What is it that decision makers can all claim to have in common? And what can you specifically do today to craft more convincing messages? Writing meaningful copy is hard enough on its own. Add to that the element of persuasion and it can seem like too much to keep up with. Ask yourself this: what is it that decision makers can all claim to have in common? And what can you specifically do today to craft more convincing messages?
Crafting more convincing messages
1. Decision makers are looking for clarity - understand what it is you are trying to communicate. Always use simple language. There is no such a thing as oversimplifying your message even if your audience is highly educated or highly technical. Simplicity works best because these messages can be processed by the brain much easier; no jargon mumbo jumbo needed. If you are unsure whether your message is too complicated or not, you can use tools to find out the level of writing you have in your site. You should be aiming at primary level regardless of the education level of your audience.
2. They are all seeking for some proof to justify choosing you. You can build your proof in the following ways:
• Testimonials - Use real testimonials - add a picture of the person giving the testimonial (very key for charismatics, but hardly enough for the skeptics and controllers).
• Highlight key clients - If you have landmark clients make sure you highlight them (key for pretty much all of them except the thinkers- details of how it works are more important for the thinkers than past experience)
• Build business cases - Show real results and facts and show how you have solved similar problems with other clients. This is absolutely critical for the skeptics, followers, thinkers and controllers.
3. Even if only Thinkers are looking for details of how it works, but you must provide the details anyway, because a lot of thinkers will be doing the research on your site. And although these only represent 11% of the decision makers these are a very important segment for your online messages.
So how do you keep the balance between summarizing and detailing? Make your pages scannable: make the headlines message rich so that everybody can understand what your message is just by scanning the headlines. And still provide detail in well crafted paragraphs of non-jargony text. Structure your paragraphs so that the most important information comes first - give away the farm - and don’t attempt to be intriguing. Your goal is to be clear, not mysterious.
Not sure if your copy is clear & simple enough? do the friends test: read it out loud and then ask yourself: “Is this the way I would talk to my friend?” If the answer is yes, then you are good to go. If not, you have some work to do.
Talk to the old brain
Another approach to crafting persuasive messages is based on research in neuromarketing (put together in this book), which reveals interesting things about our brains. It turns out that we have a 3-layered brain that is divided into “New Brain (thinking), “Middle Brain” (feeling) and “Old Brain” (deciding). The latter reviews information coming from the two other brains and controls the decision-making process.The oldest part, the old brain, is the one we share with reptiles, and it doesn’t really “think” in the sense of deliberating and evaluating options. The old brain just reacts to stimuli and will seek to preserve your life.We’re usually trying to talk to the ‘New Brain’, the sophisticated one. But it’s the ‘Old Brain’ that makes all the decisions, so we often need to dumb it down. The formula the book shows is:
Selling probability = Pain x Claim x Gain x (Old Brain)^3
1- Identify the prospect's pain
The greater the pain, the higher the chance of sale. Regarding the headlines, there are 3 types:
• Opportunity for improvement
• Threat of deterioration of current status
• Fear of loss of current position
#1 speaks to either the ‘Middle Brain’ (the one that feels) or the ‘New Brain’ (the one that thinks), hence people will naturally react less to this type of message.
#2 and specially #3, Work most times better because such a message is delivered to the ‘Old Brain’.
2- You must make sure that they acknowledge the pain
Dan McDade, a well known B2B lead gen specialist from PointClear illustrates this with an example.
Imagine these 2 scenarios:
• Scenario 1: You are deeply sleeping at 2 am in the morning and your neighbor relentlessly calls you on the phone and tells you ‘Hey, someone is knocking at your door and is trying to give you a tire.’ You’d be like ‘stop bothering, man, get a life and let me sleep...’ and you’ll hang up the phone and continue sleeping.
• Scenario 2: You are deeply sleeping at 2 am in the morning and your neighbor relentlessly calls you on the phone and tells you ‘Hey, someone is trying to take a tire from your car!’ What would you do? Jump immediately out of bed and try to stop the bastard, right?
The second message meets the highest possible pain and goes directly to your old brain - it represents a fear of loss of current position. It literally has the same effect as you jumping out when seeing a snake - you jump out before your new brain actually realizes it’s a snake.
3- Make a claim and differentiate it from your competitors
The strongest claim is the one that eliminates the strongest pain. This is the sticky point because in order to differentiate clearly the copy must have contrast. And that requires contrasting your claim showing crisply how it compares what would it be like without your solution. Without contrast, the user can’t grasp the claim very clearly.
“Enjoy this vacuum cleaner with a state of the art purification system”
“Every second, your conventional vacuum cleaner releases 2894 particles of pollution into the air that your family is breathing. With [new-vaccuum-name], you won’t have that problem.”
Which one gets your attention?
4- Show the gain
You have to show convincing proof of these claims. The ‘Old Brain’, because it takes care of your survival, is resistant to the new; for it, the status quo is safe. The Old Brain needs a convincing trigger and evidence that the status quo is no longer the best place to be. That’s why 95% of decision makers will look at testimonials. The stronger the tangible evidence, the better. This will include data, case studies, testimonials, social proof images.