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Persuasion Point 5: Prospects Respond to an Action Call

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

In this series of blogs on Persuasion Points, have shown that there a number of points at which an online business can influence and persuade searchers and prospects. Persuasion Points are predictable and can be discovered through market research.

These points are excellent places at which online sellers create and begin ‘reciprocal relationships’ with searchers. The right types of reciprocal relationships eventually lead to sales.

I have earlier discussed the following entry Points: 

  •  Prospects have a need or desire
  • Prospects start researching online 
  • Prospects start an educative process
  • Prospects engage in social relationships.

Thus, knowing the ‘Persuasion Points’ of buyers in their marketplace a business can then “convert at all the bases” so that the entire search-to-sales continuum is covered.  To put it another way – you should publish content that allows searchers to FIND your business no matter which Persuasion Point the searcher enters the search-to-sales continuum.

I now move to the fifth of these points – Prospects Respond to a 'Call to Action'.

When a prospect wants to solve a need, desire, or problem they’ll often seek or encounter an online ‘call to action’ offer. This is where many sellers BEGIN their sales process. You of course know better!

In online jargon, sales relationships are often referred to as “direct response”.

What is direct response?

It’s an offering that demands a direct response. For example, the seller / marketer seeks an opt-in to an email list or directs you to a sales letter then seeks a buy response. Thus for more information the prospect may: click on a Google Adwords, join an email list, click from an email to a sales letter, click a BUY button on a sales letter and so on.

All eBusinesses MUST incorporate direct response attributes which is another way of saying you need a sales process.

In internet marketing, the terms “direct response” and “direct market” appear to mean the same thing. But there are qualitative differences. So, I want to briefly discuss two aspects of direct response marketing

1. The direct response as internet marketing ‘norm’

The use of the direct market model EXCLUSIVELY – without the benefit of surveys, prospect segmentation, SEO, and Social Marketing is the most prevalent online business model and is widely taught by internet marketing gurus as the only eBusiness model that works!

Because it holds a ‘normative’ position, this type of direct marketing causes many systemic dysfunctions in markets.


When I was learning internet marketing, I used the direct market model exclusively and extensively. The old model WORKS – though it is expensive to operate and you need to be very wary of advertising costs – especially Adwords. 

Strictly speaking direct response by itself is a MARKETING system, but many eBusiness owners would consider direct response as their primary eBusiness “model”.

This form of online marketing is practiced by many large corporations and individuals who appear to function from a “making-money” point of view. This type of activity may eventually lead to a form of systemic dysfunction in particular marketplaces.    
For example, in the “internet business” market, GREED and “making money” drip through the pages of endless emails and sales letters.

Wary buyers eventually turn off the hype and conversion rates drop below 1%. Put another way, 99% of potential customers are not really “listening” and the cost of doing business in a market becomes prohibitive.

The direct marketing standard is actually an offline business model. I’m sure you’ve encountered this model. All that junky paraphernalia stuffed into your mail box is one part of the model. The online model uses the same techniques adapted to the internet.

It works, but it’s becoming less & less effective, more & more expensive - especially now that Google and other search engines are shifting their search algorithms towards shared social relevance.

2. ‘Call to Action’ as a necessary part of a sales process
 
This facet of direct response is simply the sales process part of my system. It is the fifth of the Persuasion Points that I show above.  

All online businesses must have some form of direct response ‘call to action’ sales process. This is one of the advantages of running an internet business. It is relatively easy to set up these systems – such as obtaining an eMail opt-in, directing prospects to a sales letter and so on.

The model allows a great number of areas in which persuasion principles can be built into your sales process.

The internet is a wonderful place to establish “like-minded” communities. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive. When you “sell” in a community environment – you are tapping into a long-established way of doing business.

Picture a hardware store in a small town - run by a Mr. Jones. When you want help to fix a leaking roof you go to Mr. Jones. He advises you how its done and provides all the necessary materials. He does not try to “sell” you a bunch of unnecessary goods.

You have a reciprocal relationship with Mr. Jones. He advises you and he knows you’ll buy what’s necessary to do the job. Reciprocal relationships - this is the best way to sell.

For more information of how our Persuasionworks system functions please see: Online Marketing Strategies.

In the next blog I’ll look more closely at various ‘calls to action’.

......

Hey … What’s “Persuasionista”?

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Well - that’s what I’m called around here.

My colleagues and I have created an online marketing and eCommerce system. We’ve been working on the software for years and now we’re ready to take it to market. Persuasion is at the heart of the system.

Persuasion?

Yes, persuasion!

Software is important, but it’s just a means to an end – like cars, phones, computers, and so on.

