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The 4 Main Myths About Online Persuasion

Written by luciafallavena

On May 17, 2020

When people talk about online persuasion, Cialdini is the first name that comes up. 

His 7 principles of persuasion are –

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment/Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity
  7. Unity

– which are well-known and widely used. 

The book is essential to understanding human behavior. However, it was written in the ’80s. During that time, digital marketing was not even a remote idea. Nor was online persuasion and digital psychology.

Thanks to my journey studying Digital Psychology & Persuasion at CXL, it became quite clear that although Cialdini’s principles were important, one cannot solely rely on them in the 21st century. 

Just as Galileo removed the earth from the centre of the universe, the current revolution remove the conscious mind from the centre of human behaviour. (John Bargh, psychologist from the Yale University)

Traditional marketing will never suffice when it comes to engaging and converting consumers. It fails to connect with people at a deeper level of emotion. 

Based on the emotional tie required to persuade people online, these are the four myths that might be holding your company back from converting more leads:

🟧 Myth 1: Online Persuasion = Being Manipulative

Topics about sales & marketing often raise questions about manipulation.

Marketers are surrounded by stereotypes. That’s probably why two out of three CEOs distrust their CMO, for instance.

However, using Digital Psychology to help influence consumers’ decisions and improve online persuasion shouldn’t be seen as manipulation. Especially when you acknowledge that a customer is a dual processing brain.

Are you marketing to the 5% conscious or 95% unconscious part of your customers’ brain? 

online persuasion through the brain

I feel lucky just to know the difference between them. It hugely impacts what I achieve in terms of marketing.

At the end of the day, I want my marketing campaigns to have emotional relevance to my customers. Because I know this is the most effective way to connect and sell to them.

That’s why Neuromarketing and Digital Psychology matters, and you should apply their concepts immediately to your business efforts too.

In addition, as long as you’re getting your customers to a better place in an honest way, leave behind the fear of manipulation.

✔️ The most effective way to address this matter is to think about your integrity.

  • Are your customers going to regret their decisions?
  • Are your actions deceptive as a marketer or company?

If the answer is yes, then you must revisit your values and why you started your business in the first place.

Trust is hard-earned over time, and is lost much more easily than it’s found. 

Keep in mind: the most important online persuasion tool will always be your integrity.

🟧 Myth 2: You Can Persuade People To Do Anything In Your Website

Whenever someone lands on your homepage or gets exposed to your brand for the very first time, there is no trust established just yet. 

If you just landed on a website, why would you…. 

  • Share your email or contact information?
  • Give your credit card number?
  • Provide your very street address?
No alt text provided for this image

⬅️ That’s what Nextdoor and many companies do.

They rely on a landing page to demand higher levels of commitment from visitors who barely know them, risking a reduced conversation rate.

🟡 That’s because no matter how great your content is, trust comes from experience.

So how can you identify the right moment to ask a visitor to perform a certain action on your website?

Match Your Request To your earned Trust Level, Based on the Pyramid Of Trust.

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This is one of the most effective ways to boost online persuasion. You will know the best time to ask and offer visitors something.

Created by the Nielsen Norman Group, it states that the site’s requests and the users’ trust needs must be in equilibrium. You shouldn’t demand higher commitment until you’ve addressed all the trust needs at the inferior levels.

For instance, companies shouldn’t ask for someone’s credit card number if they are still in the lower stages of the pyramid.

This is a common mistake: assuming your customer is on a higher level of trust. Not every customer trusts you enough to provide sensitive information.

✔️ Slow down and build up trust with customers in the first place.

Give them content, provide information that helps build credibility beforehand. Prepare your customer by moving him up a few levels in your trust hierarchy.

🟧 Myth 3: You Must Get Rid Of Less Than Perfect Reviews

Reviews are one of the most powerful forms of social proof. It is OK to have a few bad reviews because it makes you look like a real brand.

Online reviews impact 67.7% of respondents’ purchasing decisions, according to this research from Moz’. However, if your website got a few bad reviews, don’t worry about them. Actually, it’s a huge mistake to try to get rid of your bad reviews.

This recent research from Reevo Blog has shown that people trust a less-than-perfect review more than perfect reviews.

68% of people trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. They don’t look at reviews in isolation; they definitely notice – and become suspticious – if there are no bad reviews. (Reevo Blog)

It’s OK To Have Less Than Perfect Reviews!

✔️ Your reviews should be honest, plentiful, and increase trust. Details bring additional credibility as well. 

🟧 Myth 4: Buyer Personas Always Lead To Effective Persuasion

The arrival of customer-centric marketing brought about the concept of buyer personas. We tend to see these personas as answers to help us provide better customer experience.

However, optimizing customer experience requires creating emotional resonance. This could mean appealing to a small thing that is important to your prospect, but when triggered, it generates a big effect, increasing your optimization rate.

André Morys, author of “Conversion Optimierung” (Conversion Optimisation) and one of CXL’s lecturers for Applied Neuromarketing, conducted thousands of optimization experiments for decades. As he points out, personas are not precise enough to create the emotional resonance we need:

I learned that 80 to 90% of existing personas or target group definitions don’t help to find that little point that creates resonance with customers.

That’s because emotional resonance is an in-depth and fragile aspect. Take this random buyer persona profile found by André and analyzed in one of our classes:

No alt text provided for this image

Clark is a scientific data nerd, extrovert of nature lover focused on health and trekking on wellness and relaxation. This profile is not precise enough. It doesn’t help you find the triggers to create emotional resonance, his deep emotional motivations.

As Andre concludes, a buyer persona profile won’t really talk about one’s precise core values, that will serve your marketing efforts.

✔️ So take your buyer persona profiles as indicators, not ultimate insights. When you look at these indicators, then you might be on the right track to find something else.

In my next post, I’ll explain how to apply Neuromarketing, and find out the precise core values of your customers. And in doing so creating emotional resonance, and optimizing your conversion 😉

👋🏻 See you soon!

To help companies navigate the new normal, we’re providing free consultation about how to improve your content strategy.

I rarely come across a person proactive, curious, efficient and talented as Lucia. She puts effort in every single work she takes on charge, deliveries on time. Genuine expert in Web content, SEO, web strategy, editing in both languages: Portuguese and EnglishVeronica Botelho, client of WWR since 2019.

Just send a message and we will get in touch shortly.

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