What are the Techniques of Persuasion

What are the six most common techniques of Persuasion?

  1. Liking: It’s much easier to influence someone who likes you. People like people who are like themselves.
  2. Social proof. People like to follow one another, so influencers imply the herd is moving the same way.
  3. Consistency. Most people prefer to keep their word. If people make a commitment, particularly if it’s out loud or in writing, they are much more likely to keep it. Influencers should try to gain verbal or written commitments.
  4. Scarcity. Even when companies have warehouses full of a product, they still advertise using time-limited offers that emphasise scarcity. People want what they can’t have, or at least what might be running short.
  5. Authority. People are strongly influenced by experts. Successful influencers flaunt their knowledge to establish their expertise.
  6. Reciprocity. Give something to get something. When people feel indebted to you they are more likely to agree to what you want.

There techniques were adapted from how to influence and persuade people (from Cialdini and Goldstein, 2004).  Any marketing program should incorporate these techniques to get the attention of perspective customers.

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The Tebow Effect…

Tim Tebow became the center of media attention for a brief moment this last fall.  A combination of football heroics, faith and social media made Tebow a household name and a lightening rod for conversation.  Adam Amel Rogers is a Project Specialist at the Norman Lear Center at USC.   Here is his take on the Tebow effect. 

To this die-hard Denver Broncos fan, the past football season has been an unforgettable wild ride. My beloved team used a series of unbelievable last-minute comebacks to rise above their talent level and win their division and a game in the playoffs. In the process, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow rose to a level of fame that reaches far beyond the football field.

Few public figures exemplify the work we do at the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center more than Tim Tebow. The Lear Center studies and shapes how entertainment and media impact society; and over the past year, the Tebow phenomenon has traversed numerous societal categories that help explain his meteoric rise in both popularity and disdain.

Religion – The intersection of sports and religion is nothing new, but Tim Tebow has dramatically moved the needle on the public discussion of religion’s role in sports. Tebow’s overt and unapologetic religious references have made him a hero in evangelical communities and a villain among those who believe in the separation of church and sports. Religion became a regular topic on sports talk radio, and a recent poll revealed that 43% of people believe that “divine intervention” is at least in part responsible for Tebow’s success. Following the Broncos legendary overtime playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, a common media meme was focused on how Tebow threw for 316 yards (like the commonly cited Bible verse “John 3:16”), on 10 (as in commandments) passes, for an average of 31.6 yards per pass (there it is again). Some took it even further, noting that he threw the pass to Demaryius Thomas, who shares a birthday with Jesus (December 25). Hyperbolic religious claims and criticisms became a regular part of discussions involving Tebow.

Politics – Tim Tebow has been perhaps the most sought-after celebrity endorsement of the 2012 presidential race. Although he has very smartly

declined to endorse anyone, that hasn’t stopped candidates from trying to capitalize on his popularity – both Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have desperately compared themselves to him. Tebow is no stranger to political controversy; his decision to align himself with the anti-gay, anti-choice organization Focus on the Family for an abortion-themed Super Bowl ad in 2010 still serves as a sore spot for progressives. It appears that his handlers now have a short leash on him regarding public display of his views on social issues, but that hasn’t stopped Focus on the Family from continuing to align themselves with Tebow. During the Broncos season-ending game against the New England Patriots, Focus aired a John 3:16″ themed commercial that was inspired by Tebow’s 316 yards passing the week before. Tebow’s life is expected to intersect with politics many times in the future: social conservatives have talked about drafting Tebow for public office ever since he was at the University of Florida.

Media – Prior to this season, the Broncos have been virtually invisible in mainstream sports media, but media coverage of Tim Tebow became an absolute obsession this season. ESPN seemed to lead the fixation with constant coverage of the Tebow phenomenon that included two separate one-hour Tebow specials (compared with a combined zero one-hour specials for all other NFL players). In the second Tebow special, they said the word “Tebow” 160 times in one hour. Deadspin put together a 91 second video which shows all 160 mentions. The Tebow story also spawned countless articles in traditional news media, and at times it dominated social media – his overtime playoff touchdown against the Steelers propelled a record-setting 9,420 tweets per second, which is the most ever for a U.S. event.

