Persuasive Writing for Digital Marketing
Guiding Your Customers to Make the Right Choice
The most important thing for the successful running of any business is to make a profit. But how do you convince your customers to make purchases, or to hire your services? The answer is quite simple, really; you persuade them. But this won’t just come from having pictures of your latest and greatest wares, or from five-star reviews alone. You need content as well, and it has to be near-irresistible.
Writing persuasive text for digital marketing is a speciality used by SEO and marketing teams across the world and is an essential skill in copywriting.
What is Persuasive Writing?
The definition of persuasive writing is fairly straightforward: it “intends to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion and to do an action”¹. We’ve all experienced examples at one time or another. This normally happens quite early on in our education, in the form of a persuasive writing exercise completed for an English lesson at school.
Most likely, the ones you’ve seen will have been a series of sentences or paragraphs in which you would’ve had to write on a topic and presented a persuasive argument, usually as to why something should either be changed, or remain the way it is. As you worked your way through each one, you may have also been given examples of features in persuasive text or lists of suggested techniques to try, in order to make the pieces stand out.
Persuasive writing for marketing is much the same as this, only achieved on a grander and more complex scale; for instance, your readers may number in the hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands, instead of one teacher. A successful outcome will also involve a large portion of these readers choosing to convert and create a sale on your website, rather than giving you a high mark at the end of the day (although, good reviews and testimonials are always an excellent feature to add, in order to help persuade others).
Persuasion, Psychology and SEO
Persuasion is one of the most powerful weapons in a digital marketing company’s arsenal, particularly for an SEO department. The simple act of writing something convincing is usually more than enough to prompt a customer into buying a product or using a service, and you will find it difficult to get conversions on your pages if your audience isn’t compelled.
This is where a few persuasive psychological techniques can help bring your customers around to the way of thinking you need. Authors such as Robert Cialdini (writer of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion) have identified a number of different ways that psychology can slot neatly into content writing for marketing. Weaving these techniques seamlessly into your website’s text will not only help to provide you with superior-looking content but should also subtly change the way your customers themselves think when they browse your pages.
Playing up the scarcity angle: one of the easiest ways to convince your customers of the worth of your product or service is to note how scarce, hard to come by or even downright exclusive it is. Limited opportunities register to audiences on the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) scale, so they will feel more impelled to make a quicker decision.
Being committed and consistent: know the people you are aiming your products or services towards. Their likes, dislikes, worries and needs can all be met or alleviated in some way, so consistently offering to do just that with every solution you have will make audiences more receptive to what you have available.
Offering them a reciprocal “gift”: it has been scientifically proven that when we receive a gift, we feel an obligation to make it up to the giver. Even if the gift was small and not actually something we wanted, asked for or expected. As such, offering something to your customers before they even begin a purchase (such as free advice, quotes or even discounts for certain industries) are more likely to result in conversions.
Providing social and authoritative proof: testimonials, reviews and examples of awards will often do wonders for how audiences view your website, and therefore your business as a whole. If former customers utterly adored your product, then new potential buyers should know this, shouldn’t they? If you have been hailed as the leading firm in your industry, by your industry, then there’s no reason at all to keep it quiet! Showing your customers what you can do is important, but getting other people to back up what you are saying can often make the difference between an uncertain interest and a confidently made decision.
Staying connected to them: this has certain links to being committed and consistent, but it also expands on the “human touch” angle. Staying friendly in tone and making sure your customer knows another person is speaking to them will help this enormously. So, go ahead – speak to them like you would have a conversation with a friend; be more informal, tell some jokes, help them get to know you across the barrier of the internet. This will help them to relax, feel familiar with your brand and make them more likely to choose you for their purchases.
Further Techniques for Persuasive Writing
Alongside the studied and well-documented psychological techniques, there are also a number of other persuasive writing techniques and features that may be added to your content. These include:
Using repetition: the more your customer reads something, the more inclined they’ll be to believe it’s true.
Using rhyme as reason: this is related to a psychology idea known as a “fluency heuristic”, which states that objects which are processed more fluently than others will also be interpreted in the mind as having higher value. As such, making up fun little rhymes and whimsical phrases for your products will make them more likely to stick in your customer’s head.
Using distinctive phrases: common phrases blend into the background, but unusual ones will stand from the crowd, helping your audience to remember them at a later date. In turn, this makes them more inclined to come back to you when deciding to make a purchase.
Organising correctly: presenting content correctly is key. People hardly ever remember everything they read in the middle of a page, so ensuring you have included succinct, summarised points of everything your customers need to know will help them retain the information.
Enhancing details: using power words and emotional words (the more they tap into feelings and senses, the better) can transform the way your customers imagine your products and services, owing to the fact that these words tap into the sensory and emotional areas of their brains. Why only tell them about your most delicious box of chocolates, when they could feel the smooth shell in their hands, smell the sweet-but-sharp dark chocolate in the air, or taste soft truffle as it melts on their tongue? There’s no comparison (we also want chocolate, now…)!
Don’t hide all the negative features: perfect products often sound too good to be true in our minds, so why wouldn’t they in other people’s? Adding in some (maybe one or two) minor downsides to your wares not only makes you seem more trustworthy as a firm, but studies from Stanford University have also shown that they make your products appear more attractive to potential buyers.
Using buyers’ words and phrases: when people find jargon and marketing speech too technical or confusing, it puts them off. As such, avoiding it and using terms they’re more familiar with will put them at ease.
Being specific: knowing everything possible about your product and relaying that information back to your customers makes you appear more credible. Precise details not only allow a reader to know exactly what they will be getting with a product but also help them to trust you more.
Including case studies: where possible, including case studies that relate to your customers and their current circumstances will help to strengthen your position. Such stories prove to your customers that their problems are easily solved with your service and that you’ve had experience in dealing with any type of problem they need to be solved before.
Need to Convince Customers With Your Content?
Of course you do – that is, after all, the purpose of having well-written and structured text on your website pages. But would you like to improve what you already have, or create more to expand your online presence and reach a greater number of potential customers? If so, give us a call or send an email to our team today.
Our SEO team is ready and waiting to help, by creating a personalised content plan especially for your business. This will then work as a frame, by which our expert copywriters will provide you with masterfully crafted and persuasive content over the course of an entire year and beyond. Whether you sell, build, loan out products or offer a service, they will take your work and transform it in the eyes of your customers, helping audiences to see why they should choose you over any competitor.
Don’t hesitate to get the online content you deserve for your business; get in touch with us and see what we can do to help your leads skyrocket.