After setting the stage with your logo, color scheme and visual display, as discussed in part 1 of this blog series, play close attention to your website’s copy. Copywriting is all about persuasion and an appeal to human memory through the written word, which may seem like a difficult task for some. Consider the psychological implications of copywriting, however, and you’ll find that creating more effective, conversion-oriented copy is simpler than it may appear.
When a statement is repeated, it is perceived by the brain as more accurate than when it is stated only once. This occurs because we perceive it as familiar, and it is thus welcomed in our brains as truthful and trustworthy.
In a psychological study about the effectiveness of marketing statements, one group was asked to judge the truthfulness of statements that were repeated while another group judged statements that were only stated once. The study concluded that people consistently judge statements that are repeated as more trustworthy than when they are stated only once.
The results of this study have important practical implications for marketers, as it indicates a correlation between repetition of product claims and brand recognition. This information can be applied to the copywriting of your firm’s website in a very simple way: Repeat the statements or ideas that you most want your site visitors to trust and remember you by. In this way, you will be more likely to make an impact on their judgments. But do this tastefully — don’t bombard your prospective clients with repetition, as it can be seen as tedious and unprofessional. Instead, write a few lines that you believe embodies your firm’s main goal or its promise to your clients, and feature one or two of them prominently on your website, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Include them in marketing emails and or online ads. This will help boost your brand recognition and maintain a consistent theme across various points of visibility. In this way, your copy will help prospective clients judge your claims, and thus your practice, as more trustworthy than a competitor’s.
Rhyming, you may think, should be reserved for children’s books, songs, and poetry. But there is something in our brains that is naturally attracted to rhymes, so much that we actually perceive rhyming statements as more truthful. Statements that rhyme often flow easily, which is what helps our brains perceive them as true. They may have a better way of phrasing something that seems memorable and universal, in the way that a rhyming proverb sounds authoritative in its universal truth.
Rhyming allows ideas to be conceived more fluently in the brain , allowing for a streamlined understanding of a statement that aligns with what we believe to be true. In a study done in 2000 testing how humans respond to statements regarding human attributes that are rhymed versus unrhymed, the example of the aphorism, “What sobriety conceals, alcohol reveals” was compared to “What sobriety conceals, alcohol unmasks.” Participants indicated that the rhymed statement showed more truth than the unrhymed statement.
You can apply this concept to your copywriting, but don’t overuse it. You don’t want your website to be made up of rhymed couplets. Rhyming a short, yet impactful occasional phrase can boost the character of your copy while making your site more memorable and appear more truthful to those who visit it.
When designing your website and planning the placement of textual information on the homepage, remember that the position of information on a page plays an impactful role on what users remember most.
Readers are scanning the text of a website, not reading everything word for word. Lists, bullet points or small paragraphs are more readily consumed by readers than large blocks of text. But psychological studies have also shown that the text’s position on the page affects how the brain remembers what is featured. A psychological study of serial positioning tested the immediate recall of information stated in lists. Subjects were better able to recall the items that were stated in the beginning and at the end of the list, and what was stated in the middle was remembered least.
When mapping out what textual information you wish to feature on your site, consider the serial positioning effect. Place the information you most wish users to remember at the beginning and end of your website’s homepage. In email marketing campaigns, the first and last lines of your email will be the most impactful .
In part 3 of this series, find out how emotions drive users’ actions, and how you can capitalize on people’s tendencies to make impulsive decisions. Available March 9, 2016.
Cristina Fries works in the content development department at Custom Legal Marketing.