Blog by

6 copywriting tips backed by science writers will love


Copywriting tips

Four years ago, CopyBlogger, put out a list of scientifically backed tips that our copywriters still revisit so often is hard to know if they even check out any other pages. It’s actually a tie between the CopyBlogger article and the Instagrams of their High School crushes. But, anyway, those tips were great, insightful and did actually changed our process when coming out with copy for our clients.

We’ve used them so much, we thought the world needed more of them so we set out to make a newer list of 6 more copywriting tips you should use to make their writing more compelling and persuasive. Check this out:


  • Apply the theory of influence

Robert Cialdini is a marketing and psychology professor who, in 1984, wrote a book on persuasion techniques that is still unbelievably relevant today. Here’s what you need to know about it:

 

There are six key principles to persuasion:

  • Reciprocity: Think of the last time that you moved and that friend who helped you around during the whole ordeal. He must have carried about 30 different boxes down the three flights of stairs of your old studio apartment and into the moving truck he helped you rent, which, by the way, he drove all the way to your new fancy apartment complex 

uBQNLeszLtiNO.gif

(In our hypothetical scenarios, you’ll always be moving on to bigger and better stuff. We’re really big on visualizing).


He even went out and got some chinese food while you finished unpacking.

Now, what would you say if that friend gave you a call right now and asked you to read the -unedited- 300 pages of the Wall Street vampire romance novel he just wrote? If you are a standard human being, you’ll feel compelled to do it, even if you’d rather watch paint dry,  just because he did you a huge favor before.


You see, by nature, people feel obligated to return favors or make concessions for those that have helped them before.


How should this affect your copywriting?

It serves as a guide as to where you should position your CTA’s, or the part of your copy that’s asking for something from your audience.


Applying the reciprocity principle, means you’ll always be putting the most informative or important part of your copy first. Your readers will be able to see the valueof what you’re offering way before you even ask them for an email address.

 

  • Commitment and Consistency: So, according to this principle, as humans, we need to be seen as consistent once we make a public commitment, keeping it up makes us feel good with ourselves and allows us to feel like our public image is not cognitively dissonant with who we feel we are.

 

How does this affect your copywriting?

There are about a thousand ways this principle helps transform visitors into leads marketing wise (Think: public displays of affection towards your brand, or newsletter sign ups). But when it comes to copywriting, this is more about how you can establish expectations.  


Hold yourself to the highest standard that you can as a writer and keep a consistent brand voice in every piece of copy you churn out. The point is to allow your audience to get used to your level of excellence, or humor, or amount of puppy references, or in depth knowledge, or whatever it is that sets your writing apart from other brands. That way, whenever you’re ready to offer them some gated content, they’ll already have an idea of what to expect.

 

  • Social Proof: You may know it as “herd behaviour”, but there’s more to it than just a lazy sheep allegory. Psychologically we are way more likely to conform or adopt a certain behavior if we see others doing it. Specially if we perceive those ‘’others’’ as more knowledgeable or accurate. 

    Taking the time to discuss the different ways you can provide social proof and how they affect your audience, would require a dedicated post. But just know that it’s not all testimonials, you should also be thinking of reviews, social shares, experts opinions, and endorsements by influencers (Yes, this includes celebrities).

Copywriting tips


How should this affect your copywriting?

Using Social Proof will make you more persuasive. Cialdini actually did some A/B testing with this, and it turns out that including some form of social proof does make others trust you more. This means that you should consider offering some testimonials on your website, or throwing some figures to sell your service instead of saying how awesome it is, think of:

 

“78% of our customers have seen an increase in profit within a year of working with us”

 

Instead of:

‘’Our product is incredible because of this endless list of reasons”

Just don’t make up a random number for the sake of social proof. People see right through that.

 

  • Authority: People are prone to obey authority figures and more often than not, they do so without questioning the reason why. This is especially true if that authority establishes him/herself as such through universally prestigious quality, like say a job title, an impressive degree, or letting us know exactly how many pizzas they can eat in one sitting. 

How should this affect your copywriting?

Show how much you know. Let your writing establish you as an expert in your field. What you have to keep in mind is that sounding like an expert won’t look the same in every field. If you’re writing for a very niche brand, using specific jargon will make you look like you know your stuff, whereas writing for a mass consumption brand requires you to be a little more common, natural and popular.

 

  • Liking: The more you like someone, the more you’ll be persuaded by what they’ve got to say. This has a bit to do with the consistency aspect we talked about just a few paragraphs before, after all, you can’t really make someone like you more and more if you’re inconsistent and never present yourself in the same way. 

How should this affect your copywriting?

Easy: Develop a brand voice that it’s instantly recognizable and liked by your customers.

 

  • Scarcity: If you’ve ever had a sleepless night full of 4am infomercials, you’ve seen this call to action in the form of “CALL BEFORE THIS COMMERCIAL IS OVER OR YOU’LL LOSE THE CHANCE TO GET FREE SHIPPING!”. 

