SES San Francisco 2011: Conversion Triggers: Persuasion Strategies for Digital Marketers

Mike Grehan welcomes the crowd. Thirty years ago IBM released the first PC. Last year smart phones and tablets outsold the PC. By 2020, it’s estimated there’ll be 50 billion computing devices around the world. That’s what connected marketing week is about – strategies and tactics for the transient media consumer.

Now he welcomes our keynote speaker, Susan Bratton, co-founder and CEO of Personal Life Media, Inc.

She says she’s early in her journey to understanding persuasion marketing, but you may be able to learn from someone deep in the learning process. She’ll give us a high level overview of the scope of persuasion marketing. Everything she’ll talk about will be available at

What motivates and influences people?

We don’t want to use persuasion marketing (PM) to manipulate people, but to support people in their journey toward your product or services.

This is a delicate topic about intimacy and connection. Marketers are in a constant arms race with the publisher and technology. What no one can take away from you is your understanding of your customers and what works for them.

She used to think copywriting, PM and neuroscience were the realm of the ad men, but you can learn it yourself. Fast Effective Copywriting is one online training course she recommends. Since she started publishing she’s read tons of books on copywriting and she’s put toge3ther her collection of best books and courses.

Success = Traffic + Conversions


The above are what we look at when we’re talking conversions.

  • Keywords
  • Empathy
  • Story
  • Triggers

The above are copy components. What you see is there are structured communications.

“We copy writers would like to believe copy is paramount, yet it’s only about 20% of the success equation…It’s the offer that matters most.” –Craig Eubanks

The 4 Realms of Persuasive Marketing

susan bratton persuasion marketing keynote

1. Neuromarketing
2. Copywriting
3. Story Telling
4. Structured Communications

She’s interviewed many experts in these topics which you can listen to on her weekly podcast Dishymix.

Neuro-Marketing Experts:

  • Robert Cialdini: Persuasion and influence
  • Sally Hogshead: 7 fascination triggers
  • Joseph Carrabis: Semantics and morphogenetic fields
  • J. Duncan Berry: Neuro-semiotics
  • Joe Sugarman: 29 psychological triggers
  • Ross Jeffries: NLP seduction (super weasel phrases)

“Join in the conversation a person is having with himself.” –David Garfinkel

Story Telling Experts:

  • Guy Kawasaki: Enchantment
  • Dave van Hoose: 7-Figure Speaking Empire
  • Lisa Sasevich: Invisible Close
  • Classic storytelling archetypes: Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies

“Persuasion is a sequence of emotions that take a prospect from interest to action.” –Alex C.

Structure Experts:

    • Nancy Duarty: Sparkline from Resonate
    • Joseph Campbell: Hero’s Journey
    • David Frey: 12-Steps to Foolproof Sales Letters

This next case study is sensitive information. The product is called Revive Her Drive, and is for met to learn how to be a leader in his sensual life with his woman. It’s sensitive because she’s talking about sexuality to a large crowd at a business conference early in the morning, so please give her points for bravery. (Applause!)

First she looked up keywords. Then she conducted surveys asking men about their private lives (ask surveys). She looked at what media her target customer is consuming. She did intimate interviews with about 50 men to understand exactly how difficult the problem was.

She went on forums and read stories of men having this problem. She looked at book reviews of books on the subject to find out what was missing from current books on the subject. She interviewed experts to find out the language they were using that seemed to work for people. Then she clustered the topics to see patterns.

She found there were four ways to approach the problem and make improvements. She used a long narrative to tell the story of what was happening in this man’s world, talked about the pain, the pleasure, the benefits. She then sent the story to men to see how it resonated with them. She used contemporary words. Not expert, but specialist – no need to have an expert telling a man about his sex life. She paid attention to the subtleties.

She put this story in many media – auto-responders, webinars. She tested 37 subject lines for the best open rates. She used Bob Stone’s 7 steps for winning sales letters. She tested 7 landing pages. She looked at ClickTale heat maps. She used Google Website Optimizer. She’s tested 87 headline tests with David Garfinkel’s templates for fast, effective copywriting. She got a 20% difference between “be that rare man” and “do you want to be that rare man?” Mastermind is a group that can help you connect with good mentors. And with that you have resources to help you create persuasive copy with strong conversion triggers.

Virginia Nussey is the director of content marketing at MobileMonkey. Prior to joining this startup in 2018, Virginia was the operations and content manager at Bruce Clay Inc., having joined the company in 2008 as a writer and blogger.

See Virginia's author page for links to connect on social media.

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