4 P's of Persuasion

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4 P's of Persuasion

What are the 4 P's of Persuasion? Meaning.

4 P's of Persuasion is a framework to formulate persuasive written messages.

The 4 P's of Persuasion consist of a framework designed for written communication typically used by journalists although also applied in marketing, advertising and corporate communication. It might be used also in oral communication such as video or audio messages. The 4 P's of Persuasion are a persuasive technique that suggests to stress some critical points, the 4P's, to generate convincing, forceful, powerful, seductive and strong messages. See also: Persuasion Theory and Persuasion Principles.

The 4P's stand for Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push:

  • Promise: the first part or phase of a text has to grasp the attention of target receivers. The promise should be contained in the headline and then continued in the aperture of a message. The promise, and thus the headline of a written message, is the most important part because it is the first chance to bring a reader to read your message. The promise should contain the most important reasons why a reader should read your text.
  • Picture: in this stage the promise and its benefits are explained in more detail with a descriptive language that should stimulate visual memorization: a reader starts imagining pictures representing the content of the message. An effective way is to describe benefits and let the reader imagine them in his specific context; for example, if the text is promoting an armchair, the reader imagines himself sitting in a comfortable armchair. In the Picture phase a writer leverages images description to keep a reader emotionally interested in the content.
  • Proof: here the reasoning is supported with proof, using statistics, research, graphs, charts, testimonials or any other supporting tool. Preferably provided by third parties. Here it is fundamental to demonstrate that the benefits that were  promised will be truly delivered. In the reader’s mind the focus shifts from an emotional to a rational interest needed to achieve a full acceptance of the message . The acceptance could be the purchase of a product, the endorsement of an attitude or a behavior, etc… Many commercial messages fail at this stage because they lack credible proof that can support the first two phases of the message.
  • Push: this phase should deliver an exceptional offer, and then ask in a direct way for a purchase or action by the reader. The push is obviously a key part of any persuasive written message. In this final part of the message the reader should realize the business sense of your proposal as it has been meant by the writer. Any persuasive message must take the push-ending into consideration from the beginning. And when it is time to push, at the closing, it is needed to draw connection lines between your promise, its benefits, glowing pictures, strong supporting evidence and the concrete actions required to start enjoying the benefits. The push phase is aimed at explaining once again and, in a more explicit way, why the reader should do what your asking. The key of persuasion is understanding: so make sure your target has really understood what you are trying to tell. If a text is delivered to the right target and the arguments supporting the message are strong and understood, the acceptance is likely to follow. A common mistake of many sales and marketing people is to assume their prospect have understood.

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Compare with: Pyramid Principle  |  Bait and Switch  |  Validity Effect

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