Thanks to Dale Carnegie, you know how to “Win Friends and Influence People” with confidence.
That might be the case, but do you know how to use these skills to jazz up your copywriting?
That’s where persuasive writing techniques come into play.
Time and time again, these methods have swayed audiences and shown them your worth.
Convince your audience to adopt your new belief and take action with long-form copy. Not sure how? Check out these 10 strategies to make selling way more persuasive and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
Table of Contents
Humans are curious. It’s what sets us apart from other animals. It’s not enough to tell someone what to do, you have to tell them why.
Why should you eat these bananas? They have plenty of potassium, and they’ll clear up your skin. They’re chock-full of fiber and will improve your digestive health.
Most of all, they’re delicious and fun to eat. You’re thinking about eating a banana right now, aren’t you?
It’s not enough to tell people what you want them to do. Buy this product, sign up for this mailing list, share this article with your social media family.
A charity asks for five dollars a month to keep lowland gorillas from becoming extinct. To provide comfort care to young cancer survivors. To invite an exciting new artist to create things of great beauty. Always give a reason why.
Be specific. Use details. Don’t only say that your product will help them lose weight. Tell them they’ll lose 20 pounds. Don’t say that it’s a discount — tell them it’s 50 percent off.
Give a reason why, even if it’s obvious or you think it’s too small to matter. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to make sense. It still works better than not giving a reason at all.
Always lead with benefits. Features are the aspect of your product, and benefits are the way they affect the customer.
Remind them why they need the product and what problem it solves.
This article can help you write an effective "benefit-centric" copy to increase conversions.
Speak in the second person. People will tolerate a little bit of “I” or “me” language, but they’re concerned about themselves.
Stay focused on the customer and their journey, from attention, interest, desire, action.
Let’s face it: people are selfish. It’s hard-wired into our biology. Everyone has a limited amount of time, resources, and attention. Why should they do what you want?
Consumers want to know, “What’s in it for me?” “What do I get out of it?” “Why should I care?” and “How will this affect me?”
If you play your cards right and build consumer loyalty, people will do your advertising for you. They’ll share, talk about, and spread the word about your product and how it improves their lives.
Consumer evangelism is the highest form of word-of-mouth endorsement. Think about Apple — people are fanatical about their products. Owning an iPhone has even become a status symbol.
Build that kind of customer base, and you’re sitting pretty.
Beyond your customers, there’s a second-tier audience who may not buy your product. The thing is, they’re still generating a buzz by spreading the word to their friends and family.
Even people who don’t buy your product can generate sales when they engage with your content. If it speaks to your audience on a personal level, you have a new convert and spokesperson.
Powerful copy combines the concepts of “because” and “you” for an unbeatable promise.
Repetition is a simple but effective way to keep what you have to offer at the forefront of a consumer’s mind.
The human brain picks up patterns and remembers trends. The more familiar a concept becomes, the more comfortable your audience is.
Direct repetition sprinkles a word or phrase throughout your copy. It becomes a refrain — a focal point for your persuasive writing.
Take the motto, “Never complain, never explain.” The repetition of “never” and the rhyme between “complain” and “explain” make the saying stick.
The famous first lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities are, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
Notice how the phrase “It was” creates a rhythm that sticks in the mind. Repetition in your copy creates the same effect. It’s one of the reasons commercials use jingles to create earworms.
Sometimes too much repetition grates the viewer’s nerves. It’s essential not to overdo it, or you’ll have the opposite effect. Consider paraphrasing with “indirect” repetition to push content in a less annoying way.
Providing different examples to illustrate the same concept also works as repetition. Producing results in different situations shows your audience a pattern.
As always, it’s essential to test and tweak your copy to find out how helpful repetition is and not go overboard.
Once a person starts with a belief or concept, they want to follow it through to the end. Consider the statement, “Children are our future.” Not going to disagree with that, are we?
Go on. “Children are our future, and they need the very best nutrition you have to offer.” Again, it’s hard not to agree with this statement.
“Children are our future, and they deserve the very best nutrition. Sam’s Club 100% whole wheat bread gives them the vitamins they need to grow and thrive. Ensure a bright future for your kids.”
You started with something small and agreeable, then added your pitch.
If someone follows your argument, consistency ensures that they'll agree with your proposition.
Make the case, use evidence, and bring it back to the original, irrefutable premise.
You must provide proof to support your claims. Whether in an article or a debate, a mixture of evidence strengthens your argument.
Set them apart. Even if your viewer doesn’t read all your copy, they'll see how your product worked for someone else.
Your audience might not take your word for it, but proof from other sources could change their minds.
Emphasize your offer's benefits and help readers picture themselves on the same journey.
Learn the ways to position testimonials in your copy here.
In for a penny, in for a pound.” Have you ever thought about what this aphorism means? It’s demonstrative of the “sunk cost” fallacy. Get the consumer to commit, then step it up.
You’ve bought a lottery ticket for a dollar. You don’t win, but you feel like now that you’ve started, you need to stick with it until you get results and hit the jackpot.
