- How can we write more magnetic copy?
- Why do even skilled writers occasionally miss the target?
- What is one leading cause of copy that fails to persuade?
I would argue that this one trait separates compelling writers from so-so writers, and it has less to do with words and grammar than you might think.
What is this magical thing?
Understanding your reader has to be the most important part of any writer’s job, but it’s especially true when writing persuasive copy. Knowing what a reader is likely to be thinking helps you to anticipate and mirror those thoughts, offer clarification where it is needed, and build trust.
Seth Godin nailed the way we lack empathy when it comes to blogs and books recently, and it’s the same with sales copy—we fail when what we write is about the seller (writer), not the buyer (reader). When you’re more concerned about your own needs, or how you appear, or your own personal preferences for style and format instead of finding out what your prospective customers really prefer, you are setting yourself up to fail.
Think about these things when you are trying to persuade:
- What objections might they raise?
- Which are their most urgent motivations?
- Are there particular benefits or features they are looking for?
- Why do our competitors lose trust or interest?
- How would the prospect prefer to receive this information?
Getting these insights can be as simple as talking to prospective customers. Ask open questions with surveys, rather than leading them to the answer you’re looking for. If you cannot find likely suspects then build customer profiles based on existing data. Study actual behavioral test results from other marketers to see if you can glean any insights.
Reading your prospective customer’s mind could be the most valuable thing you do for the effectiveness of your persuasive writing. Focusing on your own preferences and desires is likely the worst.
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