We are surrounded by persuasion all day.

The average adult is exposed to around 300 different forms of advertising on a daily basis. If you live in the city, this number is more like 5000.

Even though we are exposed to all of this advertising every day, for the most part our brain tunes it out and we notice less than half of it.

Because of this, psychologists and marketers alike have been coming up with tools and strategies to help their ads stand out from the crowd. They do this by persuading consumers using imagery, language, social conditioning and more.

There is a lot of competition out there and if you want your customers to make that purchase quickly and without regret, here are 7 tools of persuasion that have been proven to work for both brick-and-mortar and online businesses:

1.) Altercasting 

You are a director on the set of your movie, who do you want to cast as the lead actor?

This is exactly what altercasting is all about. Think about your target client, the perfect person to purchase your product, and then determine what expectations or “character description” they aim to live up too.

There are two main branches of altercasting – manded and tact. Manded is a more direct whereas tact is a subtle and passive.

An example of Manded Altercasting:

Lets say you are attempting to raise money for a charity of some kind. Instead of saying “Donate to help the animals today”, why not try taking a more personal approach and appeal to your target audience’s emotional sense.

“You are an animal lover. Make a donation to our rescue centre today and help save an animal’s life.”

This “casting” will appeal to those who love animals, or have a soft spot for the health and wellbeing of animals. When consumers agree with your statement (yes, I am an animal lover) they are more likely to read on to the CTA (make a donation) and they are more likely to follow through.

An example of Tact Altercasting:

Tact altercasting is indirect or subtle, and instils the benefits of  your service into your tag line or landing page to appeal to your target audience.

For example, say you are a yoga studio looking to attract clients wanting to de-stress. You could use- “We all have stresses, let them go one by one with Yoga.

This alerts the consumers to the benefit of joining the Yoga class, and would appeal to the target audience. This approach is a lot less direct and doesn’t have a CTA. The aim with this would be to engage your audience so they keep reading further.

Altercasting works best when you clearly highlight your company’s goals and benefits in a way that is not glorified.

2.) AAB Pattern

This technique involves making one statement (A), then making another agreeable statement (A), and then turning both statements on their head to state something completely contradictory (B).

ie. Duck, Duck, Goose….

The idea with this persuasion technique is that the consumer becomes used to the repetitive pattern but is then surprised when the final statement flips. This element of surprise is then what persuades consumers to purchase.

You can add as many AAAA’s before you throw in the B- it just depends what works for you and your brand.

One example is from a company called Harbour House Crabs. Their AAB pattern is:

“Crabs. They are a lot like cows. Only not really.”

This type of persuasion can also be humorous which can help further establish your brand and the overall energy of your company. One of the risks with this type of marketing however, is that it can sometimes be vague in conveying what you are trying to sell or what your purpose is.

The “B” in the AAB method also needs to be strong enough to surprise the customer and persuade them to take action.

3.) Golden Handcuffs

Have you ever wondered why supermarkets put the milk all the way at the back?

They are attempting for you to walk through the isles (ie. “sales funnel”) as along the way, the journey is studded with “golden” opportunities for you to purchase.

Retailers know that milk is a common necessity for most people, so instead of putting it at the front of the store where it can be easily accessed, they put it at the back so people have to walk through and be tempted by the offers on display.

Whether you have a brick and mortar or you are running an online store, the philosophy is the same. Golden handcuffs are little freebies, giveaways or promos that are studded along the sales funnel in order to keep your consumers engaged all the way to the check out.

If you have identified a common place where your consumers are dropping out of the sales funnel, consider adding a golden handcuff.

Another common golden handcuff method is with pricing. Why bother showing the original and the discounted price? This set up makes customers feel like they are getting a deal and therefore, they become more likely to purchase.

Many online businesses also offer a discount option for those who click out of the page. This can be highly effective if you notice that your consumers are intimidating by your pricing.

Business also use this persuasion technique in order to retain managers or employees such as offering them a bonus and getting them to sign a longer contract.

4.) Isolation

Isolation is a technique that is commonly used to persuade groups of people. Usually it involves some type of manipulation where only one side of the story is presented or doubt is instilled in the consumers mind.

Isolation can be used in three ways:

– One way thinking: there is no maybe or perhaps, with this type of marketing the answer is always a firm yes or no.

– Information control: content reminds visitors of an unfortunate situation and are then shown how the product can help.

– Emotions: persuades consumers to feel that they have been lied to and then offers a solution through the product.

One marketing company decided to run an isolation ad. This was their ad copy:

Online MBA in Marketing: If an MBA increases yearly salary by an average of $6K, where’s yours?

As you can see, this ad instantly makes you feel that you are missing out. Obviously everyone would like an extra $6k, so it is black and white in conveying its benefits.

Another carpet cleaning company ran an ad stating:

Pro Carpet Cleaning: Your Current Cleaning Company Gives you a Free Room, Right?

Again here, the answer is black and white – the advertiser is hoping your response is ‘No’ because then you are more likely to click on the ad and sign up for their services. They are also making you feel that you are being left out and are not up to date with this fantastic deal they have on offer.

Tread carefully with this type of advertising, if it is over-used it can come off as aggressive and potentially scare your customers away. Especially in advertising, people are also quick to be de-sensitised to this type of persuasion.

5.) Greater Purpose

Greater purpose advertising basically involves working towards a greater cause for the planet and the people. It can be political, spiritual or social and usually involves some heart felt music and touching imagery.

This persuasion technique is commonly used in TV advertising. Studies have shown that high drama commercials that stir a lot of emotion often do better than those that don’t.

The goal with this type of advertising is to inspire the consumer to actually do something (which ideally would be to buy your product).

If you do choose this type of emotionally strung advertising, just be mindful that you are not sending mixed messages or distracting your consumers from what the real purpose is.

6.) Thought-Stopping

This type of marketing relies on attracting your consumers attention through something odd, creative or thought-provoking. Usually this persuasion technique involves some sort of distraction in order to generate engagement.

Whatever medium you choose to execute your ‘thought-stopping’ campaign, it needs to be riveting enough to take your customers attention for a good length of time. There also needs to be some type of reward or benefit showcased in this method in order for it to warrant an action.

This strategy may not work for all of your clients, especially if they have short attention spans.

7.) Hashtag /Special Language

Words that hold special meaning to your company can definitely be a fantastic way to turn your products into a viral sensation. Just look at the word “selfie”. Just a few years ago it was a foreign concept and now there is an entire industry dedicated to “selfies” from songs to selfie sticks. Selfie has even made it into the dictionary.

There is no reason why you can’t attempt to do the same with your marketing strategy and the best way to use this method is usually through hashtags or promotions.

One toilet paper company in the US recently tweeted- “So, we had a lot of coffee and oatmeal for breakfast today. Any guesses as to what time we’ll #tweetfromtheseat?”

Another example of special language would be Campbell’s cup-of-soup ad which coined the term – “three-thirtyitis” in order to encourage consumers to drink soup to appease the afternoon slump.

This strategy can definitely work well if you can come up with something catchy enough that you stick to through different campaigns.

Persuading consumers to buy is definitely a work of trial, error and persuasion. All of these seven proven methods can be tailored to fit your business whether you are online or otherwise.

Consider also using different techniques for different target audiences and at different stages of your sales funnel. This will help you to not only increase sales but to also leave a lasting impression your customers mind.