THE SCIENCE OF PERSUASION
The Psychology Behind Marketing Copy That’s Irresistibly Persuasive
21 September 2018
Getting people to buy from you or just even pay attention to your business can be tough in today’s crowded web space.
That’s why having compelling content is a necessary element for any successful business.
If your aim is to sell successfully, you have to be able to know how to persuade at some point during your buyer’s journey.
The two just goes hand in hand.
I know that’s easier said than done. If it wasn’t, then we’d see less of marketing drivel being used on websites and promotional materials.
I get it.
A lot of people resort to using marketing drivel and business jargon because it seems like the only way to do things. You see it everywhere and everyone seems to be using it so it must be correct, right?
In this case, there might be strength in numbers in the sense that people think it’s the norm but that doesn’t always mean that it’s the right way of doing things.
So how do you exactly write irresistibly persuasive marketing copy that steers clear of worn-down marketing catchphrases?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind!
What Does It Take to Make Your Marketing Copy More Compelling?
Persuasive marketing copy is founded on being able to clearly convey what’s in it for your audience.
Everything else is negotiable.
No matter how well-written your copy is if it doesn’t have a smidgen of benefit for your customers then your pleas for them to buy will likely fall on deaf ears.
You can easily avoid that by communicating the key aspects of your product or service.
But how do you exactly choose which parts of your service or product to highlight?
Make sure you profile your target market first and research the heck about what they think of similar products and services to yours. This will give you their top, most common concerns.
You can do a couple of things once you have that information in handy.
First is you use that info to improve your own offering.
For instance, if you noticed that there were a lot of complaints about SEO agencies lacking transparency then make sure you differentiate yourself by being honest and as transparent.
Another thing you can do with the said info is in how you position your brand’s messaging.
Emphasize how you provide weekly progress reports since other SEO agencies might charge weekly or monthly without ever giving a clear itemized list of the work they’ve done.
These are just some ideas to drive home the power of knowing how your customers can benefit from your business.
“Persuasive marketing copy is founded on being able to clearly convey what’s in it for your audience.”
Use a Conversational Tone
Now let’s get to the how’s of writing an irresistible marketing copy.
If you want
To do this, you’ll have to write conversationally or risk sounding like a math teacher explaining how to find the hypotenuse of an angle using the Pythagorean Theorem to a 5-year old.
It will all seem like gibberish especially if your target audience isn’t exactly experts in the business field’s jargon.
But more than just appearing stuffy, you also risk losing customers who readily leave in confusion after failing to understand your message.
In today’s business landscape, you have to sound like an actual person so you can better connect with your ideal customers and stand out. Without this differentiating factor, your just another voice on the web struggling to get heard.
Ditch Long-Winded Phrases To Ensure a Precise Message
There’s nothing like a drawn-out, wordy message to get readers bored fast.
I know there are instances where flowery words can be advantageous (like if you’re writing prose) but when it comes to your marketing copy, you should always get straight to the point.
Why? Because people are busy.
They don’t have all day to read every word you say. And even if they did, they won’t use it to read each word you’ve written.
Trust me, I know!
But if you’re still unconvinced, statistics show that only about 20% of a content gets read. Granted, the study has been done way back in 2008 but I don’t think people’s attention span these days have improved.
If anything, today’s attention span could be even lower which means you might be really looking at less than 20%.
So how do you cut out no-good, filler words? Make sure that each of your sentences means something.
For instance, don’t just say, “Our qualified and competent team can help you manage your online store better and help improve it.” Instead, say “Our team of Shopify experts can help you reduce cart abandonment and boost sales.”
Now you have a meaningful message that has a clear set of benefits!
Use Unexpected Words
There’s nothing like some nice, unexpected words to surprise your readers.
It makes you stand out (literally) but also has the added benefit of making you more memorable.
This is the part where you muster all your vocabulary knowledge and find ways you can transform commonly phrased terms into something extraordinary.
Writing something conventionally wipes out all possible chances of your message being recalled.
It matters in a lot of things such as converting prospects and encouraging shares, among others. They need to be able to remember what it is you promised to give them as they move through your site.
This little tidbit is tied to a 1995 study called the “Bizarreness Effect.” It’s an oldie but a goodie.
All it takes are two things: an unusual word and a simple sentence structure. Easy, right?
Here’ are a few examples: “Get to Kicking Your Competitors’ Asses Like Schwarzenegger” or “Compete in the Next Marathon Like a Spartan.”
It’s not your usual title so it definitely does the job!
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Straight to the Point
Making the most out of your copy requires a direct approach.
Show signs of anything less and you’ll have already lost potential conversions.
There’s nothing wrong with being subtle.
But just like anything in life, there’s a time and place for it. If your aim is to nab that sale or have a site visitor give you their email, then tell them what you want them to do—no ifs, no buts.
This means doing away with sentences like, “If you’d like, you can give us your email below so we can update you with our latest blog posts.”
There’s actually nothing wrong with the sentence per se.
The problem is you’re giving your audience a reason not to do as you ask.
So ditch the uncertain phrasing and use a more direct approach in your writing!
Avoid Using Jargon and Marketing Buzzwords
If you look at today’s marketing content, there’s so much sales hype out there that it’s hard to find an authentic gem in a sea of businesses parroting the same schtick.
There was even a time a few years back when every new startup had the words innovative, value-added service (isn’t that a given?), and growth-hacking in their message.
It’s great that you “help businesses in the financial vertical leverage different CMS platforms for client-centric content,” but what does that mean exactly?
