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Susan Payton: How to Use Persuasive Writing in Your Marketing


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Remember back in high school English class when you had to write a persuasive essay?

Maybe you wrote to convince people to adopt a puppy or let you get a tattoo. You probably forgot about this critical assignment, since you haven’t used it since!

But if you’re doing your own marketing for your small business, it’s time to brush off the dust from that part of your brain and put it into action.

Why We Need Persuasive Writing

Think about the purpose of marketing your business. You want to persuade people to buy your products. Well, first you want to persuade them to follow you on social, read your blog, or visit your website. Either way, there’s a whole lotta persuading going on. And there are specific words and techniques you can use to nudge people to do what you want. Ready? OK.

Use Persuasive Words

What words get you to do something? What kind of language lights a fire under you? Likely it’s copy that seems to speak directly to you, rather than to a rocket scientist.

You’ll come across the suggestion to write for an eighth grade audience for general writing. That’s because not everyone is well-read or knows a lot of $20 words. You end up alienating them if you write over their heads, so to start with, make sure your content speaks directly to your reader.

Next, use words that connect with people, like:

  • Free
  • You
  • Because
  • Instantly
  • New

Try Telling a Story

I’ve been working on this one lately, at my husband’s suggestion. When you tell a story, you instantly put your reader in your shoes. He can empathize how you feel, and maybe even relate. Once you’ve got him where you want him, it’s easy to get him to do what you want.

Give People a Reason

You want people to click/sign up/buy, but why? What’s in it for them if they do? You can’t be self-serving here; you’ve got to consider that whatever you want them to do is valuable. They’re not going to give you that piece of gold unless they feel they’re getting something even more valuable in return. Want their email address? Give away really valuable content. Want them to follow you on social media? Promise special discounts they can’t get elsewhere.

Just Ask

Don’t be shy at the end of your copy. Ask or tell your audience what you want. Be clear in what you want and what you’re offering so there’s no head-scratching. It should be dummy-simple for readers to say, “Hey, he wants me to click here. And if I do, I’ll get a lollipop. Cool! Click click!”

By using your high school persuasive skills, you can get people to do exactly what you want. The end result? More visits and more sales. Score.

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