We humans are an accepting bunch of people. We generally act predictably, which exposes us to some very basic but effective psychological tricks used in marketing and sales to steer a user towards taking a specific action, for example making a purchase or joining a mailing list. You will probably recognize at least a couple of these ‘tricks’ (more formally known as ‘psychological devices’), because they will undoubtedly have been used on you at some time or other!
1. Presupposition. This technique is used to guide the reader or listener into accepting assumptions as facts. For example:
“Are you one of the 152 million people in the UK who wants to start their own online business?”
This sentence is a classic presupposition, inviting the reader to accept that 152 million people in the UK want to start their own online business.
Another example of presupposition is:
“Which of these two books will be a great read for you?”
Here the assumption is that one of the books will be a great read.
2. Commands and embedding.Commands can also be embedded in a sentence. Instead of using a fact, use a ‘soft’ opening and highlight the command.
“You should act on this now”
“Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, click on the subscribe button now”
3. Commands and Binding. Commands can also be combined with irrefutable facts to create a ‘bind’. For example:
“Now that you have read this you realize why you must get a copy of this absorbing novel.”
4. Creating our own frame of reference.We can also alter someone’s perception of value by creating a reference frame against which it can be measured.
“What would you give to learn the secret sales psychology techniques that is almost guaranteed to persuade people to buy from you? $30,000? $50,000?”
“Well my consulting fee is $2000 a day so if you hired me to teach you it would cost you at least $16,000. If you attended one of my online selling seminars, it would cost you $5000 plus hotel and travel costs. Would it surprise you to know that you can have unlimited access to my sales psychology course for only $495 and what’s more you can study at your leisure in the comfort of your own home!”
The Frame of Reference is probably the most commonly used psychological device on the Internet. How many times have you read something like:
Video Training Course ….. Value $5000
Bonus #1 ….. Value $100
Bonus #2 ….. Value $50
Bonus #3 ….. Value $100
Bonus #4 ….. Value $50
Total Package Value $5,300
This creates a frame of reference which can fool you into believing that the total value of the package is $5,300, and you can buy it for an incredible $97, when in fact, the only person saying that the value is $5,300 is the guru trying to sell a $97 package to you. And you know what? We have all fallen for it at one time or another!
You can put this to good use as a fiction author by using it to entice newsletter signups and book release updates.
5. Addressing thinking styles. There are three common styles of thinking: Sight (visual), sound (Auditory) and feel (known as kinesthetic). Individuals tend to favor one of these styles. It’s therefore important to ensure that your digital marketing addresses each of these.
To address visual thinkers and cause someone to visualize the benefits, you can use sentences like:
“Can you see yourself surviving in this alien world?”
You can also make use of video content.
To address auditory thinkers, you can include, for example, a downloadable audio presentation, or cause your audience to hear the benefits by using sentences such as:
“Can you hear the wolves howling in the dead of night?”
Finally, to address kinesthetic thinkers, you can play on their desire to feel by asking:
“Just imagine how it feels to be imprisoned for so long…”
Always remember what you are trying to achieve when using any of these psychological tricks. You are trying to convey to the reader the fact that your books represent truly good value.
These psychological tricks are definitely not intended to be used to hoodwink or mislead. What you are trying to address and overcome is the natural question that will crop up in the mind of any reader when faced with a decision to sign up for a newsletter or to buy your book. And that is: Is it worth it?
Be sure to use these little psychological tricks honestly, and with integrity.