5 Scientific Tips To More Persuasive Marketing

Contrary to what some might think, the human brain does not like making logical decisions. Over time we have developed cognitive shortcuts to save mental energy. People use these shortcuts for decision making more than they think and are usually unaware they are even using them. Decision science is the practice of understanding these shortcuts and structuring offers and processes to take advantage of them. The key take-away for me from Nancy Harhunt’s impressive session at SXSW 2015 was that consumers are not always rational and that decision science provides valuable insight into the choices people make.

5 Science based tactics for more persuasive marketing:

1. Offer “social proof”

The actions of others inform what decisions you are comfortable making. You’re more likely to buy something you see someone else buying as you take this as evidence that the value, quality or utility are good. Shopping malls create a social environment that surrounds you with social proof scores of other people buying in general, and more specifically buying the same brands or products you are considering. Replicating this phenomenon with your online sign-up or e-commerce purchase processes can positively effect conversion rates. Provide plenty of social evidence by including customer testimonials or emphasizing the number of people that have already signed up or bought from you.

In a past post at FLIPP.ca I explained the opportunity of providing “social proof” through using curated crowd sourced product images on your e-commerce pages.

2. Loss aversion

Psychologists have proven that people are more motivated by the desire to avoid loss/pain than by the desire to achieve gain. Pain is twice as psychologically powerful as pleasure. The most effective marketing messages often emphasize the downside of life without a product or service, rather than emphasizing the benefits of life with them. Consider showing the other side of the coin in your campaigns. The miserable, empty, new jean free side of the coin 🙂

3. Emphasize the new and novel

For survival, humans have evolved to detect novelty and change. What is different about the immediate situation that could be a threat? Even though all the saber-toothed tigers are gone decision science shows we are still primed to dedicate attention to the novel.

Eye-tracking tests confirm that we’re automatically drawn to words that suggest a change like: “new,” “now,” “announcing,” “introducing,” “discover,” “finally,” and “soon.” You can significantly improve your click-through and open rates by using these words whenever reasonable.

4. Keep it simple

“Cognitive fluency” is the notion that people prefer things that are easy to understand and judge them to be more accurate. When you want people to feel comfortable making decisions, remove the cognitive clutter. Keep marketing messages and creative concepts single focused. Communicate one thing then give a clear and complimentary call to action.

5. Commitment consistency

A common mental short cut is to keep doing what you are/have been doing. Once you’ve said yes to something once, even a small request, you are more likely to continue to act in a way that is consistent with that commitment. This phenomenon is the basis for the foot in the door sales technique where an initial simple ask like signing up for a newsletter or accepting a free trial can get a prospect moving down the path to becoming a customer. Try it.

This is one of five posts which were also published at FLIPP.ca on the some of the top insights I gleaned from SXSW 2015. More to come tomorrow. Read the rest at here.

Follow me on Twitter @trevorjurgens to be notified when new posts come out.

Your Website is Better With Social Content

Once upon a time before Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards your website was likely the beginning and end of your online marketing. But these days you may focus more on your Facebook timeline than your landing page. What if you could put all the social activity you’ve worked so hard to stimulate to good use, improving the effectiveness and profitability of your website?

As social media publishing matures, and the tools evolve along with it, smart marketers are integrating social content into their web experience to engage visitors and drive sales. Way more (and better) than a feed of the latest tweets, social content is being included in-line as part of the overall content mix. User generated images, tweets and videos are being automatically pulled from Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be displayed on home, community and product pages. Traditional assets like product shots are being replaced by their user generated cousins.

What’s in it for you?

Social/User generated content ticks many of the boxes for what makes web content effective in general, with the added benefit of being created by your most passionate brand evangelists. User generated content can be a great addition to your website because it’s:

Sticky and Novel: We’ve all had our inner voyeur pull us down a social media rabbit hole. Social content keeps people looking longer. And the promise of something new with each visit gets people coming back more frequently.

Timely and Adaptive: Social content captures your products in the season, style or meme of the minute. Rainy days bring pictures of rubber boots and sandals fill the feed when it’s sunny.

