Evoking emotion: How to write web copy that sells
It isn’t often that I’m grateful for my emotional sensitivity (particularly when I go to the cinemas with my partner and have to be mascara-free just in case something tugs at my heartstrings).
But when it comes to crafting compelling copywriting … well, let’s just say that my flaw has become a blessing in disguise.
Because it turns out the key to writing web copy that sells is being sensitive.
Here’s how it works.
Mirror, mirror, on the lab wall, who’s the fairest neuron of them all?
Back in the 1980s, neuroscientists stumbled upon mirror neurons when they noticed a peculiar pattern in the brains of monkeys.
Here’s the Cliff’s notes version: Monkeys that performed an activity had the exact same neuron activation as they did when they watched an activity.
Whether doing – or watching – their brains couldn’t tell the difference.
In humans, this mirror neuron effect means that we feel what other people are feeling.
This is known as having empathy.
It’s why …
You might cry when your favourite book character dies.
When somebody you love gets sad news, you feel sad too.
And when you read thoughtful and emotionally compelling copywriting, you may have an emotional response.
How copywriters engage your emotions
There are many angles one can take when writing to evoke emotion.
I like to spend at least a few hours (but usually a few days) using that pesky empathy and sensitivity of mine to imagine what life feels like for my client’s target market.
Using this knowledge, I then tap into their emotions to write in a way that showcases that I …
- Understand what they’re going through
- Appreciate their struggle(s)
- Can connect with their challenges
- … And have a solution for them!
To do this, I usually employ storytelling to cast the scene and connect with my audience. Then I use language that shows – rather than tells – my readers that I empathise with them.
For example, I might not say: You’re sick of being tired all the damn time.
But I might say: Given up on ‘beauty sleep’ and happy to settle for ‘not dead on my feet’ sleep?
This makes the copy more emotionally compelling.
So, why do you need to evoke emotion anyway?
Aren’t the benefits of your offering enough to sell your brilliance?
Well, you know I think you’re amazing.
But the reality is that we’re living in the Age of the Entrepreneur. New businesses are being opened every day and the market is getting busier and busier.
Just like your target market.
They’re pedal to the metal being their awesome selves … but they need your help to be the best they can be.
They are searching for you – promise! – and your offering.
And while you might capture their attention with your benefits and features … you’ll increase your chances of being memorable and compelling if you show that you understand and have empathy for their situation.
You can compare it to grabbing some take-away spag bol from your local Italian restaurant …
Or sitting down with your grandma to be treated with her secret – and very prized – family spag bol recipe.
It’s the same food. But it feels different, right?
Just like this article could have been summed up with ‘emotionally compelling copy leads to three times as many conversions’… but wasn’t this a far more educational and rewarding experience?
(Gulp. I hope.)