Why does Apple have so many fans?
Of course, Apple seduces with simplicity and clean product design.
But its sales copy is almost as seductive as its design. Apple’s copywriters know how to captivate their audience and how to sell with words.
Shall I show you their 8 most seductive copywriting techniques?
1. Write for both scanners and readers
Web visitors usually don’t read word for word.
According to usability research by Jakob Nielsen, 79% of test users scan a page. They read a few words here, and a couple of sentences there.
So, copywriters need to ensure that people scanning a page still get their key messages.
Even better, good copywriters entice web visitors to stop scanning and start reading more detailed product information.
Follow the inverted pyramid: Present the most important information first, and put the least important information last.
Here’s how Apple does that …
1. Put the big messages first
Using huge fonts and eye-catching imagery, Apple communicates the 4 key messages for the iPhone 14 at the top of the page:
Big and bigger.
Our longest battery life ever.
A huge leap in low-light photos.
(Yes, they spell wonderfull with double l; more about this later.)
2. Use subheads to communicate key information
Apple uses a lot of subheads, and these subheads tell the key story, guiding web visitors through the sales information.
Even if you read only the subheads you get the gist of the sales pitch. For instance:
Crash Detection calls for help when you can’t.
A huge Plus for battery life.
21% more screen. Now that’s big.
Home movies that look like Hollywood movies.
3. Create a clear information hierarchy
For instance, after announcing the Crash Detection in their subhead, Apple explains how it works in one sentence:
iPhone 14 can detect a serious car crash, then call 999 and notify your emergency contacts.
And then web visitors are encouraged to click to learn how Crash Detection works in detail. Here’s one detail:
A new high g‑force accelerometer senses extreme accelerations or decelerations up to 256 Gs.
To write for both scanners and readers, create a clear information hierarchy. Use your headlines and subheads to communicate key messages, and entice web visitors to start reading more detailed information.
2. Follow the FAB formula
A common trick of persuasive marketing copy is to communicate both benefits and features:
- Benefits explain to customers how a product will improve their lives and that’s why they may want to buy (e.g., sensational looking pics, even in low light)
- Features explain how a product delivers those benefits, and that’s how features help justify a purchase (e.g., a bigger sensor and larger aperture)
However, often the link between features and benefits isn’t clear, and that’s why Apple uses FAB: Features – Advantages – Benefits.
For instance, a bigger sensor and larger aperture [features] let in 49% more light [advantage] so you can make sensational pics, even in low light [benefit].
Read Apple’s copy and you’ll find many more examples of the FAB formula. For instance, this is how they explain how the new Adaptive TrueTone flash works in one sentence:
The new Adaptive True Tone flash adjusts the pattern and intensity of nine LEDs depending on the focal length of the photo, so your subject always appears in the best light.
You see? The feature is Adaptive True Tone flash; its advantage is that it adjusts the LEDS; and the benefit—what it means to users—is that the subject in your photos always appears in the best light.
A clear explanation of features, advantages, and benefits makes your copy more credible, more interesting, and more persuasive.
3. Overcome hesitations one by one
To be persuasive, it’s not enough to explain the features, advantages, and benefits of your product.
You also have to anticipate why people may hesitate to buy, and then overcome such hesitations. For instance:
Get our best battery life ever on iPhone 14 Plus. And awesome all-day battery life on iPhone 14.
The potential objection is that the extra features may drain the batteries of your iPhone but Apple reassures us: The battery still lasts all day.
Here’s another example:
iPhone 14 Pro uses 100% recycled gold wire in all its cameras to reduce mining of precious resources
If you’re worried about the mining of precious metals, Apple’s copywriters reassure you: All gold wire is 100% recycled so don’t worry about the environmental impact.
(Of course, they won’t tell you that keeping your old phone for longer is an even better way to save the environment.)
Do you know why customers might hesitate to buy? Don’t pussy-foot around such hesitations. Address them head-on in your copy.
4. Boost your credibility
Can people trust your claims?
If you want to suggest that your product is better, faster, or more durable, then you have to prove your claims. For instance, when Apple suggests their battery life is better, they back it up with facts:
Up to 26 hours video playback on iPhone 14 Plus
Up to 20 hours video playback on iPhone 14
And the copy also claims more sensational shots in low light, and they back up this claim not just with photos but also with facts:
Up to 2.5x better low‑light photos on the Main camera
Up to 2x better low‑light photos on the Ultra Wide camera
Eyetracking studies suggest web visitors fixate on numbers because numbers represent facts. Moreover, numbers stand out as they’re shaped differently from letters. So, if you can prove your claims with numbers, use them and write them as digits.
But you can’t always prove your points with numbers. So what then? Use customer testimonials or detailed descriptions to boost your credibility.