Compelling for Selling: What is more convincing, a stock product shot or an authentic pic of your product in action? Social content means social proof. According to HubSpot, more than 8 in 10 Gen Yers say social content from people they don’t know influences the way they buy and indicates brand quality.

Social content can even be “productized” for “social selling”, linking directly to e-commerce pages. Leading retailers like Urban Outfitters are using Curalate to create and manage shoppable community driven catalogues around #UOONYOU. Imagine making your most passionate customers your best sales people.

Abundant and Economical: Producing quality content takes time and resources. A steady stream of new free content is out there to compliment your in-house efforts, you just have to funnel and manage it. Promote a hashtag as part of your overall brand strategy, set up your filters and watch the content flow in.

Cooperative and Inclusive: Your marketing team can’t be everywhere at once but your customers, ambassadors and staff can. Empower them with a hashtag and let the people living with your product every day have a starring role in your brand story, wherever they are. You’d be surprised, Steve in accounting makes great Vine videos.

Things to Consider

When done properly integrating social content on your site can deliver big benefits. Consider the following to make sure it clicks and gets people clicking.

Presentation: First thing, is your overall site experience set to impress? Next, is your social content integration on point? Simply “plugging in” your social content can distract rather than delight. A widget with tiny Instagram thumbnails can do more harm than good. Invest in web development that accentuates the social content in a way that feels like it belongs.

 Rockefeller Center has used #topoftherock content in a way that leaves an impression that’s more about their brand than Instagrams’.

Moderation: Don’t let the unfettered firehouse of social content loose on your webpage. The results can range from embarrassing to disastrous. Use a system that lets you quickly and reliably handpick the best bits and filter the rest.

Speed: Make sure the task of curating and sharing content does not become another “to do” that never becomes a “done”. Help yourself succeed. Don’t try to publish manually, use tools that let you moderate and publish fast. I’ve personally found TradableBits’ “Stream” to be a great tool for the job. Publishing can’t be instantaneous, find the pace that’s reasonable for you and your community.

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Location: Can you use social content beyond online? Live events and retail locations are the perfect place to showcase your brand and fans via curated social content. Why not make your community part of the atmosphere and animate your spaces with their photos? TEDx Portland used Postano and guest generated content to colour the auditorium for their 2014 conference.

How are you using social content on your website? Well, poorly, not at all? Is it distracting or compelling? Are you capitalizing on all the social activity around your brand? Why not? We’d love to hear your comments. Tweet me @trevorjurgens.

#lovelives in Calgary! #yycflood

#lovelives in Calgary! #yycflood

While this was a serious event effecting thousands including my parents whose yard and basement are underwater we all know life will go back to normal eventually if we take care of each other.

Native Calgarian Stewart Cummings http://malevoiceover.ca/about/ and his (relatively) recently transplanted girlfriend Rachel Zylka http://calgaryaba.com lent their love to the project.

Love Lives! Be strong Calgary and stay safe. 

Albertan in Vancouver

Given that I won’t be back to my native Alberta until Stampede season and a good friend Stewart was visiting from the prairies, I decided I would do some traveling around Vancouver with an Albertan if I couldn’t travel in Alberta myself! I was going to be hitting a bunch of local attractions anyway collecting stamps for my Tourism Vancouver Passport and figured I’d bring the camera along to work on my indoor photography skills using a new 50mm lens. It turned into an exercise in high clarity post photo tweaking in Lightroom but I am happy with the results. Let me know what you think and drop me a line if you need a photographer!

Canada Place Sail Fabric Up-cycled for Pop Rocks, part of VIVA Vancouver

If you are in downtown Vancouver between now and September 3, 2012 you can take a load off and lounge in comfort with Pop Rocks, a collection of giant organic shapes made from up-cycled building materials including re-claimed sail fabric from Canada Place. For the annual VIVA Vancouver which transforms a section of Robson street into a car free, pedestrian and community friendly space. Read Canada Place’s blog post here: http://www.canadaplace.ca/Media/Blog/2012/8/13/Pop_Rocks

Here are a few teaser photos I took as the Canada Place representative for the project along with some bonus shots of Lululemon’s SeaWheeze event and gorgeous summer weather in Vancouver.

Sun Rising on Pop Rocks

 

Pop (Rock) Art

De Brand in De Sun