Persuasion: How the Power of Language Fills Seminars
The power of language is an amazing tool. We rarely give a second thought to the language and copy we see in commercials or on the news, but language has a subconscious effect on us that ultimately determines the actions we take.
We run hundreds of seminars a month for advisors across the U.S. Testing hundreds of variations and A/B split-testing our copy for landing pages and ads has given us data on what works with the audiences we want to reach: YOUR audience. Running that many campaigns, we have identified the language that makes people stop sharing cat videos, take notice, and click on our ads to register for YOUR event.
So how do we determine the type of language we use? Well it’s simple human psychology. Humans are emotional beings. Humans respond to questions, emotional inducing language, authority, the timeliness of messaging, and the Scarcity effect.
Whether you’re going on a date, running an appointment, or meeting a new person for the first time, what do you do? Ask questions about themselves. The fastest way to get someone to like you is by asking them questions about themselves and just listening.
Questions demand a response from your brain, so we always work questions into the language we use in our ads and landing pages. We want people to be engaging with our content, especially on a subconscious level. We are driving them to an ultimate goal of registering to hear content that will improve their retirement, so we use questions to lead them to make the decision that this workshop is in their best interest.
One of the more notable political strategists in the US, Frank Luntz, author of the book, Words that Work, tells people that it doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what people hear, that matters. In a speech that Luntz gave at a NAIFA conference in 2016, he explained that words like “Peace of mind” rank higher than love, success, hope, opportunity or any other word. People want peace-of-mind in the decisions they make, and in their life in general, so if you can incorporate words that evoke an emotional response on a subconscious level, then you’re engaging people in a way that reaches them deeper.
It’s incredibly important that the language you use when talking with people is customized to reach them, so that you can provide them with what they need: peace-of-mind in retirement.
One of the essential books for marketers is called Influence by Robert Cialdini. This book outlines the 6 key principles that determine why humans make certain decisions, and ultimately say “yes” to requests of marketers, politicians, and financial advisors alike. The best marketing employs these principles without customers being aware, and they take the desired action, which is typically buying a product or service. In our case, the desired action is getting people to register for a seminar where they will learn about topics that will help them have the retirement they want, which ultimately helps advisors earn the income THEY want.
One of these principles that Cialdini brings up that we use in our campaigns is Authority. People follow credible, and knowledgeable subject matter experts. Physiotherapists are able to persuade more of their patients to comply with programs if they display their diplomas on the wall. One of the things that I have always hammered home to advisors is that you MUST present yourself as a credible subject matter expert, because you are.
We position you as the expert on our landing pages, which makes people trust you more. If people don’t trust you, then kiss any chance of them ever coming into your office, much less your seminar, goodbye. That’s why we always tell advisors that if you have made any media appearances on major networks (or local networks), or licenses and accreditations that you have, then let us use that to position you as the authority, because it’s going to go a long way in making people trust you enough to sign up for an event.
Timeliness of Messaging
People are spending their time on social media. Specifically, Baby Boomers are spending much of their time online on Facebook. In fact, Facebook one of the most used platforms for people aged 55 and older. So we are hitting them with messaging on timely subject matter for them because many are either already retired or approaching retirement, so when they scroll through their newsfeed we are inserting an ad right next to the pictures of their grandchildren and the pages they follow.
Whether it’s social security and positioning it as only a small piece of the larger income planning conversation or discussing the impact of the 2018 tax law changes and how it will affect retirement planning forever, the message is designed to have the maximum effect by utilizing recent events.
One of the other principles that Robert Cialdini brings up in Influence is the Scarcity effect. People want more of things that they can have less of. Most recently, the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine was going to be cancelled by ABC. The outcry from the internet and fans of the show compelled NBC to pick it up for season 6.
We utilize the scarcity effect where we are not just telling people the benefits they’ll gain, but what they stand to lose if they don’t come to your seminar.
Don’t Fix What’s Not Broken
The most important parts of our landing pages are the headlines and bullet points we use to describe the content of the seminar. This language is the first thing that people see when clicking the ad and landing on the landing page. So it’s ESSENTIAL that this copy is dialed in for the maximum conversions.
One of the things that we get requests on is changes to the copy that we are using to match a mailer an advisor uses, or they don’t like how we’ve worded some of the copy. We are always happy to accommodate, but we typically tell people that if you change these variables then we can no longer guarantee your campaign (yeah we guarantee our response on some of our programs). When you mess with the most important variables that make your campaigns successful, you are voluntarily choosing to get a poor response.
I played collegiate golf, and many advisors I work with play golf as well, so this comparison may make sense. If you’re taking a golf lesson from an instructor and they tell you “aim your feet just to the left of your target, and aim your clubhead at the target to be set up for the most accurate shot,” you will trust them because they are the professional and they want you to improve so that you enjoy the game, get better, and continue to work with them.
The same thing applies to digital marketing. We see hundreds of campaigns a month, so we have more experience with Facebook advertising than most people in the country, especially in the financial services and insurance world. You wouldn’t tell the golf pro that you’re going to do the opposite of what he says because you think it will work. He’s going to tell you that maybe that’s how you got your banana slice to work, but if you want to be efficient and get better faster, then you want to follow his advice.
We have done so much testing of copy that is based on human psychology to achieve the maximum emotional effect with our audience. We will make changes to campaigns, but it’s always against our best judgement because we know that what we have developed will work. Trust in our expertise and we will fill your seminars.