    The point is that if something seems scarce, demand will be higher. But, there’s a caveat, it won’t work if everyone knows it’s a lie.

How should this affect your copywriting?

When appropriate, instill a sense of urgency so that your readers feel compelled to act on it. Just don’t ever lie about it. Even if you don’t think so, people will see right through a false scarcity tactic.



  • Mobile first is not just for designers

As far as copywriting tips go, this one is one of those we hardly ever talk about because it seems like something only designers and programmers should care about. That’s a shame because writers should really take this into account. Here’s two stats to back this up: By 2019, 79% of the US ad spending will go to mobile advertising, and mobile users grow 58% year by year.  What you’re writing is probably being read on a phone.


How should this affect your copywriting?

It should make your copywriting faster, and to the point. People will not read an entire paragraph, no matter how well written, to find a simple answer. Your slogans, product descriptions and more important information should be easily digested and that means two things:

 

  • Keep your message as short as possible:  Because chances are strangers visiting your site won’t take the time to read huge chunks of text on their phones. Which means they’ll be skimming through most of what you write if you make it too long. If you really want your copy to be read, you need to think about how to make it as comfortable as you can for your readers. 

  • Go right in for the kill: Don’t use unnecessary metaphors, and you’re not playing scrabble either so there’s no need for 13 letter words in a simple product description. 

  • Focus on the right to choose

 

Let’s talk bundles: you go to the store just to get some cereal and when you get to the aisle there’s a poster letting you know they’re having a simple promotion that gives you the option to save a few bucks if you buy your favorite brand of cereal with a specific gallon of milk. If you’re thinking the only way you wouldn’t take that is if you found a huge pile of money on that new apartment you got, you’re only half right.


See, according to research, it turns out we only like that kind of  bundle if it’s optional. The moment you make it mandatory for people to buy certain items together, consumers are more likely to stop seeing the value in your offer.


How should this affect your copywriting?

Emphasize the fact that your customer is free to choose whatever they want. Take us as an example, we work as Miami SEO experts, but we have a more than capable team of IT developers, and excellent designers along with copywriters, so on our website we could say: : “We can help you design your logo, build your website, or write your blog! You can also combine any of our services for a customized plan”, will always sound way more attractive than a phrase that implies you can only work with us if you need all of our services.



  • Don’t believe the naysayers: We like surprises

So let’s keep this simple, a study found that the brain actually receives more pleasure from unexpected stimuli than it does from expected ones. Another way to say this? We like to be surprised regardless of whether it is  with something we like or not.


How should this affect your copywriting?

It could be something as simple as ending your sentence with something completely unexpected, or flexing your creative muscle a little harder than usual. The point is you should be going beyond the same old tired metaphor and clichés.


If you’re a copywriter for an inbound marketing firm, you already know you should be delighting your customers into promoters, the surprise element is just one more data backed tool you can use to do it.


  • Be as human as you can

Advertising is all about showcasing the best of what you’ve got and burying the downsides, but research shows that when you admit your faults and mistakes you look more in control and self aware than those that try to hide it.


Another study shows that those who admit their shortcomings are perceived as more willing to change. So while denial might be a common tactic, it will definitely hurt you in the eyes of the public in the long run.


Copywriting tips


How should this affect your copywriting?

You shouldn’t be tripping over yourself to hide who you are or ignore your mistakes. Acknowledge them. This doesn’t mean you have to dedicate an entire website to owning your shortcomings, a small reference would be more than enough.


Copywriting tips

Not like this


  • The curiosity gap is your friend

Research (FYI: That link will take you to a PDF) conducted on curiosity as a concept and as a driving force, has concluded that we are suckers for it. We have a constant need that compels us -in an almost- animalistic way- to close that gap between what we ignore and what we know.


This is why clickbait “works” when it comes to getting people to fall for those fishy headlines. Sure, you already know that something that says “We taped a dog just before it woke up and you won’t believe what happened next!”is going to offer nothing of value, but we know every time you see that kind of headline, for a nano second, you still feel tempted to click.


How should this affect your copywriting?

For starters, you can use it to create a catchy headline without being a click baiting douchebag. We’re thinking of something like: “6 scientific studies you didn’t know could help you with your copywriting”. Are some people going to feel that’s a little presumptuous on your part? Sure, but the curiosity gap is still going to make them click and if you offer something of real actual, value, they won’t think you’re being smug for long.


Titles aside, you’ve seen the curiosity gap at play on many advertising campaigns that start with a story and the brand is nowhere to be seen at the very end. Adding that type of mystery on your copy can pique the interest of your readers and give you great results.


...So

Now you know why some copy is way more successful than other. If you’ve got any experience putting any of these into practice or know of some new studies you think we’d enjoy, let us know in the comments!


 

Topics: List