Andy Wilson, CEO of Logikcull: “10 Things We’ve Learned From Exhibiting at Dozens of Trade Shows”

A little while ago, we wrote up Andy Wilson, CEO of eDiscovery start-up Logikcull and his learning moving from a services business to a SaaS business.

The other day he copied me his Top 10 learnings over 10 Days on how to make a trade show worth your time.  With trade shows in High Season now, I thought this was a good list.  You may not agree with all of it (e.g., #6), but I think this is a great checklist if Dreamforce or Boxworks or wherever is your first trade show, or one of your first.  Or even if it’s your 50th:


  1. Treat each booth visitor as an inbound lead that needs to be qualified before showing them a demo. This is our #1 learning. The booth is a physical representation of the website, and anyone in the booth is a “SIGNUP NOW” button. And when someone signs up, you don’t just show them a demo and give them the keys. You qualify them first. So, treat every “sign up” as an inbound lead, but make sure to qualify them first.
  2. Be creative with your booth outreach. If you want people to quickly say “no thanks” then greet them with “How’s it going?” or a “Hi there” Because that’s what EVERYONE does and it’s boring and lame. If you want people to be engaged, you have to be different. Try something like, “We’re killing eDiscovery. Curious?” or “What are you doing to kill eDiscovery?” or “eDiscovery is a disaster. Want to learn more how we’re fixing it?” BE CREATIVE.
  3. Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 4.52.33 PMMake a great first impression, you won’t get another one. Dress and look welcoming. You’ll notice sloppy looking booths get very little traction, because if their booth and people are sloppy, what does that say about them as a company/product? Look professional and not hungover.
  4. Smile and warmly greet people like a normal person. And do this without looking at their badge. Badge-gazing is a huge turnoff to a prospect. Just assume that anyone that responds to your creative, and relevant, outreach message is in your target audience. And remember to always stand looking out when people are around. Talking amongst yourselves sends a signal you don’t want to talk to anyone else, like potential customers. Don’t make that mistake.
  5. Give people swag. Literally, give them a bear, paper, etc. And be creative with it: “This bear is guaranteed to sooth your eDiscovery pain. Promise.” People grab swag as a way of “meeting” you, because it’s less awkward for them. It also creates a lil bit of reciprocity, which means they’re more likely to reciprocate by giving you more information about themselves, etc.
  6. Get business cards, not scans. People aren’t cattle. Don’t scan them. They’ll appreciate it. Obviously scanning is efficient, but it kills the experience if that’s the FIRST thing you do to someone. In fact, use this technique to your advantage. You’ll find people are so accustomed to being “scanned” that they’ll literally pull their badge out when they walk up to your booth. Tell them, “Oh. No need. We don’t sell cattle here. No need to scan you, Ma’am. [wink]”
  7. Use a team of 3 in the booth for a 10×10 booth. Have 2 people running demos (1 in back, 1 in front) and 1 person fishing for new leads. If you have a 4th person, use them to either capture more leads or followup with leads exiting the booth. You’d be amazed at how many great leads come in only to find out you forgot to capture their business card.
  8. Carry a pocket of pens and write notes on business cards. There’s a reason why we designed our cards the way we did: they’re easy to write on, because that’s what people do. They write notes on cards to remember people. Do THE EXACT SAME THING. The reason you carry a pocket of pens is to give them out to people that don’t have a pen. They’ll appreciate it (reciprocity +2).
  9. Schedule the demo, the REAL demo. Booth demos are flash-in-the-pan experiences that people will barely remember (no matter how AWESOME your demo was, they saw dozens all week). Without being too pushy, try and get something scheduled a week or two out. Simply use your phone calendar, add their email to a calendar invite, and send.
  10. Have FUN – but remember, it’s a business gathering, not a party. You’ll meet some awesome people. You’ll meet some not-so-awesome people. Just remember to have fun. Fun does not mean getting passed out drunk the night before booth duty. Fun means enjoy the experience. Enjoy the conversations. Learn from people. Hear their stories. Try and help them with their problems. Be genuinely interested in people. And make it a great show!


Balance is weak. Tension is strong.


Objects in tenuous balance will tumble at the slightest nudge.

Objects in tension, on the other hand, are strong.

When you fire a gun you pull with one hand while pushing with the other because in tension there is stability. A pull-up bar in a doorframe can hold 200 pounds because it’s in tension, not in balance. Ethernet contains a pair of wires twisted together, electrons moving in opposing directions, because their opposing magnetic fields cancel each other but also act as a shield to foreign fields that would otherwise disrupt the electrons’ movements.

It’s often said that “extremes are bad” and thus you should “seek balance.” But balance is fragile; it’s the wrong thing to seek.

Seeking tension means taking two strong stances, letting each thrive while keeping the other in check.

Seeking balance means starting with two strong stances, then stripping out the powerful bits until both are weak enough to coexist in a gutless truce.

Seeking tension in co-founders or team members means extracting everyone’s best while maintaining decorum and respect. A team wielding excellence, coordinated across multiple areas of expertise, is formidable.

Seeking balance in a team means sanding objections off your ideas until the committee converges, not on the most powerful possibility, but on a grey, uninspiring average that is disagreeable to no one only because it’s empty of meaning.

Extremes can be reckless, but the powerful middle way arises from tension, not balance.

The Marketer’s Guide to Periscope

Everyone and their mom knows that Periscope is becoming more and more popular. In fact, according to TechCrunch, over a million people signed into the app in the first 10 days after the launch on March 26.

That’s just incredible!

Want to know the best part?

Periscope still “fresh”, and you (as a marketer) have a HUGE opportunity to start growing your network. This is why I decided to create this guide; to show you step-by-step where to start and how to crush it with live video streaming.

Let’s get rolling…

Fundamentals: How to Develop a Successful Plan

As with anything in marketing, you need to start with a plan. Why? Because this way you’ll know where you are going, why you are going there and exactly how to get there.

Most importantly, a well-thought plan helps you stay focused on the right things, which ultimately will save you a ton of time and money.

In simpler words: Without a plan, you’re going to fail.

The question is: How can I develop a plan?

Start by following the next steps:

1) Set Your Goals

You need to know exactly why you are using Periscope in the first place. Just because your competitors are doesn’t mean you should. Start by answering the next questions:

What do I want to accomplish?
Do you want to drive traffic to other channels? Do you want to get more leads or customers? Do you want to build your brand? Whatever you want to achieve, just write it down.

Writing your goals will invite accountability and will be easier to measure the results. The more specific, the better.

For example, if you decide to use Periscope to drive traffic to your blog or social media accounts, your goals could be:

  • 1st quarter: 5,000 extra visitors
  • 2nd quarter: 8,000 extra visitors
  • 3rd quarter: 10,000 extra visitors
  • 4th quarter: 12,000 extra visitors

This way, all your goals will be measureable and tracking results will be relatively easy.

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve, you need to define why you’re trying to achieve it. Numbers alone don’t mean nothing. You need to know the why.

Why do you want 5,000 extra visitors? Why do you want 10 leads every day? How can these goals influence your business? Write it down.

