People don’t want to feel in control.
People NEED to feel in control.
And if we can’t actually be in control, then we at least need to feel a sense of it.
“The need for control is a biological imperative for survival. The perception of control is not only desirable, but it is likely a psychological necessity.”
- Rutgers research study on control, Born to Choose
And to feel a sense of control…
A person must be able to choose.
“Choice is the vehicle for exercising control,” writes Rutgers psychologist Lauren Leotti. “When an individual chooses actions that lead to the desired outcome, the experienced contingency results in the perception of control.”
In other words: making a choice + getting what you want = having a sense of control.
So, as a copywriter, how can you leverage this psychology to sell things?
You can start by using two words in your calls-to-action:
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The words are “Feel free…”
“Feel free to use the coupon code above for 10% off your next purchase.”
“Feel free to fill out the form below to get your sample in the mail.”
“Feel free to book a demo with me next week.”
The words “Feel free” suggest to the reader — consciously or otherwise — that taking action is, ultimately, her decision, her choice.
And that dose of empowerment, subtle as it is, can be persuasive.
Hotwire.com built an entire national campaign around this tactic.
Except they used the words “No Pressure” to achieve the same effect:
A sense of control is proven to drive response.
Feel free to use it in your next CTA.
No pressure, of course.