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Understanding Persuasion Architecture

From the moment you wake up, you are the recipient of hundreds of marketing messages… messages that are aimed at getting you to consider the idea of buying a particular product or service. And we, as potential customers, are surrounded by so many messages on a daily basis, there are very few we even notice. Essentially, the sheer amount of choices available in each category has made the lines very blurry between one product or service and another, and to complicate marketing even more, consumers are doing an enormous amount of online research before making any kind of decision. So the real question is, how can we reach a potential customer during the buyer journey and persuade him/her to choose our product over someone else’s?

Persuasion architecture is founded on the ideas that understanding the wants and needs of a customer and then figuring out how to appeal to those needs will lead to conversion. Successful persuasion architecture relies heavily on the research marketers perform to map out what motivates and drives their customers through each step of the buying journey. This then needs to be translated into the message design, which includes everything from the layout and imagery to content creation.

With the understanding that one message no longer appeals to everyone, creating a buyer persona is key in helping marketers understand the most effective way to communicate with their customers. Buyer personas allow marketers to build a narrative and devise a detailed plan that speaks directly to that group of people and appeals to their attitudes and needs. By truly understanding their customers, marketers can identify the various ways these people will enter and exit the buying process along with the actions that lead up to and follow each step of the journey. For example, what did the customer do before he/she decided to leave your website, or what activities followed reading a featured article? These are the types of questions marketers should be asking themselves in order to nail down the buying process their customers go through.

Marketers must then use this information to create copy and design a message or web page that places the right kind of emphasis on different elements. How should you speak to this group of people? What should the tone be? What imagery resonates with them? What channels should be used to communicate the message? Each aspect of the layout needs to considered, prioritized and placed effectively. A promotion shouldn’t be buried within the content and undistinguishable. A piece of featured content should be front-and-center, not an afterthought placed at the bottom of a message. Don’t forget to consider branding, incorporate imagery and include design elements like font and color. But remember, all these aspects of creative shouldn’t distract from the actual call to action. It should enhance it.

Once marketers feel comfortable with the direction the message is going, the work doesn’t stop there. It’s important to continue to measure and optimize each piece of the message design, and thoughtfully analyze the specific touch points of the framework since behaviors and patterns change. By taking the extra time to develop a persuasion architecture framework for messaging, businesses can experience higher customer retention rates and lower acquisition costs along with an increase in leads and sales.