Get someone to read every word? Isn’t that impossible these days?
It’s not impossible if you put your mind to it. Really.
If you want to get visitors to stop what they’re doing, give you their undivided attention and take the immediate action you desire, then grab the closest pen you can find and start taking notes on these three proven copywriting techniques the pros use every day.
1. Lead with an Intensely Powerful Promise
If you’ve done a good job of pulling your readers in with a magnetic headline, then you’ve only won half the battle – now you need to convince them that it’s worth their while to read everything below it. One of the best ways to make them eager to continue reading is to whet their appetite with a promise to deliver an immediate benefit that makes their life easier or takes some of their pain away.
And when you announce that promise, you want to crank up the intensity by using the kind of vivid imagery that engages their senses, getting them to imagine the promise being fulfilled for them in specific detail – so they don’t have to stop and think about it themselves.
For example, I’ve promised to tell you how to get visitors to:
- stop what they are doing,
- give you their undivided attention, and
- take the immediate action you desire.
If you’re still reading, you probably envisioned your readers doing something like buying your products, signing up for your newsletter, or leaving comments on your site. When you use vivid imagery within an intense promise, your readers will custom-fit that promise to their personal situation – just as you did a moment ago.
2. Use Benefit-Driven Details to Establish Credibility
You want to establish credibility in the eyes of your readers, but you can’t just sing your own praises. Your readers only care about what’s in it for them, so it’s in your best interest to spin your story to focus on their best interest instead. For example:
- Bad: You should listen to me because I’ve driven over $150,000 in sales in the last 12 months for myself and my clients.
- Good: Discover how to take your sales through the roof using the techniques I used to generate over $150,000 in sales for my clients over the last 12 months.
By ensuring the benefit to your readers takes precedence over your own desire to quote stats, you get the best of both worlds – rapt attention and increased credibility.
Remember, your readers want to know that you’re competent (so they feel comfortable buying from you), but they don’t want to focus on you any longer than is necessary. After all, would you be more interested in hearing me talk about how I front-paged Digg over and over again last year, or would you rather read the six tutorials at Copyblogger I used to stay on the Digg front page in 2008?
Delivering benefits to your reader is the cake – your stats are just the icing.
3. Leverage Readers’ Pain (Or They will Ignore You and Click Away)
It may not be politically correct to advise you to push your readers’ pain points, but if you don’t bring it up toward the end of your copy, the likeliness of them delaying action goes way up (and you may well lose them forever). If you don’t bring the consequences of inaction front and center, they’ll get distracted by some other urgency and click away … and the action you needed them to take gets pushed off to a “someday” which never comes.
Without focusing on the pain, you’ll lose the sales you need to survive, grind your teeth over stagnant subscriber counts or simply get lost in a sea of competing content written by authors who know how to use pain to get your readers to take the actions that they want them to.
But fear not – you don’t have to feel guilty about “bringing the pain.” Once you’ve established the pain that inaction will cause your readers, you remind them of that promised benefit you started out with – and link it directly with whatever it is you’re offering as the way to make that pain disappear. And instead of guiding your readers through copy that focuses on features and credentials and other yawn-inducing text, you’ve used three simple techniques to do exactly what it takes to cause them to take action:
- You’ve drawn them in with an intensely powerful promise,
- You’ve used benefit-driven details to establish credibility, and
- You’ve leveraged their pain points to encourage them to take the action you desired.
And now that you’ve experienced it for yourself by reading every word of this article, go do it for your own readers.
And drop a comment below while you’re at it. I’m glad you stuck with me ’til the end.