Marketing expert Janice Jacobs has published a free ebook, entitled, “The Lousy Writer's Guide to Writing Persuasively,” available for download at LousyWriter.com. Inside, readers learn how to write persuasive promotional copy to convert browsers into buyers and boost company sales.
“Writing persuasively is magical,” said Jacobs. “The use of persuasive words has the power to convince readers to take action, whether it’s to order your product, enlist in your services, pick up the phone, or subscribe to your newsletter.”
Jacobs has been a freelance marketing expert since 1992. She pulls deep from her treasure chest of experience and enlivens the pages with solid, how-to advice on crafting winning, profit-pulling copy that persuades readers to take action.
Jacobs offers eight quick tips on how to write persuasively:
TIP #1: WRITE TO AN OLD FRIEND
When writing your copy, imagine writing a letter to an old friend. Picture a friend who most closely fits your prospect’s profile. What would I say to convince this friend to try my product or service? How would I target my friend’s objections and beliefs to help my cause?
Use the pronouns “I” and “you” to build rapport quickly. When trying to convince your friend, you might say: “Look, I know you think you’ve tried every gadget out there. But you should know that…”
Some sales copy is written in the first person perspective, where the writer uses “I.” Other times the third person is used, with “she,” “he,” and “them.”
TIP #2: EMPHASIZE BENEFITS, NOT FEATURES
What are features? They are descriptions of what qualities a product has. And what are benefits? They are what those features mean to your prospects. For example: The “ABC car” delivers 65 miles per gallon in the city. The benefit of this car is you’ll save money on gas and cut down on environmental pollutants.
TIP #3: WRITE CONVERSATIONALLY
You are not writing to impress your English teacher or win awards. Your aim is to speak to your reader the way you would in person. Take some liberty in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. You want it to be read and acted upon, not read and admired.
TIP #4: PUSH YOUR READER’S EMOTIONAL HOT BUTTONS
To push those buttons, you need to first know what they are. It’s important to know upfront the wants, needs, and desires of your prospective buyers. Remember: people don’t like to be sold; but they do like to buy. They buy based on emotion first and foremost. Then they justify their decision with logic. Focus on their needs and desires and you can push their emotional hot buttons.
TIP #5: PROVIDE PROOF AND BELIEVABILITY
When your prospect reads your copy, you want to ensure he believes your claims about your product or service. If there’s any doubt in his mind, he won’t buy, no matter how irresistible the deal. Include testimonials of satisfied customers. Be sure to put full names and locations, where possible.
TIP #6: USE A UNIQUE SELLING POINT (USP)
The USP is what separates your product or service from your competitors. Some unique selling points for a product or service may include: 1) lowest price; 2) superior quality; 3) superior service; and/or 4) exclusive rights.
TIP #7: CRAFT A PERSUASIVE HEADLINE
If you’re going to make a single change to boost your response rate, then focus on your headline. Why? Because most people read your headline first rather than skipping to your main copy. I like grabbing my readers’ attention with a captivating question. For instance, "Do you want to cut your electricity cost by 55%?" An appropriate headline for a sales letter promoting a weight loss program might be: "Now, you can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks without having to diet; and it’s easy and affordable!" This headline not only solves a problem, but it also offers a quick and easy solution that keeps in mind the price-sensitive consumer.
TIP #8: Follow the rules of AIDA to write persuasively.
First, you capture your reader’s attention. Then you build a strong interest with the reader to keep him reading; if he keeps reading, he just might buy. Next, you create a desire. Finally, you present a call-to-action, such as to pick up the telephone, return the reply card, attend the sales presentation, or order your product.
“The combination of these elements persuades your reader to act, and to act now!” said Jacobs. “This is persuasive writing at its best!”
“The Lousy Writer's Guide to Writing Persuasively” helps both writers and non-writers, either in freelance or staff positions, improve their writing skills as well as understand the psychology of words they use to trigger action in their copy.
Janice’s ebook can be downloaded at LousyWriter.com, a free educational resource that helps writers and non-writers learn how to write correctly and effectively.