4 Things to do if you want to persuade

Jun 8, 2015 | Better Writing

An awful lot of business writing seeks to persuade. You may want the reader to buy something that you’re selling. Or, you may be writing to persuade the reader to support a change. Whether you’re crafting marketing copy or an email, there are four things you must do.

Demonstrate the benefits

This is classic marketing. Tell the reader about the benefits of doing what you want. So demonstrate the benefits.

Demonstrate why your way is better than the old way

People won’t change what they’re doing unless they’re sure that it will improve their situation. So tell them, specifically, how things will be different.

Most writers get those two things. The next two don’t get as much attention, but they’re often the difference between success and failure.

Make it safe.

No matter how bright a picture you paint about the benefits, people will still be nervous. No matter how well you demonstrate that what you suggest will be an improvement over the way things are now, people will still be nervous. That’s just how people are.

So, make it safe. Many product marketers do this with a guarantee.

Make it easy.

The harder it is for people do what you want, the less likely they are to do it. So make it easy. Keep asking, “Can we make this any easier?” Test your process.