Here’s how Apple copywriters explain why you can shoot better pictures in low light:
Tap the shutter and the new Photonic Engine goes beyond what the camera alone can do. It merges the best pixels from multiple exposures at an earlier stage than ever before. This preserves much more image data to deliver brighter, more lifelike colours and beautifully detailed textures in even lower light.
Good copy is concise but it also educates potential buyers. So, don’t skip technical details. Instead, explain how your product works, and where possible, use numbers (written as digits) to prove your claims.
5. Focus on your customers
Your sales copy is about your product, right?
People don’t buy a product; they buy a better life.
So, customer focus trumps product focus.
You may think Apple’s copy is about the iPhone but the words you and your are used twice as often as the word iPhone. In the copy I analyzed, the words you and your were used 41 times while iPhone was mentioned only 20 times.
For instance, the following 4 short sentences use 31 words in total, and you(r) is used 4 times:
iOS 16 lets you customise your Lock Screen in fun new ways. Layer a photo to make it pop. Track your Activity rings. And see live updates from your favourite apps.
And the following 38-word sentence uses you(r) 5 times:
App Tracking Transparency lets you decide which apps are allowed to track your activity — it’s just one example of how iPhone is designed to put you in control of what you share and who you share it with
Can you almost picture yourself holding the iPhone in your hands, feeling in control? This effect gets even stronger when there’s vivid imagery, such as:
Whether you’re filming while hiking up a rocky trail or chasing your kids through the park, try Action mode for smooth handheld videos.
Good copy doesn’t sell a product; it sells a better life. So, let readers imagine what difference your product can make to their lives.
6. Become memorable with soundbites
Soundbites are easy to remember because they use poetic techniques like rhyme, repetition, and contrast.
What’s more, research suggests that statements that feature rhyme may be perceived as more trustworthy and more believable.
No wonder Apple uses rhyme!
The iPhone 14 copy features alliteration (the first letters of subsequent words are the same):
Dynamic Island blends fun and function like never before
For jaw-dropping cropping.
Purposeful repetition can have a similar effect to rhyme, adding power and pizzazz:
Love the power.
Love the price.
At school you may have been told that repetition is bad. But word repetition is only jarring when it’s done by accident.
Apple’s copywriters choose carefully which words to repeat. In the two examples above, the power words your and love are repeated. Such purposeful repetition adds a nice beat to the writing while stressing important words.
A third poetic trick is to add drama with contrast. For instance, Apple’s copywriters contrast bright whites with true blacks:
OLED technology delivers incredible contrast for bright whites and true blacks.
The text becomes almost magical when repetition and contrast is combined:
Much more detail. In much less light.
The rhythm of the writing feels so pleasant, you might almost forget that Apple is trying to sell you something.
Good copywriters understand the principles of persuasion. They know how to translate features into benefits, how to overcome objections, and how to prove their points.
But good copywriters also harness the power of words. They know how to add a dash of fun, create a pleasant rhythm, and how to up the power of their words with repetition, rhyme, or contrast.
7. Be human
Contrast, repetition, imagery, and rhyme all add a touch of poetry to Apple’s copy.
But the writing doesn’t feel overly polished thanks to colloquial language, making the copy feel more human:
Even with soooooo many new capabilities, iPhone 14 Pro still delivers amazing all‑day battery life.
It expands fluidly to get your attention — Hey, you have a call coming in — then tucks away again.
Apple’s copy is both smooth and playful. So playful, that made-up words and phrases are used, such as:
A camera in a class by itselfie.
Apple has created a strong voice that exudes both style and humanness. It suits their simple, clean design.
Apple’s copy is impressive but we don’t all need to emulate their voice. What kind of voice resonates with your audience? How can your voice express your (brand) personality?
8. Create a pleasant rhythm
Apple’s copywriters vary the length of their sentences to create a pleasant rhythm.
Moreover, the copy harnesses the power of three. Three is the smallest number of creating a pattern, and patterns please our mind. For instance:
More detailed details. More colourful colours. More epic pics.
You can touch and hold to control your music, and even see your location in Maps while texting with friends. Easy. Intuitive. Delightful.
How iPhone feels, hears and measures a crash.
Apple shows us that even in sales copy we can invoke the magic of three. Add a dash of flair. A dollop of beauty. A sense of poetry.
Read your copy aloud. How does the rhythm sound?
How to become a better copywriter
One of the best ways to improve your copywriting skills is to study good copy.
See whether you can figure out why copy is persuasive, and why it sounds so good—just like I’ve done here for you.
There are no pushy internet marketing tricks here.
Just good copywriting.
Apple’s copy shows you how to captivate your audience and how to be persuasive.