WIIFM is the basic idea that we are all, by nature, driven by self interest. To get someone's attention your first goal is to demonstrate how your thing benefits them. Now combine that with the fact that advertising is aspirational and you have a recipe for creating powerful promotions. Here's an example:
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." ~ Dale Carnegie
Ikea's goal is to sell things but instead of shouting "Buy my thing, it's great!" they provide a solution that helps Sarah towards her aspiration of being a together mom with an orderly home. What's the WIIFM factor for Sarah to pick up that catalog? Browsing the high quality images is enjoyable and there is satisfaction in finding something that will improve her home for her family.
So how can YOU use WIIFM to promote your business? Here are three examples:
Therapist - Rather than focusing on the debilitating effects of a disorder, show hopeful images of people recovering. Don't go overboard, you need to speak to people where they are currently, but your prospective clients are looking for a brighter future - show them one. Standard approach: "I'm an experienced therapist and I'm great at what I do". WIIFM Factor - "This therapist can help me feel better".
Restaurant - A common reason people dine out is to celebrate special occasions. What can you offer that makes a normal dinner special? A free dessert with a candle? An embarrassing serenade by waiters? Promote it! Standard approach: "We have great food, prices and a cute restaurant". WIIFM Factor - "This restaurant makes it easy for me to make my partner feel special".
Hair Stylist - Remembering to call for your appointment, then forgetting, then juggling your schedule ... can all be annoying, especially when it's every other month. Can you create a system in which you book clients for three visits at a time? Or proactively contact them to re-book so they don't have to remember? Standard approach: "My portfolio shows that I do fabulous work". WIIFM Factor - "This stylist takes the hassle out of making appointments and saves me time".
By taking the extra step of demonstrating how the buyer will benefit personally you reach them at the emotional level of self interest. With a little imagination you can surely think of ways to use this yourself. You probably already have several WIIFM Factors in place and just need to articulate them. The bottom line is that people will be more interested in you when you're interested in improving their lives- not just selling your thing. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments.