Language is a tricky thing. We can often take a cohesive set of words, twist them around and somehow convey something entirely different than what we originally meant. That goes double for marketing.
In this post, we’ll cover a couple of different influence strategies that digital marketers and business leaders can use when positioning their offers to make that sale.
By the end, you should have a better grasp of the psychology behind how consumers perceive information, and you can use that to ultimately improve your conversion rates.
We can count on them to bring new ideas to the table consistently
Why Being Influential Matters in Marketing
As we know, a huge component of marketing lies in being persuasive. Part of our jobs as marketers is to convey the promise of value to our audience. But it’s not enough to simply have a good idea for a product or service. It takes a thoughtful explanation of whatever you’re selling to truly grab your audience’s attention.
Robert Cialdini, a well-regarded psychologist and author, identified six principles of persuasion that can be applied in marketing:
- Reciprocity: Give a little, get a little
- Commitment: Aligning the value of your offer with your audience’s personal values
- Social proof: Credibility from other sources
- Authority: Proficiency and knowledge in your field — an answer to a need
- Liking: Appealing to your audience, making them feel endeared toward you
- Scarcity: Expressing that what you have is not unlimited
Implementing these principles strategically in your marketing initiatives can transform passive viewers into active participants.
For example, when a brand utilizes social proof by showcasing customer testimonials or expert endorsements, it not only validates its credibility, but also influences potential customers to join the party.
For another example, expressing that what you have to offer can only accommodate a finite number of people, whether it be a limited work calendar of availability for your agency solutions or a limited quantity of a product. Indicating that you can’t serve everyone is an influential factor that you can use in your messaging.
The Impact of Gain and Loss Framing
Imagine you’re a key decision-maker for a power plant company. You have two plans to choose from. Plan A will save one of three power plants and 2,000 jobs. Plan B has a one-third chance of saving all three power plants and 6,000 jobs, but a two-thirds chance of losing everything.
Which one would you pick?
Most people (nearly 80%) would opt for Plan A because it’s the safer bet, right? Guaranteed savings sound better than a risky gamble.
But what happens if the gain and loss framing changes?
Let’s consider another version of these options. Plan A will result in the loss of two of three power plants and 4,000 jobs, while Plan B has a two-thirds chance of losing all three power plants and 6,000 jobs but a one-third chance of no losses. Now, which would you pick?
Interestingly, the majority of people (again, nearly 80%), given this dilemma, tend to opt for the riskier Plan B when framed as a loss.
This phenomenon is called “gain and loss framing,” and it illustrates the power of words.
Simply by changing the phrasing from a gain to a loss perspective, people’s choices can swing dramatically.
Takeaway: Knowing your audience and how they’re likely to react to different frames can be a potent tool in the way you influence your audience. The way you position your offer can mean the difference between persuading them to take action and them merely passing you by.
Why Framing Works
At this point, you might be wondering why framing is so effective. Well, it turns out that humans are not that great at math or interpreting probability intuitively. The way the options are presented can significantly skew one’s perception. This is particularly true when dealing with large numbers or percentages, which can be abstract and difficult to relate to.
Takeaway: Don’t just present the facts. Do the math for your audience. Break down complex statistics or probabilities into simpler terms that are easier to grasp. Your messaging will be more effective as a result.
The Anchoring Effect
But there’s more to influence than just framing your words.
There’s also the mental dance we call anchoring. Anchoring is where you present an option to your prospect as a means of giving contrast to a subsequent offer (usually the offer you desire them to choose the most).
SaaS companies will often do this with their pricing structures by offering three or four pricing plans, often with a free or limited plan, a basic plan, a “pro” plan and sometimes a premier plan. These basic plans are typically, but not always, pared down in their list of features priced accordingly.
It’s the mid-tier plans (or the pro plans) that they generally try to push the hardest, as these will often appeal to their largest density of audience members while featuring the most integral product features they have to offer:
That is anchoring in a nutshell.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a luxury dinnerware set. One set includes 24 pieces: eight dinner plates, eight soup bowls, and eight dessert plates, all in pristine condition.
The second set includes 40 pieces, with 31 in perfect condition and nine slightly chipped plates. Even if the second set has more pieces, you’re likely to pay more for the first set because you’re “anchored” to the idea of all pieces being in “pristine condition.”
Takeaway: When outlining your products or services, start with the most appealing features or numbers. These will become the anchor, making everything else seem better in comparison.
Combining Influence Strategies
If you want to boost your conversions, you can’t rely on just one tactic. Here’s how you can combine these influence strategies:
- Lead with Anchors: Start by highlighting the most compelling aspects of your product, service or argument.
- Frame the Narrative: Use gain and loss framing strategically, depending on the psychological triggers most effective for your audience.
- Simplify the Complex: Translate probabilities or technical details into simple language or relatable analogies.
- Provide Social Proof: Use testimonials or authoritative references to bolster your framing and anchoring efforts.
- Make It Actionable: Give readers or listeners a simple but effective action they can take after consuming your content.
In the end, what makes your offer compelling is how you sympathize with the needs and desires of your audience, leveraging the strengths of your offer to satisfy those needs. Make it simple to understand and easy to act on.
When you do the heavy lifting for your audience, it will make them comfortable with your brand and inevitably help them form trust that you’re a safe solution for their problem.
Last Thoughts on Influence Strategies to Grow Your Marketing
Influence isn’t about manipulation, it’s about resonating with people in a way that they find meaningful. You’re not just throwing information at them. You’re engaging in a conversation, a two-way street that benefits both parties.
So long as you remain kind and helpful in your messaging, showing prospects that your brand is a beacon of help, your audience will catch on, and conversions will soon follow.
If you’re ready to level up your conversions, Single Grain’s marketing experts can help!👇
For more insights and lessons about marketing, check out our Marketing School podcast on YouTube.