Micro Oiseau | free marketing and translation guides for micro entrepreneurs and startups

#5 Be Persuasive: How to advertise

Choose the right words and pictures

Persuading someone to buy from you takes two key things.

The first is to talk and write in their ‘language’. Not just their native tongue (although this is a huge help!), it’s about using the right words, images and tone of voice to attract people looking for what you are selling.

The second part is to reinforce their buying decision by making them feel it’s a good choice, whether that means they feel:

more organised
more fashionable… or, maybe just more fun!

Not including your grocery shopping, what was the last thing you bought? Why did you choose it in particular? What influenced you? Do you remember how you felt when you bought it?


Deep within our brains is the amygdala. Part of the limbic system, this area has been identified by neuroscientists as governing our emotions, as well as playing a role in decision making.

So if you want to persuade someone to buy something, you need to think about how to influence the way they will feel about making that decision.

You want them to feel good enough to make it a habit.

Successful persuasion is not just about WHAT we say, it’s also HOW we say it and WHY.

Combining visual signals AND emotional response.

Think back to our branding guide and the importance of understanding why you are in business. If you don’t understand your motivation, your values and what sets you apart from your competitors how is anyone else going to know?

The ‘why’ of your business should sit at the heart of your advertising. It will help you engage and build trust, and make an easy buying decision for your customers.

In fact, everything you do as a business plays a role in persuading your customers to choose you. Everything.

When we persuade our customers to buy from us, they are placing their trust in us to deliver. When we deliver on our promises, we can build loyalty and a good reputation.

Before modern print advertising arrived in the 15th century with the invention of the printing press, ancient Egyptians created papyrus posters; Romans painted their walls; others used song, poetry and stories to advertise. Since the 15th century, by and large, nothing much changed until the invention of the postal service, radio, film, television and, today, the Internet. What makes the Internet a phenomenal sales tool is that anyone with an internet connection can advertise, not just to their town or region, but to the world. Some with much more success than others, and here’s why:

When we read information, two things happen:

  1. The words create pictures in our minds (visual)
  2. We feel attracted or repelled (emotional)

Both these things happen within milliseconds and repeat thousands of times a day as we are bombarded by a near constant flow of information and advertising all around us. Even when we look for something we really want, and are more focussed on what we are reading, the process is the same.

When we see a picture, our brain’s respond even faster.

That’s because our brains process images much faster than words, especially if our reading skills are poor or we are reading an unfamiliar language. It is true what they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and we process the information much faster too.

Now we know why it is worth getting BOTH the words and pictures we use to promote and persuade right. It’s a powerful combination, so, let’s look at the words first.

The key to successful persuasion – using the right words to advertise

Big bird - Be Persuasive: how to advertise - use the right words and pictures - Micro Oiseau

Along with ensuring that you are using the right tone of voice for your customers, if you remember nothing else, remember this: people are only interested in themselves.

Whether it is donating to a charity, or buying the latest iPhone, it will be THEIR interests and THEIR beliefs that drive that buying decision. Think of this as their VALUES.

The key to successful persuasion is being able to match all the benefits you offer to your customer’s values, supported by evidence to build trust.

A house builder

Customer Benefits
Safety certificates
Multiple languages
Free quotations
Client Testimonial
Guaranteed work

Customer Values
Easy communication
Buy local
Builds trust
Evidence to build trust
Evidence to build trust

A rural holiday home

Customer Benefits
Countryside location
Solar panels
Pets allowed
Close to leisure lake
Guest reviews

Customer Values
Peace and quiet
Animal lover
Outdoor activities
Evidence to build trust