I think we can all agree that the goal of most pieces of copy is to persuade the reader to take an action: buy something, click on something, sign up for something, etc.
You want your writing to be so compelling that they have to take action, they have no other choice.
But how do you do this? How do you make your copy so persuasive that they can’t say no?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Know Your Audience
Knowing who you’re talking to is one of the most important factors in writing persuasive copy. If you want to convince someone to do something then you need to know how they think, what kind of words they use, and what argument is most likely to resonate with them.
If you don’t know this stuff, then you haven’t got a hope of being able to persuade them to take the action you want.
There are two different aspects of your audience that you need to know if you want to convince them to do something:
1. Know their problems
If you know who your audience is, then you should know what their problems are. What stresses them out? What keeps them up at night? Are they worried that their website traffic isn’t high enough? Or that the traffic they do have isn’t converting to leads or sales.
Every customer has a pain point, and knowing what it is can create a lot of trust between you and your customer. Being able to show that you understand what your customer is going through, showing them empathy, is s great way to persuade them that they need your product.
If they believe that you understand their problems, they’re more likely to believe that you can fix them.
You could also try giving them an insight into what would happen if they continue as they are, without trying to fix their problem. This is another way to show your understanding of their situation, and a great way for you to introduce the benefits of your product and how it can help them, by making sure they avoid this outcome.
2. Know their objections
Knowing your customer’s problems and how you can fix them is great, but if you want to go one step further then you need to know the objections they might have to your product as well.
If you can answer a question before it’s even asked you will really be showing your understanding of their situation, and of them. This creates even more trust between you.
The best way to find out these objections is simply to listen to your customers. Read comments on your blog posts, see what they're saying about you on social media. People are not shy about saying what they don't like about something, so make use of it.
If you want to persuade your readers to take an action through your writing you can’t just make random claims and not back them up. Giving proof, like facts and statistics, gives you and your message credibility.
Link to reputable sources and studies wherever possible so that your readers know you’ve actually done the research. They’ll trust you more than if they think you’ve just plucked a statistic from the air.
Statistical proof isn’t all you should use, though. Social proof is just as important. Testimonials and social media ratings are just as important when it comes to convincing a reader to take action.
Human’s can be very easily swayed by others, so seeing someone else agreeing with what you’re saying is more likely to make your reader agree than if you were just to say it yourself.
Use Metaphors and Analogies
Sometimes we can get bogged down with jargon in our copy. Especially if our product is particularly technical. Using a metaphor or analogy to compare to something simpler can give the reader something to relate to.
You want to make them feel as comfortable as possible when reading your copy. Making comparisons to something in their everyday life can put them more at ease so you don’t alienate them. (This is also where it’s helpful to know your audience so you know what they’re likely to relate to.)
Metaphors and analogies are also a good way to repeat a point without sounding monotonous. Repetition is a great tool to use in your persuasive writing. The more we hear something the more it sticks with us.
But hearing the same thing over and over again can get annoying and that’s definitely not how you want your customers to see you (I can definitely think of a few TV ads I get sick of seeing to the point that it puts me off the company altogether).
So re-wording your message into a metaphor is a way of repeating it without actually repeating it to the point of annoyance.
Tell A Story
I talk about storytelling a lot, but it’s because it’s so damn important. Stories are such a huge part of the entire human experience that it would be stupid not to use them when speaking with your customers.
Stories evoke emotions in the person hearing them, and emotions are what you need from your customers. Emotions are what convince people to buy. Emotions are what connect us to what we’re reading.
Stories make a connection between your reader and your message, so if you can make them feel something with your copy, then you're on the home stretch to convincing them to take action.
Persuasive writing isn’t about manipulating your readers.
It’s about connecting with them, relating to them, and showing them why they should take the action you want them to take. Why it will benefit them. Do this and they’ll have no reason to say no.