The Psychology of Persuasive Content

Image for post
Image for post

Let’s face it; there’s a huge amount of dull, generic and uninspiring marketing content online — but that paves the way for creative companies to stand out from the crowd. Great content can immediately pique someone’s interest and influence their thoughts on products and services. It’s all about connecting with the reader on a personal level and taking them on an educational, interesting and persuasive journey — without being cheesy of over-the-top ‘salesy.’

The psychology behind persuasive content is fascinating and is something all marketers should get to grips with before launching a campaign. So let’s find out more.

Psychology of Persuasive Marketing

As the saying goes ‘consumers love to buy, but hate to be sold.’ This is an obvious hurdle for marketers who need to somehow promote and sell their products and services without putting a consumer off for good. In this day and age where online and offline sales competition is rife, people tend to avoid banner ads and switch channels when the adverts come on. OTT marketing immediately triggers their defense system especially in a world where people are used to getting what they want when they want by making their own market research. Unfortunately, many organisations aren’t aware how irritating their marketing efforts are.

As a result, ineffective marketing tactics are used, which causes damage to the value of the brand. Robert Cialdini, a world renowned psychologist, wrote a book called, The Psychology of Persuasion, which puts forwards a basic set of principles that every marketer should follow.

These principles include:

· The Idea of Reciprocity

The idea of reciprocity is to do something for consumers in order to gain their loyalty and respect. Outstanding customer service could include offers and promotions, rewards for completing a certain action, social media campaigns with prizes and shout-outs — anything where the customer feels valued and appreciated for interacting with you as a brand. Remember, everything from well-crafted content to inspiring video clips can all get people ‘on-side.’

· Scarcity

When it comes to marketing psychology, it’s important to know that people want more of what they can’t have. If they think something is running out or an offer is coming to an end, they’re more likely to take an interest. This is similar to the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) theory which is all to do with creating a sense of urgency. So, when it comes to creating really great persuasive content, it’s worth generating hype by setting time limits on your deals.

· Principle of Authority

Would you see a doctor that wasn’t qualified? The answer’s got to be ‘no way’ and the same psychology applies to brands. In order for people to trust your authority you’ve got to build trust and show them why you’re worth investing in. Don’t be afraid to promote your credentials as the more experience people think you have in your sector, the more they’re likely to stick around.

Building Persuasive Web Content

In order to thrive in a competitive space, a well-optimised and persuasive website is a must — and again psychology plays an important role in regards to what you should write and how your website must be laid out and presented to the world. Firstly, it’s really important to look at habits of online consumers to see how they’re likely to interact with your brand.

According to Nielsen Norman Group, approximately 79% of online consumers only scan a page for relevant content; while a mere 16% of readers bother to read it all. This means that your web content will simply be glanced at most of the times. For this reason, you need to appeal to content scanners — as strange as this may seem. Here’s how to capture their attention.

· Bold Headlines with Plenty of Sub-Headers

No one likes reading long paragraphs so it’s a good idea to use plenty of bold headlines and sub-headers to break up text and highlight key points. You should also start paragraphs with the most essential information just in case people stop reading half-way through.

· Use Design Skills

Use creative design techniques to generate interest and prevent readers from getting overwhelmed. Add plenty of useful statistics from credible sources, perhaps in the form of text boxes, speech bubbles or infographics. Images get stored in the brain faster than text, so the more visual content you introduce, the more it will resonate with consumers. You could also play with colours to make your website as attractive as possible. Use images of the highest quality and remember to always include CTA buttons in contrasting colours.

· Use Persuasive Words

How can you encourage people to visit your product page, sign up for your newsletter or buy your product? There are hypnotic words like “Imagine,” “You” or “Because” that have been found to stimulate the subconscious mind and bypass the consumer’s critical thought process. Think of any reason why users would refrain from buying your product and address those concerns specifically.

· Create credibility

In order to set yourself apart from the competition it’s a good idea to talk about awards you’ve received or to feature press articles where others have praised your services. Customer reviews and testimonials work well but make sure they’re real and don’t shy away from publishing reviews that aren’t completely perfect as this will give your brand a sense of authenticity. After all, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

· Be useful

We live in a fast-paced world where people are less impatient than they used to be. For this reason it’s really important to address your target audience specifically and this requires extensive market research. This way you won’t provide irrelevant information and will keep them interested.

It’s also a good idea to offer:

· Credible stats to support any hypothesis

· Real case studies to showcase credibility

· Industry-related news to make you a go-to source of information

· Problem-solving content

· Bullet-pointed, easy-to-read content

· Results of surveys/questionnaires

If you also want to drive up your consumer engagement metrics through effective content strategies, get in touch with Contentworks for a free content audit.

Contentworks is a content marketing agency that's all about telling your story and achieving your goals. Unless you want to climb Everest.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store