During one of the more popular sessions at IDSD, Rand Fishkin of Moz presented “The Nudge is Mightier than the Sword.” This lively presentation outlined the power of the “nudge” and how it can alter the public’s behavior online. As people become immune to standard marketing practices and engines become smarter as we try to claim the top ranking in a search results page, he declared that this “psychology of the nudge” was the future of marketing. In order to move past this, Fishkin suggests that instead of forcing engines, platforms, and people to accept our marketing, we must nudge them to follow us, click our listings, read our blog posts, etc.

Here are some 12 tips for marketing through nudges:

1. Show social proof. Instead of simply stating a large number as a stat (such as, “500,000 subscribers to XYZ blog), go further and state who this large number is comprised of so that users can relate and be more inclined to subscribe or register for your product.

2. Play the name game. When displaying pricing plans, try using aspirational titles to convert better. Such as the words, “Start,” “Grow,” “Connect,” and “Enterprise.” Fishkin explained that in a case study, the word, “Enterprise,” received more calls.

3. Anchor your audience. Traditionally, pricing plans are displayed in the “grasshopper” style: lower to higher price. However, because we read left to right, try reversing this order and start with the more expensive. By giving someone a larger number initially, it’ll make the final pricing plan seem smaller. This can prove to have a higher conversion rate.

4. Limit choice.  Ever encountered the paradox of choice (Too many choices? You don’t choose.  But when asked, you prefer more choices.). Fishkin explains that fewer decision help the reader choose better. So limit those social share links!

5. Serve up behavioral data. Provide users with social signals (i.e., Bing) to help them make better decisions. Make sure to provide relevant data to assist “nudge” decisions.

6. Remove unnecessary steps. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

7. Tap the power of reciprocation. By doing something special for individuals, companies can transform outbound leads into inbound leads.

8. Familiarity breeds trust. Understand your audience and mold your campaigns accordingly. People are drawn to familiar things.

9. Use data to boost ego. Make people feel special!

10. Leverage the power of defaults. Consider those NYC taxicab screens. You don’t necessarily have to choose the higher tips – you can choose your own tips. Hone in on this and provide default items on your websites.

11.  Nudge over time, not all at once. This tip is especially key for email marketing. Though one long email with everything packed in may seem ideal, multiple, shorter request for action over time works better than a single, lengthy task list. Don’t worry, as long as it’s relevant, it won’t seem like spam.

12. Gamification can create a powerful nudge. Make the task fun! For example, in the mobile app game Kingdom Rush, the game asks you to click a share button to earn an extra start after you beat level 3. Not only is this creating more buzz about your brand, but it also rewards the user.
Embrace the power of the nudge!

Want more from Rand? Check out his presentation deck.