For the past month, we here at FutureNow have been trying to arm you with some basic design knowledge so you could start thinking about how you you want your prospects to perceive your site, image and brand. Today, we are going to remind you of something that The Grok has stood for from the beginning: persuasive copy writing.
To write persuasive copy, there are 3 things that are most important to remember (ignoring proper spelling, grammar, and tense):
1. When you are writing, imagine your site visitor as your audience. Speak directly to them with your copy as if you were having coffee with them.
2. Avoid We-We copy.
3. Use Active verbs. They are notoriously more direct and persuasive.
Active and passive are verb voices. Active voice emphasizes the doer, the agent of the activity. Today we are going to remind you how to use active verbs properly so you can profit from them by adding life and persuasive momentum to your copy. An example of a sentence with an active verb is:
Alex is playing the french horn.
The passive voice shifts the focus of a sentence away from the doer. The emphasis in the passive voice is always on what is happening, not who is doing it. Sometimes the passive sentence mentions the agent, sometimes not, but there is always an implicit or explicit “by whom”:
The french horn is being played. (Who is playing the french horn?)
The french horn was played by Alex. (The sentence is about the french horn, it is not about Alex.)
Passive constructions aren’t always immediately obvious:
Driven with Confidence. (What is driven and who is it driven by?)
Standing by to take care of your every need. (Who is standing by?)
Your broken leg should be looked at. (Who should look at your leg?)
Passive voice has its uses, but in copy that is meant to persuade, motivate, sound accountable and credible- nothing beats the active construction.
Here are six sentences written in the passive voice. Take this opportunity to rewrite them in active voice.
1. This cat food should be sent to a different cat than the one named on the label.
2. The lemon’s peel should be washed by the chef after it sits in the refrigerator for a day.
3. To quickly provide a solution to your request, you will be contacted via email or by telephone by the first available specialist within one business day.
4 .Your phone number has been updated by our Records Administration staff.
5. I apologize for the frustrations experienced by you recently with Zappo’s Support team.
6. A suspension system that is both tough and intelligent, designed to respond to the slightest movement of the rider.
You’ll find the answers below.
1. Send this cat food to a cat who isn’t named on the label.
2. The chef should wash the lemon peel after it sits in the refrigerator for a day.
3. The first available specialist will contact you via email or by telephone within one business day to quickly provide a solution to your request.
4. Our Records Administration staff has updated your phone number.
5. I apologize for the frustrations you recently experienced with Zappo’s Support team.
6. We design a suspension system system that is both tough and intelligent, and responds to the slightest movement of the rider.
You can now edit some of your copy for active voice and activate your conversion rate as well. Do an A/B test. You can start perfecting the content on your site to be as persuasive as possible. Do you feel confident that you know exactly who you are trying to persuade? If you need help understanding your guests, and optimizing your site to help them to convert, you can always call us.