But although this is simple in theory, it’s much harder in execution. The line between persuasion and scammy is a fine one, and few people get it right the first few times.
Some never really do.
So, what are some of the things that you can keep in mind when writing your next sales email, or creating your next product launch announcement?
Let’s dive right in.
We live in a day and age where most of the population has at least one social media platform that they post on regularly. Even extended family, such as aunts and uncles, have Facebook now, and have been on it for a solid decade―at least.
And that means most people’s accounts are pretty top-notch. One browse through Instagram for all of 30 seconds can make you realize you need to step up your game. It seems like everyone knows how to shoot brilliant photography, write compelling captions, and get followers.
And most everyone connects their platform, whether it be Twitter or Instagram, or even Facebook, to places like their blogs.
We’re talking regular posting, weekly. Blogs that are chock full of knowledge and insight, as well as original YouTube content.
Translation: as a business, the expected quality standard for your content is sky high. If you can’t compete with someone’s run-of-the-mill account about flowers, then you don’t deserve to have a huge follower count or reader base, let alone a valuable platform for lead generation.
Now, most guides will separate the following points into their own sections. Most guides will tell you that social proof is just one small part of the big picture. And to their credit, that’s true, to a degree.
Things like authority and reciprocation do matter, but they are directly linked to social proof. Here’s what I mean:
Suppose there’s an account with a large following. Most would assume that means their social proof is covered, but with today’s algorithms, that’s not exactly true. Unless there’s paid acquisition, there’s no real value to a large following anymore.
No, what helps with social proof is experience, better known as what you bring to the table. How you stack up against the competition...
The more you can prove your worth within your industry, the more credible you’ll be.
It’s all connected.
Still, let’s dive a little deeper into these other aspects to get a clearer understanding of what it entails.
Authority is when someone sees you as an industry leader. And on social media, it’s only achieved through a large following and a verified account that actively gives back in various forms, including helpful information and advice.
Again, a large following does nothing these days, but it’s still looked down upon when you have less than a certain number of followers, solely because it means you’re unproven.
It’s that proof we spoke about moments before that matters. How you stack compared to others.
Luckily, outside of social media, this authority can be carried within educational blog posts, expertly crafted books, webinars, talks, and even YouTube channels or other video content.
If you’re unclear whether or not you’re nailing it, consider these questions:
Does everything you post or create teach someone something new?
Does everything you put out contain actionable information?
Are you consistently learning more about your topic and then sharing that knowledge with your audience?
When you get comments on your posts, or reviews on your books, are they generally thanking you for the help? Or commenting on how helpful this was?
At the end of the day, this pinnacle of leadership and knowledge should be reflected in everything you do and put out. And because you’re putting it out there, you’re promoting it, which all goes back to social media, full-circle.
Now, you don’t need to be the world’s most instantly recognizable leader to be considered an authority. You just need to be more knowledgeable than your audience.
It’s best put by saying that everyone, even your teachers, were someone else’s beginners. There’s always someone out there who is far more experienced and educated. So, don’t stress too much, just stay a few steps ahead by consistently learning new techniques and facts, and then sharing them with your audience.
Much like to make money, you have to spend money, the same goes with persuading people into buying your products. You have to give in order to receive.
Let’s use an example:
There’s a small clothing company that actively hosts giveaways, and posts videos about styling outfits. They give out coupon codes and discounts, all the while advertising themselves through Facebook and Google Ads.
This is them giving back, and receiving attention and sales in return. All of those discounts are saving people money in exchange for a willingness to try out the brand. It’s persuasion at its finest.
The same goes with their giveaways―they understand that if they give things away for free, people will actively post branded content, or appropriately tagged content, in order to potentially win it. It’s like getting your audience to market your brand, all the while “losing” profits by giving something valuable away.
The fact that you saved yourself time, energy, and even money by having them help with your marketing isn’t something most consider, unless they’re entrepreneurs, of course.
This is why lead generation is so important. Consider blogging, which is by far the best example. Blogs these days offer insight, valuable information, how-to tutorials, you name it. And as such, they’ve become pinnacles of research for many. People genuinely trust well-crafted, detailed, informative blogs, especially if they’ve been around for awhile.
And through these posts, you’re reciprocating the love. You give them information they need, and your audience buys something from you in return. Or likewise, they buy so much that you feel compelled to post something extra special as a token of appreciation.
Moving right along to something that certainly gets undervalued, let’s discuss consistency, better known as the act of repetition. Although it affects things like social proof, and authority, it’s something that actually affects everything else in your business as well.
Perhaps even your entire life.
