If you’ve heard me say this before, sorry for banging the drum on this point…
But it’s worth repeating.
It annoys me that so many people are wrongly scared away from online business because they’ve been made to think it’s too difficult, technical or complex.
The truth is, underneath all the SEO techniques, software plugins and new social platforms, the principles of making money online are no different to how they were long before the Internet came along.
This has never been clearer to me than when I was reading this book by Nathalie Nahai called Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion.
She says there are three ‘secrets’ to online influence:
- Know who you’re targeting.
- Communicate persuasively.
- Sell with integrity.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure about these being ‘secrets’.
They are pretty much the same rules that would apply to someone selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, or a radio advertising salesperson.
That minor grip aside, it’s worth passing on some of the key points in Nathalie Nahai’s book.
Because while the principles of online business are the same as offline, there are a whole host of brilliant tools, tricks and techniques you can now use to get customers and convince them to click.
In fact, that’s the tagline for her book: ‘The secret strategies that make us click’.
And really, when it comes down to it, that’s what online business is all about.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a YouTube channel, an eCommerce website, a blog, email newsletter or affiliate review site… the aim of all your endeavours is to get people to ‘click’.
I don’t mean just the ‘click here to buy’ button either. (Although that is your ultimate goal).
There’s a series of clicks that need to happen first…
…Getting people to click to your website from an advert, Facebook page or Twitter post.
…Getting them to click through to a link after reading your blog or watching your video.
…Getting them to click open your latest email, then clicking again to look at the link you recommend.
Each click gets your hooks deeper into your prospect and pulls them closer to a sale.
But you won’t get those clicks unless you can quickly establish trust and rapport.
And that’s where Nathalie Nahai’s book has some really good tips.
If you’re too busy to buy it and read it, let me pick out some of the crucial points for you.
1. Know who you’re targeting
For the first section Nahai emphasises that if you’re going to build a business and sell products, you first need to know the psychology of the person likely to buy from you.
After all, if you don’t know the needs, fears and desires of your target buyer, how will you know what will make them click?
This is something I looked at in February’s issue of Digital Upstart – ‘Use these Powerful Customer Profiling techniques to Boost Sales & Grow Your Business’.
If you’re a member I recommend you go and look at that if you have not already done so: click here.
2. Communicate persuasively
In the second part of the book, Nahai looks at the persuasion element.
This doesn’t mean purely advertising sales copy, but the whole look, tone and structure of your website.
Here are some of her rules, which I think are worth passing on and will apply to absolutely any kind of website:
- Purpose – your customer needs to know as soon as they arrive what your website is about and that it’s trustworthy. (My tip: take a look at the website critique I wrote for Digital Upstart member Graham Bray in the April issue of Digital Upstart.)
- Clear messages – present the information clearly, using simple language and lots of proof (examples, case studies, charts).
- Accessibility – make it easy for customers to find things by using a search box. Also drop down menus and a clear navigation bar.
- Accurate and updated information – your website has to be update regularly with fresh content, news, updates, developments and products.
- Images – more than ever, it’s vital to have relevant photographs that tap into the emotions of your target customer.
- Call-to-action – when someone is on your page it needs to be absolutely clear what action they’re expected to do, whether it’s signing up for an email alert or free trial subscription, joining your Twitter feed or clicking through to a shop. If you want more information on this, I wrote an article about ‘call-to-action’ for this issue of Digital Upstart.
- Create a community – use Facebook and Twitter feeds to bring the customers into your community, thereby keeping in close regular contact, and allowing you to create a buzz around your business.
Nahai quotes a study by Social Media Examiner where 69% of marketers polled said that social media had increased their online traffic, while 40% said it had directly led to increased sales.
In this her view chimes very much with my own. She recommends half an hour every day to run your social media – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn being her top four.
3. Sell with integrity
The final part of Webs of Influence is about selling. Once you’ve established a relationship, you need to get someone to buy or the whole process will have been worthless.
This begins with a principle known as ‘reciprocity’. Namely, you should share something of value with your customer first and they’re more likely to buy in return.
- Surprise your prospects by offering them something free that they didn’t expect.
- Write free articles with useful information (this is something you can do every week in your blog and emails).
- Run a free webinar (great for increasing interaction).
- Give away an ebook or PDF.
- Offer special benefits for your subscribers – get people to sign up for free and then deliver them your gifts as a special reward.
You’ll be familiar with some of these techniques from Digital Upstart, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to share free content as you build up a business.
If you want to draw people to you, and get them to trust you above your competition, you have no better tool. And it’s free.
I note that Nahai draws a lot on the ideas of Robert Cialdini. His book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a masterclass and another one of my recommended reads: get it here.
If you want to pick up Webs of Influence, then it’s available on Amazon.
Or keep reading and I’ll deliver all the strategies she mentions – and more – over the coming months.