Monday, November 02, 2020

Copywriting: Mastering the Art of Persuasion

Strategies to persuade your readers.

You don't need to be the world's greatest grammarian to write copy that sells, in this post we're going to look at strategies that will persuade your reader, while improving your writing.  Empowering you to write copy that captivates your reader to take action and buy what you're selling.

Writing great copy is the ability to write really well, and being able to connect with your audience clearly communicating your message.  

Here is a list of copywriting strategies to take your writing from good to great, and help you close more sales.  

Highlight Advantages Over Features

For no apparent reason most copywriters tend to write about the features of a product instead of the real benefits the product can give.  The problem with this is it holds no real appeal with customers.  Features are required at the correct time to show readers what's included in the product, but they don't persuade the customer to buy what you're selling.  The benefits of a product are much more credible at convincing customers to buy the product.

More commonly than not the features or technical aspects of a product end up confusing the reader, and only appeal to a select, hardcore group of consumers.

As far as copywriting goes, you need to highlight the benefits first, your goal being to steer your copy with benefits at the beginning of your copy, then go on to list the features.

Be as Accurate as Possible

Making general claims about a product is easy to do, but bringing in solid proof is much more effective.

Throwing in general numbers and claims are too good to be true and can seem unbelievable to customers.  Ask yourself if you would believe the claims you're making.

What should you do instead?

This is why you should be as accurate about your claims as possible.  Use real information and numbers about the product you're selling.  Those numbers are more credible and look less likely like they've been made up.

Putting in that extra work and research about the products sold will make your copy more effective.  Think about anything else that will help you to sell to customers.  Can you include case studies where consumers have saved $X of dollars or grew their business by X%?  If that is the case be sure to feature these benefits in your copy.

Use Emotion in Your Copy

Most people are heavily persuaded by their emotions.  Most people think they buy something because it's a logical purchase, but the reality is your emotions are stronger than you think, and that is why your emotions guide you to your purchase.

When it comes to decision making, your emotions are never far behind.  Your arguments for purchasing something can seem rational, but you miss out the most important part of the brain you need to target.

Creating copy is about tapping into the customers emotions, and making them understand that the purchase will improve a part of their life and solve a problem.

By increasing the emotional appeal you create a desire in your reader for what you're selling.

Learn How to Use Real Testimonials to Your Benefit

The credibility a testimonial can give to a product is like finding gold at the end of a rainbow.  Because testimonials are so important in selling a product, they bring the company untold authenticity.   Anything you say to a reader can be taken with a grain of salt, but add a testimonial and it solidifies something that it is true.

Sharing testimonials from real customers puts your company's credibility up by 100% with the customer, because this shows how trustworthy your product is.

Testimonials are a useful tool for increasing believability, and being able to express something you wouldn't ordinarily be able to say.  That is why so many websites and companies use testimonials on their websites to sell their products.

Here are some quick examples of when you can use testimonials in your copy:

1. Enable you to say things you can't say

2. Reinforcing key aspects of your copy  

3. Feature important clients

4. Used to create headlines 

Don't Make Your Copy All About You

This goes without saying if you're working for any client, but is just as important if you're creating copy for your own blog or website.  

A lot of businesses use business-centric copy instead of customer-centric.  Writing about how wonderful their product is but forgetting the customer, and what their needs are.  

Customers only care about what you can do for them, they look for things that fit the problem they have, or something to help them accomplish their goals.

That's why all of your copy should be customer-centric. 

Use a Conversational Tone in Your Copy

The conversational tone of writing is more personable, and is an easier way of getting your message across to your audience.

You should never sound like you're more important than your audience, this will put your readers off straight away.  Your copy should always feel like they're talking to a person.  So make your copy concise, to the point, and get your message across in as few words as possible.

Create Copy that Compels the Reader to Want More

Each sentence you write should wet your reader's appetite.

Readers should be left wanting to know more about the product, and how it can benefit them in their lives.

This starts with the headline, a headline should prompt your audience enough to read the next sentence, and so on.  

All of your sentences and paragraphs should be cleverly orchestrated and flow as you read them.  All of your words should be necessary, and every sentence should operate in propelling the reader forward.

How do you write copy that compels the audience?

Your reader should be your priority at all times.  Ask yourself if at any point the reader would be bored by what they're reading? Are they interested in what I have to say?

Your main focus should be on the reader's needs, desires and interests.  

Always remember to write as much as you need to, and no more.  Do you think your points strengthen your copy, or bring your audience any closer to purchasing the product? 

Write Faster

Writing faster may seem totally illogical, but it will help you to write more effective copy.

How will this make my copy more effective?

1. Writing quickly utilises the emotional side of your brain.  Rather than rewriting on the spot your copy is flowing from the way you feel about the subject matter.  Which is good for writing persuasive copy, because it will help you to appeal to your readers emotions.

2. It's easier to improve what's already there than to write a perfect first draft.  Editing and rewriting improves the way your copy feels, instead of spending endless hours trying to write a perfect first draft.

The main thing to remember is to get your ideas down on paper.  After you've written it out you can edit it to your heart's content.  The finished article will be a well-polished piece of copy.

Don't Use Overly Complicated Language in Your Copy

Simple is best.  

This comes from the belief that the average reading level is between the 7th and 8th grade.  It's probable that most of your audience will read at this level.

If you make things too complicated you'll quickly start to lose your reader.  This could be because of complex sentence structure or using complex vocabulary.

You never want to alienate your readers, instead you should be choosing words that most people will know and understand.

Keep Your Paragraphs Short

This applies more than ever to online copy, because shorter paragraphs are easier to digest and read online.

A study conducted in 2004 (the Eyetrack III Study) conducted by the Poynter Institute stated that shorter paragraphs received twice as many fixations as long ones.  Meaning, that people prefer shorter paragraphs than longer ones.

If you're writing copy for traditional sales print, this doesn't matter so much.  Online is a different story, they help to break up text and make your copy less daunting.

 

 

 Hire a Professional Editor

As a writer you've probably realised by now that you can't pick up every mistake you make.  A lot of this is to do with the fact that you're too close to your work, and will be more subjective because it's your own work.

The biggest problem with typos is they slowly erode your credibility.  Too many errors in your work can result in your readers not taking you seriously, or worse still you could end up losing clients.

An experienced editor who deals with copywriters all of the time will know the kind of mistakes to look out for.  Things you would miss a lot of the time.

If you can't afford a professional editor or proofreader, let one of your close friend's or family look over your work for you.  There's nothing wrong with a fresh set of eyes, and plus it won't undermine your credibility.

Show the Value of Your Product

Customers looking for a good deal always want to know that their money is being spent wisely.

Your main aim is to show the value of your product, you do this by demonstrating why they'll be getting a good deal when they purchase what you're selling.

You can do this by:

By following these points you'll become better prepared to write copy that persuades your audience and compels your customers to take decisive action.

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