You could also ask for something big that you know they’ll refuse, then bargain down to something smaller. Say a teenager asks their parents for $100. Parents say no. Then, the teen asks for $20, and the parents relent.
Compared to $100, $20 is negligible. Anchoring is the term for this concept. Places use this anchoring every time they have a sale. Retail price, $10. Sale price, $8.99. You see it everywhere.
Find a problem and identify their needs. If one doesn’t come to mind, you can always create a demand.
Is the market saturated for shampoo and hair care products? What about scalp care? Not enough demand for people to use botox for cosmetic enhancement? What about migraine treatments?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs describes what every person requires to be happy. It starts with a pyramid base of things like food and water and leads up to the top with happiness and fulfillment.
From the bottom up, we have:
Learn more about PAS and other copywriting frameworks and templates here.
Use loaded words and phrases. “Brand new,” “limited time,” “all-natural,” “clinically proven.” There’s no end to the buzzwords that you can use to get the point across.
Limited time creates urgency. You weren’t going to get the new crunch wrap at Taco Bell until you found out it’s only available for a couple of weeks. This also works with Girl Scout cookies.
Help the user imagine themselves using their product. Describe a hypothetical situation and address all the problems that arise. Narrow down the pain points and show how your product reduces the harm or eliminates it.
You can base stories on real-life testimonials or use them as examples. Arthritis medication ads show the problem — stiff joints and limited mobility. Describe what their product does and show the benefits their customers get. Less pain, more flexibility, more opportunities to garden and play with their grandchildren.
Relate your argument to an established fact. Compare it to something else your audience knows about and accepts as true.
“Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, but did you know they also prevent cramps?”
Find a pain point, add context, and compare it to something else. Make it real and take advantage of connections already present in the brain.
Concentrated banana tinctures make a great addition to healthy smoothies. What about people who don’t eat smoothies? Try gel capsules.
You don’t have to compare bananas to bananas. You can compare bananas to oranges and get a similar effect.
Oranges are an excellent source of Vitamin C, but what about other nutrition? Try bananas for potassium, carrots for Vitamin A, and so on and so on.
There’s plenty of information and knowledge available when crafting an argument. Have fun with it and keep it tangible.
Embrace skepticism and turn it on its ear. Consider what objections the viewer will create as they read your copy. Expect them, and dispel them one by one.
Raise the objection and knock it away with supporting evidence. If you acknowledge the “yeah, but” statements ahead of time, your proof will be more effective.
There are five basic types of objections:
Overwhelmed — Too much content and too many objectives stop your reader from considering your offer. Offer empathy and refute their objections with helpful facts.
Value — People have limited time and limited resources to spend. You must convince them that your company's worth it, that they’ll get the most “bang for their buck” with you.
Skepticism — It’s the basis of all scientific inquiry. Human beings question their environment and learn from it. This is why you provide proof, as in technique #5.
Fear — Being alert to the dangers around you keeps you safe. Animals are hard-wired to expect danger and avoid it. Inspire confidence and earn their trust. Also, consider their “fear of missing out” as an antidote to objections.
Complacency — The consumer is happy with what they have and doesn’t feel that they need more. This may sound cynical, but there’s always a way to create more needs. Consider the egg peeler or the garlic press. You can perform the actions with your hands or a generic tool, but these specialized objects do it faster.
Treat objections as requests for more information. Remember, long copy has plenty of room to explain away any doubts that arise. Show empathy and establish credibility.
“Because” is one of the most powerful words you can use in advertising. Use a person’s natural curiosity to explain why you need a product and why it works so well. Adding reasons and explanations drives conversions.
Focus on the reader. Write in the second person — use the pronoun “you” whenever possible. Conforming your argument to the viewer’s expectations helps put them in the lead role of your story.
Use repetition to create a rhythm in your rhetoric to help your message stick in your reader’s mind. You may need to use trial and error to find the right balance between being effective and being too much.
The human brain likes to be consistent in its judgments. If you can convince them to agree with something small, they’re primed to agree with something big.
Provide proof with testimonials, expert opinions, facts, figures, and info from related organizations. Reviews and social media engagement also lend credibility to your company.
If you can convince your audience to take one small step, they’re more likely to take a larger one. It could be something as simple as liking a page or signing up for your email list.
Sometimes it works to ask for something big, then follow up with something small. The second prospect sounds much more reasonable after the first one.
Either way, identify a need. Once you’ve found a problem, expand upon it. Show how much it bothers the reader and express empathy. Then, show them how your product or service fixes the problem.
Invite the reader to picture life before and after the product. If you find a need, you can link it to a benefit you provide.
For a foreign concept, compare it to something the reader already knows. If they understand the familiar concept, they’re primed to understand yours.
Expect your audience’s objections and neutralize them before anyone stops reading. If you can stop an objection before it starts, you’ll clear up any doubts they may have had.
At the heart of it, the object of copywriting is to woo your audience. Show that you understand them. Show that you care, and you have the solution to their worries. Show them how good life can be if they engage with your company.
When you’ve won your audience's hearts, you’re ready to reveal how much your company satisfies their needs. You’ll build the kind of long-term relationship that others only imagine. The best part? Those relationships come with a better conversion rate.
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