5 Psychological Techniques To Get Readers to Subscribe & Buy Your Product

This is a guest post by Jeevan Jacob John of Blog Networking 101.

Do you watch TV commercials? I know that most of us do.

And we tend to hate them. But there are some TV commercials that really “suck” us in (I mean, impress us), right?

How about certain ads that come on during the Super Bowl?

I mean, who wouldn’t love to watch the E-trade Baby commercials.

And there are many advertisements like those. Those that motivate us to take action, check the product website online, or even buy the product.

And these businesses take advantage of one secret to make it all possible. The not-so-secret art of psychology.

Psychology is an interesting topic that you can study for a lifetime. It is about how our human mind and body works. In this blog post, we will talk about using some psychology and on our own blogs so that we can increase our conversion rate. Let’s just start, can we? 😀

And by the way guys, forgive me if there are any mistakes in my description of the techniques. It has been 2-3 years since I took my psychology class.

Convince Your Readers to Subscribe & Comment

When it comes to convincing someone directly about something, the first technique often used is asking. In psychology, asking to get something can be divided into three techniques: The Foot in the Door Technique, The Door in the Face Technique, and The Ben Franklin Effect.

Note: All of the techniques that are mentioned below can be used effectively by tweaking according to the scenario you are working with. Let’s take a brief look at these three techniques.

The Foot in the Door Technique

All of us have used this technique. And we are still using it in our daily lives. The Foot in the Door technique of persuasion is when you ask someone to do a small favor, and if you get a good answer (a yes to your request), you ask them to do something bigger. Let me give you an example.

Let’s imagine that you want to take a vacation from your job. But you are just not sure whether you should ask your boss. So, you decide to go through the psychological means of persuasion. In the Foot in the Door technique, you ask your boss for something small like a half day leave today. If you get a yes, you later ask him whether you can take a vacation for a week.

The Foot in the Door technique works most effectively when you get a person to agree to many small requests and then ask him to do something bigger. The principle is that if you can get him/her to do many small favors, then why not one big favor?

So, here is how you can incorporate it to blogging. You convince your reader to subscribe to your blog. Then later, you ask him to buy your product.

In blogging, this might not necessarily work out so well, so we need to make some variations.

You should prove to your subscriber that you are an expert in your niche. When it comes to newsletters, you can do this by writing great newsletters so that it helps your readers. Then try to sell something useful to them. Just be sure to only recommend products that you think will be useful to your readers.

You can also convince your readers to buy your product first and then subscribe to your list by including subscription links in your product. For instance, if your product is an eBook, you could include subscription link in the header/footer or in some main pages.

The Door in the Face Technique

The Door in the Face Technique is the exact opposite of the Foot in the Door technique. In the Door in the Face technique, instead of asking something small at first, you ask something big. Let me give you a similar example.

Imagine that this time, you only need a one day leave and you want to use this technique to make your boss agree to your request. Well, at first, you will ask him if you can have a one week leave. When he says no, ask him to give you just one day leave instead. Notice that I emphasized just. Try to provoke your bosses’ emotions. Make him think this way: “Oh, this guy asked for a week’s leave and I objected, let’s just give him one day leave – this will make him happy or this will make him stop bothering me.”

As you can guess, it really depends upon your boss. Now, let’s take this technique and incorporate it into blogging.

You ask your reader to buy the product at first, and if they don’t, ask them to simply subscribe (which doesn’t cost any money).

Now, here comes the extra bit. Also ask them to buy the product if they think the newsletter is informative and interesting. If your newsletter is really informative and interesting, the reader will then think about your question and may decide to buy your book.

You can apply this technique by putting up call-to-actions in your posts, pages, and the homepage itself. First, you ask them to buy your product, and then in the same page tell them to only buy your product after subscribing. That way they can get a taste of the tips that are in the product. This way, you can get more people to subscribe to your list and hopefully buy your product while keeping them all happy at the same time. After a few days of sending your newsletter, you can also remind the reader about the product.

The Ben Franklin Effect

This finding/technique was most observed and noted down by Benjamin Franklin, hence the name. According to this, a person who has done someone a favor is more likely to do another favor for.