2) Perform a Competitive Analysis

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to try to develop a strategy from scratch. It can work, but chances are that you’ll fail.

It is much better to analyze what competitors are doing, and then model those things that are giving them the most success. This way, your chances to win increase.

Start by following your competitors on Periscope and analyze what kinds of videos they create, how often they’re sharing new content, what topics they’re covering and even the gaps or what they’re not covering in their strategy.

Become an active member of their communities. You’ll learn a lot by watching.

3) Create a Differentiator

When you’ve been studying your competitors for a while, you start noticing certain patterns on what they do – you start noticing gaps.

And when you find gaps in your competition’s strategies you can create content that helps your audience in better ways.

This is where you need to find a differentiator. Something that makes your content unique – it might be your style, specific topics or certain angles your competitors don’t cover – this will help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

For example, Derek Halpern, from Social Triggers, focuses on “scooping” marketing and entrepreneurship insights from a psychological perspective. That’s his differentiator.

How to Setup and Use Periscope

Now that you’ve created a plan, you’re ahead of most of your competitors. However, in order to get results you need to get familiar with the app.

Don’t worry, it’s really straightforward, just follow these steps below and you’ll be ok.

1) Download the app – you can choose between Apple or Android.

2) Sign-up – you have two options:


You can either:

A. Log in with your Twitter credentials (the easier one)
B. Sign up with your phone number

3) Create a username – Periscope still has a lot of usernames available, so this is your opportunity to get the name you really want.

Although there is no real science of choosing the right username, it’s highly recommended that you go personal and choose your real name.

4) Do something cool – the best thing about Periscope is that it’s really simple. Once you’ve signed up, you have three options:

  • Follow people
  • Start a broadcast
  • Watch other people’s broadcasts


I recommend that you start by watching other people’s broadcasts, so you can see how the thing works – you only need to click the globe icon to see who’s live right now.

How to Crush it With Live Video Streaming

I’ve seen many people fail with video streaming just because they focus on applying trendy techniques, but forget to follow the principles.

Remember, techniques change over the time, but principles remain the same. This applies to any subject, so if you learn and master principles, you’ll always ok.

Here are the 5 counterintuitive principles of live video streaming:

1) Tell a story that matches up with your audience’s worldview – It’s not a big secret that storytelling is a powerful tool to engage an audience. However, there are good and bad stories, so you need to make sure you’re telling a story your audience really want to hear.

Of course, you need to know your audience to make this works. You need to know who they admire, what are their problems, what makes them feel good or bad – this is where buyer personas come in handy – so you can start creating stories around those things.

For example, Spotify constantly shares behind-the-scenes videos with celebrities their audience admire.

2) Develop a distribution plan before you start the broadcast – People only have 24 hours to watch a replay. This means that you have a limited amount of time to promote your videos. If you start to develop a distribution plan after your presentation, you’re screwed.

Instead, start planning with at least 2 days of anticipation, this way you’ll always have an ace up your sleeve. For example, I always create a list of 100 to 250 people who might be interested in what I’m going to publish the upcoming week. Then, once the content goes live, I let them know about it.

You can also let your audience know ahead of time. For example, you may say “this Thursday at 2PM Central I’ll be on Periscope discussing how to market electric cars. Mark your calendars! I’ll tweet with the link once we go live.”

3) Encourage users to participate – You’ll reach more people and be more effective if you can turn your audience into promoters. This is why you need to encourage them to comment and share.

Giveaways are a great way to encourage people to participate, so you can try to create some kind of “mini-contest”. For example, Doritos is releasing a contest that consists on tagging three people with the hashtag #DoritosRoulette. Those people participate as a team and have the opportunity to win great prizes.

Of course, they share the live event through Periscope. It’s a really smart strategy.

4) Use Periscope to solve specific needs – If you focus on solving your audience’s problems, they’ll come back again and again – you’ll create a loyal community. Start by asking your audience what topics they want you to talk about, and start developing ideas based on that information.

How to Create the Perfect Headline for Your Broadcast

I don’t need to tell you that headlines are basically the most important thing of any piece of content. If your headline sucks, nobody will care about the rest of your article, video or audio. This is why you need to spend enough time on this.

But don’t worry, creating a good headline is not that hard. There’s lots of information on headline copywriting you can get through, but in the meantime you can start by following the next “hacks”:

Step 1: Find a proven headline idea

Instead of using a headline you think might work, it’s much better to use a headline that has a proven record of success – there are two options:

A) Reverse engineer BuzzSumo results:
First, go to BuzzSumo and type in a keyword related to your main topic.


B. Select “Video”:


C. Then, sort the results by Twitter shares:


D. Select 2-3 successful headlines and create a template.


For example: Is this the ______ [Your Topic] job ever?

B) Find popular YouTube videos:


  • Go to Youtube and type in a keyword related to your main topic
  • Look for videos with over 100,000 views
  • Take 2-3 of them and create templates

For example: Top [number] [your topic] mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Step 2: Use Twitter to Test Your Headlines and Find a Winner

Once you have 3-5 headlines, it is time to test which of them is best. To do that, you need to have access to:

  • Twitter account with at least 1,000 followers (or at least get someone with a high follower count to retweet you)
  • Your best time to tweet

First, tweet out one of your headlines when most of your audience is online, wait 24 hours and then tweet out the other headline. Repeat the process with each of your headlines and see which of them got the most engagement. That’s the winner.

This might not be an exact science, but will give you an educated clue of what people want.

As an alternative, you can list out your headlines in 1-3 tweets and ask your followers which they like best. In most cases, this will only work if your audience is copywriters, marketers, or writers.

How to Get More Periscope Followers

The more followers you have, the more reach you’ll get, right? Here are some ways to get the most out of your current resources to get more Periscope followers:

1) Follow Other People

I’ve heard a lot of people who say that the “follow back” approach doesn’t work. That’s BS. It works extremely well. As long as you just follow relevant people and avoid spam you’ll be fine.

The first step is create a list of at least 100 people in your industry who are already using Periscope to market their businesses. Then, follow them and start the conversation.

Start watching their broadcasts, commenting and even creating content around them. If you do that, you’ll definitely get noticed and a good percentage of them (and their followers) will follow you too.

2) Respond to Every Single Comment

People always come back to the places where they feel appreciated.

Think about it: Which store would you come back to? The store where employees are rude, or the store where everyone treats you incredibly well?

The answer is obvious.

If you treat every member of your community like if she or he were the most important person in the world, they’ll feel really appreciated. And one of the best ways to demonstrate your appreciation online is by responding to their comments.

This will encourage more people to follow you because it will help turn followers into evangelists.

3) Don’t Go to the Third Round

Some people will analyze everything you do, including the good and bad things.This is why you need to be careful with what you do. Not only on Periscope, but in all social networks.

What I mean by “don’t go to the third round” is that if someone starts to post negative comments on your videos, don’t fight with them.

You can reply once, but if that person replies back, no matter how much you want to tell them how wrong he or she is, just don’t do it. Ignore that person. If people see that you offend your audience, they won’t follow you.