Internet Memes – Tebow’s success has made him susceptible to the full range of tribute and parody that the Internet has to offer. His signature prayer move made “Tebowing” the next “Planking” as people across the globe posted pictures of themselves on one knee in prayer. Then several Tebow-themed videos spread like wildfire, including traditional media comedies like a Saturday Night Live skit that featured Jesus asking Tebow to “tone it down,” and a Jimmy Fallon mashup between David Bowie and Tim Tebow, or as he dubbed it, “Tebowie.” Then there’s the popular auto-tuned YouTube hit All He Does Is Win” (with over 2.5 million views), the fake Tim Tebow movie trailer, and of course you’re not a real star on the Internet until Hitler weighs in on your success. Tebow has also been photobombed all over the Web, with the popular Mad Magazine rendition of Tebow as Jesus in the Last Supper, Tebow touching the hand of God in Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” and Tebow as a Centaur riding with Broncos legend John Elway under a rainbow.

Business – Shortly after Tim was drafted into the league, his jersey sales were ranked number 1 in the league, and he was pictured in his underwear in department stores across the nation for his Jockey endorsement – all before he had ever taken a snap in the NFL. After this crazy season, he has proven to be ratings gold for networks. The playoff win over the Steelers was watched by 42.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV program since last February’s Super Bowl. Tebow has also become an inspirational figure for business leadership, with the Washington Post naming him as one of the best leaders of 2011 (along with Hillary Clinton and Steve Jobs), and Forbes Magazine finding in him a slew of leadership lessons.

Innovation – The Lear Center has a project called Creativity & Collaboration in the Academy, which seeks to identify ways that research communities innovate and collaborate. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from this year’s Broncos season. A substantial part of the fascination with Tebow and the Broncos was how they won games. The NFL is a pass-heavy league that values strong arms and precision passing. When Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees throws a pass, the ball looks like a magnificent work of art as it travels to its precise target. When Tim Tebow throws a pass, it looks like a rejected kindergarten art project that will be lucky to land anywhere near its target. The Broncos’ success is largely due to the coaching staff’s throwing out conventional wisdom and building an offense that is based on the skills that Tim Tebow brings to the field. This upset much of the traditional football brass, who couldn’t understand how a team could keep winning games with a quarterback who can’t throw the ball, but the Broncos’ success has shown how important it is to cater to organizational strengths. As Terry Frei from the Denver Post said of the Broncos’ offense, “Innovation leads to redefining conformity in a copycat business.”1

Whatever the reason for Tebow’s success last fall, he effect on people seems to be lasting.  Follow us on Facebook or find us on twitter. 

1) http://blog.learcenter.org/2012/01/tim_tebow_the_most_lear_center.html

Tweeting or Sex?

Do you feel a compulsion to check your phone for activity on Twitter? Tweeting or checking emails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people could resist their desires. They even claim that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges, people are more likely to give in to longings or cravings to use social and other media because it is free!

A team headed by Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Business School say their experiment, using BlackBerrys to gauge the willpower of 205 people aged between 18 and 85 in and around the German city of Würtzburg is the first to monitor responses outside a laboratory.

The participants were signaled seven times a day over 14 hours for seven consecutive days so they could message back whether they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within the last 30 minutes, what type it was, the strength (up to irresistible), whether it conflicted with other desires and whether they resisted or went along with it. There were 10,558 responses and 7,827 “desire episodes” reported.

“Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and resistance, the latter with uneven success,” said Hofmann. Sleep and leisure were the most problematic desires, suggesting “pervasive tension between natural inclinations to rest and relax and the multitude of work and other obligations”.

The researchers found that as the day wore on, willpower became lower. Their paper says highest “self-control failure rates” were recorded with media. “Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail. In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges, and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money. Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist.”

Social media is free and hard to resist! We are all hardwired to desire connection.

Find us on Facebook @ata2udmedia or Twitter @ ata2udmedia

Emotional Branding…..the Compelling Why?

Creating an emotional connection between customers and a brand is probably the highest achievement in marketing.  Most often, brands strive for this mark by being the best at something and then reinforcing that position at every opportunity. The bond or connection is forged when you can answer the compelling why? Why should a customer buy your brand?  What compels customers to choose you?  If you have answered the why, you have started the emotional branding process.

Think about Apple and Starbucks as examples of emotional brands.  Have they created a connection with their customers?

The best way is to create a brand connection is for them to experience a difference.  Why are you different? Is your product one of a kind?  If not, then is your service exceptional?  When building emotion into your brand customers go through stages….

