Learn how to use the 6 Weapons of Persuasion in your content: Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Approval, Affection, Authority and Scarcity.
Great leaders and successful professionals have one skill in common: persuasion. Be it in any field, but especially in the area of communication, the ability to persuade is extremely valuable to achieve good results and achieve success. It is true that an aptitude can arise from an early age in life, but more importantly what skills can be developed!
Are there any proven tricks to convince anyone of anything? According to psychologist and Ph.D. Robert Cialdini, the answer is yes. In his book, The Weapons of Persuasion, first published in 1984, there are 6 basic psychological principles that regulate human behavior during decision-making. Master them and you can become an influencer.
The mechanics of persuasion
A series of researches conducted by Cialdini, along with several other professionals cited in his book, prove the thesis that there are 6 basic psychological principles to persuade someone. People like to have reasons for what they do, and these principles act as justifications for them. In addition, to survive in the dynamic and information-rich world, we need to use shortcuts. Because we can not analyze all the time, we use stereotypes to make our decisions easier. Once taken, we are free of the problem (or not).
The secret of influencers is in the way they structure their requests and speeches. In the case of persuasive writing, or copywriting, it would not be any different. Like the principles discussed in the book, Copywriting also uses principles or mental triggers to convince the reader, whether for an idea, product sales or service delivery.
Do not worry, I’ll show you the list of principles that will make a difference in your writing.
The greater the present, the greater (and the longer) the sense of obligation to reward. Of course, this can make a positive contribution to creating a fair and friendly network of exchanges. But when used by malicious people, reciprocity can result in unequal and yet harmful exchanges.
Okay, but how does that go into the part of persuasive writing?
Give your reader valuable and relevant information so that they have an interest in looking for you again in the future. Think of information as the favor you willingly gave. That’s why many companies have released manuals, free e-books and blog posts instructive. Whether or not it relates to the product / service provided by you, the tendency is to be useful first, to gain public confidence, and only then to sell.
2. Commitment and consistency
After taking a stand, we undergo social pressures to behave according to it (commitment). This is because incoherence is seen as an unwanted trait in society, whereas coherence is associated with qualities such as stability, honesty, and personal strength. The human being creates justifications to sustain the commitment assumed, because, as we have seen, he needs reasons for his actions.
In life, always acting consistently just to convey a positive image can be disastrous. However, in the text, the principle of commitment and consistency is key to winning the reader’s trust. Nobody likes fallacious texts. So do not promise what you can not keep as absurd solutions. Being consistent in persuasive writing means producing a text with logical sequences of ideas and connections between paragraphs.
3. Social approval
We tend to observe other people’s behavior before deciding what is right or appropriate, especially in situations of uncertainty. That is why so many products are advertised as “sales champions”. Showing testimonials or comments from buyers, for example, increases the chances of a person becoming interested in the product. It should be remembered that, despite being a good indicator, social approval can also act in reverse.
In writing focused on conversion, it is necessary to generate empathy with the reader. This is where the principle of social approval comes in. It is not enough just a nice language, but also the content. Thus, the first step is to understand the doubts, difficulties, yearnings and pains of the public. Someone who has read your life story, with its obstacles and achievements, will be more likely to hear what you have to say about a certain subject.
It’s more common to take requests from people we already know than from strangers, right? This is the principle of affection, which is based on three characteristics: appearance, likeness, and praise. We like to hear and approach people with physical traits considered “favorable”. The attraction is even stronger when we perceive affinities, such as personality traits or personal tastes, or when we receive compliments (in excess, they cause just the opposite!).
To create affection with the reader, you need to know the audience. From this, you will know which language is most appropriate: whether it is more formal, didactic or relaxed. Also, do not want to pass an image of perfection. People like to identify with someone who has already failed, and yet they kept persisting!
A person’s opinion as an expert can influence our choices. The more theoretical background a person provides to prove his or her opinion, the easier it is to persuade others to agree with it. Often we even automatically obey authority figures, precisely because of their supposed expertise or knowledge in a certain subject. But, like all principles, authority is a two-way street. Several of these so-called experts are, in fact, frauds.
Applying the principle of authority to copywriting can be a great challenge, since the purpose of persuasive writing is to persuade the reader to perform a certain action. If you have difficulty transmitting credibility in the text, the tip is to use quality references in your essay. Do not take any, but carefully select the most relevant and up to date on the subject. Try to get informed about the topic you are going to discuss in every possible way, even if you are not an expert.
“The way to love anything is to realize that it can be lost” (Chesterton)
We have a terrible inclination to value what we no longer have, such as relationships, moments and friendships. We appreciate those products that do not sell anywhere, such as rare items and limited products. Sellers understand this rule well, exploiting it with enough skill (and frequency).
Scarcity is also a principle to be put into practice in the text. On the internet there is absurd competition, save a few specific niches. That is why it is essential to show differential. Whether it’s content, language, or conversation with your reader, it’s important to add values and advantages to those who read your text. Create your own personality as a writer!
Persuading is not the same as manipulating. It is not about exploitation or forcing people to a certain action. The weapons of persuasion are subtle. Mastering them means having the skills to convey trust and conquer the people around you. These 6 basic principles you have seen are essential to compelling persuasive writing.
Did you like the tips? After this post, it is worth checking our eBook on the ABC of Copywriting. Read now!