Ask 10 marketing professionals how to write effective copy and you’ll get 10 different answers.  I just read a great piece on the topic this morning on Smashing Magazine so I thought I’d follow up with a couple of my own suggestions.  The writer spoke about the typical things, like writing copy that appeals to their emotions and writing copy that convinces them to buy, but aren’t those pretty obvious?  The point is, if you knew how to convince people how to buy, you wouldn’t need to even read this article.

Over the past 10 or 15 years working in the website design world, we’ve been compiling a list of the psychological factors that actually motivate people to buy something.  They’re things like:

  • to avoid pain
  • to avoid worry
  • to gain pleasure
  • to appeal to the opposite gender

Those are just 4 of the 30 reasons why people buy.  In a nut shell, every product out there fulfills a different pain.  Each product solves a different problem.  It’s like a list of 30 common problems that people have.  The problem may be physical pain, or the problem may be worry.  But that’s why people buy.  They don’t buy because your product has nice packaging.  They buy because they have a problem and your product claims to fix it.  So, the key to writing great copy that convinces people to buy is simple.  Just write copy that addresses their problem or their pain and then offer your product as a solution to their pain. Stop talking about your product so much.  Turn the tables and talk about their problem.  Frame it up with their problem as the focus.  Then, after getting them to acknowledge that they really have a problem, you reveal your solution.  Just like the famous 12-step program that Alcoholics Anonymous uses, you have to get them to admit that they have a problem first or your message will fall on deaf ears.

But there’s one more critical step.  Once you make a claim, their skeptical nature comes out and they start thinking, “Gee, can it really do that?  I bet they’re not telling the truth.  After all, they just want my money.”  So your copy has to head off those objections.  Every time you make a claim, back it up with proof.  Provide a chart showing results from your scientific study.   Pull in a testimonial from a previous customer who had the same problem until your product fixed it.   Usually that’s all it takes.  Unbiased, third-party testimonials are very powerful because they’re just that.  They’re unbiased.  You can make claims all day but no one will believe your claims until you provide evidence.  We live in a very skeptical society.  People don’t even trust what they hear on the news any more.  There are a number of reasons for this increasing skepticism but we won’t go into that.  Just remember, when you make a claim, provide proof and you’ll have a winner.  (That sounds like a claim.  Do I need proof?)

Hope that helps.

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