You click send on the email you spent hours writing, re-writing, and editing. You hit publish on the blog post that took you two days from start to finish. No, you don’t normally spend two days writing every single blog post but you did on this particular one. This is the most epic post you ever have created. And this doesn’t even include the time you spent researching.
You press post on the Facebook post. It highlights a personal story and you agonized for ages whether to do it or leave it alone. Now you must sit back, patiently, and wait for the response to come in. You are hoping people will love your stuff but you are prepared for the negative feedback as well. You know you can’t please them all.
You eagerly open your email dashboard. What? Only a handful of people have opened their emails? You look deeper and see 5 click-throughs. You go over to your blog post. No comments so far. Only two Facebook likes. Finally, the Facebook post: Crickets.
Have you ever been in a position like this? You pour your heart and soul into creating a piece of content but it falls flat. You expect accolades and hate mail (rite of passage kinda thing), and you hear nothing. It’s demoralizing. It’s soul-crushing. It feels like you are the biggest loser on this planet.
Well, if it’s any consolation, you are not the only one. We have all been there. However, we learn over time. And so can you. You can learn how to use words that persuade people to open your emails, click through, consume your content AND respond to your call to action.
I’m not saying 100% of the people will do as you tell them to (I’m not a magician), but instead of 5% email open rate, you can do 10%. Instead of getting 1% click-through rate, you can double it. From 5 shares to social media, you can go to 50.
Who’s up for that? Let’s get stuck in.
#1 Use the word ‘you’
‘You’ has got to be the most powerful word in English language.
When you use it, your reader feels like you are talking ‘to’ them, and not ‘at’ them. They truly feel part of the conversation. They feel like they matter.
When you use it, you put the focus on the them. The piece becomes about them. It is more relaxed, and engaging then using ‘he’ ‘she’, ‘they’ or even the first pronoun such as ‘I’ or ‘me’.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t tell personal stories as you have to use the personal pronoun. What you should do is to quickly get to the point, and address the reader again and show exactly what your story matters to them.
Use the word ‘you’ generously when you write a blog post, social media post or a sales page. In fact, anytime you want to really connect with another human, and want to come across as a living breathing human yourself, use this word to make your writing that more persuasive.
#2 Use their name
According to GetResponse,“emails with personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened.”
We all love hearing our name. It’s music to our ears. We feel like we are being heard and taken care of. You want your readers to feel like that. Use their name when you respond to their blog comments, or on social media. People feel pampered and they remember you.
Personalize emails that are personal and contain heartfelt messages. Don’t sound like a sleazy Internet Marketer when you use this tactic. Don’t overdo it.
For this to work, ask for their first name when they fill out your subscription or opt-in form. And routinely clean your list so you are not sending emails to someone that say ‘Dearbored-so-filling-this, how are you?’
#3 Ask for what you want
You’ll never get what you want until you ask for it. We all know this and still we ignore it. Start asking and you’ll see people respond more. Where can you do this is your content? You can ask people after every blog post you write. Choose one call to action though or you will end up confusing people.
Ask them to leave a comment and pose a specific question to make it even easier. Ask them to share your post on social media but instead of giving them too many choices, give two (preferably the platforms you are active on).
Another great way to do this is to ask again after they respond. Somebody who has just joined might be open to taking you up on a low-cost offer so make one. Somebody who just sent you a long email might be interested in doing a discovery session with you, so ask.
#4 Give a reason why
If you want somebody to do something, give them a reason why they should do it.
In a famous experiment cited in Robert Cialdini’s book, a psychology student tries to skip ahead to the front of the line in front of a copier. The first time he asks if he could, he is clearly told no and has to go to the back of the line.
Next time he tries by asking, “May I please use the copy machine because I have to make a copy?” Now the reason seems obvious and nothing that would grant him the right to do so, he still gets a yes 9 out of 10 times. This is the power of ‘because’.
Moreover, people make decisions on emotions but justify them on logic.
Next time you want people to share something, say something like this, “if you found this useful, share this with one friend who will find it helpful and thank you for it.” See how well it works.
Give people a reason to do something because it gets results.
#5 Make is really easy for people
If people are not responding to your messages, can you make them simpler? If you are asking them to do a certain action, do you think you might be making it complicated?
