All communication has a simple purpose which is to influence people. It may be to get them to sign up to a newsletter, visit a website, make a donation, vote for a cause or even buy something. Whatever the intended result this takes persuasion. But contrary to what digital and social media platforms might tell you, persuasion doesn't happen on screen, or even on the page for that matter, it happens in the human mind.
To be effective, that is persuasive, every communication nowadays has to do three things. One, it has to stand out and get noticed. In our overloaded messaging world most communications fall at this first hurdle. The average person in the UK saw over 200 branded messages yesterday, if you count yourself as one of them how many can you remember?
Two, it has to communicate by being highly relevant, and say the right things in the right way. Most communications fail at this stage too, because they concentrate on what the company or product is about rather than explaining the benefits of what they're offering, and what these mean to the target audience.
And three, it has to persuade by understanding the 6 "Yes Triggers" behavioural scientists have identified as influencing human decision making. They call them heuristics, but to you and me they're the mental short-cuts we all use every day to cope with all the messages we're bombarded with.
This three step approach is called the Persuasion Communication Process, and when you apply it your sales and marketing communications can become a lot more effective by being a lot more persuasive. What's more, it has been specifically designed for small and medium size businesses, consultants and freelancers. After all, why should it be only the big brands that get all the latest thinking?
Every morning my inbox is stuffed with unsolicited tips from digital and social media platforms about how to increase website traffic, improve click through rates, boost engagement, up my ROI, the list goes on. In any given month I'll have been deluged with over hundreds of pieces of advice or instructions about how to do my sales and marketing communications better. But the simple truth is that if you want to get people to respond to what you're saying, wherever it is you're talking to them, online or offline, then being persuasive is key. And when you are, you'll be a lot more successful.