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Persuasion Marketing: 5 Simple Ways to Market with Influence

As marketers, we cannot afford to market without persuasion: the ability to cause an effect on someone, getting them to do something.

By Navid Jafari  |   Oct 2020  | 0
persuasion marketing
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Marketing without persuasion is like wanting to drive a car without wheels.  Persuasion is the ability to cause an effect on someone and getting them to do something.  Marketing is nothing if not all about persuasion, yet, marketers often overlook basic principles at their disposal.

Today, with all the marketing analytics, automation, and tools, it is easy to forget that none of it actually matters if we are not persuasive.

What is persuasion?

We are all familiar with the concept of persuasion in everyday life.  We want a raise, so we persuade our boss that we deserve it.  We want to ask someone on a date; naturally, we persuade that person to give us a chance.  

Aristotle used to teach his students about three methods or modes by which they can convince their audience and thus be persuasive:

  • Ethos: in short, ethos is about credibility. Without credibility, it would be difficult to tell someone what to do.  Credibility can come in many forms, including through education, position, experience, or identification.  In my experience, credibility is an essential part of marketing and messaging.  More on this later.
  • Pathos: think of this as the emotional piece of persuasion.  We generally make decisions based on how something makes us feel, and therefore, in trying to persuade someone to do something, we must use the emotional appeal just as much as the logical appeal.
  • Logos: this is the logical part of persuasion: if you buy this TV, it will give you a 30% clearer picture than your old one.  Logic is about facts, figures, and hard evidence.

Together, ethos, pathos, and logos give us the foundation of persuasion.  But, how do we apply this to marketing?

A word about Ethos

Before we move on, let’s expand on credibility.  As I shared above, credibility can come from many forms.  We (generally) tend to listen to doctors because they have earned a medical degree.  Their education and certification make them credible.


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Additionally, we (again, generally) listen to our leaders because they hold a specific authority or post. There are many ways one can become credible, but I’d like to talk about one area in particular: credibility through identification or commonality.

When we meet strangers who we like, to some extent, we look for commonalities.  By sharing commonalities with others, we tend to listen to them more, and they tend to listen to us more.

Just think of a recommendation from a friend about the best pizza shop in town.  The point here is that credibility can also come from identification: making others see that we understand them well.

This is very important for marketing because we can gain credibility by merely telling our prospective audience that we understand their problem(s).

Therefore, they should trust us when we tell them about how we solved those problems.

Marketing with influence and persuasion in mind

Over the past 15+ years as a marketer, I have found the following five principles and methods to be highly persuasive.  Each is foundational in the way I generally work, lead, build strategies, and execute plans.  Some speak to ethos (credibility),

some speak to pathos (emotion), and of course, some speak to logos (logic.)  What I’ve found to be important is the combination of all of these approaches being far more effective than the individual parts.

Focus on quality

I never skip on quality.  Quality messaging or quality marketing collateral supposes that the people behind the company, service, or product care about what they produce.  It says that they didn’t just put something together, and they pay attention to detail.  I know this sounds elementary.

Some would say that, of course, marketers must pay attention to detail, but you’d be surprised how often this is ignored. Write well (affiliate link), communicate effectively, and build professional-looking material and website (affiliate link).

Producing quality work involves careful planning and consideration.  For example, in 2020, no company should have a website that looks straight out of 1998!  By just using tools like WordPress, there are countless ways a company can build a professional website (affiliate link) these days at very reasonable prices.

Additionally, I pay particular attention to color psychology when building a brand or marketing material.  More on this in another article soon.

Solve real problems

I work in Silicon Valley, and the one thing we all love around here is technology.  So much so that sometimes we build companies and products solely based on the promise of a type of technology.  This is great for innovation but not particularly useful for customers.

My observation is that unless as marketers, we are focusing on solving real problems, then who cares what technology we use.  Yes, there is always an audience for technical details a product offers, but my point here is that we ought to stop talking about megahertz,  AI this, and ML that.  Instead, let’s talk about what that gets the customer.

We can influence our target audience better by showing them that first, we understand their pain, and two, we can be trusted to solve their problems.

Educate your audience

Education as a marketing strategy is sometimes overlooked, but it can be a powerful part of persuasion marketing.  This is particularly true with new products or services in the market.

By educating the target audience, marketers have a chance to teach them new ways of solving their problems, create a connection between their problem and how a brand can solve it for them, and get them to think of their brand as the leader in the space.

A prime example of this is the way HubSpot does it.  They have a superior product, but they have spent enormous resources creating their blog, which simply teaches their target audience how to be better marketers.

Be everywhere

Today, it is not enough to have one or two channels to engage with clients and consumers.  In fact, I see it as a missed opportunity when my prospects are navigating YouTube, for example, and I only happen to have a podcast.

As marketers, we can’t be the sole party that determines the types of marketing messages and channels that we create.  By being everywhere (affiliate link) (e.g., YouTube, podcast, blog, Twitter), the chances of our target audience seeing our brand and us regularly increases.  This can be a powerful influencer.

As I shared above, quality is critical.  I am not suggesting sacrificing quality for the sake of being everywhere.  No marketer should stretch their resources too thin and sacrifice quality.  There are ways to reduce the amount of time and resources required to have a ubiquitous presence, and I will discuss these in another post.

Listen (to customers), learn, and repeat

Without the appropriate feedback loops in place, it is impossible to know whether any of the points above are working.  So, I always make sure that there is a data-driven feedback system in place to measure the effectiveness of what I am trying to market.

For example, if I plan to use social media as one of my marketing channels, then I make sure that all customer feedback through that channel is answered appropriately and promptly.

This is a better way to influence and persuade prospects that the brand cares about their feedback by taking the time to respond.

What methods do you think are useful for this discussion, that can help us be more persuasive as marketers?  Share in the comments below.

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