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As a business owner you are a persuader. You are persuading people to make decisions everyday.

You are persuading your customers to buy your product or service, or not.

You are persuading them that they should be a loyal repeat purchaser, or that they should leave you.

Whether you are intentionally persuading people or not, the fact is that you’re doing it every single minute of every single day, and it is reflected in the decisions and actions your customers make.

  • If you’re providing excellent customer service you’re persuading people to be a loyal customer.
  • If you’re providing terrible customer service you’re persuading them to take their business elsewhere.
  • If you have an engaging online lead generation strategy in place you are persuading people to give you their details.
  • If you are being totally silent online you are persuading people to ignore and overlook you.

People’s decisions are influenced by a myriad of factors. Clever marketers have a toolkit of tactics they use to persuade people to make a desired decision or take a desired action.

You may have come across these techniques yourself and once you become aware of them you will never look at TV ads or billboards the same way again. These tactics are not limited to billboards or TV ads however, you can adopt these tactics into your own Small Business marketing.

Here are just a few of the persuasion tactics marketers use:

1. MERE EXPOSURE

The more we see it, the more we like it.

People tend to like things that are familiar to them. Maybe it’s because we don’t like to go outside of our comfort zone. Over time, if we are exposed to something, we tend to like it more.

People need to see your product, service or business multiple times before making a buying decision. This is the reason why a single ad will have little-to-no results, whereas the best results are seen when an ad is run multiple times.

2. RECIPROCATION

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

As children, we learn a favour is returned with a favour, and politeness is responded to with politeness. This is the rationale behind offering free gifts, product samples or helpful and useful information. You will see this tactic being used in supermarkets when reps give out free samples of their yummies and direct to which aisle you can find the product in.

3. FOOT IN THE DOOR

Ask for something small, then upscale.

This tactic could take up an entire article on its own (actually all of these tactics could)! The foot-in-the-door technique is essentially a multi-step process where you work up to a large request by getting the customer to agree to something small first. There are a few ‘conditions’ to applying this technique successfully. Firstly, some action or effort must be involved in the first request meaning, it can’t simply be a “yes” or “no” response. Then, recognition must be given after the first request has been completed. And finally, the second larger request needs to be aligned with the first request. Charities have this tactic nailed.

4. SOCIAL PROOF

I want what she’s having.

People are funny creatures. We tend to accept the actions of others as correct when we are unclear, uncertain or unsure ourselves. Social proof can be displayed in the form of stories, case studies, stats, reviews and endorsements. This is the reason that testimonials are included on landing pages, why Facebook like counts are included on websites, and why “77 people have booked this room” counters are displayed on hotel booking sites.

5. PROMOTE SCARCITY

If it’s a limited edition, it must be mine, now!

This tactic leverages our underlying belief that things which are scarce are valuable. Gold, diamonds, oil, you get the picture. By using phrases such as 3 spots left, today only, selling fast and limited edition, we are persuading people to act before the opportunity is gone.

A WARNING:

No influence tactic is universally effective. If you overdo it or act out of integrity, people will see straight through you and you may have the opposite effect on people. Instead of attracting people, you will turn them away.

So, whether you want to persuade someone to subscribe to your list, buy your product or refer you to a friend, see if you can incorporate these tactics into your marketing strategy.

This article was written by Megan Winter and was first published on smallville.com.au.