Some people are naturally charismatic and persuasive, and persuasiveness is the hallmark of truly great copywriters. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to come naturally. No matter what you start with, the art of persuasion is one that great copywriters can and must learn.
Are you a persuasive person? Does it show in your copy? If you’re not sure whether your copy is compelling your readers to take action, here are some pointers and techniques that can help jump start your persuasive copywriting skills.
Understand Your Audience
The most effective way to get best results from the audience is to appeal to their emotions and promise gratification.The first step of persuasion is always to identify those people that, at any given time, are persuadable to your point of view, and focus your energy and attention on them.
Audiences respond to people they can relate to. Sometimes we like someone who is similar to us, other times we respond to someone we aspire to be like in some way. Use words to tell a story and make an emotional connection that establishes you as someone your readers can relate to, which will in turn make them more comfortable with you and more likely to give you their attention.
Winning trust is one of the biggest challenges in the art of persuasion. So how can you build trust through writing? By serving up facts and data that back up your claims. Don’t expect readers to rely on your word alone; create a compelling argument, but point them to the proof.
Another powerful way to build trust in your readers is to be consistent. Inconsistency is jarring -- not exactly the effect you want to have when you’re trying to be persuasive. Maintain consistency in your tone of voice and throughout your argument, and your readers will feel much more at ease with you.
Use Power Words
Persuasive words often empower your reader to take action and improve their lives. Sometimes, power words play into other common desires. Here are the five most persuasive words in the English language, according to Copyblogger:
- You - points to the reader and makes the content personal.
- Free - even the biggest tightwad can’t argue with free.
- Because - tells them why, so they can rationalize their decision.
- Instantly - lends a sense of immediacy.
- New - hints at exclusivity, that not everyone will have it.
Before you can persuade anyone, you must first get their attention and interest. Using effective headlines to arouse curiosity is an effective strategy to hook your audience. The power words above can help, as can these words that tend to grab readers' attention.
Talking about your reader is another great way to gain their interest. Try to look at your argument from their point of view, and explain how your product or service will benefit them.
While it can be tempting to promise the world, if you only end up delivering half of it then your readers will be disappointed. Instead, underpromise and overdeliver, then sit back and enjoy the reward -- conversions.
Okay, okay, it might not be that simple, but if you tell your readers exactly what to expect, then deliver that and a little bit more, they’ll come away trusting you and be more open to persuasion both now and in the future.
Confidence is compelling. If you believe in yourself and have facts to back you up, readers will pick up on your certainty and start believing you, making it easier to persuade them into seeing things your way.
Remind Them of Their Free Will
While you want to present a strong argument by making bold statements and displaying confidence, readers don’t want to feel bullied into making a decision. One persuasive technique that great copywriters use is reaffirming the reader’s free will, thereby making people feel less threatened about making a decision.
While telling a compelling story and backing up your concept with facts, data and anecdotal evidence, make sure your message isn’t lost in the process. Be clear in your explanations and make sure they always point back to your main concept or argument. Simplification lies at the heart of persuasive copy.
If given time to decide, most people will take it. Unfortunately, time makes people forgetful, so if you want to persuade people to take action then you must create a sense of urgency.
Finally, be sure to reciprocate. The art of persuasion is a process, and one that can be far-reaching if you take the time to share helpful and useful information with your readers in exchange for their time, or extend some kind of small gesture to make them feel respected and appreciated if they take action.
Are you writing persuasive copy? Is there a tool you've found to be especially helpful in persuading readers to take action? Let us know about it in the comments.