Cooking Up Persuasive Copywriting with These Two Crucial Ingredients

On Friday I wrote about Copywriting and the Art of Persuasive Advertisings and in other articles I go into detail the help you craft successful, lead-building, client-accumulating mail, ads, emails, web sites and more.

But here are two of the common and most powerful copy ingredients for effective direct response marketing, regardless of medium.

The One Thing You Cannot Forget

It seems so obvious and basic that you can’t imagine anyone would fail to do this, but I have to say upfront because writers frequently and regretfully neglect this point: Present your offer–the thing you are selling and the terms you’re making–as soon as possible.

And after you say it once. Say it again. And again.

Copywriting is like storytelling. You create drama. And you can create drama one of two ways:

  1. Demonstrate how you can achieve their desires
  2. Show how you can conquer fears

But in one very important way, direct response copy is not like a story…you give away the end at the beginning. That is the offer.

Even when you have a lot to say about your offer, you bring the conclusion [your offer] into the story right away.

And then backfill with persuasive material as you move along.

How to Achieve Your Greatest Desire

This is a a rough sketch of a marketing strategy when you’re making an offer for something desirable, such as a beautiful home or knowledge about the worth of their home.

1. Show the readers the vision.

Within the headline or the opening copy, tell the reader about the benefit: living well, saving money, entertaining grandly.

2. Offer the “prize” inside.

Either within the same headline or within the first few lines of copy, introduce your offer as the means for obtaining the desired end: the infinity pool that makes you to live well, the low property taxes that allow you to save money, or the finished basement with wet bar and 50 inch plasma screen.

3. Go on the quest.

Show the reader how and why your offer, in Step 2, fulfills the desire in Step 1. And bee sure to restate the offer along the way.

Now, the flip side of desire is fear. That’s the other persuasive ingredient of successful copywriting.

Overcoming Pain and Fear

This is the formula for benefits that help you overcome things you don’t want, such as high taxes, foreclosure, drop in property values, ill health or being left behind:

1. Make the readers hurt.

Describe the pain to be avoided: the rising property taxes, the crush on their credit if they foreclosure, loss of equity of they don’t move, diseases from contaminated soil or being the only one who didn’t invest in a rising market.

2. Show readers the cure.

Introduce your offer–the market with low tax dollars [maybe a way to lure people from one state to another], short selling, healthy lifestyle in your city or system to sell their homes fast for the most money.

3. Prove it works.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Your lofty promises better be backed up. Use testimonies, statistics, reports, anecdotes, professional statements. Anything you can get your hands on that support your claims.

Without evidence, your claims will be ignored. So do your homework. It will pay dividends.


One more word: In each of these approaches, it’s important that you repeat the offer often.

The reason? You want people to remember it.

In the next post, I’ll describe how to write good offers, offers that articulate the favorable consequences of accepting your offer and the undesirable consequences of doing nothing.

See you then.

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