The Psychology of
How to choose the right words and composition for maximum impact
Choose Words That Are Easy to Imagine
Customers need to imagine your product to simulate the value they would receive from it
Replace Vague Benefits With Concrete Examples
Vague benefits are difficult to imagine.
Tailor Your Words to the Scenario
Customized responses are more persuasive.
Offer Relevant Applications of a Product
Concrete examples (e.g., fruit) are more persuasive than broad examples (e.g., food).
Immerse Readers into the Hypothetical Behavior
Depict a hypothetical scenario of the desired action.
Depict Information With Positive Frames
Negative frames instill a mental image of the negative event.
Distribute Semantically Related Words
Each word will strengthen activation for the related words.
Remove Meaningless Words From Product Descriptions
Products seem more expensive (yet worse in quality) when described with unfamiliar words.
Construct Sentences With Active Voice
Active sentences position causes before effects, a sequence that matches our real-world experience.
Bind Sentences With Connective Words
Connective words maintain the flow of mental imagery.
End Sentences With a Concrete Image
"When are you leaving" is better than "What time are you leaving at?"
Begin Sentences With the Previous Object
Sentences are easier to read when they start with the mental image from the end of the previous sentence.
Constrain Your Writing to a Single Interpretation
Arrange your words so that only one interpretation is possible.
Convey the Message Using Linguistic Traits
If your sentence is depicting something as easy, the sentence itself should be easy to read.
Bring Descriptors Closer to Referents
A chair seems more comfortable when the words “chair” and “comfortable” are closer together.
Sequence Words in Alphabetical Order
Something just feels right, and we attribute this feeling to the semantic meaning.
Portray Actions With Imperfect Verbs
Imperfect verbs (e.g., was painting) are more vivid because they depict ongoing actions.
Diversify Your Words, Syntax, and Emotions
Inject variety into your writing.
Alternate the Phonetic Flow of Words
You read by speaking words inside your head. If something is hard to say aloud – Red leather, yellow leather – it will be hard to read.
Delete Exclamation Points
If you need an exclamation mark to convey excitement, your writing isn’t exciting enough.
Existing Customers Prefer Humanlike Descriptions
Loyal customers prefer humanized words (e.g., intuitive, elegant) because they identify with these products.
Isolate Segments With Different Needs
Create separate pages for each customer segment so that you can address their specific needs.
Emphasize Their Autonomy in the Decision
People are less likely to comply if they believe that you are trying to persuade them.
Describe the Benefits Indirectly
Communicate safety with certifications and endorsements, rather than telling customer your product is safe.
Mention Drawbacks of the Behavior
Readers prefer “two-sided arguments” that describe the benefits and drawbacks.
Ask Rhetorical Questions
Rhetorical questions are persuasive because they generate an implicit response.
Demonstrate an Impact on Other People
Hospital staff were more likely to wash their hands when a message framed the benefits toward patients (vs. themselves).
Keep Waiting Periods From Passing a Round Number
1:58 PM feels much sooner than 2:01 PM
"125% More" Feels Like "25% More"
A "more" percentage (e.g., 125% more) feels like an "of" percentage (e.g., 125% of).
Choose the Right Type of Scarcity
Each type of scarcity (supply, demand, time) affects behavior in different ways.