Have you ever thought about the impact your content has on your audience? How it persuades them?
Persuasion occurs when you share a message with your audience that is learned, remembered, and interpreted as an idea that they can or should take action. If nothing is learned, and the message doesn’t speak to your audience, it won’t be memorable and therefore your audience can’t and won’t be persuaded by it.
This is where the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion comes in. Developed by John Cacioppo and Richard Petty, this theory states that there are two different mental routes to consider when it comes to persuading your audience:
The first is the central route, where people carefully weigh their options and consciously and logically think about the marketing message before deciding to make a purchase. These consumers will seek to elaborate on your message, focusing on the arguments and information contained within and beyond your content before deciding whether to, or not to buy your product. For example, someone who ‘needs’ a new laptop will seek as much information as possible about the product and consider the price, performance, and reliability in their decision.
The other route is the peripheral route, whereby people will make a decision based on how the message appeals to their emotions and their association to the positive and negative prompts within it. This is where the attractiveness of your message becomes very important. These people lack the motivation to seek elaboration on your message, and therefore require peripheral cues outside of the main product selling points, such as brand credibility, professional design, and humour, to remain engaged in the persuasion process. For example, consumers who ‘just want’ a new laptop will focus more on how the product is portrayed image-wise rather than focusing on the performance information.
Now the question is, how do we persuade the informed customers, while also keeping those who need our products and solutions but are less interested in the purchase decision-making process engaged?
When creating content for your brand’s website, email campaign, or social media, it is important to make sure that it appeals to as broad an audience as possible by keeping both types of decision-makers in mind. Keeping your messages well informed, focusing on the selling points of your product or service, and demonstrating the relevance of your product to the consumer, will appeal to the central decision-makers. By making sure the content looks good, is professional, is eye-catching, and speaks to the emotions and pain points of the consumers, this will appeal to the peripheral decision-makers.
Next time you create some content for your brand, consider the following:
- Is the message of your content clear?
- Is the relevance of your product portrayed in a way that can be easily understood?
- Is your content both informative and eye-catching?
- Does it contribute to the credibility of your brand image?
- Does the content encourage and guide your audience to act?