Persuasive Content Writing
By James Atkinson, LLB
To realise the importance of persuasive SEO copywriting I'd like you to picture this scene:
An online consumer accepts your message, completes the order form, clicks the pay button, and eagerly awaits delivery. This is the moment you’ve worked hard to achieve – your web copywriting has resulted in a sale!
Money is almost instantly transferred to your account and within a surprisingly short time you can enjoy these funds. Once your buyers begin to buy they do so with astonishing regularity. Money comes in day and night – the internet never sleeps.
Nice? Sure, but beware - your buyers are not an endless font of riches. Just like Santa Claus, buyers know when you’ve been naughty and know when you’re asleep – to their needs.
Online buyers expect YOU the seller to be their advocate – the person from whom they obtain information, guidance, advice, and products. If you cannot be your buyers’ activist, counselor, advocate, in whatever subject, the online buying soon stops.
No sales = no money!
Like I've said in the previous article: buyers and sellers are simply two sides of the same coin. When you provide what your buyers want – they’ll buy! And to get them to buy or to keep buying – you need to create a relationship with your prospects and customers.
Good seo and web copywriting is about using persuasion principles to create educative, social, and sales relationships.
Online relationships are NOT face-to-face personal sales relationships – such as occur at say a local TV and stereo shop. In this situation, the salesperson gets to know you face-to-face and then uses various persuasion techniques to encourage you to buy.
On the other hand, the means by which you affect all your internet relationships are via written and spoken words delivered on a computer SCREEN.
This may seem a somewhat thin basis for creating sales relationships – but nevertheless all the influential principles of persuasion can be woven into the fabric of online relationships.
Internet interactions are powerful motivators of online sales when the relationship is built on reciprocity – see Reciprocal Relationships in Persuasion Psychology.
The relationship is an exchange - a give and take. You give something of value to prospects who in turn eventually give something of value back to you – in this case purchase money. In addition, value provided by the online entrepreneur can also be built on other persuasion principles - for example:
Commitment & Consistency
Free downloadable eBooks or white papers may act as more than a favor that needs to be reciprocated. That paper can provide prospects and customers with valuable information shortcuts built around commitment and consistency.
Tailor your message so that prospects see the market in a way that suits your own business model.
An online social network can be used to show prospects that many people use your products to obtain desirable solutions to problems.
Liking and Partiality
Online videos, narrative, and content can be utilized very effectively to make yourself “likeable” and to show strong partiality with your prospects’ - their problems and their desired solutions.
Authority and Influence
The internet is a wonderful tool to build authority and influence. The web is a tireless medium that is always THERE for prospects and customers to access.
Scarcity and Exclusivity
This is one of the most commonly used persuasion tools online. The number of ways in which you can use internet technology to drum up scarcity and exclusivity is only limited by your ability to ‘construct’ shortages and uniqueness.
Building Relationships Through Copywriting
All internet commerce occurs through relationships created by words. These are what I call words of: “connection”, “social association”, and “persuasion”.
You, as the customers’ advocate and seller, are judged almost entirely by what you write in your content sites, sales letters, and what you say via video or audio:
The image is a very high viewpoint of online advocate / selling relationships. Of course personal associations occur in the services component of eCommerce - but mostly online relationships arise as in the image.
Online shopping is becoming much more main-stream. Shoppers go online for a number of reasons including:
- ease of purchase,
- product research, &
- an ever increasing comfort level with computer & internet technology.
I show in Step 1 of internet marketing strategies that consumers go online to research a particular product or market. A merchant can take prospects “off the market” at a very early stage in the “search pathway” and eventually lead the searcher through to purchasing a number of related products.
In fact, the economic downturn may be boosting online sales growth. In the search for value many buyers may choose to shop online rather than drive to the store. Other consumers believe obtaining goods online is cheaper than offline.
So, online sales, as a whole, are forecast to experience explosive growth in the next few years. I believe the trends driving this growth will continue for a long time yet. In addition, there are unique differences between offline and online businesses that create remarkable opportunities for the online entrepreneur.
For example, ultra-relevance is one of the most decisive advantages offered by internet marketing and you won’t see its equivalent in offline marketing. In every market, people search online for information to educate themselves - their fears, desires, and everyday ideas.
Searchers also explore specific product types – for information or comparison before they buy. This research happens in the search engines and social networks. I call this information / education period the “pre-buying” phase.
My research indicates that many internet marketers ignore “pre-buyers”. Pre-buying prospects are simply looking for information - and they aren’t ready to buy. An online survey gives you the ability to stop prospects searching and as a consequence, stops prospects finding your competitors. You can take people off the market with ultra-relevant content.
Put another way, you can inoculate yourself against your competition. Your ability to give each segment exactly what it needs can position you as an authority and build huge trust and loyalty that is very hard for a competitor to defeat.
You can deliver online content that BOTH:
Meets the immediate needs of prospects
The needs they DISCOVER after searching.
There is a huge opportunity for marketers who are prepared to provide pre-buyers with ultra-relevant content. With words of connection and association you can engage, educate, and create trust and loyalty with your ultra-relevant content - until prospects are ready to buy.
And, when prospects are thus ready, you present them with a sales letter that completes the entire persuasion process you have built.
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