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Top 10 Persuasive Copywriting Techniques

Persuasive copywriting techniques are specific methods you use to convince a reader, through what and how you write, to buy your product or give to your cause.

Persuasive Copywriting Techniques with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

Disclaimer: there is no magic bullet to writing persuasively.

Having said that, persuasive copy uses certain elements over and over again – elements that have been proven to be convincing. These techniques are not complicated. In fact, as you read them you’ll probably find yourself nodding and saying, “Yes, that would persuade me, too

And another encouraging tip: anyone can learn to use them. That means with a little bit of practice, these techniques can become part of your copywriting skill set.

Top 10 Persuasive Copywriting Techniques

1. Show the reader what’s in it for him

It’s an undeniable fact: readers don’t care about you or your organization. They care about what you can do for them, whether it’s relieving suffering, changing lives, or inspiring others. Show your reader how you meet those needs for her and the benefits she gets from being a part of that great work.

2. Write to a real person

Understand your target reader … write out a description of him … know what he thinks, believes, feels, and knows. Picture a person you know that fits the target profile. Write to that person as if he’s sitting across the table from you.

3. Tell good stories

Storytelling provides the perfect opportunity to show, not tell. By telling a story, you have the chance to present the problem and show results – how you provide the solution. Stories and anecdotes engage readers’ hearts and move them to act.

4. Provide factual proof

"Give me the facts!" General statements and feelings raised in stories need to be supported by solid information. Demonstrate benefits with logic. Answers prevent buyers or givers remorse and appeal to the mind. Human beings are a composite of right brain and left brain activity. The best persuasive writing appeals to both. You will ooze credibility when you establish yourself as an authority by using statistics and experts to corroborate what you say. (Here are 10 kinds of facts that persuade.)

5. Provide social proof

People care what other people think. That’s why testimonials are so persuasive. The more you can cite partners, customers, donors, beneficiaries, volunteers, and celebrities who endorse your organization, the more compelling your copy will be.

6. Explain why

One of the most persuasive words to use in copywriting is “because.” People act when you give them a good reason to. Explain the benefits of your product, service, or cause to your readers. (Get more writing tips for using the power of because here.)

7. Use repetition

It’s a psychological principle: we hear information over and over again, our minds begin to think “it must be true.” Repetition makes an idea easy to understand. Understanding is often taken as truth – and truth is one of the most persuasive copywriting techniques out there.

8. Identify with the reader

Speak directly the reader’s problem, struggle, or push back. Show you understand her hurt, pain, apathy, confusion, or other emotion. The more rapport you build with the reader, the more persuasive you will be because she’ll think, “They get me. They’re like me.”

9. Raise objections

Readers are looking for any excuse to click off your page, toss your letter in the wastebasket, or move onto the next post. Raise their objections before they do and answer them. Show readers both sides of the coin – that handful of weaknesses to your argument and how you refute them. A recent University of Illinois studies found that two-sided arguments are more persuasive to readers than one-sided counterparts.

10. Offer a guarantee

By offering an ironclad guarantee, you convince the reader to step across the line and plunk down their hard-earned money to buy your product or give to your cause. That pledge provides assurance and a way out for your readers. A guarantee is one of the most powerful tools in your copywriting arsenal.

Keep this checklist handy

Persuasive writing is not relegated to copywriters and admen. You want readers to embrace your point of view, don't you? If your answer is yes, then you're a member of the Persuasive Writers Club.
Keep this checklist handy as you read good content so you can quickly learn to recognize the best persuasive writing techniques. And use it as a guide when you write. Add these skills to your content one by one, and soon you'll be one of those writers who consistently convinces readers to act.

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Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.

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