Proven to increase sales and compliance. Guaranteed to increase your opt-in rates. Want your kids to pick up their rooms? This'll do it.
This is a very powerful method of persuasion that is wholly misunderstood by even the best marketers. I was recently reading a discussion in a very popular marketing forum where most of the recognized leaders showed ignorance of this simple concept.
OK, what am I talking about? This is one of Cialdini's famous laws of influence, or strategies of compliance, or whatever else you want to call them. This particular one is based on the idea that once you behave a certain way, you'll continue to behave a certain way. Sounds logical, intuitive and even so obvious that it doesn't merit study.
But that's one mistake, says Cialdini, that gets a lot of marketers in trouble. The "Oh, I already know that," attitude.
Let's take a look at this law in action. When they study juries and how long they take to come to a decision, there's one factor that can make it a long painful process or one that makes the deliberations fair and quick. And that is whether or not the jury members stand up and say "guilty" or "not guilty" when they begin deliberations.
Once they publicly commit to their position, they are much less likely to change their minds. On the other hand, when they simply write down "G" or "NG" on a slip of paper, they don't have a problem changing their minds later on, since they haven't committed to anything.
This allows them to discuss the case in rational terms, and come to an agreement based on the evidence.
In another experiment, they went through a neighborhood and asked people if they'd put a small, politically neutral sign inside their window. Then a couple weeks later, they asked those same people if they'd put a huge, politically charged sign in their front lawn. Surprisingly, a large percentage said yes.
As a control, they went into another neighborhood and asked straight out if anybody would put up that same huge sign. Almost everybody said no.
What's the difference? When they asked for the small sign first, they were making it easy on people. Then when they went back and asked to put up the big sign, they were asking people to do something that they'd already done, only on a bigger scale.
When they asked the second group about the big sign, they all said "no" because they hadn't agreed to anything previously.
How do you use this in marketing? Whatever your asking your clients to do, give them something along the same lines that they'd easily agree to. Then when you ask them to do what you really want to do, they'll be more likely to say "yes."
For example, if you want them to sign up for you email list, ask them to tweet your post first. If you want to sell them a $47 ebook, get them to join your email list first. If you want to sell them a $999 product, get them to buy a $47 ebook first.
Whatever you want them to do, get them to take a small step in that direction first. Once they've taken that small step, they'll be much more likely to take that larger step.