• David de Souza

Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage and Sell

Updated: Mar 23


This book uses principles from neuroscience to help you become a better writer. Learn how to use emotions to make your words more compelling. Want to dig deeper than the core principles? Check out:



Core Principles:


I have taken the lessons from 'Persuasive Copywriting' and distilled them into 9 core principles:


  1. Both flattery (and greed) are one of the most powerful motivators. Use them at the start of your copy.

  2. Reveal a secret (or a lie) in headlines

  3. Make a promise that is: (1) Commanding (2) Specific (3) Desirable e.g.Earn your annual salary by working 4 hours a week

  4. Emotions cause buying vs information (that causes analysis). You want your reader to act.

  5. 'You aren't selling the product you are selling the experience of ownership'

  6. Find your reader's pain point and you've found your way into their emotions.

  7. We make a snap emotional decision to buy a product. We then look for information to rationalize our decisions.

  8. If your product stimulates the senses, then describe how.

  9. The do/don't of adjectives and adverbs (TIES):

  • Don't TELL how great something is, let the reader decide.

  • INFORMATION, not emphasis

  • EVOKE the emotional response you are looking for. Do not describe your emotions. Readers do not care how the writer is feeling.

  • SHOWING. Don't say it was night: show the reader it was night by saying "the moon reflected in the lake"

Remember These Core Principles:


I've condensed the core principles into an image, making memorization easier. Use this image, its caption, and Quizlet as a memory aid to help you remember the 80/20 from this book:

I experience pain when I sense you flatter and promise secret TIES by rationalize buying CDS

Q: What does 'experience' refer to? A: 'You aren't selling the product you are selling the experience of ownership'


Q: What does 'pain' refer to? A: Find your reader's pain point and you've found your way into their emotions.


Q: What does 'sense' refer to?

A: If your product stimulates the senses, then describe how.


Q: What does 'Promise' refer to?

A: Make a promise that is: (1) Commanding (2) Specific (3) Desirable e.g.Earn your annual salary by working 4 hours a week.


Q: What does 'flattery' refer to?

A: Flattery (and greed) are one of the most powerful motivators. Use them at the start of your copy.


Q: What does 'secret' refer to?

A: Reveal a secret (or a lie) in headlines.


Q: What does 'TIES' refer to?

A: The do/don't of adjectives and adverbs (TIES):

  • Don't TELL how great something is, let the reader decide.

  • INFORMATION, not emphasis.

  • EVOKE the emotional response you are looking for. Do not describe your emotions. Readers do not care how the writer is feeling.

  • SHOWING. Don't say it was night: show the reader it was night by saying "the moon reflected in the lake".


Q: What does 'rationalize' refer to?

A: We make a snap emotional decision to buy a product. We then look for information to rationalize our decisions.


Q: What does 'buying' refer to?

A: Emotions cause buying vs information (that causes analysis). You want your reader to act.


Q: What does 'CDs' refer to?

A: Make a promise that is: (1) Commanding (2) Specific (3) Desirable e.g.Earn your annual salary by working 4 hours a week


Let me know how these summaries can be improved? Contact me via Email (david@thisdomain.co) or on Twitter



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The 80/20 of Worldly Wisdom: