How to Drive Action


You’ve led your audience all the way to the edge of the cliff and made them lean forward.

All that’s left is the final push.

The action stage is where you play the double role of facilitator and cheerleader.

Make it easy.

Tell them exactly what to do and reduce the effort of understanding how to do it to a minimum. Your audience is on fire right now, don’t wear that off with boring logistics. If the action is an online purchase, reduce any typing or filling forms with single sign-ins, and prefilled details. Make that action the one thing they need to do and remove all other distractions. 

Obviously, depending on what you are asking them to do, you may not always be so flexible in making it easy. But if you can at least make the first step very easy, they would have already invested, which in itself would serve as a reason for them to keep going.

Make it urgent.

I’m all about ethical marketing, but we’ve got to admit that fear is a delicious magic sauce for action. You’ve probably covered the deep gut-wrenching fears already in the ‘Desire stage’ (see ‘Twist the knife’ in 3 How to arouse desire)

In the action stage, the fear of not making it on time (urgency) is key. It triggers other fantastic fears like fear of missing out (FOMO), or not getting a piece of the pie (scarcity). That’s why these: Early bird discounts, flash sales, holiday deals, limited offers, will never go away.

Fears are so powerful that it gives us tunnel vision and makes us vulnerable to irrational decisions.

Now hopefully, you’re persuasion is not to make them do something detrimental to themselves or others. And ideally, it is to do something that would improve their quality of life in some way. If that is the case, feel free to play on their fears to give them that extra nudge towards action.

Make it risk-free.

Being fear driven creatures, humans, of course, have fears that go against actions. Your job as the persuader is to handle all the objections and be the anchor to their fluttering emotions.  

Don’t trust the result?

Give them real-life examples of success. Show them how people are already happy benefactors of it.

In order of effectiveness:

Use testimonials > Use numbers or tickers that show how many people have already done it > Use video testimonials> Use reviews > Use crowded generated organic reviews > Make the action visible everywhere around the person (e.g. iPhones, Snapchat, selfie sticks, gelatos on a hot summer day)  

Too expensive?

Justify the price by presenting the opportunity cost or reminding them of the value of what you offer:

‘You could also spend the $20 on a shirt you’ll wear until you’re bored of it, but why not spend it on a child who can finally have a table to study on?’

Make it feel good.

Reward them with social currency

Imagine you are training a kid. You want to praise them for doing the right thing. Give them a shot of dopamine for doing something so they want to keep going or do more.

The cool thing is, you don’t need to pay to motivate people to do something. People don’t get paid to write reviews on Amazon. They don’t need to get paid to make a Youtube video, or do the ice bucket challenge and tag their friends. You might even diminish their intrinsic motivation by paying them.

What do they need? They need social currency.

They need a badge of honor, bragging rights, or publicity. they need people to see what they did to reinforce and show off the kind of person they are.

So yes, whatever you are persuading them to do, make sure they can feel amazing, altruistic, creative, edgy, beautiful, funny, powerful, smart or impactful, and look it too.

Create that special feeling

Doesn’t it feel great when you belong to an exclusive group? You are connected with other special people and only you get to do special things, relating to each other in a special way.

In your persuasive content, you can make it clear that your audience is even hearing what you are saying because they are ‘chosen’ in the first place.

Maybe they had to even work to get here.

Like lining up for 4 hours to get that latest iPhone. Like being part of a certain occupation or interest group. Like getting on that guest list with a special invite code. Like having applied and selected to be here. Like getting the golden ticket to the chocolate factory. 

Create exclusivity by placing limitations to increase the perceived value of what you are offering.

They are now part of the ‘in crowd’, and why shouldn’t they do what the insiders do?



1 How to seize attention

2 How to sustain interest

3 How to arouse desire

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