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  • Writer's pictureAvanlee Fisher

How to Use Rhetorical Techniques to Actually Persuade Your Audience

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Business man speaking persuasively to prospect while gesturing at tablet

The messages that we send to our audiences—whether in the form of an advertisement, social media post, or blog—have the power to influence people, or not. A lot of business owners have passion for their business, but no amount of conviction can persuade your audience to actually do something or buy something. Furthermore, no matter how true the message is, truth doesn’t always win over people’s loyalty either. So, how can you actually influence your audience or your customers?


Yep, we are going back to high school English class! Logos represents the rhetorical device of logic. Many people appreciate the reasoning behind a message—but pure logic doesn’t always win over hearts in the end. Logos appeals more to those who use central route processing (make decisions based on their mind) than those who use peripheral route processing (make decisions based on their emotions, or ‘heart’). Therefore, it is essential to ask yourself two questions before incorporating logos into a post or advertisement: Does my audience of interest primarily include central-route thinkers, or peripheral route thinkers? Do I want potential customers to choose my brand because it is logical, or because it appeals to their emotions?

If you feel that your audience will be best swayed by logic rather than emotion, then start appealing more to the logical side of your service or product. What benefits does your service or product offer to your customers? Why should they choose your business over other brands? What is the data or science behind the efficacy of your service or product? By answering these questions for your audience, as well as avoiding illogical statements or logical fallacies, you will be much more capable of convincing them to purchase your product or service.


But what if your primary audience of interest tends to include peripheral route thinkers rather than central route thinkers? Then it is time to incorporate the rhetorical tactic called pathos. Pathos is defined by a message that appeals to emotion rather than logic. While emotion can seem a little superficial at face value, it can actually be very persuasive and important. For example, if you have ever donated to a cause or bought a product because a cute, little kid walked up to your doorstep and begged for your contribution, then you were persuaded by pathos.

A great way to incorporate pathos into a post or advertisement is by helping your customers connect their personal narrative to your product or service. You want these potential customers to identify with your business and feel something as a result of seeing your message. How does your product or service solve a problem? What will your customers feel after experiencing your product or service? How might your customers benefit themselves, their families, or their communities by purchasing your product or service?


Do you remember what ‘ethos’ means? Ethos denotes ethical appeal. In other words, is your message credible, reliable, and trustworthy? Does your audience feel that they can ethically and reliably purchase your product or service? Or might your potential customers worry that they are not actually getting something worth the money they are spending?

One great way to appeal to people’s ethical concerns is through transparency. No, you don’t need to tell your customers your business secrets, but you do need to allow for open and honest communication. In your message, make sure that your audience knows who your are, that your products and services are wholesome and genuine (as long as they actually are!), and that people can reach out to you with concerns. Prove to them your expertise and the quality of your products or services. Build their trust in you.

Persuasion really isn’t purely about the message. It has a lot to do with how you convey your message. Given that different audiences relate better to different types of messages, do your research ahead of time to actually get to know your audience and what their expectations are. Are your potential customers more concerned with logos, pathos, or ethos? Doing so will ensure that your message may appropriately and successfully cater to your audience of interest and, therefore, increase your capacity to persuade.

Blog articles are great ways to help appeal to your customers’ need for logical, emotional, and ethical connections to your brand.

Click here to learn more about how InContext Creations can help you claim your space on the web and connect with your customers.


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