4) Be Constant

People like to follow people who constantly shares new stuff. If you’re expecting that people follow you because you published a video 3 months ago, you’ll not see the results that you want.

The best you can do is creating a publishing schedule. This way, you and your team can develop ideas and keep your calendar full.

You can schedule a 20-30 minute meeting each week or month to do this.

How to Increase Your Reach

1) Leverage the Power of Brand Evangelists

It doesn’t matter how small your follower base is, you’ll always have a small group of people who always are sharing, commenting and linking to your content.

These are your “brand evangelists”.

Most people make the mistake of trying to connect and engage with every one of their followers. It’s much more effective to focus on creating strong relationships with your evangelists and then let them introduce you to their own audiences.

Focus your energy on the few and you’ll get the most out of the masses. It’s a smarter approach to social media.

2) Find Your Best Time To Go Live

As with anything in social media, there are better times to publish your content than others. For example, Buffer found that on average, tweeting at 5 PM can increase your chances to get noticed.

It doesn’t mean you should share your videos at that time, but it definitely means that you can increase your reach by finding the exact hour where most of your audience is online, so you can share your content at that time.

There are no tools to do this with Periscope yet. However, since Twitter owns this app, a huge percentage of your Periscope followers are already on Twitter (if not all of them), which is very useful.

You can use tools like FollowerWonk or Hootsuite to find your best time to publish content on social media. In addition, this guide from Hubspot will guide you step-by-step through an effective process.

3) Create Co-Branded Content

One of the best ways to grow your audience is by creating relationships with people who have an established audience in your industry, but who aren’t your competitors. This way you can collaborate to create content that both of you can use.

For example, Noah Kagan recently launched a co-branded free training course where he and other industry experts collaborate to help you get your first 1 million visitors. They created special deals, so people who subscribe to the course can get products they own at special prices.


It’s a win-win.

You can look for relevant people in your industry who are doing it well on Periscope, and then create co-branded live video streaming, so both of you can get introduced to a different audience, and therefore, grow yours.

How to Hack the Advanced Twitter Search to Evangelize Your Videos

One of the best things about Twitter is that you can easily find people who might be interested in your content. Just need to type a keyword in the search bar and Twitter will show you all the people who have shared content on that specific topic.

And when someone shares something on Twitter you know two things:

  1. That person is interested in your topic
  2. That person likes to share content related to that topic

That is very useful because now all you need to do is put your content in front of them.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to Twitter and type in a keyword that describes your main topic. For example, if I was going to share a video related to greenhouses, I could look for “gardening”.


Another option is to look for a specific name. If you know that one of your competitors is doing it well with Periscope, you can search for their name.

Step 2: Click on “more options” and select “Advanced Search”.


Step 3: Fill the form as you need, just make sure to add #Periscope in the section called “these hashtags”. This way, Twitter will show you only tweets that have that specific hasthag.

Remember, we want to find people who might be interested in attending your live video streaming, so is highly important that you follow this step.


Step 4: Make a list of all the people who appear in the results and let them know about your upcoming event. Since they’ve seen and shared similar content before, they’re very likely to attend to your streaming, too.


You can use the following script:


I noticed that you tweeted out a Periscope broadcast the other day: TITLE OF THE BROADCAST

Great stuff, I really enjoyed it, too.

I actually have a broadcast on TOPIC coming out on DATE

Let me know if you want a heads up when it comes out :)



Note: For this strategy to work, I recommend that you create a list of at least 50 people. Also, If you’re wondering how to find a person’s email, you can read this post.

How to Get Tangible Results

One of the biggest problems people have with live video streaming is they don’t know how to achieve results. I’ve found that the reason for it is they simply don’t know how to connect it with business objectives.

We talked about setting your goals earlier in this guide for that simple reason. When your goals are clear, everything is much simpler.

Here are 4 ways to connect the dots between Periscope and your core marketing goals, so you can see tangible results. Choose those ones that better fit your business objectives.

1) Humanize Your Brand

One of your main goals as a brand is to build strong relationships with your audience, and Periscope helps you do that in a very unique way – you can basically open the gate and give to people an inside-look to your company.

Think about it: What better way to humanize your brand than sharing what you do in a common day?

Reality TV is so popular because people love to connect with other human beings. If you share behind-the-scenes content to your audience, they’ll feel more connected with you, and therefore they will trust you more.

2) Product Demos

What better way to offer proof than showing your audience a live product demonstration? This way, they can see in real time how your product actually works and the results they can achieve if they decide to buy it.

3) Customer and Audience Research

Audience research is one of the hardest things when it comes to online marketing (especially when you don’t know where to look). However, once you get it done, you’ll an unfair advantage over your competition.

Periscope gives you the opportunity to learn what your audience really wants, in real-time. You can conduct live Q & A to see what specific questions they ask, you can study comments people are making to find patterns on the way they think, and you can even find untapped keywords they’re using to describe their problems.

This information will help you develop better strategies and help your audience in unique ways.

4) Create Exclusive Content For Your Subscribers

You can create a private group for your blog subscribers and share content that only people who are in your private community can see. This will create an athmosphere of exclusiviness, which people love so much.

Over to You

Periscope is new and fresh. If you think it’s right for your business and goals, then take a dive and start a broadcast using the guidelines we discussed.

Hopefully this guide has shown you that Periscope is a powerful social media tool to grow your brand.

What other tips, techniques and insights do you have about Periscope?

About the Author: Josue Valles is a content marketing evangelist, strategist and die-hard entrepreneur. He constantly blogs about Inbound Marketing, SEO and Social Media Marketing at Engagebit. You can also follow him on Twitter.

How to Name Your Business (download this 10-category evaluation worksheet)

How to Name Your Business (download this 10-category evaluation worksheet)

In this article I want to show you a method to get away from the gross, subjective confusion that clouds your business name decision making.

You’ve felt that cloudiness if you’ve ever tried to name a business before.

I was recently with a group of people trying to name their real estate company. We spent several hours talking about options, took a break, and then someone came up with another name idea and the conversation started all over again.

No decisions being made, no progress, no clients being helped or revenue coming in… just a handful of name options and no way to decide which idea is best.

We all get like this when it comes to naming our business. A list of several ideas, a bunch of subjective opinions and the immense pressure of deciding.

So, we created a simple worksheet to help you. The Name Evaluation worksheet below will introduce you to 10 categories that will help you get out of the clouds and into a business name that will grow with you.

Picking a business name can be painful, cloudy and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be.

A name to grow into

Don’t let your business name hold you back. I mean that in two ways.

First, name choices, in my experience, are always uncomfortable. Every single time I’ve been involved with naming something — whether it’s a business or a podcast or product — the name didn’t jump right out at us. It required deliberation, mulling over and, ultimately, a decision none of us were really 110% comfortable with at first.

Over time, all those names started to feel better and better. I call this the picking the least-worst option naming strategy. Apple, the lore goes, was the least worst name on Steve Jobs’ list. So, the first thing to know is that naming decisions are never easy; sometimes you have to go with your least-worst option.

