Convincing and Persuasion
The logic involved in convincing someone and the fine art of persuasion are closely related. Traditionally you persuade someone to act, whereas you convince someone of a statement or proposition.
In the following discussion, we use the three words in a very general sense.
- Customer is used to mean "the target audience of your web site that you want to convince and persuade".
- Buy is used to mean "to get your web site visitors to take the action that you wish them to take". This may be to purchase a product or service, or to join an organization, or to contribute to a cause, etc.
- Product is used to mean "a product, a service, an idea, an organization, etc. that you want the 'customer' to 'buy' or 'buy into' ".
Many websites that we create have as their main goal, to sell someone one or more products. In such a case we first explore the ways to convince someone about the value this product would have for them. We ask our client a lot of questions about their products and, from their experience, what value they feel their products have for their clients and potential clients. If there are competitive products, we explore them and the ways the competitors attempt to convince and persuade the same customers. Convincing the customer may include arguments and evidence that the customer may not be aware of or may not have considered. We want to establish a very strong basis for belief in the product. In order to do this, of course, the old maxim holds true. "To be good at sales, you have to believe in your product." This is key to convincing a customer. It makes persuading someone to take action and buy your product much easier.
To meet the goal of getting your audience to take the action you desire (to buy your product or service, to join your organization, etc), it does take more than believing in your product and convincing the potential customer that your arguments and evidence are sound. It takes the ability to express the arguments and evidence in a way that eliminates doubt, and gets the customer to take the desired course of action. This is where persuasion comes into play. After convincing is accomplished persuasion, which is the art of closing the deal, comes into play. Someone called it "Selling the sizzle, not the steak.", referring to bringing into play the emotions and other factors that solid convincing evidence cannot address. It brings into play not only what the customer needs but what they want. This is where the science and logic of convincing is augmented by the art of persuasion. It is very important to note that a good persuasive technique works to get the customer's initial interest as well as to get them to take the action to buy and we use this in both cases.
Appealing to the emotions and the senses to create a mood
are very powerful persuasive techniques.
- Walking by a coffee store at an indoor mall and smelling the captivating aroma of the gourmet coffee blends being brewed has sold many a pound of coffee for a very high price. This can also have a cross over effect as Barnes and Noble illustrates when they put a Starbuck's coffee shop in their book store.
- The smell of freshly made popcorn permeating the air as you walk into the theatre has sold many bags and buckets of very high priced popcorn (or drawn you to the counter resulting in your buying high priced drinks and candy as well).
The following list illustrates a few of the many effective concepts we can use for persuasion in our web site design practices.
- With current computer technology, we cannot to put the aroma of coffee or popcorn in the air, but we can, for instance, put an animation of the hot steaming coffee being poured into a cup along with the associated sound of the aromatic liquid being poured. The customer will make the association and remember how good it smells.
- On web sites we use photos, images, logos, and color to back up the written content that would make your customers comfortable with you and your product. We work with you to go the extra mile to be sure the images are high quality and that they re-enforce what you are trying to portray about your company, your organization, yourself, and your product.
- We have very high quality and flexible slide show techniques that will reinforce the content of your web pages. Designed and used properly, these can be a powerful way to make your customers comfortable about the content of the web page and can be very persuasive.
- Depending on the web page, we can provide music to set a mood. We can even compose and provide original music for your web site. The music is of very high quality. Many times it is good to provide several selections that randomly come up, and to provide your website visitor with an easy way to control the volume and to turn it off and on if they wish. It is generally not good to do this on your main page but on pages where it could set the tone for the visual content.
- Sometimes it is good to divide the web page up so that one side presents the details whereas the other side presents the main points. This appeals to those that want a quick overview before they go to the trouble of looking at the details.
- If you describe a feature of your product (to convince), we would be sure to state the benefits of this feature for the customer (persuasion).
It is not as easy as it sounds, of course, but it is our job to make it easy as far our customers are concerned. What does it take to persuade you to take action once you have been convinced to believe, or trust something? For each person those decisions are personal and depends upon their logic, intellect, experience and personal tastes. Some people are more comfortable with a set of facts, coupled with a desire for a particular outcome. Others may choose to rely on the advice of others who have experienced the same event or outcome. Still others are motivated by emotion and immediate results without a real quest for the facts. There are also individuals who are driven to understand, seek to learn more, and take the time to explore the options before a final decision on any matter is made. Depending on your understanding of your customers and what appeals to them, we tailor your website to be compatible and compelling to them. As the examples above show, we often use several methods of presentation to cover diverse types of customers.