Aristotle and the Art of Persuasion in Digital Marketing
by Al Gomez
The origin of Digital Marketing goes way back from 300 BCE. Persuasion, at that time, was only in the form of public speaking. Now that communication is also digitized, persuasion and its techniques have evolved.
However, to become a master in this art, you must first go back to basics and apply it to what you know right now.
Ethos (trust, character) or the appeal to the authority
A high-quality content is not enough to get the results you want. You also need inclined readers and customers so your business would grow.
Ethos focuses the audience’s or customer’s attention on the author’s trustworthiness
Aristotle argued that your content will more likely persuade your readers or customers if they think you are credible and trustworthy.
In other words, ethos is how well the author convinces the audience that he or she is qualified to speak about the subject.
Most of the time, the author will use his or her reputation for honesty and experience in a particular field. For instance, overweight people seeking the best diet or workout routine may more likely trust an advertisement that uses a doctor’s or dietician’s statement.
On other occasions, the author may gain the audience’s trust by demonstrating mastery of the field and its terminologies.
Sometimes, the author may use a careful tone to show more than one side on issue or topic before presenting her own argument.
Below are several ways to grab your customers’ trust.
- Use testimonials from past or current clients to advertise.
- Employ celebrity or professional that people trust to endorse your brand.
- Refer to research from reputed institutions.
The most popular technique in the digital marketing industry now is directly quoting clients’ experiences and sentiments and displaying them on websites.
However, keep in mind that gaining customers trust and keeping them are totally different processes.
Pathos (experience) or the appeal to emotions
The pathos is the most underrated mode of persuasion. Some businesses often neglect this to avoid awkwardness and cheesiness but this is actually very powerful when used well.
Have you ever wondered why most people would prefer buying iPhone over other high-end smartphones? Or why people love Disney films and Nicholas Sparks’ books?
You might already know the answers to these. Whether humans like it or not, they rely on emotions rather than information to make decisions.
From an infographic by Emma, humans have gut reactions for 3 second or less. Moreover, the human brain processes emotions five times faster than the conscious brain, and emotions make longer-lasting impressions than rational thoughts do.
So, instead of using facts, focusing the attention of customers on the values, beliefs, or emotional aspects of your product or service will move and motivate them to change their thinking and take particular actions.
You can use figures of speech like metaphor or simile to deliver your message.
Agreeing to particular values or customers and audience is also effective in using pathos.
Furthermore, evoking strong emotions like fear, anger, and frustration will more likely sway your customer or audience.
Logos (word) or the appeal to logic or reason
Do you think you are logical because you are reasonable? What makes you reasonable? Are you thinking hard right now?
Actually, you don’t need to make things complicated.
Logic is not merely presented philosophically but through data and hard facts. Logos refers to the consistency, clarity, and coherence in your brand or company.
It is important that everything that you say fits together like links in a chain or pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to form a coherent statement or argument.
Brian Tracy, Speak to Win
After, gaining your customer’s trust and offering the promise of better experience, it is vital to give them ways to measure and evaluate your product and brand. Logos also enhances ethos because information makes the author look knowledgeable and prepared to the audience or customer.
However, data and facts can be confusing and sometimes ambiguous so make sure to explain them in layman’s terms. You can also present evidence and real-life situations.
You can also use the following ways to use logic in persuasion
- Present and promote real customer case studies and illustrate your learnings and experience.
- Support your claims with credible data and statistics.
- Feature your product or brand’s advantages and differences from competitors with an accurate analysis.
- Show detailed scenarios of how your product can solve your customers’ problems and improve their lives.
In addition, engage customers and readers from popular blogs in the comments section.
You can also answer questions in Quora. Make sure you only answer relevant ones and you can introduce new customers or audience to your product or brand without spamming them.
Kairos (right time) or the appeal to timing
For an ad or campaign to be successful, it needs appropriate and quality content, tone, structure, and timing.
Kairos is the time and place or the timeliness of an argument or content.
Google’s Site Crawlers are invented to organize and index web pages so they would appear in searches at the right time and place. That is the basic reason for applying Search Engine Optimization in all web pages on the internet.
You want to make sure that your content is found and consumed by your target audience or potential customers.
On top of that, you should also deliver content on a regular basis. News attracts the most traffic because it is consumed on a daily basis. People want to consistently keep track of your product or brand’s changes or updates. They expect this consistency so using blogs and social media wisely is a good way to persuade them.
Moreover, people prefer companies or brands with timely content. Readers and customers like memes and GIFs right now. And it’s not too late to use them in your content!
Email Marketing Strategies are also evolving at this time because of readers’ low attention span (which is below 12 seconds). You should learn how to hook readers before they focus on something else or find other brands.
Flat Design was also invented and widely used now because people prefer a cleaner, faster, and more responsive web experience. Some even would pay more to avoid ads.
These modes of persuasion have been used and remained effective after thousands of years. Acknowledging and using them is ensuring that your customers are treated and considered as a whole.
If you can use these modes well, you don’t have to worry about your competitors. Then, all you have to think about is how you can improve your brand and product.
August 9, 2018