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Human psychology

Cognitive Biases

Persuading completely rational people to make a rational decision or take a rational action would be easy. Unfortunately, you’re stuck dealing with irrational thinking, fueled by cognitive biases and emotions.

So, how do you persuade effectively when people are so heavily influenced by subjective (and contextual) factors?

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Emotional Persuasion

You’d like to think that you’re a completely rational person making completely rational decisions, right? It’s nice to believe that you haven’t made major life decisions based on how you were feeling.

Well, you have. Many times.

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Neuromarketing Ethics: How Far Is Too Far?

As the marketing industry developed, researchers dove deeper into buying behavior and buyers’ minds. One early researcher was Edward Bernays—Sigmund Freud’s nephew—who coined the term “public relations.”

Bernays believed that people could be influenced via crowd psychology and psychoanalysis. His “Torches of Freedom” campaign in the 1920s promoted smoking among women as a symbol of liberation, opening a new market to cigarette companies.

Decades later, in 2002, Dutch marketing professor Ale Smidts coined the term “neuromarketing.” Neuromarketing maps neural activity to consumer behavior to help marketers craft more valuable, science-based campaigns. 

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Online Manipulation: All The Ways You're Currently Being Deceived

There’s a fine line between online persuasion and manipulation.

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Want to Know a Secret? Your Customers Do.

The carefully evasive proposal included intriguing tidbits: Jeff Bezos laughed when Mr. Kamen assembled an It for him [. . .] The proposal also included proclamations from tech-world celebrities like Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, that the device might change urban life and could be as significant as the development of the personal computer.

The New York Times, January 2001

Dean Kamen’s code name for the project was “Ginger.” That was all most people knew. But few could wait to learn more. Deprived of source material, journalists wrote articles about articles. Finally, in December 2001, came the big reveal: Ginger was the Segway. 

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Psychology of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is painful.

With standard conversions, people receive value immediately. They buy your product. Then they receive your product. Done and done.

That’s not crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, the end product doesn’t even exist. You need to convince people to give you money for something that they won’t receive for months (and possibly longer).

Sure, you can use perks and rewards to entice people. But the majority of donations come from people’s generosity. How to get more funding? What are crowdfunding best practices?

I scoured the academic research on crowdfunding, philanthropy, and helping behavior to understand when and why people donate money (and how you can use those principles for a successful crowdfunding campaign).

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How to Use Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion to Boost Conversions

Back in 1984, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Since then, it’s been widely hailed as a seminal book on marketing—something everyone in conversion optimization should read.

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8 Ways to Grab Attention (and Hold onto It)

We live in a world of short attention spans. Attention span is the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted.

That task could be learning about your product, figuring out if your service is right for them, etc. In other words, it’s kind of important. You need to learn how to grab attention—and hold it—for your website visitors.

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Purchase Decisions: 9 Things to Know About Influencing Customers

If you want to get people to buy your stuff, you need to understand how consumers make purchasing decisions.

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The “Curse of Knowledge”: How Expertise Can Hurt Marketing

Marketers are intimately familiar with their industry and product. But that familiarity isn’t always an advantage.

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