Over 2300 years ago in ancient Greece, Aristotle documented a complete strategy of rhetoric. To this day it remains a remarkable handbook to the art and science of persuasion. For starters, look at Aristotle’s analysis of persuasive appeals, and you’ll see how relevant they are to this day.
Persuasion, according to Aristotle, is brought about in three ways. Ethos (the character and credibility of the persuader), Pathos (appeal to emotion), and Logos (appeal to reason)…
Ethos – According to Aristotle, our perception of a persuader’s character influences how believable or convincing we find what they have to say. By establishing your ethos early in the sales process, you multiply the effectiveness of the pathos and logos that follow.
Aristotle identified three main things that inspire confidence in a speaker’s character. The audience invariably asks, (either consciously or subconsciously) “Is he or she of good sense, good moral character, and goodwill?”
Good sense refers to the speaker’s experience, track record, and qualifications. Good moral character refers to that person’s perceived honesty and integrity. And goodwill refers to the speaker’s disposition toward the audience. The more powerfully you can communicate these things in your marketing, the more persuasive your sales message becomes.
Seven proven ways to strengthen your Ethos …
- Exhibit testimonials from satisfied clients and endorsements from recognized experts that attest to your abilities and character. What other people say about you has far more weight than what you say about yourself …
- Display your empathy for the prospect. Show that you share the prospect’s feelings, or have shared them in the past and therefore understand what they’re going through …
- Demonstrate your advocacy for the prospect’s interests, and put yourself together with them against a common enemy. If you would have a client, first make a friend…
- Prove your goodwill toward the prospect by giving valuable guidance for free, right in your marketing. Give them a taste of the Kool-Aid …
- Present your sales argument clearly, concisely, and personally. Show them air-tight logic, facts and figures, one point building upon the next…
- Follow through on the promises you make in your marketing. Say what you do, do what you say …
- Make your motives transparent. Tell your prospect why your business and offer exist …
How to trigger just the right Pathos to motivate your prospects to action…
Pathos – Aristotle wrote extensively about methods of arousing an audience’s emotions and appealing to their self-interest and sense of identity. He realized that people’s actions are dominated by their emotions. People naturally bend toward actions that are advantageous to them and that make them look good in the eyes of others.
Aristotle’s rhetoric is replete with detailed insights into the human emotions and exhaustive instructions on what an orator should say to evoke anger, friendship, fear, shame, kindness, pity, indignation, envy, and other emotions.
For example, in book ii, chapter ii, anger is defined as “an impulse, accompanied by pain, felt towards an individual or group of individuals, accompanied by a desire for revenge. It is also attended by a certain pleasure, because the thoughts dwell upon the act of vengeance, and the images then called up are pleasurable.”
Here is a great example of a pathos driven headline that leverages this anger dynamic. It’s taken from arguably the most exhaustive study of modern day control beating copy ever done, The Steal These Secrets Swipe File.
Clayton’s headline and deck copy read…
Do you see how this copy mirrors Aristotle’s definition to a tee? It mailed in the millions.
Logos – Logos is the argument itself, the explicit reasons why a given conclusion should be accepted, supported by facts, figures, and testimony. An argument is based on a series of premises that taken together form a conclusion. If this and this are true, then that must follow.
The opening copy from the CoQ10 Conspiracy – another blockbuster control from Clayton Makepeace, available in The Steal These Secrets Swipe File – has an excellent example of a lead that leans heavily on logos. It uses several of the dozens of figures of speech outlined in Aristotle’s Rhetoric.
Here’s the opening few paragraphs, beginning on page 3. See if you can pinpoint the clever interleaving of ethos, pathos, and logos in this copy…
By Michael Cutler, M.D.
Energy is life.
Without sufficient energy, your muscles lose their strength and stamina – you lose your “spunk” – your “get up and go”. Fatigue… lethargy… depression can take hold of you, and your life begins to pass you by.
You can feel that kind of an “energy crisis” in your bones!
And when you feel that way, you can bet your bottom dollar that something else is happening inside you – something insidious.
You see, your body is made up of 100 million cells. Every kind of cell and tissue in your body – your skin, hair, eyes, and ears… your cartilage, joints and bones… your brain, heart, lungs, liver and other organs – needs enormous amounts of energy every hour of every day.
Without plenty of energy, your cells can’t heal, keep you healthy, or give you the energy, strength and stamina you need to enjoy life.
Do you know where this cellular energy comes from?
If you said, “from the foods I eat, and the nutritional supplements I take”, you’re only half right.
Food and nutritional supplements do provide the fuel your body needs to generate energy. But that fuel can’t produce a single calorie of energy until you burn it – your body needs a “spark” to turn nutrients into energy.
Think: What would happen if you filled your car’s gas tank with gas, but never turned the ignition. How much energy would all that gas produce?
NONE – right? Unless you turn the key, and let the spark plugs ignite the fuel, your car produces no energy at all.