And second, names often require some getting used to, or, as I like to say, some growing into.

Does "Apple" sound like a stupid name now? Nope. We don’t even think of it as a fruit. They grew into it. Some names need to be grown into, lived in — they’re empty vessels that need some time and experience. They need to be worn in a bit, both by you and your customers.

Sometimes you gotta pick the least worst option and go with a name you’re not completely sure about. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence. The Name Evaluator worksheet is going to help you with that due diligence.

A great business name won’t save a bad business. Pick a name you can grow with.

Nope: poor naming feedback

Business name feedback often times sounds like this:

  • "It’s kinda, like, too much to me."
  • "Don’t you think it’s a bit too cute?"
  • "Sounds like a cereal."
  • "Nope, sounds like France. France is un-American."
  • "Nope."
  • "It feels sort of, I don’t know, {waves hands around}, you know?"

Nope. This feedback doesn’t help us. To get out of our own subjectivity — our personal opinions and judgements — we need a set of categories to evaluate name ideas.

Luckily, the esteemed naming agency Igor International has done most of the heavy lifting for us. We’ll use their categories with a few updates tailored to us indie entrepreneurs to judge names by.

Note: as I was reading through their guide I realized they have a very similar exercise they run their names through. Either great minds think alike, or this naming stuff is damn hard.

10 name evaluation categories

Here are the 10 categories we’ll use to evaluate each name idea (much of the descriptions come from the Igor naming guide):

1. Appearance: Simply how the name looks as a visual signifier, in a logo, an ad, on a billboard, etc. The name will always be seen in context, but it will be seen, so looks are important. Look for visual cues like two of the same letters (e.g., the ZZ in Fizzle), symmetry of the word(s), number of letters, etc.

2. Sound: The name WILL be heard, in radio or television commercials, being presented at a trade show, or simply being discussed in a cocktail party conversation. Sound is twofold: not only how a name sounds, but how easily it is spoken by those who matter most — the potential customer. Word of mouth is a big part of the marketing of a company, product or service with a great name, but if people aren’t comfortable saying the name, the word won’t get out. One quick question to ask yourself about sound is: how easily could you communicate this name to someone over a static-y phone call?

3. Distinctiveness: How differentiated a given name is from its competition. Being distinctive is only one element that goes into making a name memorable, but it is a required element, since if a name is not distinct from a sea of similar names it will not be memorable. It’s important, when judging distinctiveness, to consider the name in the context of both the product it will serve, and the competition it will spar with for the consumer’s attention.

4. Positioning: How relevant the name is to the positioning of the product or company being named, the service offered, or to the industry served. Further, how many relevant messages does the name map to?

5. Depth: Layer upon layer of meaning and association. Names with great depth never reveal all they have to offer all at once, but keep surprising you with new ideas. Did you know the first use of the word fizzle was to describe a silent-but-deadly (SBD) fart in Victorian English? Depth, baby :)

6. Humanity: A measure of a name’s warmth, its "humanness," as opposed to names that are cold, clinical, unemotional. Another — though not foolproof — way to think about this category is to imagine each of the names as a nickname for one of your children.

7. Energy: How vital and full of life is the name? Does it have buzz? Can it carry an ad campaign on its shoulders? Is it a force to be reckoned with? These are all aspects of a name’s energy level.

8. Magic / Evocativeness: The force of brand magic, and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. It’s that certain something that makes people lean forward and want to learn more about a brand, and to want to share the brand with others. The "magic" angle is different for each name.

9. Trademark Availability: As in the ugly, meat hook reality of trademark availability. Scoring is easy here, as there are only three options, and nothing is subjective: 5 = likely available for trademark; 3 = may be available for trademark; and 0 = not likely available for trademark. (There are some trademark search options in the resources section below.)

10. Domain Availability: Is there a version of this name available at a domain name you feel comfortable with? may not be available, so you’ll have to see if some suitable version of that name is available. (E.g., Dropbox used; wasn’t available, but we were comfortable with using

The name evaluator worksheet

The Fizzle Business Name Evaluator example

Here’s an example of the Fizzle Business Name Evaluator. The names mentioned here are all real options discussed in episode #5 of the Startup podcast linked in the resources below.

OK, it’s time for you to download the worksheet and get crackin’. You can download the worksheet below.

Here’s how to use the worksheet:

  1. Write all your business name ideas in the left column.
  2. Score the names in each category; 0 for extremely poor, 5 for excellent. You’ll have to use your gut on these scores.
  3. Add up the scores at the end of each row to see which name performs best.
  4. Optional: give the worksheet to a few friends to have them fill it out as well. Compare your scores with theirs for more objectivity.
  5. Start a business and make a million dollars with your new great name! When you get there, maybe send out a tweet on our behalf?

Download the Free 1-Page Business Sketch Template:

Download the worksheet, pick a name, and keep moving forward with your business!

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Holy sh*t this is an insanely useful tool for anyone trying to name their business!

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This is a very useful tool for anyone looking to name their business.

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Using Luntz’s Words That Work to Ignite Your Web Copy

“It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.”

Frank Luntz is a fairly controversial figure.

He’s a Republican pollster who has made his career out of framing political (and corporate) language. In 2007, he wrote a popular book called “Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.” His accolades are admirable:

  • Ryan Holiday called ‘Words That Work’ one of the best 16 marketing books of all time.
  • The Atlantic called him, “America’s top political wordsmith.”
  • President Obama said, “When Frank Luntz invited you to talk to his focus group, you talk to his focus group.”
obama on luntz
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Certainly some strong recommendations. Which is great, because we can trust Luntz for some advice on improving web copy. Before that, a little background on his research methodology.

Methodology: How to Find Words That Work

As Luntz said recently, “I’m not a referee, I’m a researcher.”

I don’t want to go too in-depth into Luntz’s research methods, as we’ve already written comprehensive articles on qualitative research, customer surveys, and voice of customer research. But it does help to understand what goes behind the scenes.

Luntz uses a variety of market research methods, the main method being focus groups. On his website, he describes his methodology as a combination of “innovative polling, comprehensive market research, and instant response dial sessions.”

Instant Response Dial Sessions

Instant Response Dial Sessions are basically focus groups with a dial to measure emotional valence. This is how he describes them on his site:

“Carefully-selected participants assemble in a focus group facility (the kind with a room and a one-way mirror). Clients sit “behind the glass” and observe. A specially-trained, experienced moderator, like Dr. Frank Luntz, leads the group.

Each participant is given a wireless device about the size of a smartphone. A dial (calibrated from 1 to 100) sits at the device’s center.

Participants provide demographic information relevant to the question at hand (e.g., liberal vs. conservative; male vs. female; “used the product” vs. “never used the product”). After completing specially-designed, written language exercises before the session’s start, we start the dials…

…and that’s where it gets exciting. We show participants video – a commercial, a speech, a debate – and they respond second-by-second, phrase-by-phrase by turning the dial. Our system integrates the live data, segments it demographically and displays it to the back-room audience as a series of trace lines along with the video. The moderator follows up with probing questions to understand why participants feel the way they do. “

Here’s a quick slideshare summing it up as well:

So that’s how he finds words that work. Over the course of his career, he discovered recurring principles in just about every successful phrase. He summed them up in his book as the 10 rules of effective communication.

