Elements of Persuasive Power in Copywriting
Everyone wants power. The best kind of power is persuasion, it gets people to do things because they want to do it. The trick is to craft persuasive writing. You cannot succeed at persuasive writing unless you follow some basic rules.
Laws Of Persuasion Power In Copywriting
Write Multiple leads
In copywriting, a lead is not the same as a prospect. A lead in copywriting means the idea or story that leads you into the body of the article. There are many different approaches to leads and you should try more than one of them in each article to get someone to read it. We all know that different people are interested in different things, so have a few openers to get attention from different types of people
Spell Everything Out
Be explicit, and I don’t mean swearwords. The best form of writing is simple and easily understandable. Write conversationally and don’t leave anything where you expect the reader to come to their own conclusion because sometimes your reader will come to their own conclusions and they won’t necessarily be the conclusions you want them to have.
Never Be Condescending
Remember that you are trying to form a relationship with the reader and empathise with them. Telling someone that they are an idiot if they don’t pick up the phone is plain rude and will not persuade anyone to do anything face to face or in the copywriting text.
Do Not Overuse Words
Read and re-read your copy and see if you have any preference for certain words. Remember your trusty thesaurus (or Google) to help you to change words you use. Avoiding duplicates helps you keep a nice flow and makes it more interesting to the reader.
Interesting Or Dramatic Points
“Be dramatic! Seriously.” It gets attention. Even in the short sentences and excessive grammar, even though it is not correct, it is visually attention grabbing. In fact, copy writing is not about good grammar. Sometimes you need to break a few rules to get attention, it is designed to be conversational and not to be an academic essay.
Check the flow of your copy. It should flow naturally from one sentence to the next, one paragraph to another, without jumps or starts, or long, long sentences that confuse the reader and make sure them to stop and reread it. You want to make sure you use things like subheads, bullets, captions, photos, other things that break up the copy and keep that flow going.
Call To Action At The End Of Paragraph
Just like the point about spelling everything out, you need to be explicit about what you want them to do. Now this does not mean that you need to have your phone number, your fax number, your beeper number (if they still exist), you WhatsApp and so on… Have one simple call to action that you can use and only get the reader to do one thing in the article. Remember to move them through narrow halls and pathways. Sometimes it is best not to get them to buy immediately but get them to read on or investigate more. A call to action can be as simple as ‘keep reading’
Unique Selling Point
What is your niche? Tell your prospect what to do like “call to action” if they’re interested. Sometimes, even on an overall web page, people aren’t sure where to go or what to do. You don’t want them to be confused. So never assume the prospect will figure it out by himself. Tell him/her exactly what action to take.
Keep the structure simple and easily scannable. Dot points are great for this in the following ways:
- They help you make simple points
- They are easy to read
- They draw your attention
- They respect the readers time
- They enable you to expand on a point elsewhere
Use an active voice, and action words. Passive language you want to avoid at all costs because it’s boring. It’s not inspiring. You want to make sure you turn it around to active voice.
Straight To The Point
Always remember to BLUF your reader – Bottom Line Up Front – People are time poor and are bombarded with information every day. If you make your article easy to scan and intriguing there is a reason for them to read more or to drill down in the detail that interests them. Sometimes when people are writing they spend too long writing the starting point of the story. This can slow them down and cause them to lose interest. One way to escape this problem is to write your article and then delete the first paragraph so that you start in the middle of the action. Which one is more engaging to you?
It was a cold and frosty morning in the Hamptons on that Wednesday in November
Sarah walked into the kitchen to see the oven on fire and her cake ruined.
Appropriate Format/ Readable
Make sure your copy is readable! Design your copy to be easy to skim and use images to help make your point.
The One Rule
The One rule! The foundation of copywriting in a nutshell. You want to check your copy to make sure every sentence or bullet presents only one idea at a time. That will keep everything crisp and It keeps the flow going. E.g., “Genuine and verifiable scientific proof”.
Avoid Negative Language
It may seem like negative language to address the problem is a good way to go. However, you don’t want to dwell on the negative. You want to show the positive, show the benefits and try to avoid negative language whenever possible.
Simple Ordering Process
Make the ordering process simple. People like easy forms. Don’t design an order device as complex as an Tax form. It will reduce responses, It’s been proven in test after test. The more information you ask someone, the lower the response rate so only ask for the absolutely essential information you need.
Check Out Your Competition’s Offers
You may be able to counter an offer or unravel their copy to prove yours superior or you may just save yourself writing about how good your 10% off deal is when they are offering 20%. It makes sense to see what is already working in the marketplace and find a way to capitalise on the information while differentiating and applying it to your own product or brand.
Sounding like you know what you are talking about can create authority. An endorsement from a celebrity or recognised institution can do it too. Authority makes the reader feel as though they should listen to someone who knows what they are talking about.