Suppose a man goes a diet. He has a few extra pounds on him and he’s reminded time and time again how active and fit he used to be. It’s gotten to the point where he huffs and puffs each time he uses the stairs at work.
It’s wakeup time.
So, what does this man do? He eats right, he limits his portions, and he takes up daily walks. For the first two weeks, he’s fine. He’s losing some weight, he’s doing good, and he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’ll be a long road, but he’s ready!
Queue 4 weeks in and he’s all but given up on his health journey. Why? He didn’t adhere to his regimen everyday. It started with a birthday party where he let loose, because he wanted to celebrate, and then it continued with a sense of “I’m doing so good, I deserve one cheat day a week.”
Only thing is, instead of a cheat meal, he opted for a whole day filled with fatty, high-calorie foods. And each time he got the scale afterward, he’d undone the progress from the last 6 days.
Disheartened, he would try again to be good, only to slip near the end of the week, until one day he’d basically, although unofficially, given up.
Why didn’t this man see results? Because he didn’t make it a priority to do what he needed to do in order to meet his goals. He settled for shortcuts, which in turn derailed him from his prime objective..
Moral of the story: blog weekly, post something on social media daily, and always think a week or two in advance in terms of content. What are you doing to put out there, why, and when? When will you publish an ebook? When’s your next webinar?
The clearer and more dedicated you are on this, the smoother the ride. Make it a part of your routine if you have to.
Reason to Act
Shifting gears, here’s something positive about growing older: you begin to value your time as if it were money.
Why is this something positive?
Because you quickly learn how to determine if something is worthy of your time or not, which means you spend much less time on things and people that ultimately don’t matter much. Instead, your time management skills, and your priorities are crystal clear, and fuel your everyday activities, your goal planning, and even your rational decision making.
You become efficient with age.
In terms of business, this means you actively need to prove yourself as worthy of people’s time, especially considering there is a lot of competition out there. Why should anyone give you their precious time, and not so-and-so?
Here’s one reason, and eBay understands it full well. Even the savviest of shoppers have fallen prey to the almighty countdown clock.
You know the one: the one that clicks, ticks, clicks away as you stare at an item in contemplation. You really want the item, but is it worth it? Is there a better option?
“Well, there’s a countdown clock and people are bidding, so it’s clearly in demand. If I don’t get it, someone else will. There’s only one left in stock…”
The pain, the struggle of to buy or not to buy―it’s a psychological trick that tells people that your item has value and that they should buy it now, or face the possibility of never having it.
Genuine Problem Solving
Another reason to act, in this case purchase something, is because it’s something you need to solve an issue that you’re having.
When people buy workout pants, they are probably having discomfort while exercising, and are looking to remedy that situation. When someone buys a computer, it’s likely that they were experiencing issues with their old model, which of course, in this day and age, is very problematic.
The best way to make a sale is to persuade people to purchase something they already need anyway. And that involves knowing your target audience.
If you have an ecommerce site, and sell stationary, for example, then your target audience will likely be anyone who works in an office setting, whether as a full-time employee, contractor, or freelancer. It could even be students, high school, or college.
But if your line of stationary is designed with entrepreneurs in mind, so they can use it to plan out their business models and set annual goals, then you’re reaching a very specific audience, right? At that point the problem you’re solving is that of the disorganized, newbie entrepreneur who needs assistance organizing things, planning things out, and perhaps even learning a thing or two.
Of course, the point here is to select a problem that you know many people are having, and then offering a direct, simple solution. The easier it is to buy it and use it, the better the reviews are going to be.
Let’s touch base on something we’ve lightly touched on throughout this guide so far: competition. Everyone has it, and it’s not going anywhere. The trick is to accept that, and work with that in mind at all times.
Sounds stressful, doesn’t it?
Well, it doesn’t have to be. Consider it less of a threat, and more of an incentive to always try your very best. A reminder that you can’t afford to let too many people stagnate within your funnel.
Do this, and you’ll find it much easier to think about your individual offer, and how it sets you apart from everyone else’s.
Because that’s what truly makes a difference: being able to do something new, something unique, that puts you two steps ahead of everyone else in your niche/market.
Consider Adidas and Nike. They’ve been battling each other for decades. They both offer shoes, and athletic gear, and they both cater to the same sporty target audience. Sure, they have their differences, but all in all, they directly compete with each other, to the point where there are countless of articles on subject.
