Copywriting is not a science. It’s an art. And like any discipline, it requires working over and over again to surpass yourself. It is not always easy to convey an effective message in a slogan, in advertisements or in a sales pitch. “You think you know how to create a persuasive message,” says Jonah Berger. “Think again”. The solution ? Scan your message. Make sure it passes all the tests and that your message keeps a deep meaning with your audience. To illustrate this scanner, I present to you the secret sauce. SAUCE being the acronym of Simple, Attractive, Surprising, Credible and Emotional …
Copywriting, ingredient number 1: simplicity
Being simple seems easier than it sounds.
We all tend to want to say more. Because, in our mind, to convince better, educate better or tell our story better, it is imperative to give as much detail as possible.
A central truth
For a message to be simple, the challenge is to hold on to a central truth. The goal is for it to mark the mind of the person receiving the message.
This central truth must have 2 main characteristics. She must be :
- Easy to understand ;
- Easy to visualize.
The perfect example is that of proverbs. What could be easier than remembering, for example, this proverb: shoemakers are always the poorest footwear.
This one uses derision. It is short enough to be dynamic. And the central truth that this proverb delivers is striking.
Concise and compelling
Short formats have become the norm.
They are clearly more popular when you look at the average YouTube video: less than four minutes for the most popular, where the majority of them are only 30 seconds long.
Another known example. The Ted talks. They last 17 min. And that’s enough to sound serious, and enough to convince.
To be concise and convincing is, ultimately, to find the right level of detail in the circumstances.
Metaphors / Images
Metaphors serve to illustrate ideas, emotions, concepts.
Research shows that we use 1 metaphor every 20-25 words, or 1 metaphor per minute of speech.
Politicians are fans of metaphors. There are excellent examples like that of Barack Obama with his “Forward!” ”(En avant!) Or Emmanuel Macron, with“ La England en Marche ”.
Images and graphics are also very powerful. You know what they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Listen to the podcast associated with this first ingredient here:
Copywriting, ingredient number 2: attractiveness
Your primary objective is to give taste to your audience, your prospects and your customers to stay listening to you for more than 5 seconds without being disturbed by the ringing telephone, a passing train or even a badly luned boss.
Here’s how to make your post appealing.
Steve Jobs, in his speech for the first iPhone explains that Apple sought to create a product:
- More advanced than other smartphones on the market;
- Easier to use …
… and it’s called the iPhone.
The iPhone was different in design, functionality, look and name.
In your messages, you should do the same: name what sets you apart from your competition. List your strengths to uncover the one (s) that really makes the difference. Mention the added value you bring.
Remember the slogan for the first iPod: ” 1000 songs in your pocket“.
Apple did not seek to sell the technical capabilities of the iPod at the time. The company has not talked about the amount of space available, its options or the new user interface.
Apple sold its product with a concise and convincing message by showing the real value of its product to its audience.
Your true added value is what must come first in your sales pitch. You can refer to your Unique Selling Proposition which I already discussed in the article How to sell and convince in everyday life?
Compare these two types of promotions:
- “The apple contains vitamins and natural sugar”;
- “An apple a day keeps you away from your doctor.”
The first promotion describes facts and characteristics about the apple.
The second promotion describes how the apple will help the buyer.
Which do you think sells more?
The second of course. Use this analogy to apply it to your business.
We are bombarded with lots of information every day. In order for your customer to pay attention to what you are telling them, the message has to be made for them. It should not be a generic message.
Also, remember that a person’s name is the most important sound for them, no matter the language. This applies to your emails as well as to the sales pitch you make to your customers.
Listen now to the podcast associated with this second ingredient here:
Copywriting, ingredient number 3: the surprise
Do your customers forget your proposals within 2 days of your discussions? Have you only maintained their interest curve enough?
For this, the next element will make the difference with the competition: the surprise.
We ignore the familiar and the expected. Our attention freezes when something unexpected happens.
This is the example of smartphones that develop devices and updates regularly. They keep us going with “new” features.
Surprise those to whom you are speaking. And don’t just do it once!