Emotional Stage 1 – How you get someone interested? Why should they choose you?

Emotional Stage 2 – How do you get someone to consider a purchase? Do you offer value or experience?

Emotional Stage 3 – How do you continually reinforce that their purchase decision was absolutely the right decision?  Did you create value or experience?

Emotional Stage 4 – How do you create a loyal customer such that they want to continue to buy your product or service? Can you cross or up sell?

Emotional Stage 5 – How do you create a brand connection so that your brand becomes part of your customer’s life?  Do you have a way to communicate to your customers: email, Facebook, twitter or text? Remember, out of sight out of mind.

Emotional Stage 6 – How do you get your audience to be your ambassador?

Getting customers emotionally invested in your brand success is the pinnacle of marketing success.  Find us on Facebook & Twitter @ata2udmedia

Extracted from the web @ http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/02/01/the-six-stages-of-emotional-branding/

The Why of Social Media…..

Business owners are always asking, “why should I use social media for my business?” Recently, I found a blog written by Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com/blog/active-social-media.htm) that gives a great explanation.
Social media has become a daily part of nearly everyone’s life. According to studies by The Pew Foundation, Nielson Research and others, millions of people are active on at least one social networking site each day.  Numbers alone do not answer the “why” of social media. Here’s why an active social media presence is so important:
Search Engine Optimization
The search engines pay attention to social media data and use it to determine search engine ranking. The search engines view content links that are shared frequently in social media as trusted. Since the search engines want to provide valuable search results, they will consider this as a ranking factor which means that the more frequently content gets shared in social media, the better chances it has of ranking well. Obviously, a search engine presence (or lack thereof) plays a huge role in the success of a website.

Traffic Generation
While it’s great to get social media followers, the ultimate goal of a social media marketing campaign should be to drive traffic to your business website. That’s why it’s so important to have the right social media followers, ones that are actually interested in the products or services that you offer. Thousands upon thousands of followers don’t mean much if they never take action and visit your website or blog to learn more.

Public Relations
Social media provides information in real time and has become a primary source of news. While it shouldn’t necessarily replace traditional PR or submitting online press releases, it’s another avenue to share information about your business and interact with members of the press.

Brand Building
Every industry is competitive online today. The businesses that will find the most success are the ones that are transparent and willing to share information with target audience members in order to become a trusted source. Social media is one avenue to share such information and connect with potential clients or customers in order to give them a positive view of your business and brand.

Referrals
Everything in the social media world revolves around connection.  Connection is your ability to interact with satisfied customers and seek referrals.  If you believe 70-80% of your new business comes from repeat customers and referrals, then using social media to network is a very nature extension of your current business development model.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to learn more about using social media to build your brand.

Atttitude is Everything!

“The world has become more competitive; the economy has undeniable vulnerabilities and is in need of reinvention.  As in all situations, the determining factor will be our attitude, how we choose to look at this reality.”  –50 Cent  

I believe the quality of our lives is largely determined by the quality of the questions we are continually asking ourselves.  In our ever changing and demanding world how do we first cope with and then embrace change?  Let me suggest an answer: attitude.    Professor Erwin H. Schell, one of the most respected minds on leadership says, ”obviously, there is something more than facilities and competence that make for accomplishment. I have come to believe that the linkage factor, this catalyst, if you will, can be defined in a single word attitude.  When our attitude is right, our abilities reach a maximum of effectiveness and good results inevitably follow.“  I believe attitudes do make a profound difference.

Think about it for a minute.   If you are greeted when you enter a store with an authentic and warm smile how do you feel?   Compare that to being ignored or glared at when you walk in.  How does your greeting effect your emotions?  How about your desire to shop?  Will you spend more or less time in the store?  The salesperson’s greeting reflects their attitude toward their work and your presence.  Their attitude affects yours.

As human beings we are keenly attuned to reading attitudes through expressions and voice tones and inflections.  We communicate our attitudes, our feelings toward people and things through body and facial expressions.   It is said that attitudes are the mirrors of the mind.  They reflect thinking.  Ask yourself this question; what attitude do people see in you?  If you cannot define what your attitude, then how can you change? Awareness will change your perspective. Once you are aware and you are ready to see it, you life and perspective is forever changed.

