Use persuasion in copywriting

Business Benefits

Improve the effectiveness of your written copy.


Offer a tangible item or a significant amount of useful information free of charge, to start building a relationship based on reciprocity.

People feel obligated to give back to others who have given to them. Add value to your prospects long before you even start to sell them something.

Boost your likability by sharing details about yourself and your journey to becoming the professional you are today.

We prefer to say yes to those we know and like. Talk and write like a human. Be friendly and cool like Richard Branson. For example, talk about difficult professional situations you’ve found yourself in, or tell funny stories about mistakes you’ve made. Show interest in other people in your industry and outside of it.

Offer social proof by showing how and why others are using your product, using testimonials and third-party articles.

People often decide what’s appropriate for them to do in a situation by examining and following what others are doing.

Demonstrate your expertise in a way that benefits the reader to build authority, like offering general industry advice or publishing case studies and success stories.

People rely on those with superior knowledge or perspective for guidance on how to respond and what decision to make. Show off your resume and results. Get celebrity endorsements in your niche.

Start with something small and be consistent in your offerings, endorsements, and approach.

Once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressure to behave consistently with that commitment. Sell something small first, a no-brainer deal, even if you make no money on it. The person now sees themselves as your customer and will be much more likely to return to make a larger purchase.

Add value to your product in the eyes of consumers by making it less available, using time or quantity limited bonuses, or scarcity of the product.

Opportunities appear more valuable when they are less available. You could:

  • Alert customers when you’re running out of an item that they’ve shown interest in.
  • Offer short-term discounts with a countdown to the end of the offer.

Use the five elements of an effective message in your copy: urgency, certainty, flexibility, positivity, and meaning.

  • It has to have some urgency.
  • It has to have as much certainty as can be mustered with integrity.
  • There can’t be just one message; there must be messages targeted to different groups.
  • Use positive framing. People are more likely to change their behavior if you tell them they can be a hero or in the vanguard; less like if you tell them they have to make sacrifices.
  • You have to give people the sense that their contribution counts, and that their effort won’t be in vain.

Offer abstract benefits for achievement oriented customers, and concrete benefits for security oriented customers.

  • Achievement oriented customers are feeling more aspirational. In a study around TiVo marketing methods, the researchers found that these customers responded better to messages highlighting the freedom TiVo provides.
  • Security oriented customers are feeling more fearful. In the same study, the researchers found that these customers responded better to messages that emphasized TiVo’s replay and slow-motion features.

If you get it right and the level of abstraction fits the goal, people understand messages better and are more easily persuaded.

Use the elements of stickiness to keep people interested in your copy; simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story.

  • Simple: Strip your message down to its core intent. Come up with a profound compact phrase that summarizes your whole premise.
  • Unexpected: In order to capture someone’s attention, you need to break a pattern, in other words, to present the unexpected. You need to understand and play with two essential emotions, surprise and interest. Surprise gets our attention and interest keeps our attention.
  • Concrete: People don’t remember vague stuff, but they do remember concrete language. Don’t say fast acceleration, say 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds.
  • Credible: People want reasons to believe you. The trustworthiness of your source makes all the difference.
  • Emotional: Feelings inspire people to act. If your story does not invoke any emotions, you’ve lost.
  • Story: A credible idea makes people believe and an emotional idea makes people care. Put both of them together into a story that can have the amazing dual power to stimulate and to inspire.

Identify pain points, offer claims that eliminate the worst pain, back up those claims with convincing proof, then include an image that grabs the customer’s attention and evokes emotion.

The part of the brain, Old Brain, that controls decisions is quite primitive and mostly concerned with survival.

<code><strong>Selling probability</strong> = Pain x Claim x Gain x (Old Brain)<sup>3</sup></code>

The Old Brain is resistant to new ideas and concepts, so your proof must be very convincing. Show tangible evidence, data, testimonials, case studies. If you’re selling fire extinguishers, start with fire. - David Ogilvy.