Do you have one of those blogs where people hang on your every word, follow every “Call to Action” you present to them, and buy any and every product or service that you make them aware of?
Me neither. But I’m working on it.
We all need to improve upon our persuasion skills and I’ve been honing those skills for over twenty years. Can you guess who some of my best teachers were? My 8 kids (and they are still at it). Maybe you have (or know) a kid who can talk you out of half of your French fries, get you to watch “The Little Mermaid” for the tenth time, or present a compelling argument as to why a pit stop at the park is more important that heading straight home.
The list of things my kids have talked me into (by argument or charm) is more than I care to admit. Their art of persuasion is natural and appeals to emotions, needs, and impulses that we all possess. What can we learn from them?
- Try something that works for someone else. Many times I have heard my kids repeat compliments they have overheard adults use successfully (“You look great today” or “That was a great choice”). They witnessed the positive response and instinctively knew “that would work for me too.” We should be looking at other bloggers and mimic their successful tactics. If you are enticed to purchase something, think about what the other guy did or said to get you to buy. Can you replicate it and use the tactic in a way that will benefit your audience? How are other bloggers building traffic? That could work for you too. How are other online business owners making good income? Should work for you too.
- Make your words count. If my seven-year-old son walks into my office and says “Dad, hurry, you gotta see this…”, you can bet I’ll get out of my chair and follow him to the backyard to see what he’s talking about. A kid’s energy is contagious and when they pull out energetic words to get us moving, they usually succeed. We can spice up bland blog posts with action words that will energize our readers (use your thesaurus and look up words like “fabulous,” “majestic,” “glorious,” etc., to encourage your readers that your request is worth their time). Don’t be fake or come across like a used-car salesman (the stereotypical kind, not you honest ones out there ) but learn to use words that stimulate emotion, interest, and energy.
- Show that you really do care. People want to be appreciated. Some of my favorite cards and letters from my kids (even way back when all the letters were backwards and out of order) are the ones that simply say “I love you Dad” or “You are the best Dad.” Kids certainly know that their parents want to feel loved and appreciated, and will take the time to tell us so (even when they haven’t done anything wrong). We need to show our readers that they are appreciated as well, whether it is by simply thanking them for commenting on one of our posts or by writing them a personal email to answer a question or thank them for something helpful that they added to your blog.
- Help your readers. There have been many times where my kids have asked me to do something I wasn’t about to do. While I would turn down the request of: “will you help me clean my room all up Daddy?” I would be willing to sit on the floor with my daughter and take turns putting some books away, if she asked (or at least I would ask my wife to do it ). Then if she asked me to help her put clean clothes in the top drawer, I would take the minute to do that. So you might not be able to help a reader who wants you to babysit them through setting up their entire blog or online business (a request I often receive) but you should find many ways to help your readers in real and important ways… a perfect way to build relationship and loyalty.
- Ask for what you want. If it’s hot outside and my kids want to play in the sprinkler, they don’t necessarily have to detail the weather forecast and try to convince me of their need to cool off with the hose. They will just come in and say: “Dad can we turn on the sprinkler?” Kids are famous for being direct (to our embarrassment at times) and seem to know that if they want something, they need to ask for it. How many times do we pitch a product, or present an idea, without directly asking our audience to purchase the product, sign up for the service, or simply just “share” our content with all their friends? Just ask. Get to the point.
- Share your praise. My kids are used to being told that they are cute, smart, and really funny when they actually are cute, smart, and funny (we don’t do the fake “self esteem” nonsense… oh, that will get me some emails!). As you serve your audience well, you will receive praise from your readers. We need to be on the lookout for praise we receive and share it as testimonials for our online businesses. If you can detail a client success story (using their own feedback to you), share it with your readers. Re-purpose compliments left on your blog posts (with the author’s permission) into a “landing page” to encourage new customers that you and your services are worthy of their time or money investment. It’s not really bragging because you are simply sharing praise you have honestly (emphasis on honestly) received.
- Use imagery. Have you told your kid “Be careful climbing that tree” one day to find him perched in the top branches looking down at you the next day? You’d get better results by using imagery: “Don’t climb that tree because the top branches are dead, will crack under your weight, you’ll fall to the ground straight on your head and your brains will ooze out all over the place and be licked up by the dog.” Okay, that’s a little over the top – and gross – but you get the point. Try to use images to make your point (whether quality stock photography, vivid written imagery, engaging graphics, or even charts); people will be more apt to pay attention and remember your point if they can picture it in their head.
- Try a Split Test. My kids have been known to walk in and inform me of something they want only to be met with a “not a chance.” Then they come back in a few minutes with basically the same request but stated a different way, or maybe prefaced with a new reason. Occasionally it works, mostly not, but they are doing something natural: split testing… using different techniques and measuring the results. In relation to our online business, if one approach doesn’t work, try something else and see if the outcome is better. You might extend your split testing to your Social Media groups and simply show them two different proposals and poll for which one they prefer or would be more apt to sign up for.
We really can learn a lot from our kids. I hope you have enjoyed a little lesson from mine – feel free to share any additional wisdom you have picked up from your kids (or grandkids) in the comments.
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