We're taught in school how to explain things, not how to persuade readers. So a lot of our language training has been on being clear about the details of something more than motivating someone to take an action like do it, buy it, stop it, etc..
Luckily, people who have made millions of dollars have given us some structure for us to become better at being persuasive. And this isn't your guru's nebulous tips and tricks like "key eye contact" or "think of the reader", these are templates and structures we can use again and again.
There's a four-part structure I use to help me be a little more persuasive:
From top to bottom we move from what the customer wants and who they want to be down to the details of what we offering them to enable them to become that superstar. To do that, we have to write better copy that's more enticing, mouth-watering, and convincing! Let's take each one of these in turn.
Identity - This is all about who that person wants to become. If you're selling products, you ask what's the best thing a person could be come while using this. You don't sell skateboarders wheels, you sell them wheels that let them do cool tricks and win competitions. What you want to do with identity is tell a little story of how people use your type of product to achieve their dreams.
Advantages - With this, you have to set what you're selling apart from anything else someone sells. If you're selling t-shirts, you may rail against mass-market goods that are homogenous and don't let people show their quirkiness and individuality. Whatever the case, you have to lead the reader to separate your product from the rest of the pack.
Benefits - People don't buy them things just to have them, they buy them so they can use them in the future. You don't need scissors every day, but when you do
Features - Lastly, these promises of a life fulfilled need some practical thing or tool that gets them what they want. It may be the flight and hotel (features) to enjoy distant (advantage) locations for relaxing or adventurous (benefits) vacation (identity). It may be the workshop that you give that shows them exactly how to set up their ads to make millions, or finish the book they've been having trouble writing.
So what now? How can you use these to write better copy? What you should do is look over your copy and figure out whether you have all of these elements covered. If you don't then you should write a little story about a mythical person that purchases your product and uses it to get what they want or be who they want to become.
Don't worry so much about getting each thing, item, product, or service description right or perfect. A little better each time is better than perfect the first time. Getting good at this takes tens or hundreds of tries. So here's a little three step process to help you keep your site's copy getting better:
- Rewrite the description to include all four of the elements above
- Move on and rewrite your next product, service etc.
- When you've rewritten every single one of your descriptions, move to the next step. If not, go back to #1
- Rewrite them again, but this time make bigger and more immediate promises about what these things can do for them. The reason that marketers sound the way they do, is because it sells. Don't worry about sounding like a marketer, worry about not sounding like a marketer. If you don't sound like a marketer, you won't be very convincing.
You can use these four elements and four steps to write better copy. When you practice thinking through all of these things, you'll start to include all of these elements not just in your writing, but also in the stories you tell other people. You may be amazed how easy it is to practice using these elements in regular conversation.