The same is true with your body. You can eat all the right foods, and take all the right vitamins – but unless your body has plenty of “spark” to help your cells burn that fuel, there’s NO WAY they’re going to have enough energy to heal you, fight illness, and energize you!
My name is Dr. Michael Cutler. As a medical doctor and scientist, my mission in life is to help you thrive. And I know for a fact that a healthy diet, supplemented by key nutrients can give your body what it needs to heal you, ward off illness, and energize your life.
So why do so many health conscious folks make healthy choices, take all of the right supplements, and still feel lousy?
Simple. They’ve loaded up the gas tank with plenty of nutrients. But they’re woefully deficient in the ONE thing their body needs to USE all that energy. It’s called Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – the spark your cells need to turn fuel into energy!
The higher your CoQ10 levels, the longer you’ll LIVE!
Now, in Aristotle’s day, if you were his student, you would begin by copying out that lead in your own hand.
Next, you would be required to parse the various figures of speech. For example, the opening sentence, “Energy is life” is what’s known as a horismus (a clear, brief definition).
The second paragraph, “Without sufficient energy, your muscles lose their strength and stamina – you lose your “spunk” – your “get up and go”. Fatigue… lethargy… depression can take hold of you, and your life begins to pass you by” is a sorites (a chain of claims and reasons, which build upon one another).
Eventually you would graduate to imitative exercises where you would be required to recreate the form of the original, but with new content… or transpose the content of the original to another form.
And thus, you would learn to “swipe” the persuasive elements of the master orators.
Fast-forward some 2,300 years…
A case study in the art of swipe…
How might we swipe the form of a piece of copy that we know was very successful and graft it onto a different product or service?
Let’s see. Right now, I have a browser window open at a site called Hypertracker. It’s an ad tracking software. Here’s the headline…
“Detonate Your Website And Chop As Much As 90% Off Your Marketing
Expenses When You Can Accurately Pinpoint Your Most Productive Ads,
Visitors Or Products – Quickly And Automatically, 24 Hours A Day!”
Just for fun, let’s see if I can splice Clayton’s CoQ10 lead onto this product.
Step 1 is to map out the logic used in Clayton’s CoQ10 lead. Here it is… “Energy is life. Energy = fuel (food and supplements) + ignition. CoQ10 is ignition.”
Step 2 is to look for a similar chain of logic that can be applied to the product we’re trying to sell. Here’s what I came up with …”Sales conversion is the lifeblood of your business. Sales conversion = A great offer + killer copy + (targeted) traffic. Hypertracker is targeting.”
Now it’s a simple matter of substitution, plus the odd tweak here and there. Here goes…
Sales conversion is the lifeblood of your online business. Below a certain percentage, your cash flow dwindles…
Your product development is then dead in the water. Your marketing crippled. And your operations costs start sucking you dry. Every day brings you closer to bankruptcy.
Frustration… stress… and disappointment are your constant companions, as your dreams of autopilot riches fade to black.
Do you know what factors come together to make sales on your website?
If you said, “a great offer, traffic, and persuasive sales copy”, you’re only partially right.
These things do provide the basic fuel your website needs to produce sales. But that fuel alone isn’t enough – your website needs a “spark” to set your sales on fire!
Think: What would happen if you filled your car’s gas tank with watered down gas? How would it perform?
Your car’s engine would just cough, sputter, and stall – right?
The same is true with your website. You can have the greatest offer since sliced bread, buy all the traffic you want, and have the best sales copy money can buy – but unless you know exactly which ads and keywords are giving you the “spark” that makes your sales explode – there’s NO WAY you’re going to be able to engineer the conversion percentages you need to make your business thrive.
My name is Simon Gabrowski. As one of the world’s leading Internet marketing software developers, my mission in life is to help you build a flourishing online business. And I know for a fact that with a great product, plenty of traffic, and highly persuasive sales copy on your website, you can still make a fortune on the Internet today.
So why are so many online marketers who have these things going for them coming up dry?
Simple. They’ve loaded the gas tank with watered down gas, because they don’t know which ads and keywords are converting like crazy, and which ones aren’t.
That’s what my new Hypertracker software tells you – it’s the spark that sets your sales conversion on fire! Because when you STOP spending money on traffic that doesn’t convert – and pour that money into traffic that does – you START running your website on pure fuel. It’s like pouring gelignite in the tank. Your sales go nuts!
In just a few minutes you can put together a new piece of copy, simply by swiping the form from an existing control and substituting the content that’s relevant to whatever product or service you happen to be working with.
Even the top pros do this. Martin Conroy’s famous Two Young Men as for the Wall Street Journal – said to be the highest grossing piece of copy of all time – was in fact swiped from an ad that ran decades earlier.
Is it any wonder The Steal These Secrets Swipe File is such a coveted resource?
Don’t go online without it.