When most people think about writing, they think of novels, textbooks, and other resources that are meant to entertain or educate.
But a lot of writing—especially in the advertising and marketing worlds—is also about persuading the reader to take an action, such as downloading a white paper, buying a product, or making a donation.
When you’re writing marketing copy that’s designed primarily to persuade, you need different strategies from when you’re writing to entertain or educate.
Here are seven persuasive writing techniques that you can use to improve your marketing copy and drive conversions.
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1. Keep It Simple and Consistent
One of the most effective persuasive writing techniques is to keep your information simple and consistent.
When you’re trying to persuade the reader, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to understand your argument and take action. Providing too much unnecessary information can be confusing and distracting, hurting your chances of success.
Keep things simple by:
- Focusing on the key points.
- Deleting unnecessary details.
- Using clear, concise language that is easy to understand.
- Including bullet points to create visual intrigue and draw attention to benefits.
When writing bullet points, pay extra attention to the first and last two points. These are the points that are most likely to be remembered by your audience, so they are a good place to highlight your most important benefits.
Finally, be sure your message is consistent throughout the piece. This means that all the information you present should support and reinforce your main argument. If you include information that contradicts or undermines your argument, it will weaken your overall persuasive power.
By ensuring that your message is consistent, you’ll be able to create a more compelling and persuasive piece of writing.
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2. Know Your Audience—And Use the Words They Use
If you want to persuade your audience to make a buying decision, you have to know as much about them as possible.
First, think about the specific type of person you want to target—called a target audience—so you can craft a message that will resonate with that audience. There’s no sense in trying to persuade mass audiences with your copy. Not everyone in the world will need your product or service.
The better option is to build a target audience profile using the demographics and preferences of your ideal customer. Once you know what your audience is looking for, then you can create a compelling way to hook them into reading the rest of your materials.
Part of knowing your audience is understanding the words they actually use. This is called voice-of-customer research—and it’s a crucial step to making your marketing copy “sticky.”
It works like this:
- Research how people talk about your product or service—in their own words.
- Comb through online reviews, customer comments or interviews, and surveys.
- Then use that language in your copy—even if it sounds more casual than you’re usually comfortable with.
By using the language that your customers use, you can make your writing more relatable and persuasive. The goal is to sound like a real person—not a marketer.
Remember to avoid using fluff words or phrases like “high quality” or “state of the art,” which can put your readers in a mental state of glazed-over disinterest. Instead, focus on why people buy your product or service, and use that language in your writing.
Don’t just take it from me. The world’s most successful conversion copywriters often say they don’t “write copy” themselves. Instead, they swipe “sticky” copy from voice-of-customer research. This helps to create a sense of authenticity and trust with their audience, which can make their writing more persuasive.
Here’s an example of what I mean. This screwdriver on Amazon is described as “ratcheting,” “6-piece,” “versatile,” and “stubby.”
That’s all well and good, but check out how customers are actually describing this product:
See the pattern?
The customers themselves appreciate the fact that this handy little screwdriver fits right in your pocket. The company might see a lift in conversions if the description were updated to mention that the screwdriver is “pocketable.”
“Pocketable!” Now that’s sticky copy.
Another persuasive writing technique that just happens to be one of the most critical? Make sure your writing is error-free and grammatically correct, and that it conveys the proper tone. The professional team of editors and proofreaders at Super Copy Editors will ensure no one is dissuaded from your copy because of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or tonal imbalances. Get a quote to have our editing team polish up your next writing project.
3. Show Empathy
Showing empathy is a powerful persuasive writing technique that can help you build trust with your readers.
When you’re trying to persuade someone, you need to create a connection with them and make them feel like you understand their needs and concerns. By showing empathy, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you understand what the reader is going through and that you have a solution to their problem.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and imagine what they would want to hear to be persuaded to buy your product or service. Think about their pain points, their goals, and their fears, and use language that resonates with their experiences and emotions.
For example, if you’re selling a product that helps people lose weight, you could use words and phrases that speak to their frustration with their current weight, their desire to feel more confident and attractive, and their fear of failing to achieve their weight loss goals.
Showing empathy in your writing works on two levels for the reader:
- First, it touches on their sensitivities and helps to create a deeper connection with them.
- Second, it provides a logical solution to their problem and demonstrates that you have the expertise and knowledge to help them.
By showing empathy in your writing, you’ll be able to persuade your readers more effectively and build trust with them.
4. Exert Your Expertise
In persuasive marketing, one effective technique is to focus on authority.
By highlighting your expertise or position of authority, you can tap into a deep-seated psychological trigger that makes people more likely to listen to and trust what you have to say.
