Your job as a professional copywriter is to convince people to take some kind of action. The type of action you want them to take is dependent on the strategy of the campaign you are creating (every campaign needs a strategy).
When that strategy is right and the words created are in alignment, everyone wins.
That is, YOU win (because you get paid for writing copy that converts), your CLIENT wins (because their profits increase), and your client’s CUSTOMER wins because they get what they want.
All the above statements are known as premises.
A premise tells us what to do next (it’s part of how we get unstuck and come up with the answers we need to solve our most pressing problems – how to get unstuck is part of ProCopyClub – all in the ICA members area).
A premise is also a fundamental component of rhetoric because it represents part of (or all of) an argument, and argument is how persuasion works (consciously or subconsciously).
We take the reader on a journey propagated with a series of clues. Each clue (consciously and subconsciously) demands that the reader solves it.
As long as we supply enough information to make this easy for the reader, they will happily tag along with us (people love answering questions – see part 2 in this series).
Every step they take is another step towards the ultimate goal – conversion.
We already know at the start we will lose certain readers along the way. That’s fine and part of the marketing process (because we design the journey to only attract the right kind of people, so we don’t waste money marketing to people who are not interested).
We measure our ultimate success not by the number of people we convert, but by the feedback we get from those people.
If the feedback is bad (refunds for example), we know the message is wrong (expectations are not met). That is great because it allows us to fix it (the earlier this happens the better).
Once we have good feedback (reduced refunds) we can start to measure the conversion rate (conversion rates are useless if we have to return money or we end up with a bad reputation from unhappy customers).
At this point, we have a base conversion rate to work from. We can now focus on profit.
But what if profit is zero or we’re converting at a loss?
Our clients will want answers (and so will we).
We end up with three choices:
1) reduce marketing costs (eg. the cost of paid ads)
2) increase the value of what’s being sold (eg. put up the price or add some kind of bonus)
3) sell more to existing customers (eg. increase backend marketing)
Option 1 is extremely hard to do. It’s called optimisation and only really works if we’re already breaking even. Everyone is searching for shortcuts, which makes them hard to find.
Option 2 is simple, but adds the risk of reduced sales, especially if the competition is fierce.
Option 3 is the best answer, but only works if we have a large and happy customer database.
So what has all this got to do with rhetoric?
Simple. We’re going to need all the help we can get to explain to our clients how we’re going to fix their problems, and knowing what the solutions are is our first step.
That’s why ICA membership also gives you access to the ICA’s Advanced Business School, a 5 module class on marketing and sales.
I taught this in 2015 and became one of the top ten coaches in the UK as voted for from Enterprise Nation through a UK government backed scheme.
Every piece of sales material we put out is going to involve one or more rhetorical devices. But none of these will work unless we’ve narrowed down who we’re selling to, what their major problems are, and how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Notice I used the rule of 3 in that last paragraph. That’s called a tricolon in rhetoric. It’s a simple and powerful technique.
Most of us know about the concept of using 3 clauses in a row, but few understand it’s just one of a large number of rhetorical tools used by copywriters to create more sales than would otherwise happen.
And as you’ll know if you’ve been reading all the sections of this series on persuasion, you can learn everything you need to know about persuasion when you join the ICA:
There are 3 membership options:
1) Quarterly membership. This costs £39 every 3 months (that’s just £13 a month to access everything in the ICA).
2) Annual membership costs £140 for the 1st year, then £69 per year if you choose to stay.
3) Lifetime membership cost £720 with nothing further to pay ever.
All options include everything in the ICA. The Lifetime option also gives you free access to our SEO Roadmaps tool along with 10,000 credits (enough for thousands of articles and unlimited research).
I hope you can join us.