Wednesday, May 10, 2006

How to Be More Convincing - Part 1

"Copywriting is salesmanship in print." - John E. Kennedy, 1905. (Thanks to Michel Fortin for the source.)

I send out copy that reads wonderfully. My clients rave. I know I'm a good copywriter.

But I still worry I'm not convincing enough to customers.

I'm sure you've felt the same way at some point. It's like a little gremlin sitting on top of my keyboard, taunting me. Even after hours of market research, after you've nailed together everything you can know about the customer you're going to be writing to...he snickers and dangles some tidbit I missed just out of reach.

No, I don't mean used-car-salesman tricky. Everybody hates that; that's not what I strive for. I'm always honest when it comes to marketing - fact is, if you're not, customers WILL spot it. Then you've lost all credibility. It's never worth it.

I mean convincing in that I can picture customers' eyes lighting up as they read. Skipping the last part of my copy so they can get to the Buy Now button. Clients emailing me to say their websites can't handle the order load (that would be VERY nice).

I don't get a lot of tracking results from clients (despite my urgings), so I don't have the knowledge I need to determine just how good some of my work is.

So to resolve this, I'm going on a little quest. I'm going to satisfy my desire to Be More Convincing.

The final determinant will be how customers react, of course. That's invariably the last word. What I'm aiming at is a whole new confidence that I'm giving clients copy which'll knock some socks off. Every time.

These How to Be More Convincing posts will document what I find and what I learn. In case you'd like to learn how to be more convincing too.

Along the way, I'll be tackling:

1. What the biggest human motivators are in business, and how to speak to them.

2. Ways to know your audience's thoughts and desires.

3. Things to avoid when writing to these thoughts and desires (hype, for example).

4. Approaches that work for specific audience types, or specific industries.

5. Methods of Personalization.

Not a writer? Don't worry, this can still be helpful. How to Be More Convincing will address writing, speaking, and networking - all forms of communication where words are the dominant medium.

Once I've reached the end of my quest (or if I get to a point where I think it's good to stop and collect), I will turn the corresponding posts into a white paper. That way you don't have to come back and read the posts whenever you need inspiration (but I'd like it if you did!).

Step #1 - Research

Obviously, I'm off to research as much about persuasion and audience awareness as I can. I'm going to start with this well-meaning article by Nick Usborne: How to Overcome Your Writing Inhibitions. Can't be any more convincing if you can't get started.

Wish me luck! I'll write more on this topic soon, with links I've found and tips I've formulated.

If you've run across something that you think made you better at persuasion - a book, website, white paper - email me and let me know! I'll post it in the next segment of How to Be More Convincing.



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