11 Persuasive Copywriting Tips I Learned from Donald Trump

As a copywriter, I’m in the persuasion business. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing, my job is to convince you to take action.

Buy a product. Click on a link. Enter your email address. Open an email. Share a blog post. And so on.

It makes sense for me to to learn about persuasion from others who are great at it.

Let me ask you something. How do you feel about Donald Trump? Do you think he’s the savior of mankind? Do you think he’s the harbinger of its destruction?

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the phenomenal success of his presidential campaign. Every passing day, it is more and more likely that Trump will secure the Republican nomination.

Media pundits, heralding his doom ever since he announced his candidacy, were all wrong.

Except for a tiny group of social commentators and media personalities.

In the news, “has Donald Trump finally gone too far?” has been replaced by “Donald Trump is the inevitable Republican nominee.”

Ever wondered why?

Scott Adams, creator of the ‘Dilbert’ comic, has been writing about Trump’s mastery as a salesman since last July.

Mike Cernovich, best-selling author and firebrand social media personality, is another who predicted Trump’s success.

Using his understanding of the current socio-cultural climate in America:



And his understanding of marketing:

A year on and after the fact, political pundits are re-packaging (plagiarising) Cernovich’s and Adams’s commentary and insights.

Trump openly acknowledges this mastery over his voter base. Look at how he describes his supporters.

I mean, here’s a guy who can refuse to denounce the Ku Klux Klan and still come out unscathed.

Instead of being dismissive, I got curious.

I’ve been studying his antics for the better part of 6 months.

Feels over facts: how we make decisions

Trump’s secret to success can be found in our brains.

We are cognitive misers.

Our brains avoid the energy-draining process of using logic and reason, in favor of faster, more efficient decisions using emotion.

Humans behave irrationally, even though we’d like to believe otherwise.

Don’t turn your nose up at it; you do it too.

Why do people support him?

Take a look at why people support Trump.

Mark Cuban:

I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.

Kid Rock:

My feeling: let the motherf*cking business guy run it like a f*cking business. And his campaign has been entertaining as sh*t.”

Tila Tequila:

“Guys, seriously. Wake up, open your eyes. Trump is the man.”


Mike Tyson:

Let’s try something new. Let’s run America like a business, where no colors matter. Whoever can do the job, gets the job.

Hulk Hogan:

I don’t want to be in the ring with any candidates. I want to be Trump’s running mate.

Stephen Baldwin:

Well, he fired me twice…But I think he’s fantastic…That’s why he’s surging in the polls. He’s saying what he thinks.

Dennis Rodman

Charlie Sheen

Azaleia Banks


Notice something?

All of them justified their support with emotional reasons.

If you ask Trump supporters why they support him, this is the most likely response:

He tells it like it is.

Donald Trump Persuasion Copywriting

How the hell does he do it?

Here are 11 persuasion tips you can learn from Donald Trump and apply to your copywriting.

1. Sell Benefits, Not Features

Trump follows the cardinal rule of sales.

He’s not selling you a product. He’s selling you a better version of yourself.

We’re going to make America great again.

2. Keep it Simple

According to the Flesch-Kincaid readability score, Trump speaks at a 4th grade level.

Master Persuader Donald Trump

He uses small words and short sentences. He speaks in very black-and-white terms. He uses words that invoke powerful mental imagery (huge, terrible, low-energy.)

Don’t mistake this simplicity with a lack of effectiveness. According to several experts, inspiring, persuasive speech is often very simple.

Watch this in action:

3. Perception is Reality

Trump constantly reframes events to fit his narrative and shift public perception in his favor.

Last July for example, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, called Trump and asked him to tone down his rhetoric.

The next day, however, Trump reframed the call as congratulatory.

4. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Trump gains acceptance for his ideas through simple repetition.

This is a classic, scientifically proven sales technique.

Trump takes this to the next level:

5.Be Relatable

Have you wondered why Trump has so much support among the masses of middle America?

Here’s a privileged white guy who grew up rich, went to school at Wharton, and is wealthier than 99.9% of his supporters. He talks like them. On purpose.

Democrat or Republican, in an age where trust in politicians is at a minimum, it is not hard to see the attraction of that blunt aspect of the New York image…It’s a quality that can be profoundly appealing. – Michael Newman, linguist at Queens College

Can you imagine how much support he’d have if he spoke like this?

6. Be Funny

Trump regularly uses humour to deflect criticism and win over an audience. It’s extremely hard to dislike or even disagree with someone who makes you laugh.

Here are two situations when he uses humour brilliantly. The first is World-famous.

