10 Copywriting Tips & Triggers To Be INSANELY More Persuasive

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There are no magic words that you can use to instantly hypnotize your audience to get them to automatically take out their credit card and give you their money.

However, based on the study of us weird humans, there are some proven psychological truths to help make your copywriting exponentially more persuasive.

Here are 10 Copy Posse-approved psychological triggers to ethically persuade and influence your copywriting:

1. Reciprocity

It's a fundamental law of social psychology that we often feel the need to give back the value we receive from others. "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," it's as simple as that.

Cialdini, in his book, talks about the universal tendency for us human beings to feel compelled to repay or reciprocate after an act of kindness or generosity by another.

You see this rooted in cultures all around the world, from weddings between neighbors and business relationships, and yes, it is no stranger in the world of marketing.

The reciprocity trigger is used when you incentivize prospects to take the desired action by first giving them something of value.

So think about it, this concept is baked if you're a coach or a consultant or maybe a copy critic or a copywriter, or a free trial of a software subscription service like Spotify and YouTube premium. You even see this being used in nonprofit organizations when they give free merchandise to people who make donations, increasing the likelihood that they will, in fact, donate again.

So when you are copywriting next time, think about how you can add so much value that your prospects feel inspired to reciprocate.

2. Personalization

Using personalization in your marketing is a powerful psychological trigger. It doesn't only keep people's attention, but it also makes them feel more in control, makes them more receptive, and reduces the perception of information overload.

There are a lot of ways to personalize your copywriting, and the most obvious one, of course, is to use your readers' first names in your sales pages, emails, and subject lines.

But before you go writing it off completely, according to Campaign Monitor, using your readers' first name in a subject line makes an email 26% more likely to be opened. Beyond this classic case of personalization, you can use other marketing tools to further customize a user's journey with your brand and products.

3. Reason why

A four-year-old that follows you around the house asking you why after everything and anything you say, albeit annoying, it is a reflection of a fundamental human desire to understand the rationale behind a person's actions or opinions to believe it.

Our brains are far more likely to believe something is true, real, and legit when a reason or justification is given. In fact, Ellen Langer, a psychology professor at Harvard University, conducted a study on whether or not giving a reason influenced people's decision to allow strangers to cut in line while waiting for the Xerox machine in a busy library.

Her findings were pretty incredible; When a stranger went up and asked the first person in line, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?" 60% of them said yes.

She then tested the same question but using a reason why, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine "because I'm in a rush?" Again, a staggering 94% of people said yes. 

Later, she changed the reason from something legit being in a rush to no real reason: "Excuse me, I have five pages, "may I use the Xerox machine because I have to make copies?" Still, a massive 93% of people said yes. Isn't that nutty?

Simply using the word, no matter the reason, results in significantly more yeses. So in your sales copy, it's always wise to include a reason why you're selling the product, why you're giving a discount and why you're limiting the sale or using any sort of scarcity. Because you need to make it believable in the minds of your prospects.

4. Commitment and consistency

In his book, Robert Cialdini also wrote on this principle which is based on the human need to be seen as consistent. This means that once we've publicly committed to something or someone, we're much more likely to follow through on it to avoid looking flaky, unreliable or inconsistent.

In marketing, this principle can be applied by encouraging prospects to make commitments that gradually increase in scale. It's why questions work so well in copywriting. You want your audience to subvocalize the word yes as they begin their journey with you.

It's a tiny commitment that can be the starting point to a lot more yeses. So are you ready to learn highly-paid copywriting skills, write an irresistible portfolio and ignite your copywriting business this year?

Once your prospect takes any sort of positive action or makes a commitment, no matter how seemingly insignificant, they are more likely to make another; it's as simple as that.

This is also why quizzes work so darn well; once clicking to start a quiz, a human has the inherent need to finish it. Could you imagine leaving a quiz after answering only one question? That would be crazy, and you would never find out which Harry Potter character you were.

To illustrate this psychological trigger in his book, Cialdini referenced the work of psychologist Stephen J. Sherman.

Sherman conducted a survey asking neighborhood residents to predict what they would say if they were asked to spend three hours canvassing door to door for the American Cancer Society.

Not wanting to look bad, many of the residents said they would volunteer if asked. Later, when an actual representative of the American Cancer Society did call and ask for neighborhood canvassers. As a result, there was a whopping 700% increase in volunteers because of that initial conversation.

So how can you use messaging and marketing tools

to get more micro-commitments early on from your prospects?

