The 4 Elements of the Most Persuasive Copy
Project Grow Challenge: Submit your essay entry today for a chance to win up to $25,000 in funding for your business. Deadline is Sept. 15, 2015.
Writing successful marketing copy is nothing short of an art. You need content that puts across your point of view subtly and engages your readers in the process. But along with being engaging, the content should also bring consumers closer to your brand, allowing them to see what’s in it for them and how it fits in with their individual needs, thus triggering their decision to purchase.
Here are 4 ways that will help you write persuasive copy to win more clients over.
1. Go for a conversational tone
How you say it is as important as what you are saying. This applies to your writing as well.
Writing a hyped highlighter copy to win over your readers is doing it totally wrong. Such copy has no genuine personal connection. People won’t believe a single word you say. When it comes to triggering buying decisions, remember that people buy from those whom they like and trust. Any over-the-top copy will only turn them skeptical and further away from you.
The solution is to write as you talk.
This is the first rule to writing persuasive copy, and it is not an easy feat. We are born to talk. It comes naturally to most of us. To write the way you talk, however, you will need to get out of your default writing mode. Becoming critical when writing will only worsen the copy, so to write persuasively, ignore everything you’ve learned about writing and get busy with the job of telling. It is easier to read, too, since we usually have an internal monolog accompanying what we read.
2. Give it a good structure
All engaging copy has a solid, engaging structure. There is no better way to accomplish this than to tell a story.
A good story never fails to enthrall us. Stories change the way we feel, think and act.
Human brains are very good at processing information put in a narrative form, whereas we find it difficult to process abstract concepts and vague ideas. Stories give things structure in a timed sequence. It therefore makes sense to use some sort of narrative when writing sales or marketing copies. Lillian Eichler’s chicken salad story is a great example of how a narrative form can help you write successful sales copies.
3. Write so that people can scan it
According to a study by Nielsen Norman Group, 79 percent of readers don’t read but scan when they are browsing the Web. This is because:
- Reading on a computer screen strains the eyes.
- We have ever-dwindling spans of attention.
- People are mostly surfing the Internet on the go.
- There are millions of websites vying for their attention.
According to the New Zealand-based copywriting guru Bnonn Tennant, you need to add visual hooks to optimize your content for sales and conversion, including:
- Meaningful subheads.
- Short paragraphs.
- Catchy captions (they have as much as a 100 percent recall rate).
- Bullet lists.
But the actual trick lies in conveying meaningful information in as little space as possible with these scannable elements.
Related: Copywriting Grammar Ain't Perfect
4. List benefits first, then features
Most copywriters fall into the trap of focusing more on the features of their products/services rather than enumerating their benefits to the end-user. When writing sales copy, there is often a limitation of space and brands opt to convince their prospective customers by pointing out their USPs.
But with a “benefit first” content strategy, you will be telling your customers what’s in it for them before they scroll down to read the specifications of your product.
A safer approach is to use succinct bullet points to discuss benefits and features in a single shot.
Practice is the key to success. Read your copy out loud. If it is too conversational, make the necessary changes. Is the structure missing a call to action? Go back and see where you went wrong and how you can change it. Remember to clearly define the relationship between the product benefits and features. If you find the copy blurry, re-format it.
It takes a lot of practice to master the art of writing persuasive copy. Using narrative elements to create engagement and putting the good of your target audience first are great places to start.
Related: 10 Steps to Effective Copywriting