We need action.
No matter what we want to accomplish, our success depends on our ability to convince others to take action.
And while every situation is unique, there are some universal tactics we can employ to increase the chances our audience will purchase, click, share, join, watch, or do.
Get people’s attention.
Awareness always precedes action.
So the first thing we must do is get people to pay attention to us and our creation.
We have to stand out from the crowd, get noticed, figure out where our audience is, and most importantly do something worthy of their most precious and limited resource — time.
Get people’s trust.
Once we capture somebody’s attention, the next step is to earn their trust.
We must overcome their assumptions and convince them our promises are legitimate. They need to believe an investment of their time, effort, attention, emotion, or money into our creation won’t be something they regret.
There’s no shortcut to trust and it’s not something we can luck into —we have to earn it.
Show people what’s in it for them.
Here’s the thing about trying to get people to do what we want — they’re never going to do it for us.
People do things for themselves — even if it’s a charitable act.
This doesn’t mean they don’t genuinely want to help others (or us), but their action is actually motivated by self-interest.
We help others because it makes us feel good to help others.
To convince somebody to take an action, we need to demonstrate the value it will provide to them. That’s our sales pitch.
It’s not about asking for favors or asking others to help us — it’s about showing others how this action will benefit them.
Make it easy.
The more complicated an action is for somebody to take, the less likely they are to take it.
We must figure out how to make our actions as simple as possible — even if it means breaking them down into smaller, sequential actions, and presenting them to people in that way.
Ideally, our requested actions are so simple that it’s almost harder not to do them than it is to do them.
Why do so many more people hit Like buttons than leave comments on social media? Because it’s an easier action.
Solve a problem.
The action we want people to take has to solve a problem our audience has in order for them to do it.
That problem could be tangible (Need a new suit for work? Here’s our new suit!) or obscure (Need a laugh? Here’s our new comedy video!), but it has to exist.
And if our audience doesn’t believe they have the problem our action solves, then it’s on us to convince them they do — or to find an alternate audience that does have that problem.
Not all actions are created equal.
If we want somebody to donate money to our cause, asking for money isn’t the first action we should request.
Asking somebody to give us their hard-earned money (as a donation or a purchase of a product) is a much larger ask than asking them for their attention.
If our goal is fundraising, we can start with small asks and work our way up to a donation. We can ask them to watch a quick video about your cause. Then maybe to join an email list. Then, down the road, once we’ve developed trust and a relationship with them, we can ask for the donation.
This drastically increases the chance they take the action we want.
The guidelines in this post won’t guarantee people take the action you want them to, but they’ll set you on the right path.
Ultimately, we need to experiment and adapt how we frame our asks, position our products, and drive actions to learn as we go.
I hope you’ll put some time into doing so because at the end of the day, our ability to drive others to take action determines the success of our ventures.