5. Social proof

There is no doubt that social proof is a powerful psychological trigger in copywriting and marketing. Seeing real evidence of other people using and liking products that we want makes us a bazillion more times likely to actually believe it's a good product and trust the brand.

In fact, according to a study, 97% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decision, and the average consumer reads ten online reviews before making a purchasing decision.

That's why as a copywriter, you should always feature real testimonials, reviews or any other user-generated content on your sales pages, landing pages and ads.

For example, Lulus is a clothing brand that includes photos of its actual customers wearing Lulu's products on its website. Along with these photos, they indicate other information like body weight, build and height, as well as testimonials about how each product fits.

These reviews are effective, specific, and 100% believable.

6. Common enemy

Sociologist Georg Simmel said it best when he stated, "Nothing unites a nation, or any group of people for that matter, quite like having a common enemy."

A research study by psychology Prof. Dr Mark Landau indicates that people have a basic need for coherence and for things to make sense. They want to belong to a group that views the world as they do.

So communicating a common enemy in your copywriting is a great way to create a sense of belonging. However, the enemy does not have to be a person. It can be anything that stands in opposition to what your audience stands for. For example, to organic and sustainable food advocates, the enemy could be processed foods. To the health industry, it could be crash or short-term diets; you get the idea.

You can use this psychological trigger in your copy by calling out that common enemy and positioning your product as the solution that stands against it.

7. Authority

Another trigger researched by Cialdini is the principle of authority. It's the tendency for people to accept an opinion, product, or service if it's supported by a perceived expert, an authority figure or a globally recognized platform.

So anytime you see a doctor or a scientist or a celebrity or an accredited professional endorse the product or service, yes, the authority principle is at play.

In copywriting, this can be showcased through credible stats, scientific proof or press coverage. Like when you see the classic "as seen on" logos across a website or sales page.

Even social follower count lends a huge amount of authority to content creators; you cannot deny that. Showcasing authority makes you look legit and helps you gain your audience's trust. This is why big brands pay tons of money to get their product endorsed by a famous personality or influencer. For example, George Clooney for Nespresso or Cardi B for Pepsi.

8. Anchoring and priming

In Robert Cialdini's second book Pre-Suasion, he talks about the "focusing effect" or "focusing illusion", which refers to our natural attention bias to rely more heavily on the first piece of information we receive when making decisions.

It is, in fact, why first impressions are everything, even if we're not consciously aware of that bias. You can use this little-known psychological trigger in your marketing and messaging through something called anchoring and priming.

Essentially exposing your audience to information before the buying decision will increase their likelihood of saying yes later on.

In a study conducted by marketing researchers Naomi Mandel and Eric Johnson, two different versions of an online sofa website were shown to the subjects with only one key difference.

One version showcased fluffy clouds in the background, and the other showcased pennies.

What they found was that the consumers who were anchored with the cloud imagery were more willing to pay for comfort, and those who saw the pennies were far more likely to select a more affordable option.

Cialdini sums this up best with the quote, "If you want people to choose a bottle of French wine, first expose them to French background music before they decide."

So as a copywriter, think about how you can get your audience to be more receptive to your product solution or features by exposing them to messaging that anchors and primes first.

9. Specificity

Specificity is such a simple yet powerful psychological trigger, and there are two very easy ways to use it.

First, when using story and copywriting, be as specific as possible and share real emotions and pain. Being specific as you share an experience

will make your audience feel something and therefore feel more connected to you and what you're selling.

When you know exactly who your avatar is, and you speak to them directly without being vague, universal or mainstream, you'll become infinitely more relatable to the people who actually matter. Remember when you try to appeal to everyone, you, in fact, appeal to no one.

All right, the second way to use specificity is to use specific numbers when communicating amounts, lists or figures. Presenting numbers exactly as they are, so not rounding up or rounding down can build trust and evoke curiosity. For example, something like a 63.7% success rate is far more believable than using a 64% success rate in your copy. Or saying that you have 9,984 happy customers instead of 10,000.

10. Storytelling

The human mind is hard-wired to pay attention to and understand stories. It's the oldest form of human communication, yet new stories are being told every single day. According to story analyst Lisa Cron in her book "Wired for Story", the regions of the brain that process sights and sounds and taste and movement in real life are activated in the exact same way when we're engrossed in a compelling narrative.

So if you can use compelling storytelling structures in your sales letters, landing pages, campaigns and website copy, you will create mad relatability, engagement, connection and trust with your prospect.

Now, that wraps up the list of 10 psychological triggers to help you become insanely more persuasive with your copywriting.