It's natural for a person to ‘want to be heard’, ‘make my opinion count' or 'pass the message across'.
Words have come to be the way forward not just mere words but the ability to induce, entice, or cajole in a democratic setting; i.e. the ability to persuade.
Having said that,it is interesting to note that not everyone is gifted or skilled with the ability to persuade. In this article I will share the easiest ways to have a good persuasive e-mail written.
What We Were Taught
“Discuss the themes in the Native Son by Richard Wright” was a question posed to us by one of my lecturers when I was in university and in attempting to answer his question, you must start by listing the themes in the novel, but then for another lecturer; “Frailty thy Name is Woman, discuss”, you dare not beat around the bush.
He expects you to go straight to the ‘gist’ but that is not the case when writing persuasive e-mails.
The 4 P's of Persuasion
In my years of experience, I discovered persuasive writing is structured more like a joke in the sense that it builds to a climax and then evokes a response.
This doesn’t give greater importance to either the beginning or the end of a write-up as capturing the reader’s attention is of utmost importance to get a response.
As writers, we are often saddled with the responsibility of getting our readers into the ‘right mood’. For example; excitement, curiosity, motivation, happy, angry, sad, fearful, and the list is endless.
That being good for poetry, for persuasive writing, it’s usually a waste of time. To get the attention of the reader, you need to know what the reader wants and promise it to them.
But then, how do you know what readers want?
This comes down to knowing your target audience.
With this, you have to be very clear about the kind of reader you’re trying to reach and research your market to find out what interests them.
Then make your promise. A particular write-up cannot suit everybody. Aesop, in Aesop Fables said:
“In trying to please all, he had pleased none”
This illustrates that people have varying needs at different times. But then, when you make these promises, endeavour to ensure that they are promises you can fulfill.
The idea behind the picture is simply the ability to choose your words carefully to be able to create a mental image in the minds of the reader.
Your choice of words should be able to be visualized by the reader.
You should try to cut down on concept words and by concept words I mean words like: “outstanding”, as in 'outstanding performance'.
What mental image can you create with the word outstanding? Do not forget that the word outstanding is relative to every reader.
It would be best to describe specific details or give examples of your outstanding services or performances.
The more specific your description, the easier it is for the reader to picture it.
In this 3rd ‘P’ you should present your statements as facts and then it is expected that you backup these facts or claims with proof.
This is necessary because you have different types of people in your target audience.
- You have those who will be convinced by what they read.
- You have those who want to verify what they read and to ensure what they are reading is correct.
- You have those who’d just argue against whatever they read.
Proof in this sense simply says:
”Suspend whatever judgment you might have and let me prove the truth in my claims.”
In proving your claims, the type of audience you have is the determining factor. Science based fact may demand independent studies and hard data from “experts.”
For many others, testimonies are a better form of persuasion. Description or explanation as the case may be of how a thing works may help in proving that it in fact does work.
Examples in the form of videos, photos, testimonies from ‘people’ or ‘clients’ would be effective. Like it’s often said, decisions most times are emotion based but then you still have to give proofs.
Pre-determine the next step your reader should take, and be specific about it.
Never give room for them to have a second thought.
Emotions are simply feelings and they are always on motion. A little hesitation takes the enthusiasm away and thus could lead to confusion and this alone is negativity in motion.
In order to completely win your reader over and convert from just a reader to a client you need to provide a platform for conversation. You can’t effectively communicate without a second party.
Whilst asking for sale, you should have a “purchase now” button for those that are ready to buy and then a text for those that are not ready or not sure.
You could make the text a link to the company’s fact sheet, an invitation to call for more information, etc. This gives you one more chance to be able to persuade your reader in totality
Persuasive copywriting is simply the use of words, sentences and paragraphs. When you are able to figure out the reader’s interest then you’d know what tracks to build and follow and at this point it becomes almost effortless.
Not forgetting that one sure way of persuasion is showing results. Solve a problem and you won’t need to provide too many 'proofs'.
NB: There is always something more when it comes to persuasive content because it is an art and science of its own.
Lastly, but also importantly, get a great list of your selling points and a great offer and you’ll be able to close the deal
Image credit: Gajman