If you’re a Barefoot Writer, your biggest goal is to entice your readers to take the desired action you asked of them in your copy.

Maybe that is to opt-in to an email list, or call a number, or click an order button.

If they do, that’s influence.

Influence isn’t an art, but a science. And it’s not a singular skill, but more of a toolbox.

The most successful writers have a number of techniques they use to influence their readers. Here are just a few quick principles on how to be more persuasive and increase audience response in your writing.

Tip 1: Authority is more powerful than independent thought.

A famous experiment by Dr. Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s found subjects willingly (if hesitantly) torturing others in response to the instruction of a “doctor.”

Of course, this person wasn’t a doctor at all. He just appeared to be one, thanks to a lab coat and a clipboard.

In your writing: Make the spokesperson for your copy someone your audience views as an authority figure. Consider using professionals (like doctors, lawyers, and so forth) or someone who’s an expert in their field.

Tip 2: In the face of uncertainty, people look for social proof.

When people aren’t sure what to do, they look to see what others are doing. This is how social norms are formed.

So it makes sense that when it comes to purchasing, people often look to see what others’ experiences are with the product or service in question before deciding to try something themselves.

In your writing: Include testimonials, case studies, and real-life examples to show the reader what your offer can do for them.

In addition, don’t let the reader be uncertain about what to do! Always give a clear call to action.

Tip 3: Scarcity is a highly compelling market force.

Most people prefer avoiding loss. That is why scarcity is so powerful. Prospective buyers realize that if they don’t act soon, they’ll miss out on the opportunity.

In your writing: Limit your offers, either in quantity or by the length of time they’re available. Incentivize people to act quickly by including bonuses or special pricing for a limited number of customers.

Tip 4: People want their words and actions to be consistent.

To say something and then behave in a way that’s inconsistent with that feels uncomfortable.

Imagine you’re writing about a weight loss product. You might ask the reader a series of questions aimed at getting them to acknowledge they want to lose weight.

When it’s time for them to purchase, they’ll be more likely to buy the product because doing so is consistent with their acknowledged desire to be thinner.

In your writing: Ask your audience for micro-commitments. For example, ask them to sign up for your free email list. Then ask them to make a slightly bigger commitment, and so on.

You’ll turn many readers into buyers as they continue making their actions fit their words.

Tip 5: A bigger request often leads to agreement with a smaller one.

Start out with your biggest request first. The person on the receiving end may say no… in which case you can make a smaller request. (And then a smaller one after that, if necessary.)

These later offers will seem like no big deal compared with what you initially asked for, and your audience is more likely to do what you want.

This doesn’t work as well the other way around. If you ask someone for something and they decline, they’re less likely to agree to a bigger ask.

In your writing: Include some down-sells in your sales copy. The reader doesn’t want to commit to a yearlong membership? Offer a shorter trial at a lower price. They don’t want to buy the premium package? Then offer the standard package — and maybe even a “lite” package if they decline that.

These smaller offers will seem like a bargain compared with the initial offer, making the reader more likely to say yes to one of them.

Ready to try these tips to increase audience response?

Knowing how to increase audience response in your writing is a valuable skill. The key to using techniques like these is to do it in a positive way. Promote products and services you believe in, and remember that you’re trying to help people.

Now get out there and influence!