Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques – Part 5 (micro-commitments)

In this episode of Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques we’re going to touch on the concept of using micro-commitments. Why they work, and how we can use them to make our sales copy more impactful.

Let’s start with why they work…

When people make a commitment to an idea, or a belief, it becomes very difficult to change their minds without creating internal conflict or anxiety.

The name for this feeling of discomfort is called “Cognitive Dissonance”, and it can be an extremely powerful force in our lives.

Part of the reason it’s so powerful is because most of us like to think of ourselves as intelligent, rational beings. And few people want to admit when they’re wrong (even to themselves) about a committed belief.

In fact, when given the choice between defending a faulty belief, or admitting ignorance and changing our paradigm… Most people immediately get busy putting up their defense.

So how can we use this natural human condition to our advantage, when writing persuasive copy?


5. Have them make micro commitments

Micro-commitments can often be as subtle as gaining simple agreement about something.

For example: If we’re selling pet supplies, a simple question like “Do you love your pet?” can get your reader to say (or think) “yes, of course I love my pet”.

And from there we can continue with something like… “If you love your pets, like we love our pets, then you want them to be happy and healthy, right? That’s why our_______ is the perfect choice for pet lovers who…”

So in this example, we’ve attached their “yes” commitment (the fact that they love their pet) to our next sentence… the desire for keeping their pet happy and healthy. (which should elicit another nod of agreement from our reader)

And we’ve also implied that we are the same as them (because we love our pets too) which helps build rapport, and makes their decision to stay with us feel even more intelligent and rational to them.

One small note here: If they don’t love their pets, then we’ll probably lose rapport at that first question (which is fine by me, because I don’t like anyone who doesn’t love their pets. And I don’t want to deal with them anyway)

Now, as weak as the above example is, it still shows how a small commitment to a way of thinking makes it easier to continue along the path of agreement. And this can start to engage our reader.


Of course this is all easier in face-to-face selling because we can gain agreement by simply talking about something physically in front of us. And we can also gauge the body language of our audience, to see if we need to change direction with the conversation.

But in writing a sales piece or advertisement, we don’t have that option. So we need to anticipate how our audience will respond to our questions.

If we can get 2 or 3 “yes” commitments from our audience, then they’ll start to form a cognitive belief around what we’re saying. Because they’ll be agreeing with their own beliefs.

At that point, their own desire to avoid cognitive dissonance will begin working in our favor.

Pretty cool stuff, right?


Another powerful way of getting micro-commitments is to have our audience physically engage with our writing.

This can often be achieved by having our reader contact us for more information, or sign up for our free newsletter. Which in turn allows us to follow up and build a relationship with our soon-to-be client.


The concept of “sales funnels” is built around the idea of micro-commitments


A simple (online) example of this would be…

1. We place an advertisement in front of our target audience. This ad could ask a question or make a bold promise, but either way the purpose is to get people to take the physical action of clicking on the ad (clicking the ad = micro-commitment)

2. When they click our ad, it brings them to a landing page. Of course we can choose to make this a full sales page, and move right in for the quick sale. But more often, the landing page is an “opt-in” page where we offer something of value in exchange for the visitors contact info (at least an email address) so we can follow up with them. (giving us their email = micro-commitment)

3. And then we follow up with our email marketing (email marketing is a full length topic for a whole other post) But basically, the more we can get people to engage with our emails (open our emails, reply to our emails, click a links in our emails) the more engaged they become with us. (engaging with our emails = micro-commitments)

The point is, when people make small commitments to agree with us, or engage with us, it builds in their paradigm that we must be worthy of their time.

And micro commitments are cumulative. Which means the more of them we gain, the stronger they become. And the easier it is for people to trust us.

Once they start to form a belief around their commitments, it becomes harder for them to change their minds without creating conflict or anxiety in their own belief system. ( Cognitive Dissonance)

Of course this is all a simplified explanation of how and why micro-commitments work.
But do you see just how powerful this technique can be for your persuasive writing?

In conclusion… When you’re writing your next sales piece, think about how you can get your reader to make a commitment, even a small one, that you can build upon with more micro-commitments.

Then watch how easy it becomes for your visitors to make bigger commitments. (like saying “yes, I’ll buy what you’re selling”)


Now dear reader, I’ve come to a crossroad in this series of Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques. I have so much more to share with you, but these posts are starting to look more like chapters in a book instead of single blog posts. So I’m ending this series and I’m going to write a book instead.

If you have any interest in reading such a book, then just let me know. Because your interest will give me motivation to finish it, and publish it.(you can contact me directly, or just add a comment on this page)

Either way, I’ll still continue to post other interesting stuff on this website for your education, entertainment and/or reading pleasure.

So until next time,

Here’s to writing more persuasive copy, more often.


All the best,


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