If you want to improve your copywriting skills, you can find help with neuroscience studies and behavioral psychology. The problem is that you have to go through mountains of dry research papers and (sometimes boring) statistics to find some useful nuggets.
In this article, we are going to look at some interesting studies on the human mind and how they can help you create an enchanting copy for your web.
1. Weave authentic stories into your copy
This is old advice but it works so well. Using stories can help you ignite your audience’s imagination, make them feel your copy and let down their guard. Some people are reluctant to sales copy but will respond well to well-pitched stories thus giving you an open window to persuade them.
Also, research by Melanie Green and Timothy Brock shows that stories that have either detailed imagery (think of the Lord of the Rings), suspense (think the Harry Potter series), or metaphors and irony (think the Animal Farm) works very well.
2. The evil is in the details
If you want to sell or just want to persuade people to do your bidding, then you need to be specific in your copy.
Take these two paragraphs:
“We are the best in the industry. We have been in business for long and our customers trust us. You can find all kinds of woodworking tools in our store and they are priced reasonably.”
“We have been in business for 25 years and we have been able to serve more than 100,000 customers in our locality alone. All our woodworking tools are priced below $90 and you’ll find we typically respond to customer’s inquiries within 24 hours.”
Which one would you respond to more?
It’s clear the second paragraph is stronger and will likely convert better than the first one. In fact, simple details like this may be what you need to convert tightwad customers.
3. Use more verbs
Most writers cling onto adjectives in their writing even though it’s not as effective as verbs.
A group of admission officers analyzed persuasive admission letters and found that letters that use more verbs actually performed better than those powered by adjectives.
Because verbs are specific, short and help you get to the point. This is why they are hard to ignore so use them more in your writing.
4. Use power words
It’s true that certain words are just more persuasive than others. If you notice from the beginning of this article, you’ll see I’ve used the word “You” several times (probably more than any other word in this article). This is a power word that helps you connect with your reader on an individual level.
Research has shown that seeing your name on screen/print make you more receptive to information. When your name appears in a message, you become trusting and more engaged as if a friend is talking to you.
- Dan Ariely, in his book Predictably Irrational, illustrates this with a study where a group of people was tested on chocolate truffles and Hershey’s Kisses. Initially they chose the truffles over Kisses when it was a penny, but when the Kisses was offered for “free”, people choose them over the truffles by 38%.
- Robert Cialdini conducted a study where someone would cut in line using different words for a request. When a polite request was made, people were not willing to give permission. But immediately “because” was added (can I use the copy machine first because I need to make a copy?) people were willing to concede even though that request was nonsensical (and not even polite).
- MRI studies show that people want rewards now (we all want) and if you can invoke a sense of a quick incentive, you are more likely to persuade.
- Research has also shown that newness is important for a product because people want to try out new things.