Now that we understand the basic principles of persuasion, how do we put this knowledge to use in our copywriting?

Before you start writing, the first thing that you need to identify is the action that you want your reader to take. This is critical. If you aren’t clear on what steps to take, how can the reader be expected to know?

One action is all you should have in your letter. If you ask for multiple things, your reader will likely get overwhelmed and take no action.

We also need to think in terms of the reader, not ourselves. We all write from our own perspective (and that’s human nature), but it is important that you get into the mindset of the customer.

To paraphrase legendary copywriter Robert Collier, you need to enter the conversation already taking place in your prospect's head. 

How do we get into their heads? These days, it is easier than ever because the conversation is taking place in public. Some great places to see what they are saying are:

  • Quora - a question-answer site; people there are looking for answers.

  • Amazon Reviews - if I could only pick one place to research, this would likely be it. The key thing is to look at the reviews that are 2-4 stars. You can discount the 5 stars and the 1 stars as they probably won’t have a lot of value for this purpose. But when you read the others, pay attention to what they say is missing. That is the part you need to target.

  • Facebook or other social networking groups - thousands of conversations taking place right out in the open for you to listen to and learn from. 

The other benefit of doing this is the fact that you will be able to identify the specific words that your target market uses. When writing persuasively, you want to speak in a similar manner to the reader. Of course, you have to be careful not to come across as mocking. Keep your tone appropriate to the format that you’re writing in.

Your turn: Go to Amazon and find a book or product that would be of interest to your target audience. What do people say the product is missing? What would make them give a better rating? Are there any specific word choices that you see repeated? Remember, you want to get inside the reader’s head, so look for what pain they are experiencing that you can solve.