4 Ways to Get Online Users to Do What You Want

by Erin Good on March 30, 2020

In 2020, online marketing is an essential part of doing business, and this trend isn't going away any time soon. However, with the unprecedented growth in online businesses and a surge in marketing communications in recent years, online users are more swamped than ever with crowded email inboxes containing marketing messages that compete for their attention.

If you find that your number of unsubscribes are increasing in response to your online campaign efforts, you need to develop new ways to attract the attention of your leads so that they can  complete the action you're looking for. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done: In today's world, the average human attention span is only  eight seconds.  Plus, what leads to a purchasing decision in the mind of the consumer can be very subtle, marketing research tells us, as 95% of the decision-making process takes place in the subconscious mind. However, with the following four techniques, you can capture the attention of online users, make them read your marketing message,  -- and ultimately get them to do what you want within the process that converts them from casual viewer to confirmed buyer. 

Provide social proof.

Originally coined by Robert Cialdini with the publication of his marketing book Influence, the term 'social proof' describes a phenomenon where people who need to make a decision adapt their behavior based upon what others are doing. Millennials in particular give  and receive purchasing advice,  thoroughly researching evidence that others are buying a particular product and are satisfied with its results. That's why online reviews play such an important part in marketing today. Consumers 40 years of age and younger are more likely to consult the opinions of family, friends by texting or calling before making a purchasing decision. And just as easily, they'll refer to the reviews of people who have already tried your product or service and have posted their opinions across the various media channel before buying. So a great way to provide the social proof shoppers require nowadays to take that ultimate purchasing plunge is to allow your customers to post reviews on your own site or on popular review sites such as Yelp. In addition, many businesses provide an online forum on their website so that members of their digital tribe can share opinions on using their brand.

Create a sense of scarcity.

When you create a healthy sense of scarcity for your target market, you 're demonstrating, sometimes in very subtle ways, that your product is special,  available exclusively to a certain group of people, or accessible for a limited amount of time.  By including a sense of urgency in your message, you significantly increase the possibility that your email will be opened or that an online browser will land on your page, or that a visitor will continue exploring your website. Here are a few ways to accomplish that:

  • Make phrases like "while supplies last" or "for today only" highly visible within your message.
  • Use a countdown to show how much time is left until the discount or sale is over.
  • Give your audience the sense that your product or service is something they absolutely must have.
  • Convey the message that your brand will add significant value to the consumer's experience or social status, implying that consumers who buy are among the savvy few. Remember the slogan, "Choosy moms choose JIF?" 

Use consistency to get people to commit. 

 It's a common saying that we are all creatures of habit. Within the context of marketing, this means remembering that people tend to be consistent in their behavior once they decide whether they like or dislike something. That's how the famous 'foot in the door' marketing approach came from: Start out by getting your online viewer to commit to completing a small task.  Each subsequent action takes them closer and closer to buying the product, until eventually the purchase is made. Begin with a simple request that requires little or no effort on the part of the user, something that can be achieved at the click of a button. Here are some examples:

  • "Follow us on Facebook."
  • "Download this offer."
  • "Click on our blog to read more exciting stories on how people are using our product."

Use your website architecture to get people onboard.

Finally, design your website so that it's quick and simple to make a purchase, get more information, talk to a representative -- or complete whatever the step is that you want your online user to take next.  The simplest way is to ask them to fill out a contact form. But nowadays,  technical innovation allows for more creative solutions:

  • Design your landing page so that a chat box pop up, allowing a live person or automated assistant to engage with the online visitor.
  • If you are trying to get people to donate money, design a feature with a sliding scale (say from $40 to $500), and highlight an amount slightly above the minimum -- such as $100 -- as the amount to start with. Rather than readjusting the scale to reflect a lower amount, they may just follow your suggestion. 

Start encouraging the behavior you want.

In short, when you're trying to convince an online user to do something that brings them closer to turning into a paying customer, there several techniques available. Provide proof that others desire your brand; create a sense of urgency among a group of potential buyers that makes them feel special; and get people to commit  by having them submit to small requests that eventually lead to a sale. In addition, it's frequently effective to combine one or more of these strategies with mindfully designed architecture on your website which will make the online viewer's decision to buy quick and easy. And convincing the person to lock in  to the decision fast one is of the most effective ways of getting them to complete the behavior you want.  

At 30 Degrees North, we 're the industry leaders in online marketing. For more information on how we help companies bring in more online business and increase their online conversion rates, please contact us

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