Copywriting – 4 Techniques to Write Persuasive Copy
Writing a piece of persuasive copy is art. But if you can master it, it will change your business.
Copy is what creates transformation in your audience
Sonia Simone, Copyblogger.com
Here’s what a persuasive copy can do for your business:
- Increase sign-ups for your email list;
- Increase sales for your ebook or online course;
- Bring in clients;
- Support your ads in achieving their objective.
Here are 4 techniques to write persuasive copy according to copyblogger.com:
1. The Hook or The open loop technique
The open loop technique is a way to grab attention quickly and hold it while you provide the surrounding facts, lessons, or supporting evidence.
Brian Clark, Copyblogger.com
This technique works because it keeps your audience on the edge of their seats to find out what happens in the end.
The latest example of a piece of content using the open loop technique I came across is this 2864-word 13-minute read Medium published article: The Woman They Turned Away.
The majority of content pieces published nowadays are a 5-minute read max because people don’t have the patience to read such long-form content.
And yet here I was glued to my monitor, completely oblivious to everything going on around me in the office (colleagues talking, phones ringing etc). I was hooked by the first paragraph. Of course the title helped as well.
This is The Story… of how one woman’s demons almost killed her. It’s how she faced a destroyer that would devour all… and lived to tell the tale. Along the way, she managed to create many of technologies that we use on a daily basis.
I won’t disclose the subject of the article because I want you to discover it yourself. I will just comment upon this first paragraph and give you 3 arguments why it is an incredible piece of writing.
- It doesn’t say who this woman is until the last paragraph. Yes, you need to read 2864 words to learn her name! Curiosity? Check!
- It’s emotional because it mentions personal struggles which we all fight within ourselves. Emotional connection? Check!
- It talks about a life journey and hints to a hero story. Happy-end conclusion? Check! Happy-ends are so satisfying, who doesn’t like them?
Does it make you want to find out who this woman is?
Yes, it does!
2. The Storytelling Setup
It begins in your childhood when you listen to your grandfather’s stories of his adventures as a young man. You listen to him speak of old times with bright eyes and his stories spark your imagination.
There is a reason why stories fascinate us: according to brain scans, stories activate various areas of the cortex that are known to be involved in social and emotional processing.
Storytelling has played an important part in our evolution as human beings. It is the oldest social and cultural activity which humans have ever taken part in with the purpose to learn, connect with each other and inspire future generations.
Make your copy persuasive by using a storytelling setup: talk about your product, service or offer from a personal perspective, give details about how you or your hero felt and said.
This technique is powerful because it builds trust and connection with the reader, it talks about the reader’s pain point with empathy and elicits an I feel exactly the same reaction from him or her.
It’s engaging because it influences the reader in a non-salesy manner.
Here’s an example from The J. Peterman Company, a vintage clothing online store, describing a blue 1940’s dress:
Man Seeking Woman.
Between the ages of 25 and older.
Attractive, confident, stylish. Has known at least one positive male role model. Must like French cooking, Etta James, Broadway, movies made between 1937 and 1962, disturbing literature, spirited horses. Ability to pack light. Open to impromptu world travel.
Willing to be seen in this. Often.
1940s Cord Dress (No. 2856). Shawl collar, three-quarter length sleeves with turned back cuff. Ultraplush 21-wale cotton corduroy. Large self-fabric belt with buttons down the front. Made for snappy dialogue and romantic innuendo. What you wear when you have all the best lines. Work, parties, dinner, dancing, slow fade. Imported.
To persuade your audience, first you need to make sure your audience understands what you are communicating.
To create effective understanding, use analogies.
Because your audience will arrive at the intended understanding on their own. It is much more powerful to allow them to think on their own than to tell them what to think.
To make sure your analogy makes, not breaks your copywriting, you need to understand your audience’s background.
Here is an example of an analogy used by the Ministry of Supply to describe their innovative technology jacket:
The power of contrast in copy is amazing, because you are actually altering the reader’s perception of the facts, and yet the facts have not changed at all.
The key to using contrast to your benefit is to identify potential objections that a prospect might have, and then present contrasting illustrations that change their perception of the facts giving rise to that objection.
Contrast can help you increase your conversion rate by overcoming your customer’s objections. Using contrast in your copywriting piece means placing your customer’s objections in an unexpected light helping him see the bigger picture from a different standpoint.
It’s the art of selling mastered by sales experts.
It’s the ace up your sleeve.
It’s the light bulb switching on like you see in cartoons.
Help your audience understand their objections stand between them and their goals. As a result, these objections will suddenly appear less important and easily discarded.
Here are a few examples:
It’s too expensive
When your client must go over budget to buy the house:
“Are you going to let such a small amount stand in the way of owning this fabulous home?”, an example given by Brian Clark.
I don’t need your product, I can do it on my own
When your audience believes they can do it without your product, mention your unique selling proposition like this copy for a copywriting online course (via crazyegg.com):
Benefits of using persuasive copy:
- Grab your audience’s attention quickly;
- Get them hooked on your piece of content;
- Spark your audience’s imagination with storytelling;
- Build connection and trust;
- Help them understand with analogies;
- Support your audience to overcome their objections through contrast.