Put in simple terms, you scratch by back and I will be more likely to scratch yours if you return my first favor by scratching my back.

Let’s just take the example of your vacation once more. Your boss gives you one week vacation leave because you finished your assigned work two-three weeks before the deadline. You have done your boss a favor and the boss returns it. And you try to get more vacations by working more efficiently, hence your boss is more likely to return the favor by accepting your vacation requests.

I know that this is a terrible example because most of you guys have probably had a terrible boss who doesn’t care about what you do. Forgive me for using it, but I hope it helps you understand the principle.

To apply this to blogging, you will ask your readers to sign up for the newsletter. You will then do them a favor in return by offering good tips and access to your eBook. In return, your subscriber will be more likely to do another favor for you like buying your product.

Now that we are done with basics, let’s take a look at Conditioning and AIDA.

Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA)

Attention: Attract the attention of your prospective clients/subscribers through call-to-actions, graphics, pop-ups etc. Answer the reader’s question: Why should I listen to you?

Interest: Increase your reader’s attention and interest in your product/list by telling them what they really get. Answer the reader’s question: What’s in it for me?

Desire: Here comes the persuasion part. Convince your prospective client that they need the product. Use different techniques to grow your clients’ desire for your product. Like all Internet marketing gurus do, make them feel that you product will help them to achieve their goal.

Action: As you see that your customers’ desire for the product is increasing, convince them to take action and buy the product.

The AIDA technique is usual for all business. What you need to do different is take steps to facilitate desire in your client’s mind.

Condition Your Readers – Operant Conditioning

In list building and product sales, the most effective type of conditioning is Operant Conditioning. Operant Conditioning involves two basic types: Reinforcement and Punishment. In the case of blogging, punishment really doesn’t work out. What we want to do is use reinforcement effectively.

Reinforcement is basically when you train someone to perform the same action by doing a favor to him. In the case of blogging, this could to signing up for multiple lists, buying multiple products, or even commenting consistently.

Positive reinforcement is when you do a positive favor. For instance, you give your comment authors an ad space for being a great commentators.

Negative reinforcement is basically when you do a favor by removing a negative thing. For instance, if you have something that your reader doesn’t really like (like an ad), you take that away for them.

In blogging, positive reinforcements are our friend. 😀 We could use them to condition our readers/clients to comment, subscribe, and buy more of our products.

But all of this will depend upon the scenario, and the timing. Many of these techniques are simple, so most bloggers don’t spend that much time on them. Even though they are simple, it doesn’t mean that you can get the most by just doing something small once. You need to test these techniques to see what works for you and your audience. Experiment, learn, and analyze. Put a little more effort into it.

How about Some Favors?

Now, it’s time to return the favor of me writing this article. If you think my article will be useful for you to build your list (increase your opt-in rate) and get more customers for your products, then do help me out by getting the word out by sharing this and commenting! Thanks!

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  1. says

    I thought the “door in the face” technique was really interesting. It’s sort of reverse psychology. Buy my stuff! No? Ok, then just sign up for free.

    At that point it’s hard to say no!

    Buying is so much about psychology and it’s a fascinating topic but you really have to be clever in the execution. I think people are desensitized to some extent, not to mention wiser to the ways of marketers and the little tricks they pull to try and convince us to do something. The biggest point here is that if we want people to buy/subscribe/whatever, we have to provide something valuable. It can be literally valuable (like a great product or service) or emotionally valuable (like the favors you talk about).

    Thanks, Jeevan, I enjoyed reading this and it definitely gives me something to ponder!
    Carol Lynn just posted Facebook Timeline For Business: How To Use It To Your Marketing Advantage

    • says

      Hey Carol,

      It is really an interesting technique that we use daily and yet most of us forget to use it in our business.

      Yes, you are right. It is one thing to understand these principles, another to apply – clever execution is the key.

      I am glad that I was able to provide an enjoyable and informational reading experience for you, Carol! Thanks for returning the favor by commenting!
      Jeevanjacobjohn just posted Managing Stress? Mental Concepts? Fear Not, Prezi is Here!

    • says

      Hey Jeremy,

      I am glad that you find it interesting. Yes, these principles are very helpful (they are only helpful when we use them in our own ways, in our businesses).

