I simply think over my lifetime and think about various people until I come across one who I feel “fits” the current state-of-emotion of my ideal prospect.

Then, I begin an imaginary conversation with this person.

And I discover AND experience their current state-of-emotion as it pertains to the benefits, blessings, or problem solving my product or service offers.

If you stop and think about it long, you’ll realise that most peoples’ “in-this-moment desire” is their dominant, driving desire — and this desire stays with them until they’ve given up all hope, or LIVED their desire.

Nice post Shaune.

a.k.a. “Recluse”


Comment by Joseph Ratliff

September 1, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

I think there is a lesson of branding here too. The name Google has now become attached to “search” as an action.

You “google” this, and “google” that.

Who would think that such a weird name would turn out like Coke?

Joe Ratliff


Comment by John A. Manley

September 2, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

The point about “Google” being a strange name that caught on is good. Though “Yahoo” is about as strange, and didn’t rise to search engine dominance.

I think people also appreciate the fact that the organic listings and the pay-per-click listing are kept separate.

I seem to remember that it was hard to tell what was a qualified result and what was the highest paying result with search engines before.

Which I think is quite a statement about providing honest service first. It’s not that Google said, “We’re not going to accept pay-per-clicks” - they just were clear that that’s what they were.

Good obersvation, Shaune. Moving one industries success into another.



Comment by Shaune

September 8, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

Hi Ryan,

I really am going to make an effort to stay with it. Vive la copywriting blog extraordinaire!


Love that — Current state of emotion — there’s a lot in those few words.

For those of you who haven’t you really need to check out the video on Brians Magic site. Now THATS Amateur marketing video… done right. Excellent!

It just takes a minute. Here’s the site…


Hey Joe,

Good to hear from you. It really is interesting how we now “Google.” To me it shows the power of meeting the market and creating a buzz to “brand” yourself vs launching a branding campaign.

Hi John,

I really am aware of looking to one industry and seeing how I can use what’s there.

It’s a great “contrast and comparison” learning/embedding experience as well.



Comment by Brett Kitchen

September 9, 2006 @ 1:11 am

Regarding Brian’s comments on imagining a conversation to get to the deep desires of our prospects, I agree whole heartedly.

However, I have been reading a book by mark levy (I think) called accidental Genius.

On technique he teaches is WRITING the conversation instead of imagining it. I actually did this this week. And although it may seem somewhat silly or strange, it was extremely insightful.

I wanted to have a consultation with Dan Kennedy. So instead of waiting for 12 months and paying him $2000 per hour. I had a consultation with him in my mind and on paper.

It was actually very enlightening. I am now applying this same technique to find the deepest in the moment desires of my market.

Thanks for the inspiration,

Brett Kitchen


Comment by Terri

September 9, 2006 @ 8:08 am

Wow, Brian….

“If you stop and think about it long enough, you’ll realize that most people’s “in this moment desire” is their dominant, driving desire - and this desire stays with them until they’ve given up all hope, or LIVED their desire.”

I really studied this portion of your email, but was a bit unsure if I would state with certainty that those same desires stayed with people for any length of time.

Then I sat and pondered some more…and the clarity of your statement hit home. Pardon me if I’m stating the obvious, but we really do keep our desires with us. What happens most of the time though is they get buried, only to reemerge when a whiff of “what could be” is presented.

Those desires may not be apparent. They may be ignored or buried under life’s “to do” lists. But they are always there…waiting. How many people do we know with unfulfilled lives? Even one would be too many.

How you expressed “what could be” is absolutely beautiful. So much more than a promise and a price.

This is a great copywriting lesson on the longevity of hidden desires and subconscious motivation. Thank you.

P.S. (loved the video!!!)


Comment by Mike Muller

September 11, 2006 @ 9:57 am


Great post!! Google instantly meets your in the moment desires. It’s not something you ponder while typing in a key word — it just happens.


You didn’t waste a word in your post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Comment by Nick Wright

September 19, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

Great post Shaune!

Didn’t Google recently make news by threatening to sue different media outlets if they use the word “Google” as a verb?

I think they shouldn’t be stressing out about controlling Google brand’s perception. They’ve done such a great job as a search engine that the brand arose as a byproduct of the success.

Simple and fast… I love Google!



Comment by Ethan Kap

September 20, 2006 @ 8:39 pm


I love simplicity. Your comment of “in-the-moment” desire reminds
me of a converstaion I just had with my father.

He told me that he gets so frustrated with automated phone systems.
He calls for xyz purpose and is on hold or pushing button for 15 minutes before he gets a live person.

At the end of the conversation, he said, “Someone would make a lot of
money if they could figure a way to help seniors. We just want to speak to someone.”

Wow! My father told me his “in-the-moment” desire. He is screaming for simplicy. So many companies would profit from following Google’s example.

Ethan Kap
“Kap”sure the Moment!

P.S. I have a good friend who always reminds me that the worst prospect is a confused prospect.

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