When it comes to marketing, either traditional or newer social media, I've always tended to be more passive in my approach. To be a more effective marketer I've always known that I've needed to widen my techniques and personal horizons to be a little bit more, not so much aggressive, but forward.
This book seems to be full of advice on using persuasive techniques without being rudely aggressive or forcing me outside my comfort zone. I won't bore you with all of the 50 ways that are highlighted in this book but I do want to point out how some of them can be easily adapted to current practices that you have in order to craft a more effective message.
1. How can inconveniencing your audience increase your persuasiveness?
The very first chapter and they want me to do something uncomfortable; inconvenience the audience. Right off the bat, they talk about the power of creating an urgency in the minds of your message's recipients. It's more than just a classic call to action to sell your product. It's the placing of a thought in the minds of your customers that the product you have is where their attention should be. It's creating a sense of urgency.
The example cited is a great one. The producers behind a popular home-shopping channel changed part of their sales pitch from "Operators are waiting, please call now" to "If operators are busy, please call again." What a brilliant shift, no? It changes the images from a room of waiting operators to one filled with busy activity.
7. When can the introduction of a superior product increase the sales of an inferior one?
This was quite simple yet was refreshing to see illustrated again. Imagine a new picture photographer has come to town. And she is the best in her field in the city from which she came. Even though her images may be far superior to those of the local photographers, the prices are twice as much.
If the top photographer in town has decent work but his services are half the cost, he is just made into a way more attractive option. With no effort of his own, he's just been given a fantastic marketing tool by appearing to have a better product for the cost.
20. When can asking for a little, go along way?
"Even a penny will help."
Most of the folks that see or hear your message won't be persuaded to buy your product or donate your cause. Those that do, regardless of the amount given, also make an emotional investment in that product or service. So even if you're only able to solicit the smallest effort or the tiniest contribution, you've created a situation in which the giver now has an emotional attachment based on their investment.
"Could I ask you to forward this email?"
"Click 'Like and Share' to help me spread this great message!"
41. What can a box of crayons teach us about persuasion?
A quick and succinct chapter intended to be about the use of usual color names to stimulate thought and brand recognition but I thought of a slightly different analogy than the one they put out.
Take 10 boxes of 64 count crayons. Give them to 10 different groups of children and let them draw for an hour or so. Collect all the crayons and look to see which ones have been used the most. Next, take those colors and rename them with something unique. Crayon companies often choose interesting names like Rain Forest Green or Starburst Yellow but for this purpose, any name would do.
Recreate the exercise with the newly renamed colors and every time a child uses that proven favorite color, he or she will look at the new name and have that word imprinted on the brain. This goes hand in hand with the Drip Theory of Marketing that I often refer to. The more drips, the stronger the connection.
As a child, how many of us saw the words burnt umber on a Crayola crayon and had no idea what it meant? Same principle, no?
After getting through the whole book, I found that the techniques presented here are neither difficult nor do they put me too far out of my comfort zone. In fact, most of them are easy and downright sensible. Best of all, the authors end the book with a great series of real-life anecdotes submitted by their readers. Here's my favorite:
5. When does offering people more make them want less?
My wife had her own business making and selling children's clothes. When she first started up, she had only a few styles and fabric patterns to offer her customers. As her business started to grow and she attracted new customers, she decided to expand the range she offered. We consistently found that the more choices people had, the less they bought. While, like most people, we would consider more choices to be a good thing, my wife found that having lots of options for her customers often meant they did less business with her.
Authors' note: With all the choices that parents have to make—what to feed their children, where and when to enroll them in school, how to encourage them and discipline them, to name a few—it's perhaps no surprise that having an abundance of choices for their children's clothes might just be overwhelming. John's report provides an important lesson: Downsize the number of options we offer to others when they must face a profusion of choices in other areas of their lives.
John Fisher, Preston, UK