Your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, your skin gets flushed, your voice deepens, your muscles tense, and a cocktail of hormones are released. Your body is warming up to the seduction — and sex. A willing participant.
We’re drawn into the seduction. Our friends and family aware of what’s happening try to tell us — their murmurs fall on deaf ears. The deed gets consummated.
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The beginning of any epic seduction is being noticed — being salient.
Seduction, no matter how it actually progresses, follows a pretty standard path and leads to sexual arousal. The sexual response cycle includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.
Excitement is the very beginning. It happens when you notice someone or something that catches your attention and pleases you. Your body begins to react, with a little more stimulation you enter plateau.
Plateau happens later in the arousal, it’s when you can’t take it anymore and you have to act on your desires. The longer you wait, the more intense it becomes.
The orgasm is when you finally experience a release from the tension that’s been building in your body. Muscles spasm, eyes roll to the back of the head, and the world momentarily loses focus.
We go through this same process – with less intensity – when we’re being wooed by a well-oiled marketing machine.
Do you want to understand the psychology behind the beginning of a conversion? Are you interested in knowing the points at which you can begin the seduction inherent in all marketing?
The beginning of seduction is when someone or something is noticed.Social salience is the set of reasons why something receives attention.
Salience itself is defined by oxford as:
most noticeable or prominent
As an entrepreneur and marketer, you don’t need to actually seduce your customers and make love to them. That would be shady as f*ck.
No, your job is to make sure your branding, marketing, and messages get noticed — make sure they’re salient.
People pay attention to things that are novel, interesting, or relevant. To step your salience up a notch, it must be relevant to what they’re doing.
For example, Amazon uses relevance well when you’re shopping.
I’m looking for a book about habits and they suggest a ton of relevant titles for me. It doesn’t hurt that they throw in some social proof.
Let’s back up a bit. I’ve accomplished my main mission, finding a book on habits. At this point, I’m open to being offered other things. I’m open to being seduced by salient offers.
This type of salience can only occur if you’ve already drawn someone into your message. Amazon already has me on the page and I’ve accomplished what I’ve come to do. Now, I’m open and perceptive their other offers.
I’m ready to go deeper into the seduction.
How did they get me here? How do you get your tribe here?
Ahh, now we get to the crux of the matter. The Salient headline. The headline that sticks out like a sore thumb among a sea of mediocrity.
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. -David Ogilvy
Your headline is the place where your prospects start and, most of the time, finish their journey. This is a good thing.
A great headline sparks interest or communicates value. That’s why lists and off the wall headlines are always going to get clicked.
The process for writing a headline can be nerve wracking. Here’s just a few I wrote for this article
The thing is, good headlines are the first step in the seduction you’ll eventually consummate with your prospects.
This headline promises to give you something very interesting. It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t shake a baby too hard. At least I hope it is.
Then, the good people at The Associated Press decide to extend that wisdom to your phone. Next, you slide down the slippery slope of the copy.
This headline promises to give you extreme value. It draws you into the rest of the page because it asks you a question that makes you agree with them. “Really, why am I paying?” From there, the seduction has started.
This headline promises you an experience.
Maybe you’re confused about what exactly Pinterest is and why people are going gaga over it. This headline puts the app in perspective and gives you a reason to start using it.
The headline is the most widely understood seducible moment, but there are so many more.
Let’s say you’re running a newsletter and after someone subscribes, you just deliver whatever they opted in for.
You’re leaving an important interaction on the table. They’ve just invited you into their sanctuary – the inbox.
Instead of the few seconds of drivel most confirmation emails deliver, yours is going to continue the seduction. It’s going to drive them further down the path to plateau and eventually orgasm. This is getting really sexual no?
There are a few ways to go about this, whatever you do, let it reflect your brand.
Michaels has an email that’s a little too designed for me, but it’s still very effective. They do a few things with it.
Next up is Drift:
Drift does a number of things I like. First, their design doesn’t scream for attention. Afterward, they call out “the establishment” by saying most people do this, and then do the opposite.
They curate a collection of their favorite articles and even highlight the ones that have been viewed by the most people.
It’s a short email that gets straight to the point and introduces you to the best of drift. They also use their PS line as a smart call to action.
This email from Noah Kagan is short. Much shorter than mine, but it has a few important elements.
Lastly, we have James Clear.
James goes all out with his welcome email. HE’s not shy about telling you people love him and what he does.
The first line reads “thanks for signing up for my popular email newsletter.”
He then goes on to talk about what happened when he got the email notification — it’s kind of funny.
