You can use logical fallacies to nudge customers to take action.
Today, we’re covering a different sort of logical fallacy: “Appeal To” fallacies.
These are fallacies that increase the perceived value of something by appealing to another thing, often without providing hard evidence.
Successful marketing campaigns use these principles all the time.
Market Strategies to Boost Conversions
Here are five of them:
1. Appeal to tradition
This is when you claim something is good, or true, because it’s always been this way.
Meditation apps do this by appealing to Buddhist tradition.
2. Appeal to popular belief
When you assume something is true because lots of people believe it, you’re appealing to popular belief.
A line of copy that reads “everyone knows that major cell carriers are bad” is appealing to popular belief.
3. Appeal to fear
This is common in marketing – getting your prospect to feel scared of something that might happen if they don’t buy your product.
A legal compliance product might warn that you’re at risk of major penalties if you don’t buy their product.
VPN marketing also involves scaring people into thinking their online data or privacy is unsafe without one.
4. Appeal to nature
An all-natural deodorant might appeal to nature by claiming that their product is what people were “meant to use,” implying that their product is better because it’s connected to the natural world.
5. Appeal to wishful thinking
A hair growth product might appeal to the wishful hopes of their prospects, claiming that their product is truly the only way to regrow your hair and gain your confidence back.
Because people want to believe it, they often will.
So there you are. Five more psychological principles you can use in your marketing.
6. Appeal to the need to solve a problem
Imagine this: You’re on vacation, on your way to a party, and having the time of your life.
The taxi driver offers you some substances… a little something to make the night more exciting. Against your better judgment, you say, “Why not?”
When you get out of the car, a couple of police officers walk by, search you, and say they’ll place you under arrest if you don’t shell out a big wad of cash.
Problem is… they’re not real police officers. They’re scammers. And they’re relying on the Creating A Problem principle to trick you.
Here’s how to use this principle in your marketing
Customers are not always aware of the problems they have.
Take these two lines of copy, for example:
- “Washing your face with your hands is like brushing your teeth with your fingers.”
- “There are 16 million colonies of bacteria on the mattress you sleep on every night.”
You probably didn’t know either of these problems.
But now that you’ve read them, you want to solve them.
That’s because it’s human nature to try to solve problems we become alerted to, even if the problem wasn’t really affecting us in the first place.
“Create” more problems, and your customers will be more likely to buy your solution.
P.S. Just make sure they’re real problems and not… you know… phony cop setups.
7. Take advantage of opportunity costs
Opportunity cost. It’s one of the most effective tactics marketers can use to make a sale.
“OK… How does it work?” Fair question. Let’s cover some specific examples.
Imagine you’re selling a fire alarm system. Which pitch is more compelling?
- Our fire alarm system is up-to-date, easy-to-use, cutting-edge technology.
- Our fire alarm system guarantees that if a fire happens, you’ll be alerted before your home becomes a smoldering pile of rubble.
The second pitch is wayyy more interesting, right?
That’s opportunity cost. It shows customers there’s a tradeoff for not purchasing your product.
Why it works: Clicking off a website and moving on with your day is harder if you feel that, by clicking “X” and closing the tab, you’re losing something tangible.
The mere knowledge that the product exists is enough to get people to buy it if they feel they’re losing something by not buying.
8. Reversal close
Ever heard of the Reversal Close? It’s the idea that by telling someone they can’t have something, they’ll want it even more.
Used right, it can be deadly effective. But only if it’s done well.
How can you use the Reversal Close in marketing?
The most important thing to understand is that the Reversal Close only works if it feels justified.
When you take something away from someone, it can’t feel arbitrary. They need to feel as though there’s a valid reason they can’t have it.
Here are a few examples:
- A marketer selling an online course says there’s only a one-week window to buy the course. After that, door’s closed. This works because they justify the window by saying the course is “only for real go-getters who can act fast.”
- An e-commerce site puts a notice on one of their products that says “14 purchased in the last day. Only 2 left in stock.” This works very well, but it’s only ethical if it’s true.
- A payroll SaaS product shows a pop-up window to users after 2 minutes on their site without clicking a CTA. The window says “Can’t decide? Then we might not be for you. It’s only for people who are truly ready to run one-click payroll.”
9. IQ close
Hey, you’re smart, right?
Then you’re going to like this insight.
It’s called the “IQ Close,” and it’s the same tactic we used in the title of this section.
You can probably guess how it works—we did say you were smart—but basically the IQ Close is a tactic marketers use to associate their product with intelligence.
If we think intelligent people are doing something smart, and we consider ourselves intelligent, then naturally we want to do it, too.
Here are three different examples of the IQ Close in action:
- You’re on a test drive. “Hey, look,” the salesman says, “this car can really get up and go. One time I had someone cry it scared ‘em so much. But you seem like you can handle it. Floor it when we turn the corner, will you?”
- You’re on a mental health startup’s website. The headlining social proof is a review from a PhD in neuroscience, touting how much they enjoy the product.
- You’re reading a promo email for an online course. The copy reads, “This course is for go-getters. People who can commit. Only buy this if you’re ready to put in the time. If you’re not, this isn’t for you.”
All these examples use the IQ Close in different ways, but they follow a core principle: Make people feel good about themselves for buying your product. Make them feel smart, like they’re not the same as everyone else.
Study the three angles above—and brainstorm some of your own—to figure out what’ll work for your product.
10. Selling expensive products through a “cost of ownership” framework
Put a $50 lawnmower next to a $150 lawnmower, and the second one feels more expensive.
Tell the customer that the $50 lawnmower lasts only 3 months while the $150 lawnmower lasts for a decade, and suddenly the first one sounds really expensive.
Truth is, you have more power than you realize over whether a customer feels your product is expensive or not.
In the end, the difference between “cheap” and “expensive” depends entirely on context.
Here’s how you can use this principle in your marketing:
This is called the Cost of Ownership close. It’s a tactic that involves reframing prices to show cost over time, and it’s frequently used by people selling expensive products.
Here are a couple concrete examples:
- A skilled web designer charges $5k to design your site. While you could find someone on Fiverr to do the work for a fraction of the cost, the designer reminds you that by spending $5,000 now, you’re getting a site that’s better designed for the long haul—and will more than repay the investment in conversions.
- An apparel brand charges $100 for a white t-shirt. Their web copy notes that while the shirt is expensive, it’s the only white t-shirt you’ll need to own for the next 5 years—and if you bought something cheaper, it would wear out within months.
See? You have complete control over how you frame the price of your product.
If your customer thinks your product is expensive, put it in context, and they’ll feel differently.
That’s the power of simple tricks like Cost of Ownership.
11. Sympathy tactics
There’s a common advertising tactic that’s been going around – we noticed it on Twitter, but it can be found all over. Here’s the three-step ‘scam’:
- Dropshipping (or low-quality product) company creates a social media account.
- That company runs an ad with copy like, “We are sad to say that our small shop is closing. We’re offering a 50% discount on the rest of our items for the next week until we run out.”
We did some digging: Most of the accounts running these kinds of ads are, more than likely, lying. Many of these are new accounts linking to generic, dropshipping-style sites.
The comment sections of these ads are often filled with sympathetic remarks. Whether these are from real people or bots, it’s hard to say. But what we can say is that these ads make money.
Why? Because they generate sympathy. People read the ad, think “they’re closing down, that’s sad,” then “hey, this is kind of a cool product,” then “hey, why don’t I help them out and buy something. Win-win.”
In other words, sympathy serves as the hook for making sales.