They're the holy grail of persuasive techniques. I'm talking about the principles discovered by Robert Cialdini.
They're so popular that any marketer worth his salt will tend to give you this bit of advice if you inquire about how to persuade: Start with the incomparable principles of Robert Cialdini.
But, there are a slew of other techniques.
Other principles to persuade. Other options to consider. And other methods to try.
And those others are what we’re going to examine. Starting with a principle known as the focusing effect.
What is the focusing effect?
This is the premise on which the focusing effect is built: We can only pay attention to a few things at a time.
We've touched on this before in other posts but it's worth saying again. Always remain true to the idea of simplicity. Why? Because customers don't want to put in excessive effort to figure out what they should do on your website. Your job is to make it clear. And if it's not, prospective customers will be lost.
Imagine you're surfing the web and you see an appealing product ad. The ad copy is so persuasive that you're convinced you should go to the website to learn more. But, when you arrive on the product page you see an oversized logo, images out of place and a clashing color scheme.
And as you take in all these distractions you forget why you even came to the website in the first place. So, instead of trying to figure things out, you do what 9 out of 10 people in your position would do… You hit the back button and return to your previous activities.
This happens often on websites. Visitors are taken aback by the chaos on the page so they leave websites, never to return.
And what happens in the rare chance that a visitor does stick around? They’re still not likely to make a purchase because they don’t know what to do in the midst of all your distractions.
To avoid any confusion, keep everything simple. Include only the necessary elements on your website that support your design and help clarify your message.
Because, when visitors arrive on your website, you literally only have seconds to impress them. They will determine within a few short seconds if they want to stick around or leave.
They arrive on your website judging your company and products by what they see presented on the page. So, all your elements must work together to ensure a seamless user experience.
Customers also have preconceived notions. They expect specific traits and characteristics from websites in certain industries. If these are not met, confusion will be the result.
Online persuasion tips to help customers focus:
Keep the focus on only a few elements.
Put emphasis on your unique value proposition.
Highlight the areas that make you different from your competitors.
Emphasize the difference your product or service makes in customers' lives.
The next persuasion technique we're going to look at is called context-dependent memory.
All about context dependent memory
This is what context dependent memory states: we tend to forget things when we're out of context. I'll illustrate it this way.
Let's say you're in the kitchen and you decide to make a smoothie. You know your blender is packed away in the garage so you go outside get it. And as you step foot in the garage you turn on the light, look around, and all of a sudden you forget why you even came out to the garage at all. Then you stand there for a few seconds and still can’t remember so you head back into the house. But the minute you re-enter the kitchen it hits you: "I was looking for the blender."
I'm sure you can relate to a situation like this.
It's called context dependent. We tend to forget things out of context and recall them more easily when the original contextual cues are present.
Now let's apply this to advertising. Retargeting ads allow you to show your products to visitors who left your site without purchasing. As people browse other websites, your ads will be displayed reminding them to go back to your site and purchase your products.
So, use contextual cues in your retargeting ads such as the logo, colors and fonts from your website. These will help jog your customer’s memories and make them recall your products.
Online persuasion tips to help customers remember you:
Keep your online presence consistent across all advertising channels.
Use contextual cues to make customers remember your website.
With recurring visitors, use cues from their previous visits to jog their memories.
The last persuasion technique we're going to look at today is called self generation affect/effect.
The 411 on the self-generation affect/effect
The self generation affect/effect is plain and simple: If we figure things out ourselves, we like it better. It's similar to the IKEA effect where our own physical labor causes us to appreciate things more.
Think of a cake you labored to bake from scratch. It will always taste better to you because you’re the one who made it. Or consider a table you took the entire afternoon to build. You will likely revel in its beauty and appreciate it more than anyone else because you put in the effort to build it.
But this principle doesn't only apply to physical effort. It encompasses ideas too. And we tend to like concepts better when they were thought of by us.
The flip side of the self generation affect/effect is it causes us to be overly committed to our own ideas. Sometimes to the point where we refuse to consider any other alternative.
Now let’s apply this principle to online marketing. If you want customers to swoon over your products, customize them as much as possible. There’s nothing people want more than products/services tailored specifically for them.
Online persuasion tips to make customers like you better:
Ask questions in your content.
Survey your customers to uncover why they bought your product.
Listen to your customers as they tell you in their own words what they like about your product/service.
Allow customers to tailor your product so they like it better.