Frank Luntz’s Ten Rules of Effective Communication

“Just as in every other field, there are rules to good, effective communication. They may not be as inflexible and absolute as the rules against speeding or avoiding taxes, but they’re just as important if you wish to arrive safely at your destination with money in your pocket.”

Though Luntz is famous for the political parts of his career, he claims these communication rules are universal. If that’s the case, they’ll work just as well on a value proposition as they will in a debate or political speech. Here are the 10 rules:

1. Simplicity: Use Small Words

”In fact, using a long word when a short one would suffice tends to raise suspicions: What is this guy trying to sell me? Does he have an ulterior motive?” The most effective language clarifies rather than obscures. It makes ideas clear rather than clouding them. The more simply and plainly an idea is presented, the more understandable it is – therefore the more credible it is.”

As the saying goes, “clarity trumps persuasion,” and shorter words lead to greater clarity and comprehension (and people remember them better) So don’t use large words when small ones will work just fine. Neville Medhora’s value proposition is great example of this. It is incredibly clear and concise and comprised of small words:

words that work small words
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He uses the same strategy on his email headlines:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.59.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.58.47 PM email headlines words that work

2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences

“Be as brief as possible. Never use a sentence when a phrase will do, and never use four words when three say just as much. When asked how long a man’s legs ought to be, Abraham Lincold said, “Long enough to reach the ground.”

Short sentences, like short words, help readability. Since most people don’t read online (they skim), it helps to avoid big blocks of text and unnecessary small talk. Short sentences are the way to go. MailChimp is a good example:

words that work mailchimp
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Apart from value props, Brian Dean’s writing style is an excellent example of this. He writes incredibly long and detailed posts, but they’re digestible due to short sentences:

Brian dean words that work
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3. Credibility Is As Important As Philosophy

”Credibility is established very simply. Tell people who you are or what you do. then be that person, and do what you have said you would do. And finally, remind people that you are in fact what you say you are. In a simple sentence: Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

BJ Fogg, Stanford research on persuasive technology, says there are 4 types of web credibility:

  • Presumed credibility – general assumptions  (e.g. a brand we’ve heard of is more credible, unknown brand less)
  • Reputed credibility – third party reference (e.g. your wife said it’s good or your friends said service X sucks)
  • Surface credibility – what we find on simple inspection (e.g. the website looks quality or “this seems confusing”)
  • Earned credibility – personal experience (e.g. friendly customer service or text full of typos and factual errors)

There are many ways to build credibility into your website. Some are straightforward, like simple language and correct spelling. Others, like testimonials and social proof, involve more work.

pivot freight
Expert testimonials on Pivot Freight‘s website

Further reading: 39 Factors: Website Credibility Checklist

4. Consistency Matters

”Finding a good message and then sticking with it takes extraordinary discipline, but it pays off tenfold in the end. Remember, you may be making yourself sick by saying the same exact same thing for the umpteenth time, but many in your audience will be hearing it for the first time. The overwhelming majority of your customers or constituents aren’t paying as much attention as you are. They didn’t read about your tagline in Adweek or hear your slogan in C-SPAN’s Road to the White House.”

Media planners tend to worry about two things: frequency and reach. This principle is all about frequency. Basically, the ability to repeat the same message over and over carries merit. In fact, research shows that light to moderate repetition increases the persuasiveness of a message. Repeating a message could also lead to the mere exposure effect, where you develop a preference for familiarity.

Chubbies’ “Sky’s Out, Thighs Out” slogan is on all of their brand touch points, and they’ve been using it for a while:

chubbies twitter
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5. Novelty: Offer Something New

”So from a business perspective, you should tell consumers something that gives them a brand-new take on an old idea (and then, in accordance with rule number four, tell them again and again). The combination of surprise and intrigue creates a compelling message. Although often executed with humor, what matters most is that the message brings a sense of discovery, a sort of “Wow, I never thought about it that way” reaction.”

Research shows that people prefer moderate levels of novelty. Or, as Frank Luntz put it, “words that work often involve a new definition of an old idea. The example he gave in the book was of Volkswagen’s famous “think small” campaign. When the status quo was to emphasize a ever-expanding size, Volkswagen did the opposite, presenting a common idea (cars) in a new way (small). Here’s a good example from Slack being used by rocket scientists (quite unique for a messaging app):

slack words that work
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6. Sound and Texture Matters

“The sounds and texture of language should be just as memorable as the words themselves. A string of words that have the same first letter, the same sound, or the same syllabic cadence is more memorable than a random collection of sounds. The first five rules in this chapter do just that: simplicity, brevity, credibility, consistency, and novelty stand out because they all end with the same sound.”

Luntz’s example above is of a poetic device called assonance, or “the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in non-rhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible.” Other poetic devices include consonance, assonance, rhythm, resonance, parallel structure, and the rule of three.

Apple gets a lot of things right with their copy, one of them being alliteration (words that start with the same letter):

apple words that work
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7. Speak Aspirationally

“As Warren Beatty, perhaps the best student of the human condition in Hollywood, once told me, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. If the listener can apply the language to a general situation or human condition, you have achieved humanization. But if the listener can relate that language to his or her own life experiences, that’s personalization.”

Some of history’s most memorable quotes were aspirational in nature:

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you…”
  • “I have a dream…”
  • ‘The only thing to fear is fear itself…”

I want to point out that speaking aspirationally does not necessarily mean speaking hyperbolically. For your web copy, it could just mean selling the benefits rather than the features. That said, Chaotic Moon is a charmingly hyperbolic company, so this works for them:

Chaotic Moon:

moon words that work
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Here’s a more modest example of selling with benefits (and features):

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8. Visualize

”Paint a vivid picture. From M&M’s “Melts in your mouth not in your hand,” to Morton Salt’s “When it rains it pours,” to NBC’s “Must See TV,” the slogans we remember for a lifetime always have a strong visual component, something we can see and almost feel.”

Drip campaign from

hustle words that work

While not necessarily a ‘visual’, the following is probably the most famous example of a sensory ad every created. Vivid and simple, you can imagine yourself in the car. You can imagine hearing the low hum of the electric clock at 60 mph:

ogilvy words that work

9. Ask a Question

“The reason for the effectiveness of questions in communication is quite obvious. When you assert, whether in politics, business, or day-to-day life, the reaction of the listener depends to some degree on his or her opinion of the speaker. But making the same statement in the form of a rhetorical question makes the reaction personal – and personalized communication is the best communication.”

Questions are, of course, a common persuasive communication tactic. You’ve seen countless headlines asking questions. You’ve heard countless speeches start with them. Why do they work? Possibly because of the generation effect, which is a “phenomenon where information is better remembered if it is generated from one’s own mind rather than simply read.” Here’s an example from serpIQ:

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10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance

”Context is only half of the framing effort. The other half – relevance – is focused on the individual and personal component of a communication effort. Put most simply, if it doesn’t matter to the intended audience, it won’t be heard. With so many messages and so many communication vehicles competing for our attention, the target audience must see individual, personal meaning and value in your words.”

