I’m obsessed with books…
Old fashioned, paper and ink physical books…
My shelves groan with weighty tomes about everything from quantum physics and medieval art to Japanese films and London’s occult history…
But most valuable of all are my books on marketing psychology.
Okay, they’re not the sort of books you put on coffee tables or show off to friends.
But they’re essential, because they give me an endless supply of inspiration and ideas to use in my own business – and pass onto you.
Of course, things move so fast online, there are constantly new trends, techniques and tools that I need to keep track of.
But one thing that doesn’t change are the fundamental principles of human psychology – those inner forces that can make us take action.
So today I want to recommend one of my latest finds to you.
It really chimes with what I’ve been saying in Digital Upstart this year.
It’s called Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion by Nathalie Nahai.
If that sounds a bit lofty to you, then you might like the tagline of the book a bit better – ‘the secret strategies that make us click’.
And that’s pretty much the thrust of this book…
The Secret Strategies That Make Us Click
What is it – specifically – that you can do to your website that will make customers choose you over the competition?
In answering this question, Nahai’s book becomes a practical guide to getting the right kind of people to look at your website, gaining their trust, and encouraging them to click ‘buy’.
She says there are three secrets to online influence:
1. Know Who You’re Targeting – this is something I call Customer Profiling, and there’s an article about how to do it on the Digital Upstart website (the February issue)
2. Communicate persuasively – this is about solving problems that your prospective customers might have, or making things easier for them. And you can do this through blogging, free reports, videos and clever use of social media. Again, there are tips for this on the Digital Upstart members-only website.
3. Sell with integrity – you have to convince potential customers that you’re going to deliver.
The first two I’ve covered a lot in the Digital Upstart newsletter, so if you’re not yet signed up, I’d recommend you do so by clicking here.
We’re building up step-by-step material that you can put to practical use, particularly if you’re at the beginning stages.
In fact – the next issue is going to focus specifically on kick-starting online businesses from scratch, so it’s worth getting on board now.
However, the third one is something I’d like to cover more…
How to give yourself instant online integrity
Nahai’s third secret of online influence is ‘sell with integrity’.
And this is something Nahai bases largely on the Robert Cialdini, the highly respected social psychologist and author of the worldwide bestseller Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Understanding how to use the tools of persuasion is so important if you’re going to succeed online.
And I’m not just referring to direct selling here.
Every single aspect of your online business has to do the job of persuasion, from the layout of your website, to your ‘about me’ page and photos you use.
After all, if you’re a high street shop, people can see instantly that you are a real business.
They can touch the physical products on the shelves and come up to you with questions for an instant answer.
But online, you need to convince someone very quickly that you’re genuine, credible, and reliable without any physical presence whatsoever.
On this matter, Nahai has some great tips:
- Make sure your website is designed to a professional standard. This is your shop front and it needs to look credible. (My simple for this is to avoid trying to design your own or hiring a web-builder and instead use a WordPress template, as these are ready made and high quality.)
- Take a picture. Nahai says that research has shown that “simply using a photo of a person on ONE Web page can have a significant, positive effect on trust.” (I’d suggest the “about me” page for that).
- Ensure your website has high usability – this mean’s it’s easy to navigate around and that there’s all the useful information there (contact details, opening hours, menus, prices).
- Boost your website’s credibility by linking to other reputable websites – also highlight any credentials, ratings or awards you might have.
- Team up with other businesses in your field, forming a guild or group, or sharing blog posts, or creating LinkedIn or Facebook discussion groups.
- Associate with other businesses by offering to contribute blog posts for them. You can also offer the same in return, or perhaps do an interview with an influential person or company on your website.
- Get testimonials – go out to your first customers, ask for feedback, then put it on your website. If you’ve not yet got customers, go out and offer it for free to testers in return for feedback. Make sure you show that you are competent at delivering the products to standard and on time.
- Offer free postage and packaging – this is a quick way of gaining trust and overcoming objections.
- Encourage conversation. Show the customers that you’re there primarily to help them solve problems and achieve their goal. So offer them email support and advice, or a one-to-one consultation, or a price comparison service.
That’s just a flavour of the tips in Webs of Influence. Well worth having on your desk.
On that note, if there’s a particular book you’ve found that’s inspired you in some way, do let me know about it. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.
This article first appeared on Digital Upstart. Read more and comment here