July 16, 2024


Education is everything you need

Weapons of Influence – Engaging Content or SEO for Websites?

Weapons of Influence – Engaging Content or SEO for Websites?

The Key Elements of Influence and Persuasion

There are six key elements of influence and persuasion according to Dr Robert Cialdini, Professor of Marketing and Regent’s Professor of Psychology.

They are as follows:

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Commitment and Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

With a background in social science and behavioural psychology, I’m concerned to see so much time taken up with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies, and the focus on rankings, as a separate discipline, outside of a considered approach to website content, design, and implementation. So little time seems to be spent on ensuring websites engage with visitors, once they’ve arrived on site.

By taking a 360 degree look at what a business wants to achieve, how its potential customers will interact with it through its website, and answering the question; does the current website deliver against that strategy – one can ask how many websites can be deemed truly effective? How many of the six key elements of influence and persuasion are considered? Getting a visitor to the site is an important function, but it is not the desired end result.

Not Only Have the Rules Changed, the Game’s Changed

It may once have been potent to be the first company listed alphabetically under a section in the Yellow Pages, which is why there were so many called ‘Acme’, though this provided little brand recognition, but it could get you the first to be called. But the web isn’t an online Yellow Pages.

Aiming to be top of the Google rankings in a general product or service search is fast becoming the same as calling your Company ‘Acme’ in the Yellow Pages, or like being the first shop in the street. Great! People come to your door first, but then what? According to statistical research results, on average, you have about 6 seconds to engage them. If you don’t, they’re gone. If so, your return on investment on SEO won’t be showing good results.

More Than Just A Good Search Engine Ranking

A winning approach is indeed to be listed at the forefront of searches, but then to attract and engage, and inform your visitor in an enlightening way is crucial. To develop within them, an awareness and understanding, that your company has the solution to their need, builds a sense of empathy between your company and the customer.

Because surely it’s better to develop an audience that wants to buy, than one that needs to be sold to.

Understanding What You Need to Understand: Measurement – Analysis – Solution

Several companies that are No. 1 in the Google rankings, but are unhappy with their site’s performance, have found from the resulting analysis that they are simply not maximising the communication strategies open to them. In today’s ever-increasing competitive e-market place, just like the High Street, one can no longer just be the first shop on the street.

Today’s website has to be much more than your business’s static storefront. To work it needs to be developed from your company’s overall marketing strategy, and it needs to communicate better – to be more engaging, eloquent and enlightening – than your competitors, to be effective.

If we return to the six key elements of influence, many sites use one or two, ‘Reciprocation ‘ is popular, by offering something of perceived value in return for contact information. Though often the visitor doesn’t reach that point, as they haven’t engaged. Simple put, ‘Liking’ hasn’t been established. And what about the other key elements?

It is crucial that all six elements of influence are taken into consideration during the design and implementation of your company’s website, and how it forms part of your company’s overall marketing communications.

Good Content is Good SEO

A product or service offering, communicated badly won’t be a success, no matter how long you’re at the No.1 spot on Google.

Trying to manipulate search engine rankings by listing on hundreds of sites, without relevancy, through SEO companies isn’t the only game in town.

Your ranking on search engines is also derived through your content, the correct use and the number of uses, of relevant phrases to the most likely search terms. The length of time it takes for your site to load. Your Bounce Rate (the number of visitors leaving after visiting only one page). The length of time visitors spend on your site and the number of pages they visit.

A lot’s changed but some things haven’t. The best advert for any company is a satisfied customer, it has always been so, and will always be. They used to be able to tell twenty people, who in turn could tell twenty more. Now on the web they can tell thousands, who can tell thousands more, through forums, blogs, twitter, social sites and recommendation sites.

All these recommendations drive visitors who are relevant to you, and your content is relevant to them, so they spend time on your site, raising your ranking in the best possible way, creating a virtuous circle. Relevance will be the next big term in SEO.

The Six Key Elements of Influence and Persuasion will be the focus of the next article, focusing in on how they can be used to benefit all businesses to dramatic effect.


Geoff Frewin