How to make your marketing more persuasive

Marketing is all about persuasion, isn’t it? I mean, you invest time and energy into convincing consumers that your product or service is the cat’s whiskers and that they need it in their lives if they’re going to stand any chance of being happy ever again.

But how exactly do you persuade them without being obvious? The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer has found that customer trust at an all-time low (in 17 countries, no less), with fake news flying about and one too many big brand names proving themselves to be more than a little tricksy.

We’re living in an age where customers need to see the proof of the pudding before they’re going to fork over the dough and pledge their loyalty to you.

So today, our lesson is on persuasion. Covert persuasion.*

Forming your persuasive foundation

Before we get into the copy techniques, you need a solid foundation for customer trust. I’m not interested in helping anyone con anyone else.

You need to show that you’re providing true value, that you are responsive to customer queries and complaints and that you have enough genuine social proof from other customers or clients.

People aren’t idiots. They’re wise to phoney discounts that aren’t as good as they look. They know what cliché advertising language looks like—they see it all the time. Constantly, in fact.

These persuasive techniques will work best when used with a solid foundation of customer trust or brand integrity. So don’t be messin’.


Use emotional language

How customers they feel when they use the service? How will they feel when they don’t? We’ve talked about the power of emotional language on the jot jot boom blog before and that’s because it’s goddamn persuasive and tends to get a faster reaction from customers than copy based on logic.

When you use words like ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘need’, ‘want’, you’re playing into a primal need for emotional connection. It also goes hand in hand with storytelling. People can’t resist reading a story—we’re hardwired for it. Paint a picture and invite them into it.


Create a sense of urgency

Urgency is one of the fundamentals of human psychology. It makes us shut down our logical side and act with impulse. Unfortunately it’s also a really overused, totally transparent way to market, so you’ll have to do it carefully (and definitely don’t do it all the time). The urgency should feel genuine, incentives like early bird specials are finite, genuinely urgent and also make the customer feel special.


Dabble in some rhetoric

People have been using the fine art of rhetoric to persuade the masses since year dot. It’s nothing short of an art form. It’s not just brill for writing persuasive copy, either; it also provides a hella good way to inject some freshness and creativity into tired writing.

Throw in techniques like aposiopesis, repetition and alliteration and get all old skool on your writing technique. If it didn’t work, why the heck would people still be using it?!


Invest time in your CTA

The cherry on your copy cake is the CTA. Without a good one, the rest of the content may as well get its coat and leave. Ain’t nobody converting without a properly thought-out CTA button.

This is at its most effective when you consider where the customer is in their journey and the approach you’ve taken with the rest of the copy. It should be relevant, it should be clear and it should tell them exactly what a response looks like and achieves. It should compel them to take further action.

If you’ve written a really touching, persuasive letter for a charity about how little Sally needs donations so she can go to school, a good CTA would be something along the lines of:

I’d like to help Sally
Help Sally
Make a donation and help Sally

You get the picture. Bottling it and writing something vague like: “Get in touch today” or “Call now” falls a little short. Don’t you think? I’ve just finished reading a letter about Sally, her personal story has touched me. It’s her I want to help.


Bob’s your uncle, that’s how it’s done. There are many other incredible techniques for writing persuasive copy and this is merely the tip of the iceberg, but more than enough to get you started. If you really feel like you CBA, pop me an email and I’ll do it for you. Nae probs.



*Not to be confused with lying or trickery. That’s strictly reserved for D-bags.

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