Robert Cialdini, author of the influential book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, refers to this as the authority principle. As social creatures, we are naturally inclined to obey those we perceive as having higher authority, such as the leader of a tribe or a respected expert in a field. This tendency allows us to make decisions more quickly and easily, without having to consciously weigh the pros and cons of every option.
One way to demonstrate your authority is to subtly use stronger, more definitive language in your writing.
Instead of using words like “may,” “might,” “should,” or “perhaps,” try using phrases like “my advice,” “you must,” “you have to,” and “you need to.” These phrases convey a sense of certainty and authority, which can make your ideas more compelling and believable.
Here’s a great example of marketing copy that appeals to authority:
Don’t forget to support your ideas with:
- Research findings
- Other supportive evidence
Expressing your ideas with confidence and authority makes them more persuasive and more likely to be accepted and spread by others. So, if you’re an expert in a particular field, don’t be afraid to use strong language to communicate your ideas. Your readers will thank you for it.
5. Use Social Proof
Using social proof is a highly effective persuasive writing technique that can help you overcome readers’ fear and skepticism.
When people are considering making a buying decision, they often have doubts and fears about whether the product or service will work for them. They may be skeptical about the claims that you make in your marketing copy, and they may be hesitant to trust your opinion alone.
To overcome these doubts and fears, you can use social proof to show that others have achieved success with your product or service.
Social proof is evidence that other people have used your product or service and have had positive experiences with it. This can include:
- Testimonials from satisfied customers
- Social media shares
- Endorsements from influencers or experts in your field
- Case studies that show how your product or service has helped others
Social proof is essentially saying, “All these people and experts think this product is great, so you should buy it, too.”
6. Ask Rhetorical Questions—And Repeat Yourself for Emphasis
Two of the more effective persuasive writing techniques to emphasize your point of view are asking the reader rhetorical questions and repeating the most important ideas.
- Rhetorical questions are questions put to the reader that they can instinctively answer themselves. These questions are used to drive home a point and to make the reader think about the issue more deeply. For example, in marketing copy for a product that helps people improve their sleep, you could ask the reader, “Don’t you hate it when you’re tired all the time?” This question is designed to make the reader think about their own struggles with sleep and empathize with your message.
- Repeating specific selling points or keywords throughout your marketing copy is another effective persuasive writing technique. Emphasize the best parts of your product and remind the reader of its benefits. You can repeat key ideas using different methods, such as storytelling, metaphors, and rephrasing.
Here’s the thing about repeating yourself: It’s not about trying to make people understand through sheer repetition, but rather about making your ideas more easily understood.
Famous orators and writers have used repetition to make a point, build a pattern, and create a sense of depth in their meaning. For example, in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. repeated the phrase “let freedom ring” multiple times to emphasize his message.
You don’t need to repeat the same phrase or sentence verbatim in your writing. Instead, try to repeat the overall idea or the biggest, most obvious benefit throughout your content. This will help to reinforce your message and make it more memorable to your audience.
7. Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency is an important persuasive writing technique that can help you encourage the reader to take action.
When you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, you need to make it clear that the time to act is now. By creating a sense of urgency, you’ll be able to convince the reader that they need to take action immediately and that they can’t afford to wait.
There are several ways that you can create a sense of urgency in your writing.
- One approach is to use words and phrases like “now,” “immediately,” and “today” to show the reader that the time to act is right now.
- You can also use time-limited offers and discounts to create a sense of urgency and encourage the reader to take action before the offer expires. For example, you could offer a 20% discount on their first purchase.
- Another way to create a sense of urgency is to include a call to action (CTA) in your writing. A CTA is a specific instruction that tells the reader what they need to do next. For example, you could say “Click here to learn more” or “Call now to schedule a free consultation.” By including a clear call to action, you’ll be able to guide the reader toward taking the next step and make it more likely that they’ll take action.
The CTA should be the final piece of writing that connects everything. Ensure yours aligns with the body of your content and effectively concludes what you’ve been building up to throughout your writing.
Here is our massive list of more than 100 examples of great CTAs:
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Using persuasive writing techniques is an essential skill that can significantly improve your marketing copy and increase your chances of success.
By using simple and consistent language, understanding your target audience and how they actually talk, showing empathy, politely exerting your expertise, using social proof, asking rhetorical questions, repeating key ideas, and creating a sense of urgency, you’ll be able to craft powerful marketing copy that is persuasive, compelling, and effective.
That’s the name of the game, right?
But beware! Writing that’s overly complicated or filled with embarrassing mistakes will not help you persuade readers. This is why you need a fresh set of eyes on your copy before you send it out into the world.
Consider having Super Copy Editors review your writing and fix everything that needs fixing. Our editing and proofreading team has the professional experience and knowledge to put the finishing touches on your persuasive marketing writing so it converts as many readers to customers as possible. Get your editing and proofreading quote.