Ten Tips on How to Write Persuasive Copy For Marketing Online
How do you get your reader to quickly identify with your point of view. That’s to say, how do you get a reader to trust you? Well the obvious answer would be to make them an offer they can’t refuse. But that still leaves the question, how do you do that?
It helps if you’ve a natural flair for writing, or even story telling – the best salesmen always tell a good story. But if you’re neither of those, there are techniques you can use that will draw your reader in. I’m a fairly seasoned copywriter, but I’m still coming across clever sales techniques that hook a reader and get him to stay a little longer with the story you’re telling.
Here are ten of the most recognized strategies in the game.
Say it again
Most of us don’t like repetition. It gets on our nerves. And yet, the funny thing is, in a sales situation it’s kind of comforting. It starts to create ‘a ring of truth’ to what is being said.
Of course, you can do too much and you can do it in such a way you begin to confuse rather than persuade. So say it again in different ways, perhaps throwing in a story or example to support your point. For my money, this technique should be used sparingly. True, some people can be bludgeoned into submission, but you risk losing your reader if your repetition – and therefore your style – starts to get in the way of your communication. Point at the front, point repeated in the middle and end is absolutely enough on a sales page – and too much in an email!
In terms of seo, repetition will help raise the density of the keywords you are bidding on.
Get quickly to saying Why
‘Why should I read this, considering your offer? I don’t even know you. Why?’ That’s what a reader is thinking in his or her subconscious. Answer? Because. And what’s because all about? The benefits. The solution you’re providing. Your reader wants to see those within a few seconds of hitting your sales page or you’re toast. So for the ‘why’ side of your copy, you want to make use of bullet points and subheads so people can see at a glance the benefits you have waiting for them on the other side.
Your Why could also include ‘proof’ of what you’re saying is true. Personally, I get a little tired of seeing other people’s earnings as a screengrab – they strike me as slightly demeaning of the reader. At school, we called it showing off. Although every marketer will justify his showing off as ‘providing evidence’ for me this kind of thing is so ubiquitous as to be almost meaningless. To my mind, it should be self-evident from the website’s look and feel and the tone of voice that this person knows what he or she is talking about.
Say it with empathy
Let your reader know you’ve been in his or her situation. You understand his or her problem. You’ve been there, but with due diligence you’ve found a way out of your situation – the one your reader is still stuck in – and improved your life and NOW you want to pass on some of your knowledge to improve your reader’s life. Why? Because it feels good helping other people.
Writing with empathy also requires you to agitate your readers. Remind them of their own frustrations, get them a little rattled. We become more impulsive when we’re a little heated, don’t we. And when we get impulsive in a sales situation with think, ‘Hang it all!’ and reach for the credit card. Me, included!
Of course don’t forget to be on point for having the solution for the agitation you’ve created, and don’t go waffling on about irrelevant stuff just when you’re so close to closing anyway!
Say it with humor
By which I don’t mean crack jokes. I’m referring to the art of self-deprecation. What you’re doing here is you’re showing your readers that you have the self-awareness to see life not just from your own point of view. You might be an expert but you are not arrogant or smug. Which is equivalent to saying: you are probably trustworthy. I say, ‘probably’, because you still have to prove you are about to deliver great benefits along with your likeable demeanor;)
What do other people say?
In a word – testimonials. Quote your students, your team members, your friends – it doesn’t matter, really, no one’s going to check out your testimonial for its veracity, but if it looks good, your readers will buy into it. All but the most cynical will think, ‘Oh, he’s got fans, it must be OK!’
What do you say to $10,000 a month and a better lifestyle?
That’s right, get your readers thinking optimistically about their future. This thing you buy now can actually bring you a better future should be one of your key messages, (especially with a high ticket item). Let’s cherish them that thought for a moment. But don’t overcook it, or you’ll start to lose credibility. Make ‘the dream’ sound entirely achievable not fantastical.
If you have abundant evidence of your Clickbank earnings, fine, although for my taste, I get a little tired of seeing other people’s earnings as a screengrab – they strike me as slightly demeaning of the reader. At school, we called it showing off. Although every marketer will justify his showing off as ‘providing evidence’ for me this kind of thing is so ubiquitous as to be almost meaningless. To my mind, it should be self-evident from the website’s look and feel and the tone of voice that this person knows what he or she is talking about.
Say, Welcome to the tribe
We all have an innate feeling of wanting to belong to a group, don’t we? Even better if that group presents itself as caring and knowledgeable. Key to this technique is getting your readers to ask themselves, ‘Where could I be in a year’s time if I joined this group?’And, just as importantly, ‘What will I have missed out on it if I don’t?’ Instil a little fear, but do it with subtlety (and empathy) or you will alienate your reader.
Say it out loud
Anticipate your readers’ objections. So say them out loud. It’s another form of empathy, isn’t it? You’re saying, ‘Hey, I know what you’re thinking, and I’ve thought about this too, but you know what…’
Say it like it’s a good story
Why do we love stories so much? Because they provide us with moments of escape, moments when we can identify with other people, moments when we can forgive and forget… The marketer’s story, if told well, and not at great length, can draw us in and let us be persuaded. The story somehow stands as something bigger than any of us, it has mythical weight, and we accept it as such. Our acceptance makes us receptive to being sold to.
Say it so they want more
This technique is particularly effective in an email to your subscribers. You introduce your subject, outline a few useful tips and then provide a link to website from where they can acquire more useful tips.
OK, so those were my top ten tips. What would you like to add to the pile?