He then goes on to let you know what you should expect and offers a healthy heap of social proof. Instead of just telling you about it, which would convince a good number of people, he decides to show you.
It works like a charm.
He goes on to give you your gifts and make you feel very welcome.
Email can become a very personal medium if you start — and continue — the seduction right. Over time, this will become the most salient part of your relationship with your tribe.
For some very strange reason, people don’t seem to like or understand how powerful relevant in content offers are.
Content marketing is all the rage, right? That means you’re blogging regularly for your business right? Even if you’re not doing it regularly, you’re doing it.
You can just forget about the sidebar because people have become pretty blind to it. No Salience.
That leaves you with a few options.
My favorite are the in content and slide in. They seduce.
The psychology behind it is relatively simple. Someone is reading through your article and they happen to be enjoying it. You show a relevant offer that draws their attention in a good way and moves them forward in the seduction.
Entrepreneur does this in every article.
They bring up offers for you to read related content because their revenue model is based on advertising. The more page views they get per person, the more money they make.
I also use it in my articles. You’re reading along and enjoying the way I freestyle with my words and BAM! I present a relevant offer for you to take advantage of.
This optin is relevant because it’s being shown on a post about psychology. I’ve got a few different variations of these. They seduce really well because they’re tied to separate categories.
In my category about email marketing, you’ll see these types relevant of in content optins Eg., “7 email subject lines that doubled my open my rate” or “one simple tweak to instantly increase your email CTR”
They seduce — well.
Neil Patel is also a fan of using in content offers to create salience.
He uses strategically placed testimonials inside his content to get people to click through to his homepage (note: there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of these offers). On the homepage, he has another seduction point.
It’s a compelling headline with a big promise. For him to deliver on that promise, you’ve got to sign up for a webinar.
Helpscout uses a different type of seduction point. Instead of placing a call to action within the content, they have an optin that slides in after you read half the article.
The optin is salient because it slides into your field of vision. It’s not too much of a stretch to ask an engaged reader to sign up and get updated when another great article comes out. They also let you know how often you’ll be getting content from them.
I also employ the same method when someone goes about 50% down the page. You’ll notice the optin is orange and stands out against the white background. At this point, you should have already seen a variation of this — it seduces very well.
At this point, you’ve been working hard to help people find what they want when they want it. Once they’ve found it, they’re very perceptive to relevant offers. This is where the upsell comes in.
Not every product or service has an ideal upsell, but you can combine them with cross-sells and down sells.
An app for Shopify users called Product upsell makes the process easy. I recorded a 30-second video you can check out to see how it works.
In the video, the offers presented compliment the main product the customer is interested in buying — a high-end camera.
This works across countless verticals and significantly increases the lifetime value of your customers. Many offers may not be necessary, but people will buy them “just in case.”
Insurance on your phone? Probably not necessary, but a lot of people get it for a rainy day.
When I was 17 and worked at the food court in Target, we were trained to increase the value of every visitor. The script went like this:
Me: Hello, welcome to Target, how can I help you?
Visitor: Hey, let me have 2 hotdogs, chili, fries, a vanilla milkshake, blah, blah.
Me: Ok, will that be all for you today?
Visitor: Yea, that’s it.
Me: Ok, would you like to add a large drink to that for a penny more?
Visitor: A Penny? Sure, why not.
Me: Also, you can get a large bag of chips for fifty cents.
Visitor: Ehh, what the hell, why not?
Me: Ok, your total is about 50% more than your original order.
You get the point.
No matter where I worked as a teenager — Subway, Goodies, and Walmart — it was always the same.
Larger brands are seducing, why can’t you?
This is another example of a good offer someone would be ready for. If you’re about to buy the Big Bang or the Big Kahuna then five pounds extra a month is negligible.
To the company, that five pounds a month multiplied by 1,000 or 10,000 users is huge.
In this post, I geeked out on the amazing ways you can use a little cognitive bias to craft an ideal user experience from start to finish.
It utilizes salience to capture attention in the right places, times, and context to start a relationship that continues to grow. In stages, you’ll take them through the entire buyer life cycle and then restart. It’s a virtuous cycle.
In future articles, I’ll show you the psychology that ties everything together from start to finish.
But first, let’s recap.
Seduction and Salience are an integral part of building a brand that delivers value over and over again. As I’ve outlined in this article, there are many places where you can start or continue the seduction.
Your brand is unique. You know your customers, products, and services better than anyone else. Drill down into possible seduction points, create a hypothesis, and test them.
Eventually, you’ll become a well-oiled machine.
Let me know how you’ve been using salience in the comments.