16 Persuasive Copywriting Techniques to Improve Your Business

Persuasive copywriting plays a significant role in the growth of your business. When you write marketing copy, the goal is to convince your prospect to take action. It isn’t necessarily to buy. It may be to share, download, comment, or contact you. Some marketing may be about strengthening your relationship with the customer.

You accomplish your objectives by making a clear, convincing argument. Below are some techniques that can help.

16 Techniques for Persuasive Copywriting

Write to a Real Person — Do you know who your ideal customer is? Are they male or female? How old? Who do they work for and what do they do for a living? When you know all the important details about who your ideal customer is, it’s easier to persuade them to buy from you. Picture yourself writing directly to them. This is what persuasive copywriting looks like.

Talk to your prospect the same way you’d talk to them if you were out for coffee together. This should give you an idea about how to approach your marketing copy.

Tell Meaningful Stories — When a lot of numbers are thrown around to make an argument, it’s confusing. But a story can break through. When your reader has a problem they are looking to solve, they want to know that it’s possible. Case studies and success stories can be memorable.

Your company’s origin story can have an impact. You can bring more anecdotes (that support your larger point) into the equation. If you were turning to diet to heal a health condition, you’d want to know that others have had success with it. If you were looking to make an investment to help with your retirement, you’d want to know about others’ success with that, too. Stories give people the confidence to take a risk in your company.

Provide Statistical Proof — That doesn’t mean that statistics are all bad. Statistics don’t make up the bulk of your argument, they support it.

B2b marketers who blog get 67 percent more leads than those who do not.

That statistic comes from Hubspot. If you run a business or work in a marketing department, you want more leads, right? Well, that’s a pretty convincing statistic on one way to get there. It can easily support stories about businesses who used their blog to attract more leads.

Provide Social Proof — One common reader objection is How do I know that this person/company can do what they are promising? The bigger the promise (or more expensive the offer), the louder this question may be asked. It’s answered through social proof. This can be case studies, or success stories, but more often it’s testimonials.

You can talk until you’re blue in the face about all the awesome things that your product or service accomplishes, but when a customer does that for you, people listen. The reader begins to believe that if it worked for this person, it might just work for them, too.

Use Persuasive Language — Much of persuasive copywriting can come right down to the words you choose. Active voice is more convincing than passive voice. Copyblogger has an excellent post on the five most persuasive words in the English language:

  • You — People want to feel like they are being talked to directly. Writing in the second person accomplishes this.
  • Free — Readers want a deal, and there’s none better than free. A word of caution here: this can attract bargain hunters, who aren’t necessarily your best clients.
  • Because — People like having a reason. Use because when trumpeting your best product benefits, and it can have a beneficial impact.
  • New — The word “new” reflects innovation. It implies a certain freshness and quality when used in the right circumstances. These are all attributes your customer will appreciate.
  • Instantly — Our culture wants results now. We want to be holding the tangible product we purchased in our hands. Any time that something happens instantly, your customers will learn to appreciate.

When you learn to apply these words meaningfully, it can make a significant difference in persuasive copywriting.

Find a Voice that Resonates — The web is a conversational medium, and it helps to create a personable brand voice that will resonate with your audience. If you have a technical product and you sell to an audience who isn’t going to understand its inner workings, then skip the detail. There is a difference between talking with other technical-minded colleagues and talking with a customer who just wants to experience the benefit.

When you start using the technical vocabulary, you’re not showcasing how smart you are. You are creating stopping points where a prospect may close the browser window or move on to the next search result. Think about tip one here. Figure out who your prospect is, and use a voice, and a word choice that resonates with them.

Raise Objections — It’s only natural that your readers question your motives. When they know you’re out for the hard sell, they smell a rat. One way to show them that you operate with their interests in mind is to raise real objections.

When people read marketing copy, there’s an inner monologue going on in their head as they scroll down the page. It’s too expensive. Product X is better. Competitor X is higher quality. But I don’t need that kind of widget.

If you can tackle the types of questions they’re asking as they ask them, you can remain a step ahead. Show them potential weakness and refute it. You’re laying out both sides of an argument, but in order to do this in a successful way, you must showcase the benefits of your product or service — how are you improving your customers’ lives?

