As bloggers, webmasters or simple online business owners, our internet presence and level of success is relative to our ability to influence the actions of our website visitors. We have goals and intentions for our visitors. We want people who visit our site to buy something. Or we want them to subscribe to our RSS feed or newsletter. Or we want them to download our free trial, click on our links, fill out a form or simply continue to visit our website.
No matter your intentions, your ability to influence the actions of a website visitor often determines how popular and profitable your site becomes in the long run. After all, what good is booming traffic if no one does what you’re wanting them to.
Understand and utilize the following elements of influence, and how they relate to blogging, and you’ll start making money online.
1. Social Proof
Human beings tend to consider the actions of those around them to be appropriate. This leads to a bandwagon effect, where if some people are doing it, everyone else joins. Get three other people to start looking at the sky and watch as others in a crowd follow the lead. Before you know it, everyone in a crowd is looking at the sky even without a clear purpose. Or grab a friend a start a line behind a random object at a festival, and watch as others start filing in behind.
Good marketers use this element of influence for their benefit. Night club owners often limit the number of people allowed in at one time, simply so a line forms outside the door. This creates the notion that the wait is worth it.
“If those people are waiting in line, that must be the place to be.”
You can use the element of social proof with your blog. Since people are likely to follow the actions of others, enable commenting on your blog posts, and consider starting the discussion of a post with a couple staged comments. This is extremely useful if your blog is brand new. People hesitate to be the first commentators on a new blog, but if a blog has a handful of comments already, visitors are more likely to engage and leave a comment of their own. You’ll likely only need to do this temporarily, until your blog has developed a following and generating comments from actual visitors is no longer a problem.
Using testimonials is another effective way to utilize social proof online. Solicit some feedback on your product, website or blog, and feature positive testimonials on your website. This can be in the form of quotations or simply mentions from third-party websites or experts in the industry. Social proof is the ultimate way to ease a customer or visitor’s uncertainty.
Reciprocity is another major factor of influence. Human nature involves a sense of obligation. People repay favors even if not done immediately. So, you can give something away knowing you will get something back. See it as an investment.
Initiate a favor and your ability to influence actions can skyrocket. Bloggers do this every day by proving useful and frequent content. When a blogger asks for something in return, such as the purchase of a book or simply comments and feedback, a blogger can expect results because an initial favor has already been offered in the form of information or knowledge.
Stopped at a red light, a homeless man starts washing your windshield without being asked. He has just initiated a favor. Chances are, you’ll toss him a dollar. If he simply asked for the money first, you’d have likely said no.
So, consider going the extra step to assist others and you’ll get something back. Help out fellow bloggers or website visitors before even being asked for anything to install this inherent need to repay a favor in the mind of someone else.
In 1963, a Yale psychologist proved people are more willing to adhere to an instruction if given by an authority figure. The infamous Milgram experiment demonstrated the link between influence ability and authority.
In the experiment, a biology teacher with no professional scientific background played the role of a scientific researcher by simply donning a white lab coat. By playing the role of an authority figure, he was able to convince complete strangers to shock someone with up to 450 volts. Some participants questioned the authority and hesitated to administer the shock, but ultimately, it was ultimately proven that people will easily and almost blindly adhere to someone they see as an authority.
Bloggers aren’t looking to shock anybody. But, if you are trying to influence actions and establishing yourself as an authority figure increases your ability to do so. No matter your blog topic or niche, you should strive to be an authority figure in that field.
You can build your online authority in many ways, including having other website mention and point to your blog. Also consider proving useful and insightful information on a consistent basis, which your blog should do anyway.
Be careful not to exert too much authority though, or you risk losing your ability to connect and relate closely with your visitors, which is an essential element of successful blogs.
Start putting these elements of influence to use and see your desired actions grow exponentially.