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Persuasive Web Design, Part 13: Fostering Commitment Via Written Public Statements

Persuading customers to take action is one thing. Creating loyal fans — turning customers into committed advocates for our products — is something else.

How do we get lifetime customers? Customers who not only use our products, but feel passionate about them. Customers who can't imagine using your competitors' products… and love to tell their friends?

One age-old technique that is perfectly suited for the web is to solicit a written public statement.

The idea is very simple: get customers to endorse your product or cause publicly, preferably in writing. Once they've committed, it's very hard to go back, to act in a manner that's inconsistent with their statement.

This technique is very effective for soliciting donations, for example: First, you ask potential donors to sign a petition for your cause; then, you ask for the donation. People will be much more likely to donate if they've previously endorsed your cause. And this willingness to donate does not arise simply from some sense of obligation. They'll actually feel more passionate about your cause.

The Internet is the perfect vehicle for gathering public statements. Consider encouraging your customers to participate in:

  • Product reviews

  • Discussion forums
  • Blog comments
  • Video submissions
  • Facebook groups

Once customers have publicly endorsed your products, they'll feel more committed. More passionate about them.

We're living in the age of active engagement. Passive branding just isn't good enough any more. Encourage customers to express their opinions, and make it easy for them to do so. Once they've publicly endorsed your product, service or cause, they'll never go back.


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