An easy litmus test is that if your mom or dad can’t understand what you do, there’s a likely chance your customers won’t get it either.
For instance, leverage and utilize are two words that have been played out but both words really just mean “use.”
See how simple that is?
I, for one, was confused the first time I read those words. And more so, when I kept seeing them in a lot of marketing materials.
In doing the same, you might be unknowingly turning off prospects in the process. You can always do better by replacing jargon and overused phrases by being more specific in your copy.
Don’t just say how you can help your customers increase their social media followers.
Instead, say that you’ve helped clients boost their social media followers by an average of 19% or 1,926 followers.
Draw Your Audience In with an Appeal to Something New
A study in 2006 has confirmed what we’ve always thought all along—that people are hardwired to crave new things.
This is why you feel so much joy after buying that newly released iPhone or shopping that new shoes. The act of acquiring or discovering something new has been shown to activate the pleasure center in our brains!
That feel-good stuff sticks. And it’s a concept you can use in your copy as well by introducing something new.
There are a number of words you can use to feature something new:
- And of course, the word new!
These words connote something effortless compared to words like “learn” or “get to know.”
The best way to use the above words
It All Comes Down to Framing
When it comes to using words, there’s just so much on the line in terms of how you frame it.
In one of the studies done by Elizabeth Loftus, she made participants watch the same video of a car crash. She then asked each participant to guess how fast the car in the video is going.
The thing is, she phrased the question differently for each group and used the following words:
The group who answered the highest speed estimate are the ones who were asked the “smashed” question with 40.8 mph. While the group with the lowest speed estimate were asked the “contacted” question with 31.8 mph.
This just goes to show that that the words we use can make a powerful difference, especially when used correctly.
Applying this theory to copywriting means that you need to use more compelling words in order to drive home the full effect of what you want to achieve.
For example, if you’re writing a sales page for a done-for-you course, don’t stop at saying that what you’re offering can “save them time.”
Why not say, “Experience the allure of having more time to spend on vacations—watching the blue waters and the sunset.” It’s much vivid and paints a clear picture of what they could be doing with the time they’re saving.
“The words we use can make a powerful difference, especially when used correctly.”
Give People a Reason to Heed Your Call-to-Action
No copy is complete without a call-to-action.
The fact that you’re reading about copywriting means you need to act on something in the end. In these cases, being direct isn’t often enough to get the job done.
You have to give them a reason to heed your CTA as well!
If you’re thinking how something so simple can make a difference, research actually says the same thing!
Foundation research done by Ellen Langer way back in 1976 showed that people are more willing to grant a request if you follow it up with “because.”
This rings true even if the reason you’re stating is not related to your request!
In the study, Langer had her participants break in on a line for a copy machine.
The requests used three different wordings. The first statement used with no reason included got 60% to comply.
While the second statement included a reason, it was not compelling in the least. It goes “May I use the Xerox
The last statement, on the other hand, reasoned out that the participant is in a rush and got a 94% compliance.
We can see from the above that any reason is fine as long as you give one. But of course, it’s better to use a compelling reason when it comes to your marketing copy.
For instance, don’t just say, “Book a consultation (it’s free).” Say instead, “Get to know how to increase your traffic when you book a free consultation with us.”
See the difference? Try it out in your copy to see the actual results!
Make Your Writing Memorable
Good copy takes effort.
You might’ve invested hours of your time researching and writing a masterpiece but if your message doesn’t stick—all of the time and effort you put in will just go down the drain.
So how do you exactly make your writing memorable?
There’s no one big way to do it but you can utilize a number of tactics to help you ensure that what you want to convey gets remembered.
Use Stories to Make Your Point
Stories are a good way to keep your audience invested.
When readers get reeled in with an interesting story, they don’t just get to better understand what you’re trying to say—they’re more likely to remember it as well.
So don’t skimp on the stories. Include them when relevant and see your reader engagement increase!
Don’t Hammer On the Obvious
Sometimes, there are things that are better left unsaid. And one of these is stating obvious things that don’t add any value to your readers.
Sure, there are a lot of people out there who are common sense-challenged that everything needs to be spelled out.
But for the most part, those people are far and few in between. You’re better catering to the majority of your better-thinking audience in order to foster reader loyalty from the right people.
For example, you don’t need to include in your copy that your knife includes a sharp blade that can easily cut through the skin.
It’s a knife so it can obviously cut skin!
Instead, include messages that highlight your capacity for insightful rhetoric. This shows that you deem your readers as people who can understand and appreciate a profound and well thought-out copy.
Sprinkle Your Copy With Vivid Adjectives
There’s nothing like vivid adjectives to add a zing to your message!
Using such words can make your copy more descriptive while facilitating a better way for your readers to envision what you’re offering.
Vivid adjectives are like the real, nutrient-packed food you eat versus bland words that function like junk food.
They don’t just add anything of value!
Choose from emotional, sensory or topic-specific adjectives that can elevate your copy!
Mastering the Art and Science of Writing Persuasively
It takes all of the above and a lot of practice to be proficient in persuasive writing. You have to be conversational and ensure you cut out any excess wordings in your copy.
Think your message isn’t packing enough punch? Say something unexpected!
It’s also important to value your readers’ time so don’t be afraid to be direct. And even in cases when creativity escapes you, never use marketing prattle and find other inspirational words to use.
Other tactics you can use are to introduce something new and to frame your copy using the most effective words you can find!
Lastly, remember to end your copy with a call-to-action and give them an excellent reason to do so.
Doing most of the tips outlined in this article will surely get your response or conversion rates soaring!