Persuasive Writing 101: A Guide to Getting Customers on Board


Think about any time you’ve entered a brick-and-mortar retail store…only to be greeted by an overly aggressive sales associate.

Or someone who doesn’t acknowledge you at all.

Neither strategy is effective in encouraging you to make a purchase–even if the products are enticing.

In your eCommerce business, you also need to be careful not to come on too strongly while attempting to convince your prospect to buy.

In this post, we’re providing tips for mastering the art of persuasion–specifically when it comes to persuasive writing.

From selection of vocabulary words to utilization of a customer avatar, this post is a must-read for eCommerce businesses that want to seamlessly move customers toward action.

Choose the Right Words

right words

Vocabulary selection is critical in the art and science of persuasion.

As a general rule, it’s important to use active words that guide a consumer to take the next step.

Additionally, the following words have been found to be particularly effective in persuading a prospect to move further down the sales funnel.

#1: “Because”

Rather than simply telling people that your product or service will benefit them, provide information that will compel them to believe you.

For example, in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, he describes a study in which people attempted to skip a line to use a copier machine.

In the first situation, the test subjects asked, “Excuse me. I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”

60% of people asked allowed the person to skip them in line.

However, when the test subject added a because and asked, “Excuse me. I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” 94% of people asked allowed the person to skip the queue.

When appropriate, be sure to use because in your marketing copy.

Don’t assume your prospect will be moved by product features alone.

#2: “You”

Personalizing your communications is one way to cut through the clutter of information and messaging.

In fact, a study titled Brain Activation When Hearing One’s Own and Others’ Names found that hearing our own names lights up specific and unique regions of our brains–focusing our attention on the message.

This is why email subject lines that use the subscriber’s name will have higher open rates.

Aside from using a prospect’s name, using the pronoun you can be highly effective.

Conversational marketing copy will engage a reader more than something overly professional and impersonal.

#3: “Free”

It’s a fact–people love free things.

For example–take Dan Ariely, currently a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.

As Copy Blogger reports, Ariely conducted an experiment at MIT in which a group was offered a chocolate Truffle for 15 cents and a Hershey’s Kiss for 1 cent. 73% chose the truffle, and 27% chose the Kiss.

However, when both treats’ prices were reduced by 1%–meaning the Kiss was offered for free and the Truffle for 14 cents–69% of people opted for the Kiss.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Hershey’s Kisses, but chocolate truffles are higher quality.

And yet…the free element of the Kiss won people over in the end.

Bearing this in mind, highlight your free lead magnets and other compelling offers in your copy.

Utilizing Customer Avatars


customer avatars(Source)


What she does for fun on Saturdays.

What he reads on his commute to work.

Where she buys her clothing.

Understanding the perspective of your target audience is critical when crafting marketing copy that speaks to their hearts and minds.

Rather than writing copy you believe speaks to the person you envision your customer to be, we recommend taking the intentional time to map out a customer persona.

A customer avatar includes both demographic and psychographic information about a potential customer.

Maybe your avatar dives into the psyche of a suburban mother in her 30s who plays tennis at the local country club every afternoon and reads Good Housekeeping cover-to-cover when it arrives in the mail.

Or perhaps your avatar is a twenty-something male living in New York City who enjoys playing World of Warcraft when he isn’t studying for his business school exams.

Consider this customer avatar as a guiding star when writing persuasive copy.

Trust me, it makes all the difference when you analyze whether your copy speaks to the desired customer base and moves them to action.

Stimulate the Prospect’s Imagination


Descriptive words are especially important in persuasive writing.

More specifically, words that stimulate our senses–whether they relate to touch, feel, smell, taste, sight, or sound–activate our brains and make information memorable.

Ignite your customer’s imagination with descriptive words, vivid hypothetical scenarios, or true stories that enable him or her to envision how life will improve with your product or service.

As you can see, persuasive writing requires a certain level of creative vision, craft, and mastery.

In fact, famous creative director William Bernbach once said, “Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.”

If you utilize content marketing in your marketing strategy and don’t carefully plan out your persuasive writing strategy, you can butcher your chances of making your sales goals.

Incorporate the advice we’ve shared above, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of persuasion–and reaching your revenue goals.

Need help developing your customer avatar blueprint? Read this post and gain access to two blueprints you can easily create today.


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