Speak The Truth
Truth resonates with people; it can also inform and enlighten people. There is more positive power in the truth than having someone uncover false facts and misleading statements in your copy later.
Jargon is industry speak that only people that industry are aware of, this includes a whole range of acronyms too.
Do Not Be Overly Repetitive
Repeating thing to drive home the point is ok, but going on and on and on and on and on and on…
You get the idea.
Humour Is A Risk
How many comedians have you seen that have either ruined their careers or you have thought to yourself, “How can you say that?”. Humour, whilst not banned, needs to be carefully considered from all angels. You never know who you might offend. If the joke is too good it might distract the reader from the overall intention of the piece of writing.
Broadly speaking, as a matter of fact, there are two kinds of writing. Active and Passive. Active is short, sharp and succinct. There are no more words than necessary to get to the point. Passive writing, however, tends to use an indirect form of language that has a tendency to be non-committal and is softer in its approach, often taking longer to derive the specified outcome.
Use Caution With Questions
Questions enable the reader to draw their own conclusions. Everyone has their own world view and live experiences, people don’t all thing the same. Open questions can lead people to unexpected conclusions, certainly conclusions that are not on target with what you are trying to achieve. You can control the outcome if as someone if they can see themselves using the product you have just shown them but if you ask someone “What do you think?” you cannot control the outcome.
Use Conjunction To Link Paragraphs
You can use conversational language like you and I would when talking to each other, like, “here’s why,” or “ But that’s not all,”, “but it gets even better,”, or “ you won’t believe what happened next.”. Use those kinds of things to keep the reader going into the next set of copy.
5 Key Questions: Who, What, Why, When, Where
You don’t necessarily have to ask these questions, but you should try to answer these questions. Do you know someone that can answer a question with a question?
What are you really promising the reader? Are you saying buy this product and all your wildest dreams will come true? Readers are not idiots and they when they are being lied to or over promised something. Don’t over promise and under deliver.
Contractions For Emphasis
Understand that write like you talk. Be conversational. You don’t want to say it is, do not, and those kinds of formal things we are. Always try to use contractions when possible such as; “Ready to get more done?”. Imagine having a trusted go to person for your every need whether it’s a business or personal. Phrases like “You don’t have to imagine it”, there which makes the copy very conversational.
Do Not Talk Like An Educator
Academic writing puts people to sleep. You are not writing to the reader to officially inform them of the specific occasion-based discount event that you are holding…. It’s a SALE! SALE! SALE!
Power Of Subheads
A subheading is a further introduction to the subject that gives more context as the content of the document. Longer than the heading is great, supporting the main heading is just as important. A simple yet effective example:
Heading: WHY WAIT?
Sub-heading: Get in Before the Annual Price Rise
Numerals Are Your Friend
This is a simple one. When writing number in sales copy, write 3 not three. Use the numeral and not the word. Simple
Focus completely, totally, utterly on your prospect’s problem. Nothing else matters. You need to help them solve something they’re looking for/help them achieve a goal.
Here’s a nice example: deck building made easy. If you can dream it, we can help you build it. No holes to dig, no cement to mix, no attaching to the house.
They don’t say amazing, spectacular, fantastic, incredible, they just say basically, these are cool things about this deck building system.
Replicate Ideas And Concepts
They laughed when I went out to hit a golf ball, but then when I teed up. They laughed when I got out my guitar, but when I started to play….Similarly, there are lots of different ways you can use ideas and concepts, but generally you want to be original.
Do Not Overwrite
Here’s a nice tip. You want to take your copy, print it out, hold it in your hand, and walk around the room at a fast pace while reading it out loud. If you must fight for breath in the middle of a sentence, it’s too long for your prospect to understand. Remember we’ve talked about short words, short sentences, punchy, concise copy. Cut it down and take it apart. It’s easy to turn a long sentence into two nice, punchy sentences.
One Benefit Per Testimonial
You don’t want to muddy the waters and show this long testimonial, even if the person wrote a glowing letter that’s three pages long. You want to pick out the gems, edit them, and feature the strongest benefit from each customers perspective for more impact.
Remember people hate to be sold, instead solve a problem. You’re going to solve a problem with your copy, you’re going to be the hero that saves the day. For example: Need a new gym? Look no further. Get 10 days for free. Nothing to lose, just your weight.
Find your list of handy adjectives
Here is a list of words that are very powerful in copy. These words have been tested over years in multiple promotions and have strengthen the copy of many a writer.
If you need advice on content writing, you can always get in touch.
Check us out on TheFrontLinePodcast.com –
The Sales and Marketing
Join Avon Collis, Floris Blok and Jeremy Pearce as we discuss all things sales, marketing, digital transformation and technology. We frequently have a range of guest and expertise that you can learn from. Check out the latest and other episodes by clicking below: