Does Your Marketing Have These Persuasive Basics?



A couple of months ago my fifth grader came home with an assignment. The directions read, “Create a thoughtful, one page advertisement in color that shows the dangers of smoking.” The instructions provided a list of items the ad had to include.

You may find yourself dismissing a grade school assignment as a mild amusement. After all, it’s the stuff of childhood nostalgia — lunch room antics, art projects, chalk dust and the unadulterated joy of summer vacation. Let me assure you, it’s much more.

The need for marketing efforts to succeed runs high. Knowing the basics of persuasive strategy isn’t an ought-to-know…it’s a must.  It’s astonishing just how much money is spent on material that fails to make the grade. Is your company producing B grade marketing? If you want to ensure your efforts are worthy of an A be sure your piece has:

A Catchy Title

A headline is the single most important component of your marketing piece. Headlines serve multiple functions. It’s a reader’s first encounter of you or your brand. It’s a promise of what’s inside. And finally, it grabs a person’s attention and will (hopefully) get them to read the next sentence. Use the 3 – 30 – 3 rule. A person will give your marketing piece about three seconds of their time. In those moments he or she will determine if it’s worth any more. If yes, your reader will give your ad/email/web page/booklet 30 additional seconds. If they continue to find it compelling, you will get roughly three more minutes when they will decide to read it more thoroughly or scrap it.

Make a guess as to where those critical first three seconds are spent. That’s right, your catchy title.

The 3 Greeks

Pathos. Pathos represents an appeal to a reader’s emotion. There are many different ways you can achieve this. Using stories, creating a metaphor or calling attention to powerful feelings such as insecurity, doubt, love, vanity or nostalgia are all quite effective. Can you find where I used pathos in this article? It’s subtle.

Logos. Many argue that becoming infused with emotion while being led to make a decision is manipulative. This is why logos is important. To the Ancient Greeks, logos is an appeal to logic and reason. These are the facts, the analysis and the sensible reasoning portion of a communication piece. Case studies, white papers, frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, content-driven sell sheets — these are all ways to position your solution as the logical answer.

Ethos. Let’s imagine a reader has been touched emotionally and agrees with the logic of the marketing message. Without ethos, that reader will take their consumer intentions to another company. Ethos is an appeal to credibility. Your credibility. If you don’t give a prospect proof of your expertise and character, your credibility will be questioned. Achieve ethos with testimonials, success stories, blogs, articles, speaking engagements and coordinated branding.

Pictures or Drawings

Images are powerful. They add instant depth and personality to a communication piece and serve as a visual magnet to a potential reader’s eyeballs, heart and mind. The power of images explains the explosive popularity of infographics. Many people don’t realize that your font or typeface also falls into this category. Here’s some reliable advice from someone whose professional success depends on good design.

Keli DiRisio is a design professional who specializes in graphic design and typeface for Realty 3 and DiRisio Builders. She uses her talents to give remarkable value to their clients by providing custom, professional design to market each and every client’s home. DiRisio points out, “A lot of people don’t understand typeface and what it means. It conveys a mood and a feeling.” For example, if your company is selling tractors to a construction outfit, a light, flowing script won’t be appropriate. In the absence of pictures type becomes your imagery. DiRisio offers up a single piece of golden advice when evaluating your typeface, “Stop thinking about what you like and consider what your client would like.”

Class Dismissed

Congratulations, you can feel confident that you know the persuasive marketing basics. Now, as soon as you dismiss yourself from the workday go outside and enjoy summer vacation!

Photo Attribution: © Keith Bell |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *