Writing is one of the most valuable skills for any web marketer. Your writing is not only what provides value on the web (in the form of articles and blog posts) but also what grabs attention, influences opinions, and ultimately drives sales.
That last bit is important. If you want to convert sales, you need to be able to write.
And you need an understanding of how the human brain works, so that you can trigger an action.
This post will show you how to use persuasive writing techniques in order to grab attention and elicit action.
The first challenge?
Getting people to actually stop and listen to what you’re saying. These days, we are all constantly in a rush and we all constantly have a million things we need to be doing. This means that we really don’t have time to spend hours reading long passages of text about why X product is so amazing.
So how do you get your visitors to stick around and actually listen to you? One good suggestion is to use a ‘narrative’ structure. This means you’re going to frame your sales pitch like a story and start off by telling your visitors how your product changed your life. This works well because we are naturally inclined to listen to stories and we find it very difficult to stop reading them halfway through. That’s why you’ll often stay up all night watching bad quality TV, even though you’re not really enjoying it!
The next tip is to break your text up into lots of sections and to include long, detailed headings. Ideally, your sales pitch should be designed such that someone just skimming straight through it would be able to get all the information they need reading the headlines alone. Using bold or underlined text can help here too, as it allows readers to pick out the key details in any given sentence.
Another tip is to make sure that you get to the point fast. Remember: people don’t know what your product is and this is the first thing they’re going to need to learn if you hope for them to stick around!
From here, you want to go on to sell what is known as the ‘value proposition’. This means that you’re promoting what the product can do for people and how it makes their lives better. Ask yourself: why do people buy these products? What is the emotional payoff they get from them?
Once you can answer this, you’ll be able to much more effectively convince people to buy by really painting that picture and getting them to dream about your product and how it will change their lives.
The reason this is so important, is that we make most of our purchasing decisions based on emotion and not on logic. In other words, we buy things because we feel excited to own them, and because we are imagining how they’re going to make our lives better.
This is also why it’s important to encourage people to act quickly when it comes to clicking buy! If they have a chance to go away and think about their purchase, they’ll often realize they don’t actually “need” whatever it is that we’re pedalling. Thus, we want them to make a decision here and now.
One way we do that is by using urgent language, along with deals and threats of limited supply. Anything you can do to create “urgency and scarcity” will increase the amount of buyers you get.
Using Psychology in Your Design and Layout
Walk through a shop, or look at an ecommerce store and you’ll find that psychology plays a massive part in the way it has been laid out and the way that it affects your brain.
So how do you set up your ecommerce store or sales page to influence the psychology of your visitors?
Here’s one quick tip: use contrast to place items that are similar but differently priced next to each other!
So for instance, if you are selling two different ebooks on a similar topic but one is cheap and one is expensive, you should place them next to each other in your ecommerce store.
Why? Because this makes the cheap one look cheaper and the expensive one look more expensive.
Now people will be motivated by the expensive ebook because they’ll think it’s the most premium and high quality product available.
Likewise though, if they don’t have much money and want to be more careful with their cash, they can convince themselves to spend money on the cheaper book by saying ‘at least I’m buying the cheaper option’. This gives them a means to persuade themselves and to talk themselves around to buying something even when they otherwise would have bought nothing.
Another quick tip?
Make your ‘buy now’ buttons red. This works for sales pages or ecommerce stores. But either way, when you do this, it will subtly influence the visitors by creating a sense of urgency and this actually leads to more sales! Studies show that simply looking at the color red actually increases our heart rate – and this in turn leads to more impulsive behavior. The same thing works with charity collection boxes: make them red and people are more likely to drop money in!
On the other hand though, the page itself should be white or light blue. Why? Not only does this make the red “buy now” button stand out more, but it also makes the reader feel more at ease and relaxed so they stay on the page longer.
(Fast food stores conversely make their decor orange or red to encourage patrons not to hang around – they want a faster turnover!)
Many marketers recommend that you use long, narrow blocks of text when writing your sales pages. This way, your readers will be forced to scroll continuously down the page. The further down they get, the more “invested” they feel. And they won’t want to leave without having bought something!