Have you heard the saying, “Attitude Is Everything”? I believe attitude might really be everything, as it is the lens we look at life through.  Success and failure are judged by your attitude.  Think about this simple saying, “everyday I am on this earth is a good day!”  Imagine if you really believed “everyday I am on this earth is a good day”?  By merely waking up you have declared the day, a good day!  On the flip side, if you woke up each day with a work to-do list a mile long and lamenting each challenge, how do you see your day? When does you day become a good day?  When it is over?  Now try a subtle attitude shift.  Thank you for having work and clients that create challenges and a mile long list of to-dos.  I am not unemployed.  Thank you I have a job!

Your attitude shapes your perspective, the way your interpret event, the choices your make, the actions you take and the outcomes you get.  You want your life to change?  Change your attitude first. Do you want real happiness?  Not the kind of happiness that changes moment to moment.  Then change your attitude. Here is my secret to true happiness,  “even if you have a great attitude already, it could always be better.”  Ready to change your attitude?

Make a Choice: Decide what attitude you want to have and choose to adopt that attitude.  The real control you have in this life is to “choose your attitude”.    Obstacles in life create opportunities, as long as, you shift your attitude to embrace the challenge.

Break Old Patterns: If you catch yourself with a bad attitude, do something radical to change your physiology.  Pump yourself up.  Clap your hands and shake off the old attitude.    Look in the mirror to see what you are reflecting. 

Spend Time with Positive People: Attitudes are contagious. What attitude do you want to catch?  If you spend time with people who are on fire for life, then you are likely to be on fire for life.

Ask Better Questions: The ongoing chatter or noise in our heads is a series of questions.  The majority of the time it does not even register that this process is going on.  Most of the time this is not a very conscious process.  Learn to ask a better question.  Try this;  do you believe life happens to you, or for you? If life happens to you, then your circumstances of the moment determine your happiness.  If life happens for you, then even in the most tragic situations there is something to learn or a way to grow.  If you are continually learning and growing you are generally pretty happy.

Quit Using Excuses: We tend to stubbornly hold on to our attitudes even when they do not get us the life we want.  They are habits and learn to justify them. We have excuses for our excuses.  Do you want to hold onto your excuses, or do your want results?

Reminders: Write the attitude you want on a post-it note and put it somewhere so that you’ll see it regularly like on the bathroom mirror or car visor.   Set an alarm that goes off at certain times of the day to remind you to grab hold of your new attitude.

Believe: You have to believe! You have to believe that a new attitude is possible and the choice is solely yours!

Time to make a choice! You decide. If attitude is everything, what is your attitude?  Remember, the way to true happiness is this,  “even if you have a great attitude already, it could always be better.”   Ready to change your attitude and have a happier new year? It your choice!

What is Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

At Ata2ud Media, our philosophy of web presence begins with a simple mantra, “You have to be seen, to be heard!”  In the web world, being “seen” means being found in a web search using a popular search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. The order in which you appear in that search is key.  The higher the listing, the more likely your site will be visited by a user. Where your site falls in the listing is based upon search engine parameters, called an algorithm.  These algorithms favor helping the user get answers to their search questions.  Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) fine tunes your website making it more “findable” in relevant searches. However, all SEO is not the same.   

Search optimization is broken into two distinct strategies: organic and artificial.   Merriam Webster defines organic, in part, as “having the characteristics of an organism: developing in the manner of a living plant or animal.” To an SEO company, this definition describes the approach taken to achieve long-lasting results in the “natural” use of search engines. The organic strategy involves quality content building over time. Artificial SEO involves using techniques and tricks to fool the search engine and instead of depending on quality content building.

A few comparisons of the different approaches will clarify what we mean when we use the term “organic SEO” and “artificial SEO”.

Content vs. Technical Loopholes

In the SEO industry “content is king.” We would take this adage one step further.  In our experience, quality content is king. Study after study has shown that when people use search engines, they are primarily seeking one thing: quality information. They are not seeking to be impressed by fancy flash sites. They are not looking for pretty.  In SEO the quality of your site is directly proportional to the quality of the questions your site can answer.

A search engine optimization company that is truly practicing “organic SEO” recognizes this fact.  “Artificial SEO” firms, which embrace a technical loophole philosophy, will allow a company to leave its website exactly as it is, because the work that such firms do is largely technical and is designed to trick the engine into showing content that it would not otherwise show. Certainly, there are acceptable (from the engine’s standpoint) technical aspects that any good search engine optimization company will use, such as relevant page titles and Meta tags. But there are many more unacceptable technical methodologies than acceptable ones, including cloaking, redirects, multiple sites, key phrase stuffing, hidden links, and numerous others. A company practicing “organic SEO” will avoid these.

