Content writing for persuasion is an art form that goes beyond writing well. To write persuasive content, you’ve got to capture a visitor’s attention and hook them before delivering the message you want them to accept.
For instance, the American Writers And Artists Inc. (AWAI) teaches writers that effective sales copy “emphasizes one good idea, stirs one core emotion, tells one captivating story, and directs the prospect to one inevitable response.” For most people, that inevitable response is making a purchase.
When it comes to persuading visitors to make a purchase, there are two broad categories visitors fall into: ready to buy and those who are still doing research. Those who are ready to buy are easier to market to. However, not all of your visitors will be ready to buy, and persuading them requires a different approach.
To understand the difference, let’s first look at the familiar marketing model for persuading people who are ready to buy.
Persuading visitors who are ready to buy
Persuasive content writing strategies use psychology to get visitors to accept a particular idea that will persuade them to make a purchase. This method relies heavily on targeting visitors who are ready to buy. These are visitors who have performed enough research to know they want to make the purchase and are now looking for the best option.
For example, say you’re selling vitamins. Most people looking for vitamins are already convinced they’re not getting enough nutrition from the food they eat and therefore need vitamins. Because they already know they want vitamins, all you need to do is convince them that your vitamins are the best solution.
You’re only going to present information that supports the narrative that visitors need your vitamins. If there’s evidence to the contrary, you wouldn’t provide it, because that doesn’t support sales.
For instance, in your sales copy, you wouldn’t present evidence that nutrient depletion in food is a misunderstanding regarding how plants produce nutrients, and the role nutrients play in soil. You wouldn’t tell visitors plants don’t absorb their nutrients from soil – plants synthesize the nutrients as they grow. You’d have a hard time selling your vitamins if that’s what you told your visitors. However, for a visitor still doing research, presenting information from all sides of the issue has the potential to capture their interest and hook them.
Persuading visitors who are still researching
If visitors reading your content realize depleted soil isn’t a valid reason to take vitamins, you could present other reasons for taking vitamins. For instance, malnutrition and undernutrition are a worldwide problem affecting millions of people each year, including US citizens. Many people don’t even know they’re malnourished.
People who don’t eat vegetables need vitamins, and vitamins can be used to supplement what people aren’t getting from food. If people cook their food, they’re destroying the nutrients and therefore need vitamins.
You can even encourage visitors to take a simple blood test to find out where they’re deficient, and advise them to purchase only those select nutrients from your business.
Providing a balanced view hooks visitors in research mode
People who haven’t made a decision yet want as much information as possible. They want to weigh the pros and cons of their potential decisions. They don’t want opinions – they want facts. Creating content that caters to this group of people is easy. Put yourself in their shoes and write articles weighing the pros and cons of their dilemma.
For example, Houston-based property management company Green Residential published an article titled Should You Include Utilities in Rent? 6 Pros and Cons to Consider. Rather than assert a definite stance on the issue, which they easily could have, the article presents pros and cons to both options. There’s no bias in the article that leans toward either option. This information helps readers come to their own conclusions.
Don’t get caught up in psychology
It’s important to incorporate psychology into your content writing, although it’s easy to get lost in a sea of tactics and strategies that border on manipulation. Technically, all marketing can be considered a form of manipulation, although when you’re selling something of value, think of marketing as influence and persuasion. Marketing psychology can be a wonderful tool as long as you stick to the strategies that honor your visitors.