Leverage the power of psychology to make your copywriting come to life and generate results. By molding your message to appeal to human behavior you can improve your ability to attract and retain the attention of your readers, and inspire them to act. Put psychology to work by using the following copywriting hacks.
1. Social proof
Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin are two psychologists who have studied social proof. The pair published a study that examined the effects of signs that were posted to deter theft in the Arizona Petrified Forest. The report showed that the signs encouraged theft by implying that other people were stealing from the forest.
A Wharton study showed that positive social proof is more persuasive than messages advertising a chance to save money. In the study, people responded to signs that told them that more than three-quarters of their neighbors were already saving money by using fans rather than air conditioners.
By revealing to your audience the number of people who already have benefitted from your product or service, you can encourage others to behave in the same way.
Giving people a reason to act in a certain way can also help your next email marketing campaign. Researchers from Harvard University and the City University of New York worked together on a study that showed that the reason to act has much to do with whether someone will take a particular action. In the report, 94 percent of people were allowed to cut to the front of a line for a photocopier if they told others waiting in line that they were in a rush.
Sometimes, the quality of the reason you provide has little bearing on the response you get. In the aforementioned study, 93 percent of people were allowed to jump to the front of the line giving the reason, “Because I have to make copies.”
Turbocharge your marketing message with a “because” statement and the results might surprise you.
3. The Rule of Reciprocity
If you do something for others, they are more likely to do something for you. Dr. Robert Cialdini wrote a book that referenced a study where waiters who gave patrons a mint received a slightly higher tip. Waiters who gave even more (in this case, three mints) received an even greater gratuity.
Adding value to your audience causes people to feel obligated to you and respond positively when you ask them to buy a product or subscribe to your list. Known to many as the “Golden Rule” of content marketing, you should leverage reciprocity during your next campaign by supplying your audience with something valuable (free content, tools or samples) or actionable information that they can use without buying from you.
4. Textural Adjectives
A study by Krish Sathian at Emory University proved that your choice of words can affect how your audience responds to your message. In the study, people showed more brain activity when they were asked if they had a “rough” day than they showed when asked if they had a “bad” day.
Think about synonyms and adjectives that can enhance your language. If you sell “fresh eggs,” for example, you could call them “freshly cracked eggs.” In any case, by engaging the mind of your users with “sensory metaphors,” you add impact to your message and make it more memorable.
5. P.S. Line
Adding a post scriptum (P.S.) line to your messages can substantially contribute to their effectiveness. Research shows that 79 percent of recipients read the P.S. line first, so make sure you use if for a call to action or simply to attract attention.
You could, for example, use the line to add a personal message that might make your recipients want to read the body of your message. You should also consider repeating your call-to-action for added effect. As you compose your message, remember that your P.S. line might be the only part of your marketing email that many of your recipients will ever see.
Using psychology to create powerful copy for your next email marketing campaign will help you leverage the power of language and the behavior of the human mind. When you do, your messages will have added impact that results in responsive readers and increased sales.
Eric Gordon is a business-focused marketing professional based in Houston. His mission in life is to help his clients get quality and consistent leads using the latest online marketing and SEO strategies. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and watching sports. Follow him on Twitter at @ericdavidgordon