      But, unfortunately we can’t (but, we could definitely ask people what we should give them – and if we find hard to get responses then reward people to encourage them to start putting in feedback). Our goal should be to “awe” people every now and then – in blogging, it is about once or twice in a month. Write awe inspiring posts (really awesome and valuable posts) 1 or 2 times per month and let the rest of the posts be just valuable (take advantage by promoting these epic posts and using them to get more traffic to other posts).

      I think 1-2 is the best measure because writing awe inspiring takes a lot of time and effort (it should be much better than any other post we write) and it takes a lot of thought to put that together – not a lot of bloggers can do that on a consistent basis of 1 to 2 per month.

      Thanks for the comment, Jeremy!

      Jeevan Jacob John
      Jeevanjacobjohn just posted Subscription Enticement, What’s Yours? [Podcast]

  2. says

    “Positive reinforcement is when you do a positive favor. For instance, you give your comment authors an ad space for being a great commentators.”

    I love that idea, Jeevan! I also like how Christian over at Smart Boy Designs handles positive reinforcement. The section of “top commenters” with their picture and a link to their site is a surefire to get people to come back and continue commenting. Exposure? Backlinks? A struggle to make it to the top? Who doesn’t want that?!
    Mandy Kilinskis just posted Does Your Workplace Feel Like the ‘Hunger Games’? Here are 5 Ways to Survive

    • says

      Hey Brian,

      Yes, of course (but being a salesman in the real world really teaches us to learn to do the business and to effectively communicate with people).

      Congrats :) You should try something else like Podcast or Video, instead of an eBook, because the “perceived” value of eBook these days is really low (so it is harder to get subscribers unless you are already established blogger).
      Jeevanjacobjohn just posted Subscription Enticement, What’s Yours? [Podcast]

  3. says

    How about this? If you comment on my blog I will make you rich, popular and sexy! I agree that psychology is important to marketing. Many years ago I was interested in propaganda and read a book called Propaganda by Edward Bernays. It shows how the big dogs do it. But for the rest of us, the Franklin method seems to get the best results and is what may people expect.
    Kristinn just posted Fresh Content

  4. says

    Understood that well Jeevan!!

    I liked your three techniques and ways to go around people to subscribe or buy your products, though I really wonder if I can ever do any of these!! Guess I really don’t have any products to sell :)

    Yes, people often do use one of the three ways mentioned, though I think the Ben Franklin one must be working out the best and sounds fair enough as well.

    I would somehow prefer creating a relationship or connecting first with the person through your words and gestures, while trying to convince them. I think that would work better for me and is something I would be more comfortable with- at least there won’t really be so much of convincing to do :)

    Thanks for sharing these ideas, which sure were new to me. And now sharing your content with everyone, not because of the reasons you mentioned, but because I know you :)

    Have a great weekend Jeevan & Kristi :)
    Harleena Singh just posted Steps to Resolve Family Conflict

    • says

      You can see these techniques when you do have products to sell 😀 (Or you could use them to get people to share/comment – which I think you don’t need to, because you are already famous for being generous with awesome content and awesome commenting + sharing – or get people to subscribe).

      I do understand your point and you should stick with your principles.

      Thank you for the support, Harleena :)

      You too 😀
      Jeevanjacobjohn just posted Should You Say Thank You At the End of Comment?

  5. says

    Hey well let me scratch your back by saying that that was a great article. Something bloggers need to know about is the incentives and what it can do for them and their customers. You have to be very calculating with your incentives though to make customers want to come back or scratch your back in a sense. If you do it improperly you could ruin your chances of being a good blogger.
    Elena Anna just posted Saunas And Healing

  6. says

    Hi Jeevan,
    I learned operant conditioning in this post. Psychological Techniques are very important to get readers to subscribe or buy product.This article is helpful in learning good psychological techniques.Thanks for sharing!
    Pete Goumas just posted Petmountein Coupon & Review

  7. says

    Even though this was quite in depth and lengthy you managed to hold my attention which is quite hard to do so you did a good job with this. Even though you explained it well I still think it is hard to do well and get those sales even by following your advice. Practice makes perfect I guess.
    Matt Kinsella just posted Freedom Technique