And like any other competitors, they offer unique promises that help them set themselves apart. For Adidas, their slogan is “Impossible Is Nothing,” which dates back to 1949. To deliver the promise that Adidas can carry you through grueling, almost impossible situations, they used a video campaign featuring boxing legend Muhammad Ali, as if to say that you can overcome the worst of situations and come out on top, with recognition, so long as you have Adidas on.
What about Nike?
Well, although the company started in the sixties, they didn’t come up with “Just Do It” until 1988, after advertising executive Dan Weiden heard Gary Gilmore’s last words: “Let’s do it.”
Yes, that Gary Gilmore, the first person sentenced to Death Row in almost a decade, circa 1976.
It’s no secret that after murdering two people seemingly without motive, Gilmore requested his own execution, unmasked. His “do it” attitude about everything, including his own death, was shocking and yet, morbidly appealing to Weiden, who then went on to create the world’s most recognizable, memorable slogan.
The message here? That Nike can help you do anything, with no excuses, and no hesitation. It has your back. No matter the journey, Nike wants you to tackle it head on.
So, to summarize: one brand wants you to know that the impossible is nothing, while the other brand wants you to tackle anything and everything head on. Two distinct, strong messages, and two different promises. One claims that they will make the impossible seem easier, while the other promises that they have your back when facing anything.
By that logic, Adidas is saying their products are so good that the impossible will be possible. Their products will make things seem easier, which means you will have a better, more comfortable time training.
And Nike is saying that you should go ahead do the things you’ve set out to do, whatever it takes, no matter the outcome. The point is to take action. And that tells us that the brand’s products are reliable. They are with you every step of the way.
Nike doesn’t promise an easier journey, they just promise that they’ll be there for you even when you fall. Adidas promises you won’t fall.
For this point, let’s take a look at a little brand known as Gucci. This luxury designer brand is known for their expensive products, top notch quality, and statement pieces.
If you notice the image above, they’re rather eccentric with their pattern choices, often opting for florals, bold colors, and quirky silhouettes.
Their brand appeal?
“Rich, successful, creative, unique, and investment worthy.”
When people purchase anything Gucci, they know the resale value is sky high, vintage or not. And they know they’ll stand out, give off an air of wealthy success, and be unique, perhaps because most people outside of socialite and celebrity circles can’t afford the brand.
Now take a look at Apple.
This California brand has a very different vibe, doesn’t it? No floral prints here.
Simple, sleek, streamlined, their focus is on displaying efficiency and versatility, all neatly packaged in devices that are chic, aesthetically pleasing, and yet, super clean.
Sure, they’re pricey, and they certainly do hold their value although not as much as something from, say Gucci. After all, technology has a way of quickly becoming dated, so unless you find yourself a vintage Apple collector, you wouldn’t get much for older, used models.
No, their brand appeal is a different one: “Trendy, popular, efficient, and stylish.”
You could keep playing this little game with literally every other brand out there, and you’d start to see the variations in brand appeal. Nike and Adidas are all about performance, while Vans is about originality despite popularity. Starbucks is all about creating comfortable atmospheres, places to relax and unwind… And of course, creating drinks that although rooted in tradition, aren’t exactly conventional.
In other words, the most important thing entrepreneurs can do is figure out what they want to convey as a brand. That brand appeal will determine the style, the color scheme, the product launch decisions, everything.
And it is largely based on your target audience. Who is buying your product and why? Why did you start this brand, and with what mentality? Get the pieces to connect seamlessly, and your brand appeal will be distinctly defined, making your messaging that much more persuasive.
In the same vein as brand appeal, and connecting all the pieces seamlessly, context is key. This is something that, if you’re a regular reader, then you know by now. I mention this a lot:
Context is king, which means you could have something truly valuable on your hands (webinar, book, Instagram post, profile picture, blog post, landing page, etc.), but if it’s delivered on the wrong platform, it’s already gone to waste.
This is largely because different people hang out in different corners of the internet. For example, people who are very much into visual mediums tend to frequent Instagram and YouTube, while those who are all about their professional networking habits tend to prefer LinkedIn.
In order to ensure their content is reaching the right audience, entrepreneurs need to determine who their audience is, and where they are most likely to be found.
But that’s only half the story.
Applicable context also applies to the right kind of content. For instance, if your target audience is freelancing professionals who work with clients, and you decide to push a book or ebook on lead generation, you’re in for a bad time.
Because freelancing professionals don’t care about lead generation. If they did, their leads would go to waste, considering there’s only so many hours in a day. Too many leads equals many clients who demand excellence. Freelancers can’t keep up with that much demand, unless they happen to have eight arms.
To keep it simple, just ask yourself one question: How can I persuade people to buy my product/service without first figuring out who I’m selling to, where they spend their time, and what it is they want?
