For most of us, the term “persuasive writing” causes an internal groan. We’re back in our chairs for English 101, where our professor has just said something like,
Your persuasive essay should always consist of the following:
A clear argument
A strong point of view about your argument
Factual and logical reasoning to support your view and argument
While accurate... it’s also… so boring.
As a marketer, successfully persuading your audience to complete your chosen call-to-action is your endgame, whether that action might be a like, a follow, a sign up, a phone call, a donation, or a purchase.
We marketers are here to help people do something, y’all! And, ideally, in return for doing that thing, our customer will get somethin' good in return. No matter what you’re putting out there as part of your content marketing strategy, the overall goal is to drive action.
The persuasive language you use to drive action is the key. So this week, we’ve got tips to make your language more convincing, credible, and compelling, so your customers are more likely to buy what you’re selling. (And don’t worry, all you non-profit folks out there… these tips can help you too, but our next Slice will focus specifically on persuading your audience to donate.)
Imagine you own a bagel shop called Lox-Smith, aiming to put more tasty bagel sandwiches in the tummies of more customers. You know you need to generate curiosity about your product, and you know you make a darn delish bagel sandwich.
Persuasive copy is convincing
We’ve discussed knowing your audience many times, but it’s time for the next phase: tailoring your message to their needs. You might think it’s as simple as saying, “Hey, y’all like bagel sandwiches? We have bagel sandwiches!”
But your audience probably has questions before they’re ready to bite, such as:
What kinds of bagels? How are they made? Are these exactly like the bagel I got in New York one time in 2006?
Do you deliver? How quickly? To where? To my house? Is it free?
How big are the schmears?
Your followers need to know that you have what they actually want; if you don’t, there are a lot of other bagel sandwiches they could be eating. And this also helps you create more convincing copy, that shows the customer that what you have is better than what that other shop down the street has. You might both be selling bagels, but if your bagels are better suited to your customer, they’re more likely to choose you.
Before you sit down to write any website or ad copy, imagine your perfect customer and what’s most important to them. If your bagel shop is on a busy city street, your customer might want their bagels to be quickly and easily ordered and taken on the go. If your customer is likely to bring their kids into your shop, they might really appreciate kiddo-friendly offerings. If you really want to do this right, go find some potential customers and ask them what matters most.
Persuasive copy is credible
Let’s say that you know for sure that your target customer really cares about the freshness of their bagels. To effectively persuade your customer that your bagels are truly fresh, you have to be credible. Show them the proof! (Pun intended.)
Credibility can be shown in all sorts of ways, like customer reviews and testimonials, but an underrated sign of credibility is grammar and spell-check. Yes, really!
Think of it this way: Would you eat a bagel that’s been sitting in the display for a week, and was dropped on the floor a few times before it was handed to you? We’re guessing probs not.
The same applies to marketing copy. If you don’t care about it and don’t pay attention to things like typos or poorly-constructed sentences, your customer is less likely to buy from you.
Most people see grammar as a reflection of the person writing it. That’s why it’s so crucial to edit, read your copy out loud, and, if you’re still unsure, ask someone else to read it and offer feedback. Keep sentences short, readable, and to the point. And don’t get lazy, even if you’re just writing a Tweet.
If you care about what you’re selling, your customer will notice.
Persuasive copy is compelling
If something is compelling, you remember it; it sticks in your mind, and that stickiness is what brings a customer back again and again.
Now, if you make a delicious bagel sandwich with unforgettable flavor combos, that’s one thing. But first you have to get the customer to try it! There are a few different ways to make your marketing copy “stick” in a customer’s mind:
Repetition: Holy Bagels in Brussels, Belgium emphasizes the freshness of their offerings and the training of the shop’s co-owner, a professional baker from Cameroon; they use words like “homemade” and “fresh” over and over again, and the more you see it, the more likely you are to remember it.
Uniqueness: Call Your Mother, a bagel shop in Washington, D.C., shares how the founder’s upbringing inspired their menu, which they call “Jew-ish… traditional, with a twist.” The phrase “Jewish deli” is familiar to lots of people, but adding that pause in there (“Jew-ish”) makes you stop and focus on it, which makes you more likely to remember it.
A great story: Blazing Bagels in Seattle, W.A. tells the full story of how the owner started selling bagels out of a cart after being laid off, hired senior citizens to push more carts as he expanded, and picked a fight with local government over advertising that resulted in oodles of publicity. It might take a while to read this story but once you’re done… you’ll remember it.
One last thing: Once you’ve got your persuasive copy together, don’t forget to make it super-obvious for your customer to take that next step. If they’re ready to buy, put a buy button where they can’t miss it!