I was thinking about one of my clients who enjoys direct response copy writing as much as I do so I sent this advice along to him a few minutes ago. I thought I’d pass it along to you too. This won’t help increase your website traffic, but it’s an amazingly powerful tip that can help you to convert more visitors into buyers once they hit your site.
There’s a great book by Robert Cialdini called Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion. It’s one of my favorite books. In there, he talks about a study that they did at Harvard, I think. There was a guy who would approach a line of people waiting to use the copy machine and he’d say, “Can I cut in line?” About 60% of the time, people would actually let him cut in line. Next time, he’d try adding an excuse and he’d say, “Can I cut in line because I am in a hurry.” The percentage jumped up above 90%. Then they changed the experiment for a third time and they removed the good excuse and provided a lame excuse. He’d say, “Can I cut in line because I have to make some copies.” Everyone in line had to make some copies so the excuse was meaningless, but it showed that by adding the word “because” with an explanation, people would respond favorably 90% of the time rather than 60% of the time. It didn’t matter what the reason was, people responded favorably just because a reason was provided. So the lesson is that every time you make a claim, give a supporting statement to back it up. Immediately disarm their skeptical response to your claim by telling why you’re making that claim. For instance, rather than just saying “I have decided to slash the prices on my eBay course for Christmas” you should say, “I have decided to slash the prices on my eBay course for Christmas because I found a new lower cost hosting company and I want to pass along the savings to you.” It doesn’t matter what the excuse is, just back it up. Otherwise they’ll think it’s just a gimmick. Provide a reason and they can focus on the offer rather than playing the Devil’s advocate and looking for your sneaky reasons for discounting the book. When you just offer the discount, they’re thinking, “He’s marking them down because they aren’t selling. They must suck.” When you use the word “because” they know why you’re marking them down and they can move forward trusting you.