There’s a famous study that proves the pervasive, persuasive power of “the reason why” in copywriting and marketing.
Yes, the study is 40+ years old.
But it’s still cited to this day, because it taps into human behavior, demonstrating the power of “because” and “why” when it comes to compelling action.
Human Experimentation that Proves “Reason Why” Copywriting Works
In 1977, Ellen Langer used a library as her laboratory, and humans as her guinea pigs.
The experiment went like this.
When someone was just about to start using a copy machine, her researcher would approach the victim, then utter one of three lines:
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”
The results of this simple experiment have gone down in history.
- The first statement resulted in 60% compliance.
- The second, 93% compliance.
- The third, 94% compliance.
These astounding results have been cited over and over by marketers around the world, for good reason.
Adding reasons compels action.
Going from this study, it doesn’t seem to matter what the reason is.
What matters is that people need a reason to perform an action.
Tell Your Customers “Why,” Because They’ll Be More Likely to Buy
Translated into business terms, adding a reason can overcome objections around, for instance:
- The price tag
- Product quality
- Your product vs. the competition
- Your brand’s mission
Because your customers are skeptics, they always doubt and object to every claim you make.
Imagine we’re selling a financial newsletter that promises 344% annual gains or your money back.
Here’s some context for both examples below:
“I’m offering my newsletter at a massive discount. Even though I could easily charge $1,000, $2,000 or more every year for such a service…”
Now, compare these two options:
- “You can get it today for only $49 per year. Order now and we’ll rush you your free reports in the next 24 hours.”
- “You can get it today for only $49 per year. Now, you may be wondering — why so cheap? The bottom line is that if I charged those rates, I’d be alienating the very people I’m trying to help.”
These are just off the top of my head, but you can see the logic.
The second reason tackles reader objections regarding the price point, which seems absurdly low compared to the potential gains.
Add a reason because it gets better results.
Why does it get better results?
Perhaps because emotion buys, but logic justifies.
If logic overpowers emotion, no purchase.
In fact, justification was so important that it is called “reason why” copy.
One way to inject “why” into your copy is to use the “So what?” exercise.
During one of your editing passes, simply ask yourself, “So what?” for each section of copy.
This simple exercise should help you tackle any objections that the reader may have.
And, most importantly, it should skyrocket your conversions.