If you paid attention in your high school history class, you may remember something about Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle. (He was kind of a big deal.) From logic to biology, Aristotle is to thank for a number of discoveries and writings that still impact us today.
So, you’re probably thinking “What does a 2,400 year-old Greek dude have to do with marketing”?
Well, Aristotle wrote a very influential book called Rhetoric that breaks down the art of persuasion—which is essentially what marketers do everyday through content, emails, social media, events, etc.
Aristotle’s Rhetoric boils down to three main elements, or “modes of persuasion”:
- Pathos, the appeal to emotion
- Logos, the appeal to logic
- Ethos, the appeal to credibility
Aristotle says that all three of these rhetorical appeals must be present in order to successfully persuade someone to do something.
Here’s how you can cover all three modes of rhetoric in your next marketing campaign to effectively persuade your prospects to buy.
1. Emotional appeals (Pathos)—Humanize your brand
You need to connect with your buyers on a personal and emotional level. B2B buyers who feel a strong connection to a brand have higher rates of consideration, purchase and willingness to pay premiums.
In order to achieve this emotional connection, you need to show customers the human side of your brand—like your awesome employees. Empower your employees to solve customer problems, and encourage them to share their own positive experiences and thought-leadership on your blog, social media and community so customers can get to know them better.
The next time you send out an email or campaign have it come from a real employee working in a relevant department. People are more likely to respond to a message delivered through a person than a firstname.lastname@example.org email handle.
Featuring your customer advocates in your content and e-mails is another great way to create that human connection. Highlight their successes and the emotional impact your product or brand has had on their role through case studies, blog posts, user groups or events. Sharing their stories will bring a human element to your brand, and foster a feeling of connectedness.
You should also surprise and delight your customers with personalized notes and tailored rewards. Anything that lets your customers know that you truly value them—even a handwritten thank you card can work wonders!
Rhetoric at work: Video marketing platform Vidyard released a special Halloween video featuring its employees as “The Vidyard Family”—a parody of the Addams Family. This fun video humanized Vidyard’s brand by putting its employees front and center, in a creative and engaging way. And it paid off. The Vidyard Family video is now the company’s highest performing video of all time, by a landslide.
2. Logical appeal (Logos)—Explain how your solution meets your buyers’ needs
This one is pretty straightforward. Your buyers need to understand exactly how your product or service works, and––more importantly—how it will directly benefit them.
However, it’s easier said than done. Yes, most brands have created buyer personas to help them understand their customers’ pain points or needs. But most of these resources are forgotten when it comes time to create new campaigns.
An alternative? Poll your best customers (AKA your advocates) about the top concerns they have in their role, industry, company or with using your product. Then, you can create specific messaging, campaigns and resources to directly address these issues.
You can also ask your advocates to review your campaign before you send it out. These highly engaged customers love to share their honest opinions and feedback. They’ll give you more insights than an A/B test alone on how effective your messaging is.
Rhetoric at work: We used our advocate marketing program, Influitive VIP, to ask our customers what their biggest concerns were about investing in advocate marketing. Using their responses, we were able to create BuyingIsScary.com—a webpage that addresses these common buying fears head-on, and offers logical solutions.
3. Credibility appeals (Ethos)—Gain trust and authority through social proof
To really master the art of rhetoric—and effectively persuade your buyers—you need to make sure your brand has a reputation for being trustworthy. In fact, 80% of buyers buy a product or service because they trust the brand behind it.
To demonstrate your brand’s credibility, you need to surround your prospective buyers with social proof—like online reviews and testimonials, social media buzz, personal recommendations and community discussions. Nobody trusts your marketing copy, but they do trust their peers.
Inviting these top customers into an advocate marketing program will allow you to engage with them directly, mobilize them to share their positive experiences online, and reward and recognize them for their actions.
Rhetoric at work: Intuit QuickBase was trying to break into the emerging category of Rapid Application Development, but needed online social proof to reach the customers that could bring it the most growth—IT professionals. Quickbase used its advocate marketing program to ask its top customers to leave honest online reviews on major technology review sites. As a result, Quickbase shot to the #1 spot in its new category—giving it the credibility it needed to grow its customer base.