We like to believe that everyone gathers all the available information before they make a decision but the sad fact is that there is too much information.
What influences our decision making process? How do we persuade others to our way of thinking?
Meyrick D’Souza, Digital Marketing expert, has always been intrigued by what drives people's behaviour. In his research the best example that he could find was the book Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini. The book is based on Cialdini’s research of six important weapons or shortcuts that people use to influence their decisions and behaviour.
Meyrick D’Souza introduces the six shortcuts and looks at how they apply to the world of eCommerce.
The idea is that when we receive a gift or favour there comes with it a feeling of social obligation to reciprocate or to give something back in return. This feeling is made even more acute when we know it was given with authenticity.
> Build relationships with bloggers and or influencers and help them increase their reach & online authority by liking, commenting & sharing their content
> Make fans and followers famous by running “fan of the week” promos. If customers have engaged with you then reciprocate by publicly thanking them.
> Surprise and delight rewards and benefits
> Share valuable, thought leadership content on a topic
The idea that people want more of the things that there is less of.
> Drive up anticipation for a product before it becomes available and make sure that initial availability will be low. Apple does this by building up the anticipation of a new product. In essence, they are driving demand so that everyone wants the new product before it runs out.
> Time constrained offers or limited availability offers e.g. Golden Tickets (think Charlie & Chocolate Factory). Time limited offers have a way of creating panic and pushing us to buy something quickly before the product runs out.
> Offer limited edition collectibles
> Building relationships with your advocates or superfans by organising VIP events and giving access to activities behind the scenes and or opportunities to meet senior management.
> Share scarce, genuine thought leadership content on a topic
The idea that people follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
> Publish credible thought leadership content on a subject. We all want to create thought leadership content but the reality is that there is a deluge of content out there. However, it is still possible to create valuable, genuine content that stems from our personal experience and perspective.
> If you don’t feel ready to leverage your own authority and content then use influencer marketing. You can get online influencers to share your story. This will also bring you credibility.
> Include secondary messages that underpin your authority such as years experience, awards won, “world firsts” etc
> Amplify reviews and ratings. It is meaningful when your customers talk about how great your product or services are and scoring a review or testimonial from a credible, knowledgeable expert is going to give you even more mileage and credibility.
> Build your credibility and your own authority by sharing your journey or sharing what you find valuable. Tik Tok and podcasting are both popular and effective ways to find your niche, and your voice.
The idea that people like to be consistent with things they have already said and done.
> Encourage endorsement behaviours on social media. If you have been endorsed in any way, whether it's a like, a comment, or a share you can remarket to them because they are more likely to purchase then a cold target.
> Remarket to those who regularly engage with you on social media
> Get people to make recommendations for your brand/ product
> Publish and or share strong, thought leading content on a regular basis
The key is that any kind of public activity shows endorsement and this is very useful for driving people closer to that point of purchase. Once they have committed publicly they are far more likely to follow through.
The idea that people say yes to those they like.
Those they like fall into one of three categories:
People who are similar to them;
People who pay them compliments; and
People who cooperate with them to achieve similar goals.
> Communicate shared values with people and demonstrate that you understand their passions and interests. Build empathy.
> Pay genuine compliments to fans
> Reach out to people who mention the brand to thank them and add a genuine compliment
> Find ways to help individuals and let them tell others about it.
> Demonstrate expertise in a topic that is important to the audience or community and build a sense of common purpose
We all tend to be influenced by people who are similar to us. If you engage with people with similar values to you and get them to say something that endorses your point of view then they are more likely to act based on that belief. Don’t be afraid to ask people to endorse you through a share, like or comment.
6. CONSENSUS/ SOCIAL PROOF
The idea that people look to the actions and behaviours of others to determine their own behaviours. Sometimes we don’t want to be the odd one out or be left behind.
> In an eCommerce store, you often see how many other people have bought a certain product, how many people are browsing it at the same time or even how many of your Facebook friends have bought the product in the past. For example on booking.com you’ll see how many other people are looking at the same hotel as you. If you connect with your Facebook profile, you’ll even be able to see how many of your Facebook friends have stayed at the same hotel.
> Draw attention to the percentage of followers who have purchased your product. Amazon does this really well. They tell you the number of people who have the product and the other similar products they have gone on to buy.
> Get influencers to publish content on having bought your product. Unboxing videos are very popular.
> Build consensus through thought leadership content on a topic that is relevant and important to your audience; add your voice to the conversation in a meaningful way
The opposite of the social proof feel is shaming. We look for consensus before we decide what to do in case we do the wrong thing. There's a fear barrier that stops us acting because we are at risk of being shamed.
The key is to try remove the fear of being shamed so that you can build a consensus and momentum and therefore build your business.
Essentially, these six weapons of influence are powerful tools that can be used as standalone tactics or even combined in various ways to drive more business. They weapons don’t just work in terms of driving sales with the audience but are also applicable to your business, no matter its size.
Connect with Meyrick D’Souza!