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Persuasive 1
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1.3 Six Tools for Persuasion

Marketers have been using human psychology to convince us to 'buy' for a long time. Yet web designers make little use of this field of study. In this lesson, I will introduce you to techniques long used by marketers-techniques based upon the psychological traits that influence our thinking.

The field of psychology is large and complex. But we'll focus on just six characteristics which every web designer should know. These six tools of persuasion will make all the difference in your designs.

1.3 Six Tools for Persuasion

Hello and welcome to this second video in my presentation on Persuasive Web Design. At the end of the last video, we talked about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, but there are many more tools available to us then we can find in the Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In fact, there are loads of quirks of human behavior that we can use to motivate people interaction. Let me briefly share with you just six of my favorites. First of all, there's reciprocation. If somebody gives us something for free or helps us, we feel obliged to reciprocate. We feel indebted to the giver. This has huge potential for web design. For example, if you give your customers a free gift, they're much more likely to publicly thank you something like social media. And so that helps increase your reach, then there is commitment and consistency. People like to be seen to be consistent in the eyes of others and to be trustworthy. This means that if you can get a person to take a small step down a path, then they're much more likely to keep going. For example, surveys always start with a really easy question. Because they know if they can get people to answer just one question, they're considerably more likely to follow through and complete the whole thing. Knowing this, it makes a big difference when it comes to design. Let's say, for example, we have a long form that we want people to fill in. If we break that form down into smaller parts and start with easy questions at the beginning, then they are much more likely to complete that form. The Obama campaign did this really well back in the last election when they redesigned their donation form. By breaking up the donation process into sequential steps, the campaign managed to increase donation conversions by 5%, which represented millions of extra dollars. Our third persuasion tool is Social Proof and this is a really powerful one. It's the idea that people tend to do what they see others doing, especially in moments of doubt. Web designers have been using these factor websites for years. If you've ever added a testimonial to a site, then basically you've designed it to leverage social proof. This works especially well, however, with social proof is from somebody that we already know. In the past, that would have meant big companies or famous people, but the advent of social media has enabled us to start personalizing these recommendations. It's become increasingly common on websites to see things like recommended by four of your Facebook friends and that is really powerful, but is what is being influenced by friends are also influenced by authority figures and that's bring us into our next persuasion tool. You see, this tool has been used all the time with things like health products. They're always quoting a doctor or a dentist or some other health professional online, that's because they know that we have a tendency to listen to these kinds of authoritative figures. You can use this knowledge on your website too. For example, you can have a form asking people to sign up to be contacted by a member of the sales team or you can have a form asking if people wish to be contacted by an expert consultant. I know which one I think is more persuasive and which will convert better. Then of course, there's the classic persuasion tool. Scarcity. Now, we've all seen this in action of when we buy now as stocks are running low or get this limited time offer. You get the idea. There's so much potential for this one on our website from early bird discounts to timers counting down before there's a price hike. You can show stock levels on your website and highlight them when they get particularly low, and you can even emphasize the other users that are looking at this limited time offer. What if they buy it before I do? Or what if the stock runs out? Finally, of course, there's framing. We see this all the time on websites, especially with modern web apps. Have you ever been on to a site that's got a pricing page? And on that pricing page, there are three or more different options. There is normally a basic or free version that is less than useless, because it has limited functionality. And then there is of course, the deluxe option. It's far too expensive. You might wonder why they bother putting these two options when it's obvious they want you to select the middle one and that the middle one is the only choice that really is obvious to take. The reason is that the cheap and expensive options help to frame the middle option. You see the only way we know the value of something is to compare it to something else. By providing us with something to compare pair it with, the website owners are helping shape our thinking. They're saying, look at the great value of this compared to the deluxe option or look at the great features this option offers compared to the cheap one. If they didn't frame it in this way, then we might research other options and that would lead us to the competition. That's why framing your offering is so important online. Of course, the six elements of human psychology I've touched on in this presentation is just the tip of an enormous iceberg. There are so many other characteristics that can shape our design. Characteristics like our desire for self-expression or our sense of control, or our tendency to judge experiences by the best and worst moments that we've had, or how unwilling we are to change our established behavior. All of these things can help inform our designs, if we take the time to learn about them. But for now, let's turn our attention to one of the most important factors when it comes to encouraging people to act and that's trust. Whether you're asking people to hand over their personal details when they complete a form or their credit card information when they make a purchase, you're asking them to place a huge amount of trust in you. Indeed, any type of transaction involves an element of trust and we need to do our best to nurture a feeling of trust with our users. Unfortunately, users are slow to trust brands and they're very quick to lose trust if they've had a bad experience. With our competition so accessible, users are quick to move on if they feel that your site is untrustworthy. So, how can we go about eliciting this kind of trust in people? Well, we've actually already touched upon one of the biggest weapons in our arsenal when we talked about social proof. People would always take what you say about yourself with a pinch of salt, but they're much more likely to believe what others say about you. It's hardly surprising that the web is full of ratings and reviews, testimonials and celebrity endorsements. But increasingly, users are being untrustful of even these. Is there really a real review on the website? Or did the company just make it up? Can I actually trust those ratings? To combat these kinds of problems, we need to try and validate the testimonials that we're providing or the references that we're providing by linking to their original source. Maybe that's social media or a third party website. If we're not able to do that, then try using video instead of having a text testimonial. Because users are much more likely to believe a video, because they can actually see the person saying the things that you claim they said, but social proof is not the only way to build trust. There are other options available to us. Options such as storytelling. We're hard wired to be drawn to stories. Stories are what kept us alive on the Savannah. Stories from other people saying, how they managed to avoid that saber-tooth tiger. Stories have always been a way for us to learn and broaden our understanding of the world. A well-crafted story can shape a narrative around our service, our product and our brand and all of those things help to build trust. It can be a story about the organization itself or the people working there. How the company came to be? What its values are and what its attitudes are? These stories demonstrate the history and integrity of all organizations, but they also highlight they're dealing with real people not just some faceless uncaring corporation. You could also tell stories about your customers and their experience. By talking about their journey and their interaction with your product, service or company, it helps the user visiting your website to imagine what their own experience would be like. By imagining themselves having a good experience, it builds their confidence. And with that, their trust of you and your site. Unfortunately, many stories lose their credibility, because they go through this kind of marketing machine. They've become cleansed of imperfections and the process loses its humanity. The copy loses its humanity. The testimonials seem false and humanity is so important if we're going to build trust, but exploring that will have to wait until our next video in this presentation on Persuasive Web Design. Until then, thanks for watching.

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