I am always astonished when I hear of one lone person who is able to convince hundreds, if not thousands, of people to do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do. The news is filled with them—from the phone call scammers who talk multiple people into turning over their bank account information to the terrorists who compel a large following, all of whom are willing to die for the cause. What makes people so defenseless in these types of situations? Undoubtedly, it is the lead person’s ability to persuade.
And while these are a few of the rather unpleasant uses of the art of persuasion, the capacity of one person to convince others of certain things can be a positive thing as well. In fact, if you think back through time, you will notice that some of the world’s strongest and most influential leaders, like a few of our past presidents and some “movement” leaders, have effectively used persuasion for the good of all people.
How can you use master the art of persuasion and use it to your advantage too? Before we get into that, you need to first understand why your ability to create persuasive messages matters.
Why Persuasion Matters
Unless you are the one and only business that provides a particular product or service, your ability to persuade your target market is key to getting them to choose you over your competitors. So, when a potential client looks at your website, reads your blog, or views your other marketing materials, you want to know that you have used the most compelling and magnetizing content possible.
After all, the words you choose and the way you say them may just be the difference between getting them to hit the “Buy Now” button or clicking on your competitor’s site instead because you weren’t able to convince them that you are the small business for them. How do you create content that makes your reader want to take action, and take it NOW?
Paint a Mental Picture
One of the best ways to persuade people with your writings is to use your words to paint a mental picture. The more you can get them to “see” themselves using your products and/or services and their life being somehow better because if it, the more persuasive your content will be.
A suggestion that Joe Vitale provides in his book Hypnotic Writing: How to Seduce and Persuade Customers with Only Your Words is to use similes so that your target market has something easy and well-known to compare your services or products to. An example of this would be: “Our blankets are softer than the fur of a newborn kitten.” Now, when your readers think about your blankets, they will think about holding a cute and cuddly kitten that is warm and loveable.
Another option that Vitale suggests is to use analogies to help your reader draw a reference to something that evokes a particular emotion. For instance, if you offer a workshop that teaches others how to become more effective leaders in the workplace, you may want to say something like this: “Sign up for our executive package and become the king or queen of your castle!” The reader instantly conjures up an image of themselves as a king or queen, creating a feeling of the power that you’re about to give him or her.
Create an Emotional Response
In her book titled Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, Sally Hogshead discusses the fact that persuasive content causes the reader to “respond to it immediately and instinctively, almost involuntarily.” It is this type of emotional response that you want to create in your readers, almost compelling them to take action without needing to really think about it.
In fact, go over some of your content right now and look at it as if it was the first time you’re seeing it. Does it compel you to take action, like steel draws to a magnet? Do you feel as if you’d lose out if you didn’t buy your products or services right this moment; like your life would somehow be incomplete? Does it evoke a feeling of the pleasure it can provide, or the pain that it can take away?
If you aren’t totally moved by your content, chances are good that your target reader won’t be either. Therefore, you’re going to want to change your wording so it induces a more emotional response. For instance, “Buy now!” for your new, healthy diet program that focuses on the mind in addition to the body isn’t nearly as emotionally charged as “Buy now and you’ll never have to feel the mental heaviness of being overweight again!” See the difference?
Essentially, what you are trying to do is reach your target market effectively by getting them to visualize their life with you in it, increasing their pleasure and/or limiting their pain at the same time. And if it is web content that you’re writing, you may want to take a moment and read 7 Ways to Make Your Web Content More Persuasive. The more you know about how to influence your readers to take action, the better your content will be!