Look, this is the key to the game. Research. Understanding your target audience. There’s no shortcut. Short sentences and short words, no matter how clever and aspirational, won’t work if they don’t align with your audience. Here’s a great example of audience alignment from

inbound words that work
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While your copywriting efforts are ultimately contingent on connecting with your target audience, these principles will help get you there. Think of them as

Here they are again:

  1. Simplicity: Use Small Words
  2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences
  3. Credibility is as Important as Philosophy
  4. Consistency Matters
  5. Novelty: Offer Something New
  6. Sound and Texture Matters
  7. Speak Aspirationally
  8. Visualize
  9. Ask a Question
  10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance

The post Using Luntz’s Words That Work to Ignite Your Web Copy appeared first on ConversionXL.

The Incredible Marketing Machine Behind the Cleveland Cavaliers

Michael Conley, VP of Digital at The Cleveland Cavaliers, talked with us about the kinds of digital campaigns they're running to create an ultra personal experience for fans both inside and outside of the stadium, including ways to keep them engaged in the off-season. The kinds of things they're doing (and the scale at which they're executing them) are truly amazing - this is a great listen.

Show Notes:

  • Michael Conley
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Intro Song by Alex Koch of Digital Dust Studios
  • Outro Song YUME - "Pray IV (U)"
  • Avoid These Five Online Advertising No-No’s

    In today’s world, you don’t have to go to Hollywood to be a star. All you need is a YouTube account, and of course, something interesting to share.

    You don’t need to be a director to make a movie. You don’t need to be a newscaster to deliver news. And you don’t need to be a stock broker to trade on the stock market.

    With today’s technology, anyone can do anything, and that includes online advertising. What used to be the exclusive purview of advertising companies can now be done by anyone. You simply decide what platform you want to use, and then sign up. More and more businesses are going it alone in what seems to be an under-the-radar trend.

    But the tools making the world more accessible are also making it more dangerous. If you play the stock market without knowing what you’re doing, you could end up broke. Online advertising is definitely something you don’t want to do on a whim.

    Here are five simple mistakes that can cause big problems:

    1. Not Understanding or Noticing Location Options

    If you have ever seen an ad on Google that had nothing to do with your location, it was probably a result of the campaign manager not using targeted location.

    When setting location in AdWords, there is a small + tab that opens up the advanced options settings. The default setting is “People in, or who show interest in my targeted location.” This means that if you place ads for a pizzeria, and a searcher is looking for “American Pizza,” they will see your ads even if they are located in Africa. To avoid this, always choose “People in my targeted location.”


    2. Placing Ads on Your Own Selling Websites

    Ad placement such as AdSense is an easy way for websites to fill their ad inventory and make some extra money. This is usually a great fix for large news websites, blogs, and other sites that don’t sell online.

    However, often, you can find these ads on sites belonging to SMB’s that don’t understand the ads do more harm than good. For example, you won’t see AdSense on the Kissmetrics site because it degrades the user experience and takes attention away from the messaging.

    Having ads on a selling site usually does not generate a lot of revenue, and worse still, it takes customers off your site. Additionally, it opens an option for competitors to promote their products on your site.

    3. Being an Advertising Yes-Man

    Many advertising platforms, such as AdWords, highlight certain features that sound great but don’t always work to your benefit. For example, when choosing your bid strategy on AdWords, you are offered an option to use “Enhanced CPC”. What this actually does (if you look at the fine print) is allow AdWords to raise your bids by 30% in order to get you better placement.

    While it may do just that, if you set a certain budget and forget about this setting, then every time you raise the budget, you will essentially be increasing the 30% allowance.


    4. Not Understanding the Platform’s Algorithms

    You don’t need to be an engineer, but you should have a general grasp of how the platform you choose to advertise on works. It can make a huge difference. For example, AdWords Search is highly based on relevance (Quality Score). The more relevant your keywords, ads, and landing page, the higher your quality score and the less you will pay per click.

    On Facebook, each user has an actual value based on how active they are on the site. A user who spends money on Facebook has a higher value than one who doesn’t. Why is that important? Well, if you have an audience of 100k users and the suggested bid is $2, but you decide to place a bid of $0.50, you are in fact telling the algorithm that you want to show only for users who have a value of $0.50.

    If $0.50-value users make up 10% of your total audience, your true audience in this case would be 10k users, not 100k. Your budget, set to reach 100k, will show the ads only to the 10k $0.50-value users in your audience over and over again. Eventually, your frequency will get too high, and you will be spamming that audience, which will in turn make your cost higher. And the worst part is that you will never even reach the value audience you really wanted to reach in the first place.

    5. Being Your Own Competition

    When it comes to bidding, it’s easy to get carried away with your bids. And most platforms make it easy for you to overspend by suggesting what you should pay in order to beat your competition.

    If you underpay, your ads might not appear as often. However, this doesn’t mean you should overpay.

    You should bid according to your ROI, not your ego. Overpaying puts all your competitors into overdrive and raises bids for everyone. On most major platforms, there are enough impressions to go around.

    On AdWords, some advertisers even overbid on their own brand keywords. This makes no sense at all since usually you are the only one buying your brand keywords. Essentially, raising bids on branded keywords simply lets the algorithm know you are willing to pay more, and so you will.

    There are cases where your competition might be buying your keywords. Remember, you should always have a higher quality score than they do, and you can beat them that way.

    So, should you tackle online advertising on your own?

    At the end of the day, it depends on the scope of your business, the results you expect to gain from your campaigns, the budget you plan to spend, and your willingness to learn a new trade. There are many plusses to running your own campaigns, such as full transparency and the ability to monitor your spending and branding. After all, no one knows your business as well as you do.

    It is possible to do your own online marketing, but be aware that the endeavor will require the same amount of preparation as doing your own taxes, representing yourself in court, or flying your own plane. You will need to do some homework, understand the inner workings of the platform, and choose settings carefully. If you don’t know what something means, look it up. That’s what Google is for.

    Everyone makes mistakes, even the pro’s. Learning to spot the mistakes is key. If something seems off, if you aren’t getting the results you believe you should be, then investigate, go over your settings, and make sure you’re not committing any major advertising no-no’s.

    About the Author: Daniel Rosenfeld is a Digital Marketing Professional, always looking for the smallest details which have the largest impact.

    Five case studies you’ll see at the Lean Startup Conference 2015

    The following is a guest post by Kirsten Cluthe and Ritika Puri from The Lean Startup Conference team
    Wondering what’s new in the Lean Startup community? With hundred of thousands of global practitioners, the supply of ideas and best practices is endless. What’s more challenging is finding the right information that will influence positive change within your organization.

    Every year, our team conducts more than 500 customer development calls to understand what challenges the community is facing. We come across some interesting stories from people who are really making things happen. Here are some of our favorites:

    1. Product Hunt, an 18-month old startup, has evolved from a basic idea into a thriving online community.
    Entrepreneur Ryan Hoover transformed an email list experiment into a venture-funded startup community with tens of thousands of active members. 