“Hey Persuasionista … phone call - client!”

I still have to talk to them, sort it out, fix the problem, convince, persuade. One of most important qualities ANY business needs is the ability to persuade.

What My Blog is About

So, that’s what my blog is about – the points at which an online business interlaces between software, persuasion, and SALES. The software allows you to measure and manage your business but you still need persuasion to get sales. That’s why our system is called Persuasionworks!

Online Relationships and Persuasion

Look at it this way: Buyers and sellers are simply two sides of the same coin.
When you provide what your buyers want – they’ll buy! And to get them to buy or to keep buying – you need a reciprocal relationship with your prospects and customers.

Online relationships are NOT face-to-face personal sales relationships – such as occur at say a local electronics shop. In this situation, the salesperson gets to know you face-to-face and then uses various persuasion techniques to encourage you to buy. If you've been shopping there for a while, he or she may know all about the stuff you own, what you'd like to upgrade, and which new gadgets you've got your eye on.

On the other hand, the means by which you effect all your internet relationships are via written and spoken words delivered on a SCREEN.

This may seem a somewhat thin basis for creating sales relationships – but really all the influential principles of persuasion can be woven into the fabric of online relationships.

Internet interactions are powerful motivators of online sales when the relationship is built on reciprocity – creating Reciprocal Relationships.

The relationship is an exchange - a give and take. You give something of value to prospects who in turn eventually give something of value back to you – in this case money. In addition, value provided by the online entrepreneur can also be built on other persuasion principles - for example:

Commitment and Consistency

Free downloadable ebooks or white papers may act as more than a favor that needs to be reciprocated. That paper can provide prospects with valuable information shortcuts built around commitment and consistency.

Tailor your message so that prospects see the market in a way that suits your own business model.

Social Influence

An online social network can be used to show prospects social proof that many people use your products to solve their problems.

Liking and Partiality

Online narratives like videos and written content can be utilized very effectively to make yourself likeable and relateable and to show a strong understanding of your prospects' problems and their desired solutions.

Authority and Influence

The internet is a wonderful tool to build authority and influence. The web is a tireless medium that's open for business 24/7.

Scarcity and Exclusivity

This is one of the most commonly used persuasion tools online. The number of ways in which you can drum up scarcity and exclusivity is only limited by your ability to engineer shortages and construct uniqueness. 

All internet commerce occurs through relationships created by words.  These are what I call words of connection, social association, and persuasion.

You are judged almost entirely by what you write and what you say:

Online shopping is now the fastest-growing retail sector. Shoppers go online for a number of reasons including:

  • Convenience,
  • Ease of purchase,
  • Product research, and
  • An ever-increasing comfort level with the internet  

Consumers go online to research a particular product or market. A merchant can take prospects “off the market” at a very early stage in the “search pathway” and eventually lead the searcher through to purchasing a number of related products. I show you how to research here.

In fact, the economic downturn may be boosting online sales growth. In the search for value many buyers are shopping online rather than driving to the store. Consumers believe buying online is often cheaper than offline.

So, online sales, as a whole, are forecast to experience explosive growth in the next few years. I believe the trends driving this growth will continue for a long time yet.

In addition, there are unique differences between offline and online businesses that create remarkable opportunities for the online entrepreneur. For example, ultra-relevance is one of the most decisive advantages offered by internet marketing and you won’t see its equivalent in offline marketing. I'll explain this in later blogs.

In every market, people search online for information to educate themselves - their fears, desires, and everyday ideas. 

Searchers also explore specific product types for information or comparison before they buy. This research happens in the search engines and social networks. I call this information / education period the “pre-buying” phase.

My research indicates that many internet marketers ignore “pre-buyers”. Pre-buying prospects are simply looking for information - and they aren’t ready to buy. An online survey gives you the ability to stop prospects searching and as a consequence, stops prospects finding your competitors. You can take people off the market with ultra-relevant content.  For more see: Prospect Segmentation.

Put another way, you can inoculate yourself against your competition. Your ability to give each segment exactly what it needs can position you as an authority and build huge trust and loyalty that is very hard for a competitor to defeat.

You can deliver online content that BOTH:

  • Meets the immediate needs of prospects
  • AND

  • The needs they DISCOVER after searching.

There is a huge opportunity for marketers who are prepared to provide pre-buyers with ultra-relevant content. You can engage, educate, and create trust and loyalty with your ultra-relevant content - until prospects are ready to buy.

And, when prospects are ready, you present them with a sales funnel that completes the entire persuasion process you have built. 

In my next blog I am going to take you through what I call Persuasion Points. This will help you understand how you can interweave software and persuasion to make SALES.


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