Persuasion in Copywriting: How to sell your products and services better using it
The task of the copywriter is to sell using copy.
How do you sell?
Simply put, it goes something like this
- You target the right audience/ customers
- You get to know their pains, problems, and needs
- You show them how your product/ brand solves the problem for them elegantly.
- Get them to act.
This is not a random sequence of events, but a scripted-to-sell framework, that’s proven to work.
What you need to understand is that selling online uses proven Direct Response Advertising Principles.
To Sell using Direct Marketing, we need to build trust. The key here is conversational communications which shows empathy.
Once you have grasped the basic framework, let’s get into the details.
We’re going to use two successful frameworks and combine it into an usable practice for ourselves.
Let’s start with Donald Miller’s StoryBrand Framework.
After analyzing hundreds of successful Hollywood films, Donald Miller has distilled a workable story format for brands.
This story format, starts with a character, or hero. The hero is never the product or service but it is the “Customer”. The key here is to understand the true spirit of this character.
In the storybrand, this character/hero who has a problem, meets a Guide.
The Guide is your brand. The Guide has been there, done that. He/ she has the necessary authority [number of years in the business, case studies, clients, etc] and empathy [I understand your problem] to prove it.
The Guide then gives the character a Plan. These are very precise steps, not very convoluted, but graspable and executable if followed to the tee. The Guide also issues a Call to Action.
The Call to Action results in either a Comedy [show what success looks like here] or a Tragedy [show what failure looks like here].
The next framework, is Ray Edwards’ Pastor rule.
Ray Edwards illustrates in his brilliant, relatable, and doable P.A.S.T.O.R. method of writing copy.
P – Pain, problem, need of the customer
A – Amplify the pain, problem
S – Tell your story/ solution to the problem
T – Transformation, Testimonials
O – Offer
R – The response you need from the customer, Call to action.
Let’s dig a little more into the PASTOR formula
1. Identify and focus on the pain/ problem/ need of the customer
It helps to begin by knowing the pain of the customer and/or the situation which they want to change.
Sometimes, the customer is not even aware of this pain they are having, or they are just pushing it in the background rather than trying to solve it by identifying it first.
Whether it is the fears, beliefs, etc. which the character experiences?
What are the external, internal, and philosophical problems that the character/ customer experiences.
Philosophical problems are moral question which they have: Is this the right thing to?
We need to flesh out the problems and the nuances attached to it. Simply because what people think, what they feel, and what they do is rarely synchronized.
How do you find the customer pains, effectively?
Don’t assume that you know it. Spend some time researching it.
- Speak with the customers
- Do an online survey of your customers using a questionnaire and a suitable incentive for answers
- Dig out insights from forums, discussions, company review sites, and Amazon book reviews
- You’ll be surprised at all the information you get. Your next task is to use this effectively in your messaging.
2. Amplify the pain/ message
After you identify the problem, the next step is to show the customer what are the consequences of not solving this problem.
We also need to amplify the details of the situation/ problem for it to register fully in the customer’s consciousness.
What will be the cost of inaction? What actually makes the buy happen is not always the beautiful representation of your product.
That is what motivates customers to invest in your product or service.
3. Present your solution as the answer to the customer’s problem
People do not buy products, they buy something which solves their need/pain/problem.
How does your product, or service answer the customer’s pain, need. List out your benefits.
4. Add Social Proof: Testimonials, for example
There are many forms of social proof that you can use to establish authority. A few of these are below, and many of these can be used strategically to improve your business credibility.
- Number of years in the business
- Clients and cases handled, portfolio
- Accreditations and Awards
- News stories from independent publications
- Reviews and ratings by customers.
It’s also important that you offer real-life stories of people who have made the transformation by using your product/service successfully.
In practice, if you look up the most successful infomercials, you’ll discover that they consist of about 70% testimonials. This makes the communications and messaging more credible
5. Explain your Offer/ Promotion
At this stage, you need to explain the deliverables clearly and what the buyer gets exactly.
Here, it is imperative how you position your product on how it is superior to the ones available in the market. How do you make an offer which is hard to turn down?
A once in a lifetime introductory offer price or a complementary subscription to your annual product/service magazine or free doorstep delivery would be great offers to induce the customer and make the buy happen.
Seasonal or Festive offers are a great way to attract and hook your prospects.
6. Create Calls to Action
This is the most crucial stage where you are issuing a call to action.
A good call to action is specific and stands out. Here the customer decides to go ahead with your offering. So, you not only tell them, you also show them how to do it.
By directing them to the call now/ buy now click which they make to buy your product/ service. The options here could be as specific as: order online, visit a store, or talk to a customer representative – now.
Since not all people who come to your website buy, you can also look at a transitional Call to Action: Download this eBook, or Subscribe to Our Newsletter.
The Complete Persuasion Structure that You Can Use to Sell Online
Now that you know the elements of the two frameworks, let’s piece them together into a practical structure.
- Start with the pain/ problem/ need of the customer
- Amplify the pain for better contrast and highlight
- Position your brand as the one that solves the customer’s problem
- Explain why your brand is the best fitted to solve the problem, compared to any others. Use authority and social proof here
- Make the offer
- Explain the consequences of not accepting the offer – the tragedy that would result if status quo is maintained
- Issue a Call to Action. Note that you can have a Primary: Buy Now CTA, and a Secondary: Download this eBook CTA. Two, you can have the CTA multiple times on the page.
Now that you have understood the elements of persuasion, take a look at it in action on the websites mentioned below.
Spot Sales Persuasion in Action Online
- Take a look at the featured sites on JVZoo. Focus on the persuasion model. Don’t get carried away by the products.
- Go to Smart insights and check out their copy
- Head over to Ray Edwards’ website and check out how he sells on his Home Page
- Check out how Dan Kennedy sells his Free Gift
- See how the Digital Marketer uses persuasion to sell its courses.
When you’re on these pages focus your attention on two things:
- The words used to sell
- The structure of the persuasion
Once you start recognizing the structure and the words, you are well on your way to writing your own copy. Or at least recognizing it when it is shown to you by a copywriter.
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