    It all started with a small group of founders and product enthusiasts who self-aggregated into an online community. With positive feedback from his peers, Hoover decided to transform his email list into a website. Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, right after launching his email list experiment, he built Product Hunt’s first website mockup with his team. Today, that MVP has evolved into a thriving online community with more than $7M in funding.

    Though Ryan is now running one of the hottest startups around, he’s a down to earth guy with some great ideas on how to get things going. Check out his post on how he launched Product Hunt, a story captured in tweets, emails, and photos.

    2. Telepathic, a new technology startup, is bringing A/B testing to the world of mass-market fiction and storytelling.
    Entrepreneur Prerna Gupta believes that there’s a billion-dollar opportunity in bringing “Lean” principles to the development and distribution of mass-market fiction, and in presenting stories as a mobile-first experience. Her goal? She wants to disrupt Hollywood with the Lean Startup method.

    Prerna began her startup journey after leaving a job as a management consultant, and launched Yaari, a youth-oriented social network in India. Since then, she’s applied her business and technology skills to build apps like Songify; and after a period of time wandering the world with her husband, arrived at the idea for her new business.

    Prerna's vision is to share stories across multiple platforms, including apps, video, and virtual reality. It's Lean Startup storytelling for the Snapchat generation. Read about Prerna’s journey here.

    3. ReadyTalk, a 15-year-old web conferencing software company, launched an internal startup.
    ReadyTalk became interested in Lean Startup principles to develop new lines of business. Along the way, the company faced many of the same challenges that Lean Startup practitioners experience: balancing new customers and product lines with existing ones.

    After attending the 2014 Lean Startup Conference with 6 of her team members, intrapreneur and product strategist Andrea Hill realized that ReadyTalk needed to hold its emerging business lines to a different standard of success. She shares: “We now use metrics like cost-per-learning and validation velocity to show progress since traditional things like ROI weren’t applicable.”

    With this approach to establishing and tracking milestones, ReadyTalk launched its beta of in March 2015.

    4. Dun & Bradstreet, a 174 year old financial services company, has spent the last year building an experiment-driven marketing operation.
    Dun & Bradstreet is undergoing a big cultural shift. One of their major initiatives is to launch marketing programs that engage customers in a fresh, new way. As part of this process, the company’s CMO Rishi Dave, is encouraging teams to launch campaigns faster. He shares: “It’s not about being perfect— it’s about being perfect enough to start gathering data.”

    He’s encouraging his teams to get confident with this gap and recognize that the present is always a stepping stone towards a new opportunity. Dave is at the helm of an experimentation story in the making. He shares: “You need to test your way through this process until you find that crucial connection point.”

    5. The United States Digital Service, a federal government agency, is building a ‘stealth startup.’
    At the 2014 Lean Startup Conference, Todd Park, former CTO of the United States and current advisor to the White House, concluded his panel discussion with the following sentence: “come work for us.” 

    Three Lean Startup Conference attendees have taken him up on his offer, and that number is growing (we’ve heard that they’re very, very happy). They’re working to build a 21st century government, and improving on processes that typically burden government workers. Their mission is to drive efficiency, transparency, and savings. You can read more about 18F here.

    Want more of these stories?

    Come hear about them live at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference. All of the people mentioned in this post (and many more) will be speaking at the conference, and they’re excited to meet you. Get the details here.

    Do you have a cool Lean Startup story to share? Tweet us @leanstartup, and we might feature you in a blog post, too!

    Basic Authentication with the WP-API (v2) and AngularJS

    Working on the WP-App Project, we need to use authentication to do certain things in the app. Deleting/approving comments, or listing users for example.

    Basic Authentication is handy for testing code, but it should only be used in development, since you send the user/pass with every request. For production, you’ll want to use OAuth from an external client like a mobile app. I haven’t dug into OAuth yet, but it’s documented a little bit here.

    We are using the Ionic Framework for the WP-App Project, which is based on AngularJS. Basic authentication requires sending the username and password, base64 encoded, in the request header. Here’s what that looks like.


    Basic authentication requires the Basic Auth plugin to be installed, along with the WP-API v2.


    First we need a Base64 service, because we aren’t using a library that does that automatically for us. This code goes in services.js, or whatever file you have your factories in.

    Next we need our data loader, you can put this right below the Base64 service, in the same file.

    .factory(‘DataLoader’, function( $http ) {

    return {
    get: function(url) {
    return $http.jsonp( url );
    getAuth: function(base64, url) {

    $http.defaults.headers.common[‘Authorization’] = ‘Basic ‘ + base64;

    var req = { method: ‘GET’, url: url }

    return $http( req );

    The auth part is setting the authorization headers to use Basic auth, and send along our encoded username and password.


    Now in our controller, we can use the services above. This would ideally go in a different file, such as controllers.js.

    angular.module(‘myApp.controllers’, [])

    // Make sure to inject our services for DataLoader and Base64
    .controller(‘myCtrl’, function($scope, DataLoader, Base64 ) {

    var username = ‘user’;
    var password = ‘123456’;

    // use our Base64 service to encode the user/pass
    var base64 = Base64.encode( username + ‘:’ + password );
    // Some endpoint that needs auth
    var dataURL = ‘’;

    DataLoader.getAuth( base64, dataURL ).then(function(response) {

    $ =;

    }, function(response) {




    We can use this same method to send other authenticated requests, such as PUT and DELETE. To do that, you would just change the req variable in the getAuth function like this:

    var req = {
    method: ‘DELETE’,
    url: url

    Remember that basic auth is not for production, and using https is always a good idea.

    Using basic authentication, you should be able to experiment with getting authenticated data such as listing users, and deleting posts or other items. Using PUT or POST requires sending additional data, I’ll tackle that in another post.


    The post Basic Authentication with the WP-API (v2) and AngularJS appeared first on Scott Bolinger.

    How to Utilize The Psychology of Persuasion to Increase Conversion Rates

    Why do customers buy your product and not your competitor’s?

    Well-known consultant and author Jack Trout once said:

    “Marketing isn’t a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions”.

    This is probably my favorite quote because it truly explains the essence of marketing (and conversion optimization): what matters to customers isn’t your pricing or features, it’s not even how good your product is. What matters to customers is how you make them feel and what’s in it for them. This is what determines whether customers choose you or your competitor.

    One of our most studied and applied subjects at my company (Conversioner) is the psychology of persuasion. To increase revenue we have to get to know our customers better, understand their emotional triggers, and most importantly their decision making process. Once we understand our customers better we can run meaningful AB tests, build better user journeys and increase revenues across the board.

    One of the most influential books on this topic is called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Published In 1984 by Dr. Cialdini, it is a massively important book for every marketer. After three decades its value and lessons are considered fundamental to any marketing strategy. The main focus of the book is Cialdini’s six principles of how to influence people and address their emotional needs. In this article we’ll take look at these principles and how we can leverage them to turn visitors into customers.