Notice how Megyn Kelly is right (he even acknowledges it) but by the time she corrects him, it doesn’t matter.

Her point was drowned out and the audience was ready to accept his justification (it was only a joke) because he made them laugh like that.

Next, watch him flip a boo-ing audience into a cheering one.

7. Create Conflict

When selling, it’s not enough to push customers towards your product.

You also have to have to pull them away from your competitors product.

What’s a good way to differentiate yourself in a market of same-y products?

Joanna Wiebe, copywriting maestro and IRL Peggy Olson, says that you should start a fight.

Since he announced his presidential run, conflict has been a part of Trump’s identity as a candidate.

Trump is ‘not a politician.’

Trump ‘can’t be bought.’

Trump is ‘calling out the biased media.’

Trump is a ‘winner and America will start winning again if they elect him.’

And so on.

8. Exaggerate for Contrast

Trump’s uses superlatives and hyperbole to create what’s called an adaptation level.

He’s not just going tackle immigration, he’s going to build a HUGE wall and put a temporary BAN on Muslim immigration.

America doesn’t just have problems, it’s “going down the drain.”

China doesn’t beat America in trade, “they kill us.”

The Iran sanctions deal wasn’t just bad, it was “the most incompetent deal I’ve ever seen negotiated.”

9. Use Psychological Hacks

Trump routinely relies on our cognitive biases to generate support for himself and his ideas. Here are three examples.

The Halo Effect – Trump supporters believe that because he is a wealthy and successful businessman that he will be just as successful in the Whitehouse.

Suvivorship bias – It doesn’t really matter that Trump isn’t as successful or as wealthy as he claims, all you see are the towers, hotels and resorts that are still standing.

The Availability Heuristic – It also doesn’t matter than an American is more likely to die being struck by lightning than dying in a terrorist attack. San Bernardino happened and that’s why Trump is right about his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslim immigration.

10. Use Social Proof

Trump is always talking about his poll numbers and the huge crowds he pulls.

He also name-drops. This doubles as an appeal to authority.

11. Use Stories, Not Logic

Our brains like stories a lot more than cold, hard facts.

Have you noticed how Trump loves to tell stories?

He uses anecdote to argue his case, not reason.

Want to learn more?

Do you want to deep dive into Trump’s persuasion?

Read The Art of the Deal and Think Big and Kick Ass by Donald Trump.

Read Scott Dilbert’s blog (everything with the ‘#Trump’ tag) and Donald Trump’s ‘Growth Hacking’ Playbook (Unofficial), by Samuel J. Woods.

Watch these two breakdowns of Trumps persuasion techniques by Charlie Houpert.

Master Persuader Donald Trump

You can be a Master Persuader too

Seeing Trump use these persuasion hacks in his speeches, debates and interviews is, in my opinion, better than any textbook you can read on the subject.

You can use these persuasion hacks to see significant improvement in your personal and professional relationships.

Your speech will work magic on your family, friends and coworkers.

Caveat: these techniques are extremely powerful, so only use them ethically.

Don’t use them for evil.

One final disclaimer. I don’t support Trump or any other U.S. presidential candidate.

I don’t even care about the outcome of the election.

My interest in Trump is purely academic.

How many of the above persuasion techniques did you see me use in this article? Let me know in the comments.

6 comments… add one
  • Lloyd Jan 21, 2017 @ 7:06

    This is absolutely brilliant. So brilliant it taught me what I didn’t know I needed to know.

    I read Cernovich and Adams. I never got the insight I just did. Pointing out the context made it seem so obvious, thank you.

    • Nabeel Azeez Jan 21, 2017 @ 7:12

      Lloyd, my man. Really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. Thank you.

      Cernovich, Adams, Robbins, Trump. They’re all connected. They’re drawing from the same well.

      • Lloyd Jan 21, 2017 @ 7:18

        I don’t know who Robbins is. Mike and Scott’s work is definitely gold, they do great work. I just never leveraged their lessons into being a better writer.

        #2 and #5 have been right in front of my face. I never realized it.

        You used them yourself and I saw it in action. Thanks again, Nabeel!

  • Jamual Jan 21, 2017 @ 21:20

    Read this around August 2016 when Trump was all over TV screen. And it really broke down why people voted for him.

    Cause right now, he’s the most persuasive guy around.

    And this article shows all his tips and tricks.

    And I’ve also been using these tips in my daily life to be more persuasive as well..

    Good post. Good stuff.

    10 outta 10!

    • Nabeel Azeez Jan 22, 2017 @ 5:21

      Jamual, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. Salute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.