We know that SEO can deliver traffic, but we know from experience that traffic alone is not enough.
Skeptical consumers require more from your websites’ proposition to relinquish their reservations. This requires persuasion and persuasion marketing.
SEO, relevant and persuasive copy as well as usability all need to work harmoniously in order to shatter prior expectations about what users need from a website in order to take action. One aspect presented without the proper balance of the other can leave the visitor on the fence when it comes to making a decision to purchase.
Transforming a prospect into a customer involves multiple emotional and intellectual layers to facilitate trust. Often, the resolve of the prospect is weathered by a natural layer of mental and emotional buffers to offset the sales process. Just consider it natural reaction to being bombarded from disruptions from advertisements attempting to breach their awareness from every angle.
If you realize it or not, your pages are waging an argument of relevance, persuasion and validity. If you win, conversion occurs, if you lose, then your just another stepping stone for your competition who has structured a better offer, argument or call to action.
When dealing with new visitors, your website has a 50/50 chance of winning their vote. Visitors, unless endorsed or referred by a third party (like an authority site, or trusted friend or reference), have a tendency to reserve judgment about a new product of service until the argument of value, impulse and need are mitigated and a clear decision is determined by which action to take.
The primary component to sales is security and trust, without it your page is just another website that made the click and run list. Stickiness for your design and visual appeal all play a part, but the tone of your content and context, call to action and supporting information are the logical areas any visitor will assess.
Every time a new visitor lands on one of your pages, there is a mental checklist that occurs under the surface of their roving eyes. They either (a) within 3-5 seconds fast-track the checklist and like the page or the style of information exchange or (b) look for reasons to pick it apart and move on.
Don’t feel bad, this is nothing personal, just call it our new protection mechanism from over stimulation. Going back to the fact that consumers are constantly being bombarded from all sides and mediums available from billboards to bumper stickers and everything in between, it is only natural to protect your psyche from any random or fleeting advertorial or advertisement you engage online.
Making your argument stick is no longer just a sales pitch, it is a mark of distinction your pages wear like a badge that convey a more human element of appeal to your website. Just like a formal business letter in many instances was the norm from a different era, now an informal email works just fine to get the point across. Similarly selling has taken on a more sophisticated yet transparent approach to the methods of yesteryear.
We are now faced with a transition from conditional stereotypes for business as they are replaced with more rudimentary needs such as:
- Why Should I Pick You?
- Are You Qualified? If so, How Qualified?
- Under Who’s Opinion?
- What Credentials and Accountability Do You Have?, Show Me Proof?
- Are You Knowledgeable? and Last but Not Least, What are YOU going to do for ME?
Granted, this dialogue may not be obvious, internalized mental checklists such as these are not uncommon if someone is skimming your content for relevance. Only 17% of all visitors actually read your content word for word, most just skim for a reason to dig deeper.
So, if you are thoughtful enough to offer one part design, one part relevance and one part persuasion you can create the perfect combination for conversion to occur.
Just like clapping with one hand presents its own challenge, content that does not address or convey expertise for your product, service or brand will not sway your preferred audience the competition that understands the premise of persuasion.
So, before you think about how many keywords to optimize your website for, how to reach your target demographic or how many links you need to build to take the top ranking spot.
Make sure you have something worthy and remarkable enough to get your visitors off the bleachers and into the game, otherwise you are just cheerleaders for your competition who has structured the better argument to overcome the inertia of indecision with the fervor of their sales offer.
Although we touched briefly on the need for persuasion based marketing, read more about the principles of Persuasion, Emotion and Trust from the originators of this medium from Human Factors International.