The Sexy Hidden Secrets of Persuasive Writing

When you think of persuasive copy, you might think of content that’s loud – red headlines, bold yellow highlighters and a mammoth-sized guarantee plunked right in the middle of the page, proclaiming the awesomeness of the product or service. It’s like the drunk guy at the bar who slurs through his library of pick-up lines in an attempt to impress. You’re not intrigued…you’re not amused and you’re definitely not impressed.

Real persuasive writing is silky smooth. It’s the cool guy hanging out nonchalantly by the jukebox: comfortable enough with itself to arouse your curiosity and tease you into taking one small step. Before you know it, you’re not only at the “thank you” page, but you couldn’t be more satisfied about your purchase.

So how do they do it? And how can you harness the hidden secrets of persuasive writing to make your offer more compelling? Follow these easy steps with your writing to make the customer acquisition process a whole lot sexier.

1. Digital Flirting: Establish a Bond with Your Customers

The first step to writing more persuasively is to find something you can both agree on. Remember, the customer might be hesitant to buy your product for any number of reasons. To the marketer, that only means that you haven’t given them enough reasons to buy yet.

Start with a statement that they can easily agree with or appreciate. Then slide in a compliment, a question or a light-hearted challenge.

Example – from the American Cancer Society:

american cancert society writing copy

Who doesn’t agree with celebrating more birthdays? Facebook is also a great outlet to get people committed, as Nexcare demonstrated with its focus on World Blood Donor Day:

nexcare facebook pledge

People are naturally hard-wired to be curious – which leads us to the next step:

2. Getting to Know You – With Supporting Details

Some buyers need more convincing than others – and many of them have unanswered questions that your current content doesn’t address. Think of some ways that you can give your readers all the information they need to make a confident decision:

  • Social Proof (Testimonials, Referrals, and Endorsements)
  • Comparisons
  • And one of the best reasons: WHY

Show them why your product or service is worth spending money on, and how it will help them in some way. Go through your copy as if you were your own customer and try to address any potential issues they might have. Everything you do in this second step should lead right back to strengthening that bond you made originally.

For example, Hotels.com gets people started in three simple steps right on the main page of their website – without asking for personally identifiable information. Then adds in supporting details that will get them to take action under “Our Promise to You”:

hotels.com promise

3. Motivating by Agitating

After you’ve weaved in a good number of your best benefits, it’s time to get the customer to take the next step. This is where your call-to-action makes a huge difference. You can’t wimp out at this point with a scrawny “click here” button and hope for the best. You’ve lead them along the persuasive path all this time now – just to finish with a fizzle instead of a sizzle? Make that call to action big, bold and important. Tell them not only what to do – but what will happen when they’ve clicked.

If they’re still undecided, it’s time to remind them what they could lose if they don’t act. Real limited-time offer dates can apply here, as can things like a free bonus or a coupon. The idea is that you remind them of the issue you started with in your statement – and lead them to understand how your offer will make that issue a thing of the past.

Woot.com, the original “Daily Deal” site, displays a daily countdown, and how much of the product is currently in inventory. If anything is guaranteed to spike people’s actions, it’s knowing that you might miss out on a great deal.

woot.com daily deal strategy

You can also browse comments other users have had, and after the deal ends, see interesting analytics from the sale.

woot.com statistics

At its core, persuasive writing is designed to get you to take action without feeling like you’re being sold. It goes from a whirlwind romance of product benefits that perfectly meet your needs – to a long-lasting customer relationship that continues to reward you with loyalty, sales and referrals.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob creates beautiful, high-converting landing pages, in addition to designing blogs and writing compelling content. Learn more at iElectrify or @sherice on Twitter.

  1. Website owners sometimes don’t realize just how important the power of words really can be. Without the right words a site is not going to function 100%.

  2. Hey Sherice! Your post was really helpfull. I read a lot about persuasion and web design but i was having a hard time redesigning my website. After i read your post, i came up with an incredible idea. Thank you!

  3. I found some interesting stuff about persuasion in Robert Greene’s books and in 21 Immutable Laws of Persuasion. The sexuality component that you’re talking about is really important too though.

  4. As important as the design is, words are pretty much powerful. And I’d like to add, before you can persuade others, you should be able to persuade yourself.

  5. This is such a helpful tip on how your writing approach should be able to get a lot of readers and establish a good business relationship with them. I think people who are writing sales letters should read your blog!

    - Jack Leak

  6. These are some great tips!
    It ends up being more difficult than this though. I think that writing effective copy requires a knack for understanding the user experience. It can be difficult to take the frame of mind of the user as you’re reading your own copy, but doing so will really help improve the work.

  7. Loved this post! It’s spot on! I’m so sick of the “In your face” sales pages. What you suggest is right in line with my values and the way I already write for my business as well as my customers. Thanks for the info.

  8. Thanks for this post Sherice Jacob. Copywriting is what I need to focus on at the moment, and I’m going to follow you on twitter and your site to learn more from you

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