    The Six Principles of Persuasion

    1. Reciprocity

    Our natural human behavior dictates that if someone gives something to us, we feel obligated to repay that debt. This principle highlights the fact that if someone does something nice for us we generally feel the need to repay the favor or the debt.

    The mutually beneficial exchange between humans comes natural to us and has become even more common online. Examples of this include signing up for a newsletter to get a free eBook, spending X amount of money and receiving a gift, or simply getting a discount on a product in exchange for sharing, commenting or reviewing it.

    How to use this principle:
    First you must determine what action you would like your customer to perform. This can be something like registering or downloading a product, sharing the product with their friends, or simply signing up to a newsletter. Once you’ve identified what you need, identify what you can give your customer in return (reciprocate) for this action (an e-book, a discount, cash back).

    The emotional targeting methodology also emphasizes that reciprocity doesn’t have to be an actual commodity, a simple promise of a better life, feeling safe or accepted by our peers will convince us to give something in return.

    For instance, at Conversioner we use an exit pop up that offers people exclusive content on emotional targeting in exchange for signing up.


    CopyHackers uses an exit intent pop up to offer a free personal guide in exchange for signing up for their newsletter.


    In both cases, customers are willing to reciprocate by signing up and leaving their details for exclusive content we’re willing to give away.

    2. Commitment and Consistency

    As humans we like to maintain a consistent self-image about who we are and what we believe. As consistent beings, when we make an internal or public commitment about something we tend to follow through with it to preserve our self image.

    One of most popular methods of using this principle is while buying a home. Once you’ve viewed a house and seen it, you’re asked by the estate agent to write down details of the house and propose a figure. Even though this number isn’t a real commitment, having it written down has made it more realistic and you’re now more prone to buy that house (not necessarily for that price). Getting a customer’s commitment early on increases the chances and makes it more likely that the customer will follow through with it.

    An online example would be getting customers to commit for a one month trial or asking your customers which plan they prefer on a pricing page before sending them to a payment page. Once they’ve chosen a plan they feel compelled to take you up on the bigger action.

    The example below is from a B2B company that asks people to first leave their details for a demo and then fill in more information about their business. Once they had already agreed to getting a call back from our client’s representative, they felt more committed and compelled to answer our follow up questions.

    Step 1:


    Step 2:


    3. Social Proof

    People like to do things they see other people doing. For instance, if a restaurant looks busy you’re more likely to eat there than if it were empty. There’s also more chance you’ll put money in a tip jar if there’s already money in there. In the online world, social proof is extremely important.

    People want to feel they are not the only ones to use a product or service, that others have taken the risk before you and they are satisfied customers. This is why you see testimonials on landing pages, reviews for E-commerce stores and well-known logos on landing pages, these logos inflict trust and show people that the best of the best are using a certain product and it can be trusted.

    Piktochart is one of many companies using social proof on their homepage:


    This principle is also called Wisdom of the Crowd. It’s why people read reviews, buy bestsellers or browse most popular items before buying. We want security in numbers and most of us want to fit in and be a part of a community, not trend setters. Other ways to increase social proof include social media sharing and publishing case studies on your website to prove that other people are using your service and finding it successful.

    In this landing page shows the amount of people using the service as social proof:


    Amazon uses reviews, showing visitors the satisfaction rate of customers from a specific product rather than the entire site:


    4. Liking

    People are more likely to buy products or services from people they like and trust which is why likeability is a huge influencing factor. A common example of this principle is known as the “pyramid” business. This is when people are invited by their friends to an event and feel obligated to purchase tupperware/protein shakes and other products regardless to their actual feelings towards the product. This happens because of their personal relationship with the salesperson and the commitment principle. They’ve already taken one step in the process of coming over and now feel obligated to buy.

    How to use this principle:
    The best way to utilize this principle is by building trust and a good relationship with your visitors. This takes time – trust and likeability isn’t built overnight. To get there, you can increase likeability in a few ways:

    1. Similarity – We like people who are similar to us. Based on your product and your customers you know what type of persona your customers will like and feel close to. Mirroring your customer in your strategy (using images, content and the right social proof) will increase likability and trust.
    2. People – Using pictures of people on your website and adding a personal voice increases likability.
    3. Association – Many brands associate themselves with current trends and celebrities. By associating your product and brand to something people like and can identify with, you increase your likability.

    Wix does an incredible job of mirroring their customers in their landing page by using photos of people in their work space and adding their name and occupation. Though these are clearly professional photos, by giving them names they’ve made them accessible and real, thus increase likability.


    Another one:


    5. Scarcity

    People like the idea of buying things that are rare or hard to come by. If something is marketed as a “limited time offer” people will rush to buy it as they will feel a sense of urgency and fear of loss. Scarcity all boils down to- “get something before you lose it forever”.

    This is happens because of a well known cognitive bias called “Loss Aversion” which states that people would prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Losing something hurts us more than the pleasure of gaining something. Which is why scarcity works.


    Another part of scarcity is status. This is very important to a lot of people – they want to be admired by their peers. Labeling your product or offering as a one-of-a kind and giving it a time cap (“only 5 spots left”) will increase its desirability and as a result increase conversions tremendously. If will value a product much more if it’s a once in a lifetime type of product than if it’s a commodity.

    Popular examples include 24 hour sales, a countdown clock and limited time offers. AliExpress uses all these techniques plus makes it exclusive by applying the sale to app users only:


    6. Authority

    People trust and respect those in authority. Authority can be instilled through uniforms, titles like Dr. or Professor, or an endorsement from someone in a position of authority like a CEO or celebrity.

    One of the most famous studies on this subject was held in 1974 when researchers were studying the influence of negative reinforcement. Participants were told they could give electric shocks to other participants (sitting in a different room) if they answered questions incorrectly. At first participants didn’t feel comfortable administering these electric shocks, but once a person came in with a white cloak and told them it was ok, researchers saw participants increase the voltage and commit. Though the people (actors) in the other room screamed everytime they got an “electric shock”, while the men in cloak stood and noded to the participants, they continued.

    How to use this principle:
    To increase authority for your brand, you can translate this principle to the web by having testimonials from experts, referencing important research and studies conducted to backup your product or service and using an authority figure.

    Note how Tanning Truth uses an image of an unrelated doctor wearing an “official” cloak and a quote to increase authority and trust.


    This also works by getting awards and/or recommendations from respected organizations

    Over to You

    Cialdini’s principles have been used for many years by marketers to reach out to their customers and appeal to them on an emotional level. Though not all principles may be achieved with every campaign you run, you should review each landing page you create and see what you can add or remove in order to tap into those psychological principles and translate Cialdini’s principles to increase conversions.

    What is your favorite principle, and how do you use it?

    About the Author: Talia Wolf is the CEO and Founder of Conversioner. Talia helps businesses build their conversion optimization strategies and execute them to increase their revenues, grow their sales, leads and engagement using quantitative data, consumer psychology & emotional conversion optimization. Talia specializes in Ecommerce optimization, landing page optimization, mobile optimization and consumer psychology. Tweet her at @taliagw.