Communication is a fundamental part of everyday life.
Whether you’re debating with friends over where to go for dinner, training a colleague or simply sharing a social media update, the way in which you communicate with others can set you up for success or failure.
As marketers, we’re always trying to get the most out of language, constantly reshaping the words we use to be better communicators. We do this because we understand just how powerful language is. The right combination of words can convert a prospect into a customer just like that. Finding the right words isn’t always easy though.
After all, if it was easy, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post, would you?
Fortunately, you are and we are here to share our ultimate persuasive communication technique.
And what is that technique?
In a word:
By the end of this blog, you’ll understand why this word is so powerful. And, once you do, it’ll become the most important marketing tool you have at your fingertips.
Let me explain.
The power behind the word ‘because’ has more to do with the justification that follows than the actual word itself. It all stems from a study from Harvard Magazine in 1977.
So, what exactly did the experiment entail?
Psychologist, Ellen Langer, and her research team at Harvard University decided to launch a study on human behaviour. The thought behind it was simple: using a persuasive communication technique can increase compliance in subjects.
The way they went about conducting the experiment was this…
One of Langer’s team would approach an unwitting participant who was just about to use a Xerox machine. The researcher would ask the participant one simple request, each time with slight variations in the structure:
- Version 1 (request only): “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
- Version 2 (request with real reason): “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?”
- Version 3 (request with fake reason): “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make copies?”
The first request to cut in line seemed straightforward but could leave the subject with further questions. The second request provided a reason and the third request added a reason that didn’t make much sense - everyone trying to use the Xerox machine also needed to make copies.
The results of this study were as follows:
- Request only: 60% success rate.
- Request with real reason: 94% success rate.
- Request with fake reason: 93% success rate.
So, the study found that, by simply adding a reason to the request, the researcher had increased their success rate by over 30%. Ultimately, the reason did not matter, only the fact that there was a reason. Even when providing a reason that didn’t make much sense, the participant was almost as likely to grant the request simply due to the use of the word ‘because’.
Just by adding the word ‘because’ to a request, we can see a noticeable difference in success rates.
What’s Behind the Power of the Word ‘Because’?
“A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” - Robert Cialdini
As mentioned before, the power of this persuasive communication technique lies in the fact that the subject was provided with a justification through the word ‘because’.
We use justifications every day. We convince ourselves that we can’t make time for certain things and, by providing a justification, we’re able to rationalise our contradictory behaviour and accept the reason we tell ourselves.
It’s the reason why you’ll head straight home after work instead of going to the gym. You justify to yourself why you just can’t get round to it today and you probably even use the word ‘because’ while you’re doing it - “I can’t go to the gym today because I’m too tired.”
If this does happen to you, don’t fret, you’re not alone. It’s part of human behavioural psychology and it happens to everyone.
The power of ‘because’ is undeniable and, as a content writer, this should get you thinking - if this persuasive technique can cause you to skip a gym session, who else can it influence?
The power of persuasion can lend itself to many professions but none more so than marketing. For inbound marketers, it means guiding a prospect from a lead to a satisfied customer with language that engages and inspires them to want to interact with your business.
Using our ‘because’ technique can help to increase your conversion rates.
A conversion can simply be defined as a prospect taking a desired action, i.e. a website visitor signing up for your newsletter.
So, practically, what can you do to utilise the word ‘because’ and better convince someone to take a desired action?
1. Internal Links
Creating a page of your best resources is about more than just navigability. It also increases internal links which boosts #SEO traffic. Learn this and 6 other tips for repurposing your blog content: https://t.co/NUrfLTotNW #ContentMarketing #Blog pic.twitter.com/oktBBfiD34— Adam Hutchinson (@adamiswriting) May 23, 2018
When writing content, it’s a good idea to create internal links and place them throughout in order to provide the reader with added value and, in turn, increase the dwell time on your website. Google’s algorithm rewards pages that have a higher dwell time with a higher ranking on their results pages so the more internal links, the better.
When providing a link to a relevant blog post, it can be hard to convince the reader to click through as they have specifically searched for the content they are currently reading.
By adding ‘because’ to your recommendation to read more of your content, you give the reader an explanation as to why they might find your other content valuable. The more your visitors click on other relevant content, the longer they stay on your site, leading to a higher dwell time, and a higher search ranking.
2. Link Building Outreach
Link building outreach is the challenging process you go through when you contact someone in order to gain an external link. External links are extremely important for ranking highly in SERPs so it’s important that you optimise your process fully.
If you’ve ever attempted this process before, you’ll know it can be difficult to find the right way to go about reaching out. What you can be sure of is that, if you’re making contact, you’ll most probably be providing the contact with value.
But how do you stand out from the crowd?
That’s where our old friend ‘because’ steps in.
By clearly communicating the value that you’re providing, your contact will be much more likely to act on your request because you’ve given a reason that explains why you contacted them.
By using a justification after your request and being specific about the reason that you’re asking for their assistance, you’ll be much more likely to get a response and gain a link.
3. Email Call-to-Actions
The most useful way you can utilise the ‘because’ persuasive communication technique is with your email call-to-actions (CTAs).
You send emails to your contacts, achieve an impressive open rate but somehow fail when it comes to click rate and conversions on your CTA. You feel like you’re doing everything right. Your copy is carefully crafted, the structure is clear and easy to read and the content you offer is valuable.
Now, if only people would convert!
But don’t worry, you’re not the only one to suffer from this problem.
The solution could be to add a reason when requesting your contacts to take action. You probably receive plenty of emails yourself that end with the phrase ‘visit our website to find out more’, ‘download our e-book’ or simply ‘click here’.
Why? Why should you click? What value will you receive if you do?
Without providing a justification with the magic word ‘because’, you risk losing potential conversions because your contacts fail to see the value in what you’re offering.
This technique may seem very simple but it’s one that many forget to use. If you know the value of your content, it can be easy to overlook that others might not be so aware.
Now that you understand the power of ‘because’, you’ll begin to see higher conversion rates once you start to implement the persuasive communication technique into your content.
This persuasive communication technique is just one small aspect of a much larger marketing strategy that is needed to set your business on the path to success. To find out more about what we can do to help craft the perfect strategy, book a Marketing Assessment with one of our team.