Our philosophy is to integrate a blog for deep content coupled with a twitter (micro blog) and a Facebook feed on page one of your website to get you noticed.  This strategy funnels all your real-time quality content to drive a better search profile.    

Attracting Links vs. Linking Schemes

As any SEO company knows, inbound links are critical to the success of an “organic SEO” campaign. There are different ways to go about it.

Firms that practice true “organic SEO” will look at the website itself and say “How can we make this site something that other sites would want to link to?” What new content needs to be added to create a better search profile? A search engine optimization company using “artificial SEO” will ask, “How can I get links pointing to this site without adding anything of value to it?” The latter approach usually leads to reciprocal linking schemes, link farms, and the purchase of text links.  This strategy avoids making changes to the website that entice others to link to the site.  A better strategy is to ask for a link to be reciprocated.

A solid SEO organic strategy will make certain that a site is listed in all the popular directories, such as the Yahoo Directory, the Open Directory Project, and Business.com.  This strategy will also continually seek any industry-specific directories where your site could be listed.  Using “organic SEO” means building content to your site so that it holds actual value to your prospects.  Using social media feeds and a blog gives your readers information and answers to their questions.  Isn’t that what they are searching for? In my opinion, this is much more beneficial in the long run than the artificial methodology of trying to garner incoming links that the site does not truly deserve.

Quality content, which is a resource for answering searcher questions, will get the high quality inbound links.

Creating an Expert Resource vs. Algorithm Chasing

Search engines change their algorithms frequently for two reasons. One is, of course, to improve their results based upon their most recent user interaction.  The other is to get past the tactics that get sites ranked artificially high.

The common denominator in websites that maintain their high rankings despite frequent algorithm changes is high quality content! They offer something of value (answer questions) to their visitors and are considered a resource for their industry. “Organic SEO” practitioners generally do not concern themselves with algorithm shifts.  They continue to build content making your site an expert resource in your field.   While an “artificial” SEO companies desperately try to claw their way back to rankings lost from dependence on technical loopholes.   “Organic SEO” firms continue adding valuable and relevant content to your site, strengthening its value and bolstering its rankings.

The organic approach requires you have a shift in thinking: from marketer to publisher: from salesperson to guide.  What do your prospects need to know about your product or service that can differentiate you from others? Let your website be their source to learn about your industry. Prospects are very likely to call you when they are ready to buy, as you have become their expert resource!  With “organic SEO,” you will reach people in all stages of the buying cycle, educate them, and steer them toward your solution by using your website.

Learning from Engines vs. Learning How to Exploit Them

On a regular basis, search engines engage in very expensive studies on what their users want to see when they enter search queries. “Organic SEO” firms are always positioning themselves in the search algorithm with quality content. An “organic SEO” company will try to learn and “listen” to the results of recent studies.  For example, shifting technology like the explosive growth of social media caused dramatic changes in the search algorithms.  “Organic SEO” companies now incorporate the micro blogging aspects of social media into their website build model.  “Artificial SEO” does not concern itself with user interaction studies, getting traffic.  It does not listen to the user it solely focuses on defeating the search engine algorithm.

The “artificial” approach makes results erratic, but it also raises a larger point.  What is the goal of the campaign or your website? If an “Artificial SEO” company finds a loophole in an algorithm that catapults your site to the top, but does not consider the user experience at your website, it defeats the original purpose. You want to convert traffic to customers! You may get plenty of visitors (traffic).  These will be short-term visitors who do not find what they want on your site and back out without a second thought. No conversion. Ata2ud Media believes conversion begins with getting relevant, quality and timely content.   An exceptional user experience is a function of meeting the user’s needs!

Final Thoughts on the “Organic” Approach 

An SEO company that takes a true “Organic SEO” approach will actually take the dictionary definition quite literally in building your website. A great website is like an organism, always growing and adapting to its environment.  It builds upon itself. It learns how it should behave and act in its own best interest.

At Ata2ud Media, we specialize in content that is both high quality and social.  Do you want people to hear your brand message?  Then you need to be seen! Let us help you climb the search listings in Google, Yahoo and Bing.