Hit them in the Feels — The savviest consumers among us want to believe that we are making choices based on logic. We want to believe that we make decisions on which is the best product for us at the time. The truth is that more of us buy based on how we feel than would ever admit it.

We buy products that make us feel happy, safe, adventurous, or healthy. We buy where we feel the greatest potential for positive change. People don’t buy convertibles for the engine size. They buy convertibles for the way that their hair feels with the top down while going 85 mph on the Interstate.

We buy the insurance, antivirus software, and home security systems that make us feel safe. We buy the diet plans and exercise equipment that makes us feel healthy. Emotions matter.

Find Something Other than Price — Any business owner needs to make up their mind early on about whether they want to be the Porsche or the Pinto. Competing on price creates a dangerous, unsustainable game. If the aim is to persuade people to buy and become loyal customers (as it should), it’s important to find other ways to compete.

As Simon Sinek says in his excellent book, you’ll need to start with why. People buy why you do it.

Avoid Clichés — Trite writing turns people off. It’s unoriginal and creates stopping points for the reader, when we want them to convert. Clichés lack the depth of something unique or special about your product. They also sound disingenuous.

Business writing is full of clichés.

  • We go the extra mile (who wouldn’t)
  • Do more with less (kudos for being efficient)
  • Take it offline (it’s just a person-to-person conversation)
  • Paradigm shift (critical adjustment)

You get the idea. There are more specific and less figurative ways of writing.

Understand Your Unique Selling Proposition — What makes you different from the competition? Many companies feel put on the spot with this question — but it’s a critical one to have an answer for. When you can clearly communicate your USP, persuasive copywriting follows.

Get to the Point — Have you ever heard a toddler tell you a story? Because I have. That story started last week, and it’d still be going on if I hadn’t eventually put a stop to it. When it comes to your marketing copy, you do not have a captive audience. They are there by choice. In order to capture their attention and persuade them to convert, you have to respect their time.

Make sure that every sentence works toward your larger point. You can have some of your best material, but if it detracts from the focus of your blog, website, landing page, or sales letter, it needs to go. Don’t worry, though. You can save it and use it in another piece if it’s really that good.

Find an Element of Surprise — Readers love the unexpected. Your marketing copy is a place to be creative. It’s a place to establish your company’s personality (see below) and shine. You don’t have to write the same marketing copy because your competitors write it. Write what makes sense for your company and follow your own message and values. Simply by doing this, you’ll stand out in the crowd and provide an original angle, with a fresh element of surprise.

Find Some Personality — It doesn’t matter if you’re a high-tech healthcare startup looking for an IPO or Del Griffith in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles selling shower curtain rings, people buy from people. If you expect people to drop what they’re doing and go with you, don’t be afraid to reveal a little personality.

Try not to sound like a parrot reciting talking points in your copywriting. And don’t be afraid to break a few writing rules (like starting a sentence with a conjunction). You can also reveal a little bit about yourself and why people should choose you. In persuasive copywriting as in life, a little friendliness goes a long way.

Write Visually — Persuasive copywriting is all about providing the type of message that makes sense for your reader. The Internet is a visual medium, and people often scan content. You can excel in this environment by creating content with lots of subheads and bullet points. Short paragraphs also help people quickly move through content.

The visuals you choose can also help communicate your message. Have you considered using infographics? They provide a quick, visual way to move readers through the story. Multiple photos can also help to break up long content.

Consider the Second Person — Writing in the second person, that is. This means making sure that the word “you” is prominent in your piece, and that the reader understands you are talking with them.

Conclusion — If you’re looking for more convincing feedback and a stronger response from your marketing, persuasive copywriting can help. Make sure that you are doing everything you can to consider the buying process from your customers’ perspective, and write accordingly. If you have any questions or would like to speak further, contact me today!

Matthew Brennan is a Chicago-area marketing copywriter and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right — Sell Now.

Bridging businesses to their customer base via top-notch content. A sucker for music that rocks and a good football game.