Of course, the most persuasive thing you can use to sell anything is copywriting. If you have the chops, or you know someone who does, you’re in the clear. Otherwise, it might be time to hire on a digital marketing consultant, since they typically know and work with freelancers.
It’s simple: with copy, you can deliver your message, appeal to the audience, offer a solution (e.g. product launch), and highlight key points that matter to your audience, some of which are…
Time Frames (for things like delivery, expected result timelines, etc.)
Backstory (how you relate to your audience, and why they should listen)
Basic Company Information (e.g. how chatbots will often provide business hour information; yes, you get to decide how the chatbot communicates, as well as the message itself, which means honing the copywriting craft)
In one blog post, you can tackle things that would take several different social media posts. In one blog post, you can highlight the things that would only be half heartedly tackled in a video.
And then the press can use that information, the info you provided, to cover you in their publications, which in turn helps with things like publicity and link building. It even helps with networking and community building.
You can also use copy skills to write scripts or suggestions for affiliates. Meanwhile, influencers may find it easier to talk about you and your product if your messaging is clear.
Or consider landing pages. Your CTA can either be well-written, or leave people second guessing, all in a matter of 2-5 words.
In essence, writing well directly builds upon things like lead magnets, content marketing, email marketing, advertising, SEO, etc. The skill with which you write will determine how well your marketing goes.
Only a talented writer will be able to weave words together, nail the tone, and even use smart tactics that get people to read until the end.
Let’s look at some of those points.
Contrasting Story Elements for Impact
Do you ever see two things that although similar in some way, are vastly different? They often get compared, placed side by side, or organized one after the other, and in turn it makes both of them pop.
That’s because attention is brought to their unique nature by such a juxtaposition, but at the same time, elements of each play off each other, coming together to form one message.
In writing, this tactic often gets called a framework, and it’s essentially the act of assembling copy in such a way that directly uses varying story elements to convey an offer.
For instance, you may present people with a problem, the one they’re currently struggling with, and then seek to promise them something.
“I know it’s hard to lose weight, but I promise with this support group and app, it’s a breeze!”
Easily, a promise could be replaced with anything else, like agitation, where you rile up the audience by really driving home the frustration of their problem. Something like…
“I know it’s hard to lose weight, it’s an uphill battle. You pass up the Happy Hours, you skip out on your friends, and you’re even good on the weekends, but those pounds don’t seem to come off!”
The same goes with stories being told from the end, or the middle rather than the beginning. We’ve seen them all before, in movies and video games. It starts with a detail about the middle, perhaps a really engaging part, before throwing you back to “5 years earlier.”
And then as it goes back, maybe it tells you more about the middle of the story, before going back to “2 years earlier.”
This nonlinear form of storytelling isn’t conventional, but it makes telling a story much more dynamic and engaging. It tells the audience to focus, or risk being left behind.
Using Real Numbers
Here’s a trick that digital marketers love: use real numbers rather than percentages if you want more impactful copy. Researches on this have shown that people enjoyed seeing real, whole numbers when reading statistics and data, because it meant more than a percentage to them.
A percentage shows you a pie graph in your mind’s eye, but a real number? That makes things… tangible, as much as they can be through copy.
When you say 12% of American women get breast cancer, it doesn’t mean much, does it? Seems like a low percentage. Nothing to worry about, right?
Well, translate that to 1 in 8 women, and it suddenly seems much more real and alarming.
In order to boost your sales, you need to be persuasive. Not scammy, not quick to make promises that you can’t deliver on, but certainly persuasive.
And that means using every tool in your arsenal, from social proof (including authority and reciprocation), to consistency and brand appeal. Even skillfully crafted copy can push sales, if executed properly.
Use these elements to the best of your ability, and you’ll find that it’s easy to be persuasive when you have all the pieces. Clarify your brand, your target audience, the issues you’re solving, and the overall message you’re trying to share with the world, and it becomes easy to persuade people into buying anything.
The key here, if you learn anything from this guide, is to take your time planning things out. Sit down somewhere quiet and disruption free, and consider who you are as a brand. What do you stand for, who do you cater to, and why?
If you take this time to figure it all out, you’ll know exactly what to do in terms of selling your products and services. It’s easy to be persuasive when you know the specifics, and have answers to all the possible questions.
And if you can’t figure it out, it’s okay to ask for help from a professional. Digital marketing consultants are ideal problem solvers for basically any business endeavor you have your sights on.
So, which part of this guide was the most impactful to you, and why?
Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you all!