Let’s journey back, to a time where there were balls, courtesies and horse drawn carriages- to a time where the written word had paramount importance.
Why? Because, scarcity tends to have that effect!
When you had to wait for a postman to deliver majority of everything you could read, one tended to take the written word as being sacred. Reading the same article over and over again, getting lost in each and every word because you really didn’t know when the next piece of news would come your way.
The same could be said for advertisements. Don’t believe me? Look at this ad from 1916 as an example:
Do you think this would fly today?
It didn’t matter what you had to read, you still got immersed in each and every word and read it over and over and over again. Because you didn’t have a lot of choices, so, you had to make do with what you got- this made old timey marketers very happy indeed.
The curse of abundance… or is it?
Today, it takes a lot to get your audiences to listen to you, forget listening; it takes a lot for them to even notice that you exist. We live in a cluttered world, everyone who’s anyone writes- whether that’s PR pieces, slide decks, infographics, articles, posts, landing pages- basically the whole shebang.
Some would call it the curse of abundance (I sure just did), but it’s actually a good thing- a lot of the BS tactics that could fly in the past don’t work anymore- you just can’t shove a shiny banner at your visitors and expect them to use your product.
You have to work at it.
Just writing something doesn’t mean that it’s going to sell.
Would this 1920’s ad persuade you to buy this product today?
No, it wouldn’t! What it would do in fact is cause a social media frenzy publicly humiliating this product and its maker.
If you want to have a chance at selling something nowadays- you have to set up entire campaigns to do so- build optimized landing pages with great headlines, prominent CTAs and what not.
Because, with the millions and billions of services and products out there- attracting audiences towards your particular product can be quite challenging.
Challenging but not impossible! All that’s required is a little bit of persuasion.
Persuasion in an art, some would say a lost art and I’m afraid I would have to agree with them.
Not everyone knows how to influence audiences and persuade them to buy what they’re offering.
Luckily, you will once you’re done with this post- which would be in around 10 minutes.
I came across an article published in the Harvard Business Review by Robert Cialdini titled “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion” and I had a light bulb moment, and this is exactly what spurred me to write this piece.
Persuasion isn’t just an art, it’s a science- which means you can actually teach it to audiences with the help of a few principles.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do today- teach you the science of persuasion- what’s great is that the principles you learn today will be showcased with the help of examples- examples that’ll help you build better persuasive landing pages.
The 6 Principles of Persuasion
In his article, Cialdini basically identified 6 key principles of Persuasion:
- Social Proof
What we’re going to be doing in the next section is discuss in detail each principle, its application and how it can be used to build more persuasive landing pages.
The Principle of Liking
People are very easily influenced by people who they like, so if you want to be able to persuade your audience you need to uncover actual similarities between you two and then move in for the sell. While the author draws an example from the marketing of Tupperware, I’ll use a more landing page relevant example.
Because people by nature are biased and they tend to listen to individuals that appeal to them, it’s prudent that you humanize your landing pages and humanize them especially for your target audience.
This includes adding images of “real people” on your landing pages as opposed to shots of dormant objects, individuals that you know share similar traits with your target audience.
If you’re a small business trying to make it big, try adding your own photos on your landing page; when your audience will be able to see you, they’ll be able to relate to you. As a general rule know that images of babies, ladies and attractive people tend to have a better effect on audiences.
A case study done by KISSmetrics proves this point quite nicely. Just by adding a human image and enlarging it to fill up most of the Highrise landing page, they saw a 102.5% increase in conversions.
The Principle of Reciprocity
People tend to repay what they get, so, as a marketer be ready to give your customers what you want to receive from them. This principle of reciprocity doesn’t just signify the exchange of your product for their money, but something that your customers can benefit from.
When it comes to landing pages it means giving something extra to your customers, maybe a free trial or something else that’s complimentary.
The case study from Koozai showcased that EA achieved 128% more signups for their Sims 3 page when an offer of a free new town was highlighted.
This was the original page.
And this was the variation that increased signups.
The Principle of Social Proof
Because people tend to follow others it is wise to make use of peer power where you can. Social proof is something I’ve been talking about for the past couple of posts, and why shouldn’t I? It holds mammoth importance in the realm of both persuasion and landing pages.
Social proof in this context can be seen as testimonials that you should always include on your landing pages.
Testimonials are very persuasive, use them whenever you can.
The Principle of Consistency
People usually align with their clear commitments. Consistency goes a long way because it is when you make your commitments public and voluntary do you really start to see results.
Make sure that your landing page has a singular purpose and that all your landing page elements are then optimized in a way to forward that same goal. Any element that doesn’t fit in with your goal should be removed, this could be a secondary CTA or navigation links on your landing page.
Be consistent with your landing pages and you will reap the rewards.
See this clean and consistent landing page as an example.
You’re tempted to click the CTA, aren’t you?
The Principle of Authority
People don’t just listen to anybody, they listen to experts. This is exactly why endorsements work so perfectly on your landing pages. It’s vital that you get credible and relevant authority websites to recommend your product or service.
Because once you do this, your customers see your product as better and of more value than the rest and so are persuaded to sign up with you.
When Express Watches added an “Authorized Dealer Site” badge on their page it increased sales by over 107%.
This was the original page.
And this is the marvelous variation.
See the difference?
The Principle of Scarcity
Customers tend to want more of what they really can’t have. So, it would do you good to highlight the unique benefits of your product on your landing pages. You can do that most easily in your headline because after all that’s the first thing your customers read, hence, the first chance for you to persuade them.
Include your product’s USP in your headline in a creative way to get added benefits in the form of more conversions.
Basecamp has an interesting and unique headline that’s bound to convince countless customers to sign up.
How many of these persuasion principles do you use in your landing pages?