Education

Eight Word Choice Strategies For Influencing Your Target Audience

If the most important aspect of persuading your target audience is identifying who your audience is, then the second most crucial concept is knowing what to say and how to say it.
Word choice isn’t the simple selection of what sounds good. It isn’t picking phrases that are easy to read or are part of a pool of marketing jargon. Choosing the right word is a psychological challenge that any marketing or communication specialist should understand, if even on a basic level.
One of the most influential writers of all times would most certainly agree, and had he not been a pioneer of American literature, he would have made one hell of a creative director. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between a lightning bug and the lightning.”
So now that we’ve established the importance of word choice when trying to influence your target audience, what are some of the foolproof techniques?
The Top 8 Word Choice Strategies for Influencing Your Target Audience
1) Create a sense of urgency. Use words and phrases that allude to a sense of time. Even better – time that is running out. Try words like: now, fast, and last.
2) Show cause and effect. We are all conditioned to this simple philosophy: If y happens right after x, then there’s a high probability that x caused y. Nothing can influence people more than the concepts we’ve always accepted to be true. Try the word: because.
3) Don’t use words; use numbers and facts. Sometimes straightforward science, math, and reason are all people need to help them make decisions. Try things like: statistics and pro/con lists.
4) Let people come to their own conclusions. It works for children, and it can also work for your target audience. Instead of telling them what to do, place your readers in certain situations, educate them, and let them discover what they should do on their own. It might take some time, but the results are everlasting. Try words and phrases like: picture yourself, pretend, or imagine.
5) Be confident. An insecure voice is a voice that cannot secure its audience. People like to listen to the people who are sure of themselves, who are in charge, and who know what to do in a given situation. You don’t have to be cocky, but you do have to know what you’re talking about. Try: words that show your audience that you are in control.
6) Be personal. Tone is important. Also make sure that each and every member of your audience feels like you are talking to them as individuals, not as part of a mass distribution list. Try: using first names.
7) Be concise. People don’t have much time and our attention spans are decreasing by the hour. Be specific, use simple words, and get to the point as quickly as possible. Try: using short sentences of 16 words or less.
8) Be polite. You’d be surprised to know how far a simple “please” and “thank you” will go. For one reason or another, we’ve lost some of our linguistic formality over the last several decades, but the effects of manners still remain. Try: imagine you’re a salesperson in the 1940s selling vacuum cleaners to a room full of knitting grandmothers. Choose your language accordingly.

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