If they are going to your sales page and yet nobody’s buying, do you think you are asking them to jump through too many hoops in order to purchase? Whatever you want to do, if you break it down and make it really easy, the likelihood of people doing exactly that goes up significantly.
If you want them to respond to a Facebook post where they have to respond with an opinion, don’t ask for something that makes them think very hard. Looking to increase sales, maybe offer free trials of your product or samples?
Remove any obstacles and confusions, and you will see people starting to respond more favorably.
#6 Follow the AIDA sequence
What is the AIDA sequence? Simply,
- A = Attention
- I = Interest
- D = Desire
- A = Action
This is a super powerful technique that you can use to make any piece of communication work ten times better. Let’s take an example of a blog post. How can you persuade people to click the link, open it, read it all the way through and share it as well? Well, using AIDA sequence, it will look something like this:
- Grab their attention by writing a compelling headline. You can do this by arousing their curiosity or hinting at a straight benefit.
- Capture their interest by creating a hook. Meaning, write an opening that continues to hold their attention. This is where most people fail.
- Build desire (read till the end to gain full benefit) by continuing to create a blog post that is conversational, flows well and is highly relevant to this reader.
- Convince them to take action by creating a strong call to action.
#7 Give your images a human touch
Many people buy for emotional reasons. If you make them feel right, they are sure to take action. So how can you use this insight within your content.
In your blog content use images that draw attention and keep people focused. Stay away from stock photos that look cheesy or artificial and will have the opposite effect. Make sure your images are relevant to your content. Brownie points if they pique curiosity and make people want to click.
This especially works for images that are directly posted to social media. For example, startling images catch people’s attention and make them stop from scrolling down their feed just long enough to read the headline or accompanying text.
If you have a strong design sense or aesthetics, use sites like Instagram or Pinterest to your advantage.
Remember, emotions are powerful and they work. A positive image will bring people to smile and a dark image might scare people away. You want to choose the right image to evoke the right emotion. Choose images wisely.
#8 Push people’s buttons (in a nice way)
The idea is to choose topics that get people talking. Mark Hughes, author of Buzz Marketing talks about these buttons as the proven topics people want to talk about.
These six buttons are: Taboo, Unusual, Outrageous, Hilarious, Remarkable and Secrets. Here’s how these content types are defined:
- Taboo: Content around topics that labeled by a society as improper, unacceptable, prohibited, or profane. These topics make uncomfortable. Think potty humour.
- Unusual: The topics are not common, or ordinary. Unique pieces of content that stand out from the rest.
- Outrageous: Content that is shocking or unconventional.
- Hilarious: Content that have people in stitches. Funny.
- Remarkable: Extraordinary, epic, worthy of notice. Attention grabbing.
- Secrets: Kept from general public but available to a select group of people.
Next time when you want to create a piece of content, think about how many boxes does the piece tick? Make it a habit to create content around topics that are proven to work.
#9 Make your writing hypnotic
Don’t tell your reader what you want them to hear. Tell them what they want to hear. Don’t focus so much on your product, focus on solving your reader’s problems and helping them achieve their desires.
- Imagine your reader asking ‘so what?’ or ‘why should I care?’ to everything you are saying to them. Then write in a way that answers this question.
- Meet them where they are mentally. Enter the conversation that is already happening inside their heads. Ask yourself what are their beliefs currently. Acknowledge those and then add your own insights.
- Use vivid language that paints a picture in their minds. Use words that let them imagine how it’s like to use your product or service. Show, don’t tell.
- Ask questions. Answer any objections they might have.
- Infuse your personality in your writing. Write like you are writing to a friend. Here’s a trick if you find it hard to make your copy conversational. Call a friend and tell them about your idea and record your conversation. Transcribe it and edit for clarity.
- Get excited. When you create something that moves you, it has a great chance of moving others as well.
So, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how much time you spend creating a blog post. It doesn’t even matter how good you think a blog post is.
What matters is if your reader thinks it’s really good. Even if they can’t define what ‘good’ actually is. Put the focus on them. Ask ‘what’s in it for them’ every chance you get. Hook them in with a strong headline, intro and ask them to do something with a strong call to action.
Make them the center of your content universe. And you’ll have them eating out of your hand. Good luck. Don’t abuse this newly acquired power.
Share in the comments below how you plan to use these new powers in 2016!