How To Create Influence


arvindgrover via Flickr

Like it or not, most of what we do in marketing involves influence. We are constantly engaged in an attempt to influence someone’s decision-making process.

Now, this can be done for good as powerfully as for evil, but there is a science to it that every great marketer comes to adopt in both writing and selling.

The secret to influence starts with the understanding that most people don’t make decisions with their head, they make them with their heart. No matter how much logic and data you pump into a situation, emotion is always the prime driver.

If you want to create influence motivate the emotional side of the buyer.

And, when it comes to tapping emotion, few things are more seductive than aspiration.

Aspiration is simply another way of describing wishes, hopes and goals – the things, situations, and feelings that people aspire to have in their lives.

Luxury brands have long played on our aspirational desire to feel rich and pampered like the young, wealthy, beautiful players in their ads. Get rich quick marketers know that a good rags to riches, anyone can do it story will get readers to whip out their wallets faster than any other device.

So, as I said, this secret can be used to educate and manipulate, but marketers that understand the power of aspiration can use it to help prospects and customers come to a clearer understanding of the benefits of their products while gently catering to the needs of both the logical and emotional side of buying.

Below is my 3-step formula for telling your story with aspiration.

This formula is just as effective in a sales letter as it is on the home page of your web site. It’s simply a way to put your reader’s desires into an explanation of your business offerings. Used authentically, it is the most effective form of education.

1) Set the table

The first order of business is to let the reader know that you understand them and their situation. You get the challenges they are facing because you’ve been down their path a million times. The use of stories to illustrate this is one of the most powerful ways to attract a reader’s attention.

2) Paint a hopeful picture

Now that you’ve established some common ground, let them hold the puppy. Paint a picture of how it could be. Help them come inside the story so they can build what it will look like once they have what they desire, once they get the problem fixed. Help them imagine a better world.

3) Provide the answer

If you have the product or service that will allow them to realize this better view, and you do because that’s the point, now is the time to let them in on how, when, and why you have just what they want and need. If you’ve taken the time to thoroughly cast the previous two steps your reader should be warmed and ready to act on this part.

Nowhere is this post did I intend to suggest that you use this powerful tool to manipulate someone untruthfully. What I am suggesting is that in the competitive world of business, drawing on one’s aspirations is a crucial way to differentiate your message.

Can Doing Good and Making Money Go Hand in Hand

This post is one of a series of posts sponsored by UPS in support of the Inc Growco Conference held April 6-8 in Las Vegas, NV

The category of for profit social enterprise is a rather unique one still. The idea of blending social mission with a business that happens to make money is hard for some people to wrap their heads around, but its a growing trend among entrepreneurs.

The category’s most notable example is probably Tom’s Shoes. Blake Mycoskie’s shoe company is a marketing and financial powerhouse that provides millions of pairs of shoes for children around the world.

This past week I was introduced to another such company that has a great story to tell and is quickly becoming a financial success as well.

Better World Books claims the title of The Online Bookstore with a Soul.

They collect and sell books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than 8 million new and used titles in stock, they are a self-sustaining, triple-bottom-line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all stakeholders.

They were founded in 2002 by three friends from the University of Notre Dame who started selling textbooks online to earn some money, and ended up forming a pioneering social enterprise — a business with a mission to promote literacy.

In addition to selling new titles, Better World Books supports book drives and collects used books and textbooks through a network of over 1,800 college campuses and partnerships with over 2,000 libraries nationwide. So far, the company has converted more than 53 million books into over $8.6 million in funding for literacy and education. In the process, also diverted more than 26,000 tons of books from landfills.

Even as the company grows rapidly, creating a legitimate online alternative to, they continue to explore ways to stay true to their original mission. CEO David Murphy claims this might be the biggest challenge, but it’s also the most important thing they can do.

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My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I don't go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting.…

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