Working in today’s niche markets, we all want to know if there’s a magic bullet. Is there a way to influence your buyers, clients, fans and/or Twitter followers to do what you want them to do? With so many tools to use, decisions have to be made about which shortcuts to take. However, several studies resulted in somewhat unusual findings on what persuades people to act.
The Art of Online Persuasion in 5 Easy Steps
1. Give, give, then give some more.
It should be no surprise that people are more likely to do something for you if you’ve done something for them first. Think about this in your everyday life. Aren’t you more willing to help your neighbor with moving some shrubs if they helped you with your yard work previously? How about when someone asks you to RT or Like something on your Twitter feed or Facebook? It’s human nature.
We all want to be liked and will do nice things to help our fellow man, but we all want our fellow man to do something nice for us, too. Give a lot, and get at least a little back. When you make a request, however, personalize it. Personalized requests are the most persuasive and bring the best response.
2. Offer fewer options.
Too many choices scare people; not everyone is a cut-and-dry decision maker. I’m guilty of giving too many choices, but have learned to curb my offers. The truth of the matter is if you give too many choices people get confused, frustrated and eventually give up; they can’t make up their minds. Offering fewer choices lessens the frustration of trying to figure out which option is best. Studies show that companies offering fewer choices have better conversion rates that those with a large number of options.
3. Build social proof.
Although we say, “don’t talk about yourself”, social proof is not the same. Social proof is a conglomerate of information. For instance, consider your reaction when you see someone with 10,000 Twitter follower, 1500 blog subscribers, 100,000 YouTube views, etc. Our initial response to these numbers is “Wow! They’re hot stuff!” We go look – because we want to know what it is about these people that makes them “hot stuff”.
So, build social proof. Create value for others; write guest posts, share information, interview industry authors, etc. Concentrate on the social media users running in your own arena; these individuals will help you build the most social proof.
4. Build trust.
Social networking – it’s about the people you’re networking with, not you. People need to trust that you aren’t looking for self-promotion. A compliment is always better – and more believable – coming from clients and friends rather than yourself. Otherwise, it just sounds like bragging. Trust is critical to persuading people to act.
How do you build trust? First and foremost, be honest. Now, this doesn’t mean you spill the whole history of your product or service from back in the day. What it does mean, however, is that you share a small flaw in yourself, your product or business. Immediately after, follow with your best strengths.
5. Share the benefits – sort of.
Rather than tell them what they’ll get if they buy your product or service, talk to your audience about what they may lose. Studies have shown that one of the best ways of persuading people to act is by causing them to miss the product/service before they even pay for it.
6. Give them a goal to reach.
Turn your offer into an attainable goal, and then help them on the way to attaining it. For instance, “Introduce 10 friends to our online magazine and get a free subscription – we’ll start you off with two credits, so you only have 8 to go!”
The art of persuasion is a science, capable of being studied, quantified and qualified. This means that pretty much anyone can be persuasive if they study the formula and rules. Learning the formula and following the rules can help you become more persuasive and influential.