What is applied copywriting?

We’re confident we can make your copy grab attention, smash targets, and increase sales. Because our Applied Copywriting is a clever balance of magic and science.

 

Here are just a few of our proven techniques:

Foot-in-the-door (FITD)

 

A classic sales technique – get someone to say yes to something small, then up the request. A big ask can be too much at once. But start small and your clients are much more likely to agree to the next step.

Scarcity

Imagine a video of people fighting each other on Black Friday. The reason for all the madness? People value things that seem rare or hard-to-get. We can recreate the effect in copy by emphasising time limits of an offer, for example.

Yale Attitude Change Approach

This is a pretty comprehensive model of persuasive tools, from showing both sides of an argument to being physically attractive. Some of the ideas can give a huge boost to underperforming sales copy.

Aida

It’s not just an opera by Verdi. AIDA is also handy structure for engaging copy. Grab the reader’s Attention. Keep them Interested. Appeal to their personal Desires and make them take Action.

Reciprocity

We always feel obliged to give something back. Marketing and Psychology expert Cialdini explains how Reciprocity made Ethiopa provide aid to Mexico after an earthquake, despite being in the middle of a famine and civil war. The lesson? Freebies work.

FOMO

Facebook proves that people hate to be left out. It’s a powerful feeling that clever advertising has exploited for years. We’re experts at uncovering the must-have’s and can’t miss out’s.

Click, whirr response

 

Sometimes we can’t help ourselves reacting to something. If someone offers you a hand, you’ll put your hand out without thinking. We can trigger reactions like this with carefully chosen words and themes.

D x V x F > R

 

Change is a difficult thing for people to deal with. But if people are Dissatisfied, have a Vision of what’s possible and know the First steps to take, you’ll overcome that Resistance.

Identifiable Victim Effect

Statistics don’t mean anything to us on an emotional level. But a story about an individual is powerful because we can empathise with a real person. The effect is especially useful for news stories or charity messaging.

Cognitive dissonance

No one likes to have conflicting beliefs. Like an alcoholic that knows the damage they’re doing, but can’t resist “just one more”. If we help the reader along the path towards consistency, they’ll be like putty in our hands.

Conformity and Herd Behaviour

Why is it normal to wear a bikini to the beach – but not your underwear? When we make decisions, we follow society’s unwritten rules. We can use this idea to boost sales copy.

Newness and novelty

New things make our brains release dopamine. So newness can actually make us happy. We’ll look at your products or services in new ways and show your readers something original. But we know where to draw the line. Anyone remember New Coke?

Loss aversion

Why are trial periods so common? Because losing something is much more powerful than gaining something. People don’t pay £7.99 a month for Netflix. They pay £7.99 a month to avoid losing Netflix after a free trial.

Big 5 personality traits

 

Everyone has different amounts of openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism. We dig deep into the mind of our reader to learn how to talk to them.

Psychological heuristics

Our brains are lazy. They use simple rules to focus on one thing and ignore anything more complicated. Knowing what these mental shortcuts are helps us write copy that people will notice.

Amplification Hypothesis

 

People get defensive when your attitude doesn’t match theirs. But they’ll open up when you’re on the same wavelength. Our writers know how to align the reader’s thoughts with your business.

Ultimate terms

Some types of words will always grab attention. Like God terms (positive words), Devil terms (negative words) and Charismatic terms (observable things). These power words act as psychological triggers to influence our thoughts.

Contractions

Did you know liars often don’t use contractions? Contractions aren’t unprofessional or “wrong”. They’re a natural part of spoken English, and they’re essential if you want your customers to trust you.

Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow knew that some needs are more important than others. We know that food is a more basic need than friendship, and friendship is more basic than realising your potential. His idea can help us pitch our copy at a suitable level.

Disrupt Then Reframe (DTR)

Like a boxing feint, this sneaky technique helps us distract the reader, then knock them out with a killer line. Disrupting the reader’s thought process helps us build up a new argument from scratch.

CIGAR

CIGAR gives us an effective structure for smokin’ intros. Start with Context, then present the Issue, define a Goal, suggest an Answer and provide a Resolution.

5 W’s (and 1 H)

 

We’re not just writers. We’re researchers. We’ll discover the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of your story. We’ll fill in every gap before we put pen to paper.

Rule of three

Snap, crackle, pop. Beanz Meanz Heinz. Veni, Vidi, Vici. Things that come in threes grab attention. Our writers know when to use repetition and how to make it stand out.

Readability

We use complex algorithms to check how easy your words will be to digest. Lots of business writing is about twice as hard to read as The Economist. But that’s not good enough. Check out our blog post on readability.

Benefit-led

 

Benefit-led writing keeps the focus on the audience. We don’t write about features, we show people how your product or service will make their lives better and easier.

PEC

A classic structure, the grown up version of the school PEE (point, evidence, explain). Make your Point, show Evidence, Comment. PEC helps us keep copy short, powerful and persuasive.

PAS

Another simple structure with a big impact. Present a Problem – we’re great at scouting out the villain. Agitation – poke at that problem until the reader’s itching for a… Solution. And guess what? Your product or service is the answer.