Inspiring action: Five keys to persuasive writing

A strong, clear call to action is critical to any marketing piece. But how do you motivate readers to take that next step: to contact your sales team, download your white paper or try out your new software?

Effective copy is persuasive copy, inspiring action and influencing how your audience thinks about your product, service or brand. Apply these five principles to give your writing some persuasive punch:

1. Present the problem
Reflect back the challenge, issue or concern facing your audience that your product or service is designed to solve. That way your audience can see themselves in your copy — and your offering as the answer to their problem.

2. Spell out the benefits
It’s not enough to list out what your product or service does and then leave it to your readers to draw their own conclusions. Be clear about the value of any features you touch on when describing your offering. What are the benefits? How will it make their life better or easier? Ultimately, those benefits are what they’re buying from you, not a list of features.

3. Keep the focus on the reader
Address readers directly in your copy, in the second person (i.e., “you”), rather than speaking in general terms about their industry or businesses like theirs. This helps create an engaging tone that’s closer to an in-person conversation than a sales pitch. And remember to always bring it back to your audience. Your business may have been around for decades, or you may be a leader in your field offering best-in-class products and services — but what does that mean for potential customers or clients?

4. Give them the facts
Stats and figures that support the need for your offering (or its effectiveness, if it’s a product or service) add legitimacy to your writing. This is especially important if your audience skews toward the analytical, such as those in C-suite or senior leadership positions. Just be sure that any sources you cite are reputable.

5. Show (social) proof
A well-placed testimonial from an industry peer will do more for your case than your words alone. Online reviews or your company’s social media channels are good places to mine these. Alternatively, ask your sales team to identify and reach out to enthusiastic customers who may be eager offer public praise.

These techniques will put you well on your way to writing that inspires action. If you’d like to talk further about how well-crafted copy can get results for your business, reach out at [email protected].