Online Persuasion: How to Develop Effective Messaging (Part 2) | Cardinal Path Blog
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Online Persuasion: How to Develop Effective Messaging (Part 2)

Last week, I discussed how to use one-on-one interviews to gather the vital information you need to make your website more persuasive. This week, I’ll touch on how to analyze this data and put it to use.

The first step is review your notes from the interviews, pulling out useful quotations and other snippets of information.

For the purposes of persuasive architecture, FACTS don’t matter. For example:

  • I’m a 38-year-old white professional female from Newark
  • I have three dogs and two cats, all very healthy
  • I’ve been using natural medications for the past 10 years
  • I do most of my shopping online

None of the above is useful. This is where many newcomers to persuasive web design mess up. If your interviews netted only such facts, they were largely a waste of time. What you should have been probing for in your interviews — and what you are looking for now — are feelings and beliefs. For example:

  • Natural remedies are safer and gentler than commercial pet medications (belief)
  • Being informed can help me protect my pet (belief)
  • I feel I’m in control, knowing I can prevent pet health problems (feeling)
  • Entering your credit card information online is very risky (belief)
  • I feel cheated when I buy something that is ineffective (feeling)

You should end up with a very long list, so consolidate and categorize them. Look for patterns. Once you’ve pared down and organized your quotations, divide them into Blocks and Drivers.

Blocks are feelings and beliefs that may prevent customers from taking the action you desire. For example, from the above:

  • I feel cheated when I buy something that is ineffective (feeling)
  • Entering your credit card information online is very risky (belief)

In your communications, you must address all potential blocks, to reassure customers that there is no problem.

Drivers are the feelings and beliefs that motivate customers to take action — the “hot buttons” you can use to engage visitors and keep them on the path to conversion. From the above examples:

  • I feel I’m in control, knowing I can prevent pet health problems (feeling)
  • Natural remedies are safer and gentler than commercial pet medications (belief)
  • Being informed can help me protect my pet (belief)

The trickiest (and most interesting) part of the process is determining how and where to address specific blocks and drivers. Messages must be delivered at just the right time and place; you’re looking for the seduceable moments. But that is beyond the scope of this post…

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