If you’ve been reading Copy Power for any amount of time, you know how much I LOVE to talk about how irrational and emotional we are as human beings. (And how we need to keep that in mind with our copy.)
- Exhibit A: Classy Copywriting Series: #1—The Right Use of Emotions
- Exhibit B: Ego Seduction & Insecurities
- Exhibit C: My Hard, Emotional Lesson on Customer Expectations
I’ve talked a little bit about how logic plays into copywriting, but not much.
And while I still maintain that most of our decisions are in fact emotional, I want to touch on the sheer importance of logic today and why it absolutely is something that shouldn’t be ignored in favor of our touchy-feely side… especially when beliefs about your product are at stake.
Particularly if you’ve got some heavy competition whom you know your prospects are already favoring… and you want to change their minds ASAP.
Because changing minds is serious business and is hardly ever accomplished with happy feelings alone.
And to show you how to do this, we’re going to talk about The Elaboration Likelihood Model, developed in the 1980s, which discusses how you can change someone’s mind in your favor and for the long-haul.
Changing Minds With Logical Arguments
“Persuasion will likely result from a person’s careful and thoughtful consideration of the true merits of the information presented in support of an advocacy… The results of attitude change will be relatively enduring, resistant, and predictive of behavior.”
(From Wikipedia, the godfather of all information.)
Let’s talk about what that means for a second. (I realize that definition might be a little jargon-heavy if you don’t study psychology and brain science on the regular.)
Basically, when you use clear, solid logic to try to persuade someone of a different viewpoint, it will most of the time result in them thinking actively and carefully about what you’ve said and how it compares to their pre-existing beliefs and thoughts.
(Yes, even if they’re stuck in their old beliefs… they’ll still think about what you’ve said.)
For example, I run into so many people who think it’s a good idea to run a conversion copywriting test by slapping up a page with 200 words and an opt-in box to see whether or not this whole emotion + logic + irrationality copywriting theory I preach will really “work” for them.
But come on, 200 words?
Not enough to get an idea across. Not enough to convince people you’re worth it. Not enough to make someone fall in love with you.
200 words would only get you to that red, bold “person’s” I highlighted under my first sub-heading.
Clearly not enough to explain this theory to you, and I’m not even trying to sell anything.
Google doesn’t even like you if you’ve only got 200 words.
But these people think they only need 200 words because they think no one reads anything online.
Of course, you and I know that’s not true, but they don’t.
They’ve been sorely and unfortunately misinformed by people who haven’t actually done the tests themselves. (If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post about long vs. short copy on KlientBoost a few months ago.)
So if I want to change their minds about this to make them realize that this 200 word test idea isn’t going to work, it isn’t enough for me to feed them happy emotions and make them feel good about long-form content.
No. They’re already indoctrinated.
I’ve got to show them logical arguments. They need to see real statistics, even if they don’t want to. And I need to show them real case studies of how long copy not only converts better, but actually makes more money to boot.
Why Staking Your Claim Logically via The Elaboration Likelihood Model is So, So Important
(Even if You Know People Already Disagree With You)
Here’s where we talk about the HOW & WHY The Elaboration Likelihood Model works.
In the above example, the “elaboration” part of The Elaboration Likelihood Model is me presenting the data and hard logic in favor of my belief that longer copy sells better than shorter copy.
So now the “likelihood” part has to come into play to make it work.
And this is where we borrow another bit of brain psychology, called cognitive dissonance.
“Drawing from the cognitive dissonance theory, when people are presented with new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values, they will be motivated to eliminate the dissonance, in order to remain at peace with their own thoughts.”
(Again from Wikipedia. This isn’t high school. I set my own rules now & I say it’s totally legit to use Wikipedia as a reference.)
So for example, cognitive dissonance would happen when one of the 200-word soldiers came across my writing and realized that his core beliefs about why only writing 200 words on a landing page were off.
He might have thought it was the best idea ever and preached at everyone to shorten their content because 90% of people don’t make it past the 200 word mark when they bounce.
But what happens when he sees that reverse-engineered copywriting that doesn’t use jargon actually gets 50% of the site visitors to the 900 word mark? And that instead of a measly 2% converting, 15% actually converted?
And that with a sales page with more explanations and social proof, people opted for higher-priced options instead of the bargain deals?
None of that matches his previous beliefs that he held so strongly to, yet he can see that they’re all true. So now he’s got some cognitive dissonance going on.
Cognitive Dissonance Seals the Deal
The thing is, cognitive dissonance is really uncomfortable to have racing through your mind.
And since we’re such creatures of comfort, our brain races to find ways to reconcile the old beliefs with the new information so we don’t have to deal with that discomfort anymore.
Which is exactly where persuasion happens. Where your prospect actively and happily changes their mind in your favor.
And LOGIC did it, not emotions.
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