On the one hand, the unexpected is the key to attracting attention.
The other, intrigue is key to keeping it.
Mysteries intrigue us. Its use is an excellent contribution to your surprising messages.
Customers are informed today. Your audience develops resistance to any form of direct persuasion. So use self-persuasion. It works by itself because it reduces the buyer’s resistance: customers don’t argue with their own reason.
So remember to ask your customers to choose, for example, elements of your communication, certain products that you offer … And now consult all the podcast episodes of this series to have the full magic recipe!
Listen to the podcast associated with this third ingredient here:
Copywriting, ingredient number 4: credibility
Your marketing efforts are useless except …
… if you build your credibility with your customers.
But don’t wait for that credibility to come from your customers.
Build your credibility for them!
Credibility is no longer acquired by millions of dollars or euros in advertising.
It is acquired by:
- Your good work;
- Your good products;
- Your good sense of customer service;
- Supporting a well-orchestrated marketing strategy.
So where do you start?
Trust between 2 people takes time. Trust between 1 person and a company too! On the other hand, one element will help you gain this confidence.
People are less hesitant to try something new if it is worn by trusted people..
This is exactly what ASUS has done. In 2013, nobody knew this brand. A few months later, Asus became the third world leader in tablet manufacturers.
How? ‘Or’ What ?
Using word of mouth via the Internet, especially thanks to blogger geeks who fell in love with his notebook.
Do the same. Choose your influencers carefully and contact them. They will help you build trust.
Being transparent reduces your chances of being accused of hiding the truth.
Ultimately, this avoids drastically lowering your popularity rating for something you have done that is unethical.
If you claim something about facts, you must be able to show those facts by offering the source of your evidence.
In 2010 the Volkswagen brand launched a Think Blue advertising campaign. It touted the merits of clean diesel. But Volkswagen was lying. In 2015, the brand admitted that it had installed software in 11 million vehicles to falsify carbon emission tests. You can imagine that the customers responded with outrage. In 24 hours Volkswagen has gone from being a trusted brand to a lying brand, a hypocritical brand.
Information circulates very quickly on the Internet! Don’t have fun lying.
Listen now to the podcast associated with this fourth ingredient here:
Copywriting, ingredient number 5: emotion
We’re told about emotions all the time. But is it so easy to get emotion in a message?
If you have already rubbed the exercise, you must have wiped some plasters …
But why are some promotional messages shared by thousands, if not millions, of people, while others rarely reach more than 1,000 targets?
One thing that makes a difference is how you spread the emotion.
Your message can go from top to flop.
And for it to be at the top, your message must strike the unconscious of your audience in order to be shared with the greatest number.
Issue number 1 is not only the virality of your message, but above all the persuasion with which you will convince those to whom you speak to follow you in your adventure.
But then, why use emotion?
Because emotion leads to action. Reason, on the other hand, leads to conclusions.
Affective human warmth
What is friendly brings human warmth. What is distant seems cold.
Your warmth must emanate from this message, this little comforting thing.
So be reassuring, as can be a good cup of hot coffee or a fireplace with a beautiful wood fire. Treat those who listen to you with affection. In short, brighten their lives!
When we are interested in a particular content, we share it.
In the United States, we say: “If it bleeds, it leads” or “If the blood flows, the subject will be a carrier”.
The emotional awakening, according to Jonas Berger, an expert in viral marketing, is a state of activation and goodwill for action.
It comes from the reptilian brain in human evolution. This is the center of the primary instincts of thirst, hunger, sexuality and survival in the face of aggression. For example, emotions such as excitement or anger have a high level of arousal.
Our brains are built to respond to stories. The pleasure that comes from a well-described story is a natural way of seducing us.
With a story, our attention is instantly captured.
Emotions make us move. The best way to reach an emotion is to bring a story to life. Important thing to know for your stories, we really like happy endings!
Listen to the podcast associated with this fifth ingredient right away:
Reference: The book that inspired these podcast episodes is this article: Secret Sauce: How to Pack Your Messages with Persuasive Punch Hardcover – by Harry Mills